Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

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Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by balma » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:13 pm

I have read not only here but other forums, old guys sayig only bad things from them.... poor romplers!


I think the fact that they are versatile synthesizers for several types of music, gives them bad reputation between "puristic synth owners"...



From reggaeton to electronic dance music they can fit in almost any genre due to the variety of sampled instruments. They are good for almost everything, but not very good in certain task I think so....

In my case, they are absolutely indispensable since I love some acoustic sampled sounds that you can hardly recreate on analogs or VA, ,and play an important role on my sound palette.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by Cumulus » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:29 pm

Well, they definitely have their place. it's just hard for me to get excited about them since they mostly just imitate other insturments and they don't offer much in the way of creating a sound from scratch.

My thinking is if you want a piano, play a piano and if you need a tuba for a bassline go ut and find a tuba and/or a tuba player.

Of course, that's not the most practical way to make music and I use my Alesis QS a bit for sounds that I can't get elsewhere so I can understand and appreciate ROMplers for what they are. i mean, how else could you take 10 pianos, a half dozen organs, vibes, and a whole string section to a gig?

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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by CS_TBL » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:38 pm

The problem with Romplers is not so much the concept, but the technical specifications.

Romplers with a wave ROM, anywhere between 1MB and 32MB are simply dated if you want anything acoustic. Even Romplers with wave ROM of.. say.. 2GB are dated. I'm not saying 'bad', just 'dated', because software has won the race. Not because it's software, but because the software runs on general purpose computers, which are mass produced worldwide, and thus cheap. A Rompler with a terabyte ROM would be a pretty machine though, you could fit VSL-pro, EWQL SO/SC and a whole lot o' other libraries in it and be done with it, then you'd have a reason to move from software to hardware. Make sure you put in a CPU that plays hundreds, maybe thousands of voices (polyphony), and has a crapload o' effects.. then you've got a meaty Rompler. Until software comes back with multiple terabytes worth o' memory. Keep in mind that this megarompler should also be cheaper than the custom computer counterpart, which is impossible.

But ok. Let this not go to a HW vs SW riot.. :)

When it comes to synthetic sounds, anything goes. But then again, the developments in the software community go beyond those of the hardware engineers.., so it's basically the same discussion all over again.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by guitarsandsynths » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:49 pm

I think romplers are fantastic instruments.
They democratized music production. Anybody with good musical taste, good programing skills and a good rompler is good to go. It's a one stop solution. Off course they're not analog synthesizers. Ehehe.... But nowadays they're even vintage! :lol: And who can afford a grand piano? :cry: I have a TS10 and it's a fantastic board. It gets a lot of use.
And ultimately it's not about the instrument, but the music you make with it. 8-)
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:16 pm

I remember that I once inspired a riot by stating that ROMplers aren't synthesizers, and that they're entire intent is merely imitation.
I still largely believe that. (Yes, I know many ROMplers give access to the synthesis parameters of their sounds, but you have to admit that using a ROMpler as a synthesizer [meaning designing sound with it] isn't the best direction for you to go)

All of that being said, ROMplers are useful, and I've had several of them in the past. They're great for quick standard sounds. Excellent for live situations.

I have to agree with everything CS_TBL said, though. If you really want something that does what ROMplers are intended to do, sampling is a much better route to go (in the studio anyway!). I would absolutely love a solution like that which CS describes. Someone should make that. (no, of course I wouldn't use it for analog synth sounds! ha ha ha)

I have also INVARIABLY been disappointed with the realism of string sounds on ROMplers. They're great for organs, drums, woodwinds, etc... but they have always sucked in regard to authentic string sounds and choirs.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by Zamise » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:40 pm

Romplers are great by me. Most of them simply lack proper control and interfaces in comparison to coveted performance RA and VAs, nothing to do with their tone generators or oscillators that classify them.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by balma » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:42 pm

I agree in certain with CBS_TBL on the advances of software. Hardware romplers must push further, because nowadays, lots of sofsynths, can do what romplers can. Just get a MIDI controller.

But also, they will always have a place on bands of mainstream music or churches, despite the advances of software tools, the "keyboardist" is almost indispensable with his brassy lead.


Some of them can actually be an infinite source of patches from scratch....

After 6-7 years, I still in love with the command stations. IMO they are the best romplers ever along with the JD800. I have abandoned them for some time, mostly because I had to dedicate time to my other gear, but after a time, forgetting them, and using other synths, I start again on them to create sounds from scratch, and I can be less than satisfied with their sound. They are truly understimated machines.

In my opinion, a rompler like a command station, have nothing to envy from most of the VAs of the market. It depends a lot of the sounds you have installed on it, but the EMU romplers, with their 4 to 12 waves architecture per patch and its complex patchcord section and tons of filters, (you can link any parameter to almost any destination like on modular synths) are truly powerful devices.

In fact, the last synth that I would sell from my gear, is the command station. And I'm being objetive. No obssession with it. It is the only synth from my setup, that always provides me with a satisfactory answer. Other synths (like the Waldorf or the JP8080) can create better sounds, but the command station always offers something else to that sound. It is just a very genuine invention from EMU that can't be missed.


For example, I can layer twelve instruments inside a patch. Then I can create crossfading between them. I don't know, I can crossfade AMP, filter, wave loop, wave re-start, pitch, wathever. Also, link the crossfading, with the key velo, the key range, or the CAT, or other elements Also, I can modulate the speed of the LFO2, with the curve of the LFO1, and make them interact on hundreds of forms. And they do not have onle square, and saw and sine and S&H an random LFOs. They have an arsenal of around 20 different LFOS to choose from.

And I can assign 12 or more different functions, to any of the 16 knobs. So a single knob tweak, can modify each one of its 12 waves on a different way. And I can modulate what knob A does, with the knob B movement or viceversa. A total of 192 different tweaks, can be assigned to 16 knobs.

multiple parameters can be linked to multiple destinations. Lag processors, quarterclock shifters, pink noises, different types of randomizing effects, can go and affect filters, amps, pitch, and other bunch of properties.

I mean, EMU's last cool product, is in my opinion, ,is a glorification to the imagination and creativity when manipuling sampling instruments.

I love them to death, but still wanting my JD800!.

just a list of the romplers I have owned


Ensoniq TS 10
Korg Karma
Yamaha W7
Korg Triton
Roland Fantom
Yamaha Motif
2 command stations
Roland MC 505, 307, D2 and MC 909
11 in total and the EMU shines over all the rest.... Still having on my sight the JD800



I believe more, on having a bunch of sounds that can be morphed and tweaked on multiple and creative ways, than having a rompler with a terabyte of sampled sounds, than can be tweaked or edited on the traditional way.



PD: AG, you should lay your hands over a Kurzweil K2600.... ;) that's where the violins go when they die....

G&S: Never be so stupid as me and sell your Ts10. In fact, it was my second synth after the Ensoniq SQ1 plus (truly limited synth) . I was too young and understimated it. Now that's the synth I regret the most from selling. I remember it could not sample, but it could load samples, and put one per key, something very innovative for early middle nineties.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by Zamise » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:02 pm

A terabyte for basic waveforms? I thought all we need is a good sine, and square from a vintage Moog or Arp. Oh and some pink noise.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by balma » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:23 pm

Zamise wrote:A terabyte for basic waveforms? I thought all we need is a good sine, and square from a vintage Moog or Arp. Oh and some pink noise.
In certain ways, tons of wavs is what latest and hyperexpensive f**k Fantom G offers.

On those instruments, you spend more time browsing lists and lists of instruments than programming them with precision.


And that f**k, costs as much as the Alesis Andromeda. ...
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by Zamise » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:04 am

balma wrote:
Zamise wrote:A terabyte for basic waveforms? I thought all we need is a good sine, and square from a vintage Moog or Arp. Oh and some pink noise.
In certain ways, tons of wavs is what latest and hyperexpensive f**k Fantom G offers.

On those instruments, you spend more time browsing lists and lists of instruments than programming them with precision.
[vid]

And that f**k, costs as much as the Alesis Andromeda. ...
I'd say its more worth the price then an A6. By god the Fantom G4 isn't just a rompler it has "Supernatural" synthesis!

That guy should be in a starburst commercial.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:24 am

Zamise wrote:A terabyte for basic waveforms? I thought all we need is a good sine, and square from a vintage Moog or Arp. Oh and some pink noise.
While almost any ROMpler has some vintage synth sounds, most of them are aimed to a large degree at imitating most other instruments. It is going to be challenging for a programmer to get an authentic string tremolo out of those waveforms. :wink:
balma wrote:AG, you should lay your hands over a Kurzweil K2600.... ;) that's where the violins go when they die....
They had some Kurzweil Ksomething (K1000? K2000?) at the college I went to, and I have to admit its strings were quite good.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by clusterchord » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:28 am

i like some ROMplers, which have good synthesis/mangling capabilites, flexible modulations, a GREAT filter, and above all else.. a specific character that makes em special. i use such a machine to create new sounds.

first machine that comes to mind, having all of the above, is Roland JD-990. i use it since 1993, and i can still coax some unique sounds out of it. its such a musical, inspiring piece. it has a piano, and guitar sample, but its totally not about that. it is an ambient soundscape machine.


also, even tho its not a straight rompler, but uses PCM waves, i love Wavestation too.




if i need straight sample playback i.e. ultimate realism in a sample, i agree, there is absolutely no point in driving a ROMpler for this, bcs even with the biggest possible ROM, i get more realism and articulations on a VSTi library from EW and many others. why should i load a crappy workstation piano when i can have a 2Gb Fazioli...etc



bottom line, unless im gigging in a top 40 band, and need quik access to alot of sounds, combined with performance controllers, i really don't see any need/point in tritons/motifs etc..
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by Zamise » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:34 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:
While almost any ROMpler has some vintage synth sounds, most of them are aimed to a large degree at imitating most other instruments. It is going to be challenging for a programmer to get an authentic string tremolo out of those waveforms. :wink:
What makes it so authentic or not? It'd be even harder I imagine to put a non-authentic tremolo on an authentic one.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by CS_TBL » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:00 am

Added to all that.. you can forget any of the big companies making that terabyte machine. Because that would be the lightbulb that never dies. If people buy this one synth, and nothing else, then the big companies would have no reason to exist anymore soon after everyone bought this single machine. That's the nasty dilemma they're facing: advance fast and you have the never ending lightbulb, advance slow and you face competition from software (which advances fast, especially as it's partly community driven). At the moment I think their sales are based on people who insist on using hardware (while in the past they were based on all people making music), I'm not sure how big that market will remain to be.

Also, some tiny voice in my head tells me that once the big hardware companies (Rol/Yam/Kor) move to software that they'll provide utter n00bness due obeying to the business design patterns they used while designing hardware. Like Yamaha shouting: "look, w00t! we have a virtual DX7 with 16 voices", or Roland shouting: "Look people, we have now a Soundcanvas VSTi with 16MB* waves in CD quality. *compressed, but comparable to 16MB uncompressed", or Korg shouting: "Look, we have a virtual Triton. Forget your DAW and your spacey 22" monitor, from now on you can do all your sequencing in our 1:1 copy of the original display!"

All in .. hmm.. 2013 eh! Oh, dunno, maybe that tiny voice is just a bit paranoid. ^_^ oh and it's 3:00 in the morning.. time to escape reality.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by cornutt » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:15 am

Not sure I'd classify the JD800 as a rompler. it lives in its own world, somewhere between that, VA, and wavetable synthesis.

To me, one of the things that makes a useful rompler is the extent to which it lets you slice, dice, and bend the samples. I keep an old Proteus/2 around, despite the fact that it has no filters. So what good is it? You can do all sorts of nasty things with the samples. Apply alternate envelopes, splice bits of different samples together, and pitch samples way out of their natural range. And the samples themselves are just bad enough that it's easy to make them sound unnatural with a bit of external processing.
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