Digital V.A.S.T

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
JB
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Re: Digital V.A.S.T

Post by JB » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:28 am

IMHO, for sample mangling hardware I think the Kurzweil is still at the top of the pile if you're after an all-in-one box.

The VarIOs machines have a different take on sampling where samples aren't just recorded and played back at a different speed to change the pitch like a traditional sampler would - VarIOs uses formant analysis and allows sample replay at different speeds but retaining the same pitch and/or changing the pitch but keeping the same playback speed (with varying results depending on how far you stray from the original pitch/speed). More like a real-time timestretch / pitch-shifter - great for working with breakbeats. VarIOs machines tend to have an even more limited polyphony than the Kurzweils.

The Kurzweils are more of a normal sampler but with a gamut of internal *per voice* effects and modulation sources & destinations.


Things to consider with Kurzweils:

Standard K2000 keyboards may require the fan kit to be installed if adding expansion options.

A K2000 is only 24 note polyphonic - stereo sample playback uses two voices per note.

A K2000/2500/2600 (and deriratives) do not require the sample option to be able to load, edit and replay samples. The sample option only provides the physical sample audio inputs. (Samples can be loaded via floppy disk, SCSI devices or my MIDI Sample Dump on a non-sample option model).

K2000s use 30 pin SIMMS, K2500 uses either 30-pin or 72-pin SIMMS depending on when it was manufactured, K2600 uses 72-pin SIMMS.

The K2000 audio outputs are all unbalanced, the K2500 audio Aux outputs are unbalanced but are also "inserts" so you effectively have 8 sends & returns built in for applying external effects, the K2600 outputs are balanced and do not have inserts.

The K2500 has a built-in Digitech DSP effects unit attached to the main stereo outputs.

The K2500 (optional) and 2600 have KDFX which is a post-program 4-stereo bus effects unit effectively bolted between the Program outputs and the physical output jacks. (Check the KDFX V2 manuals, it's a beast).

The K2000 has one "drum channel" (i.e. a program that can have up to 32 layers) and 15 normal channels (3-layer programs), the K2500 has 8 Drum Channels and on the K2600 all 16 MIDI channels can be set to Drum Channel programs.

VAST has it's limitations, especially in the K2000 & K2500 as you only have the three DSP blocks to play with. This means that where some synths can offer dual resonant 4-pole filters, VAST can only offer a 4-pole with variable resonance and then a 2-pole with fixed resonance.

Triple Mode (K2600/K2661 only) effectively chains three VAST layers, however it actually gives a lot more than that. (Read the K2600 OS V2 supplement). Triple mode can work using a RAM sample but not with a *stereo* sample (you can select the left or right channel of a stereo sample though).

K2500 and K2600 models with the sample option have "live mode" which allows real-time processing of external audio (connected to the sample inputs) through VAST including real-time pitch bending!

Where VAST really comes into its own is when you start to use the non-linear DSP functions to add extra "grit". Primarily the DIST (distortion), SHAPER (waveshaper) and WRAP functions plus some of the additional oscillator modes; SW+SHP (Sawtooth osc + shaper), SW+DIST (Sawtooth osc + distortion) etc.

Modulation sources are another key strength. More multi-stage envelopes, Attack/Release envelopes, LFOs and function generators than most other synths.

So, in other words:

K2000 gives 24 voices of VAST, one Drum Channel, 64Mb RAM max.

K2500 doubles up to 48 voices, 128Mb RAM, 8 drum channels and can be expanded to have KDFX and Live Mode. Also has internal Digitech DSP effects processor and inserts on the aux outputs. Has a brighter screen than the K2000.

K2600 has KDFX as standard, 48 voices, 128 Mb RAM, 16 drum channels, Triple Mode, balanced outputs (no inserts), no Digitech FX.

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tallowwaters
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Re: Digital V.A.S.T

Post by tallowwaters » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:20 pm

shadyjake wrote:what are more keyboards that have VAST or something like it? something where i can manipulate samples. cuz thats all im doin now. but if i can find something that does more than a KP...and my pedals then im def gonna want to buy it

Ummm... Try reading? Samplers have been around for years and there is a multitude of information via Google search and plenty already here in the "Samplers" forum.

And to prematurely burst your bubble, there is no one piece of gear out there that is going to instantly make an interesting sampler. Most of those are going to require hard work and creativity through learning and processing.

That aside, I would look at a V Synth.
Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.

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Re: Digital V.A.S.T

Post by Soundwave » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:48 pm

The K2000 ROM samples are some of the best I've heard with no shitty octave mulitsample or Mick Mouse aliasing, the V.A.S.T. is another one of those impressive looking things on paper but in reality it's only basic time stretching and distortion/wavewrapping that either does very little or too much and what makes it worse is it's over complex for even the most basic functions hpwever this was s**t hot in its day especially for soundtrack work. The sawtooth and filter were good in their time but really don't stand up next to a decent VA synth sure if you like multi layering samples in a very playable keyboard format it's quite good for fine tuning your sound but the whole concept is very obsolete next to modern ROMpler VST's although they do go cheap these days and the instrument samples can be worth the money alone especially that Grand String patch, certainly a better buy than other ROMplers of the same era.

JB
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Re: Digital V.A.S.T

Post by JB » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:05 am

tallowwaters wrote: And to prematurely burst your bubble, there is no one piece of gear out there that is going to instantly make an interesting sampler. Most of those are going to require hard work and creativity through learning and processing.
True (not even an SP1200 will instantly make your beats sound "special" :shock: contrary to what most SP1200 users/owners say #-o ).

The Kurzweil's strength is in the synthesis engine, other than that it's sampling functionality is completely run-of-the-mill for the time. Although it's a very quick process to select a Sample and create a Program for it it's more long-winded to set-up multi-zone keymaps than your average sampler and Program, Keymap and Sample management is a bit annoying.... plus KDFX, wonderful as it sounds, definitely slows down the sound-making process somewhat.

Swings & roundabouts.

There's a handy programming utility here:
http://community.sonikmatter.com/forums ... rogrammer/

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Re: Digital V.A.S.T

Post by Spav » Sun Sep 06, 2009 5:44 pm

As a long time Kurz fan I will have to chip in on this one. I started with a PC88 for live work with a K2000R and a Triton rack, the Kurz units are built like tanks and have never once missed a beat. I had a K2000 for home and loved it.

I now have a K2500X and a K2500RS for home, K2500 (76 semiweighted) for live all with hard disks and KDFX. I also now use a Triton Classic (61 note) in place of the Triton rack, but the K2500 is always used as master and the controllers are awsome, a huge ribbon for some big slides, pressure sensitive small ribbon below the wheels. I find the zones programming a breeze and can build setups very quickly.

Down side, programming takes some time to get into but it is worth the effort, KDFX takes even more time, once you are there it is fairly straight forward. Kurzweils basic concept of objects is ok if you have a software programmers view on things, but I guess this is a bit of a leap for some and it weighs a ton, but for me it's a keeper.
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