Applied Acoustic Systems have carved a successful niche for themselves in the specialist field of physically modelled virtual instruments. All the company's products sound great, though we found Ultra Analog to be a bit resource-heavy and String Studio wasn't quite as exciting as we'd hoped.
Lounge Lizard, on the other hand, has always been a firm favourite of ours. Unlike some instruments, electric pianos lend themselves perfectly to AAS's physical modelling technology, and they've refined this further for v3.
Those expecting a ton of new features will be disappointed. However, this is a blessing in a way, as part of the appeal of Lounge Lizard is its simplicity.
The new preset library remains small but perfectly adequate, and offers plenty of scope for experimentation. In fact, the 'experimental' section of the library demonstrates that Lounge Lizard is capable of going far beyond traditional electric piano emulations.
There's now a simple built-in audio recorder, which isn't a major feature, but it will be appreciated by those who find that the moment of inspiration has passed by the time they've set up their sequencing software.
It's worth noting that Lounge Lizard is best played using a weighted keyboard, since synth-like keyboards can sometimes have too-lively velocity response.
Lounge Lizard's Fork module now has additional upper harmonic content and interacts closely with the improved Damper module to create spookily lifelike sounds. There are also two different types of pickup module: electromagnetic (Rhodes-style) and electrostatic (Wurlitzer-style).
So, is it worth the upgrade? Well, if you purchased Lounge Lizard after September 1 2005 then you qualify for a free upgrade anyway.
Even if you bought the software before this date, the upgrade price of $49 is pretty small. You can also buy Lounge Lizard in a package with Tassman 4, Ultra Analog and String Studio for just £379, which is excellent value for money.
In much the same way that B4 II is the ultimate tonewheel organ emulation, Lounge Lizard 3 is the electric piano of choice. And should its presets be lacking in any respect, even the most inexperienced user can guess which dial to tweak in order to add that final touch of magic.
If you're a lover of electric piano sounds, Lounge Lizard remains a must-have. In fact, we reckon it's still one of the finest virtual instruments you can buy.