loungedumore wrote:I'm with AG on that I don't consider a Rompler as a form of synthesis or synthesizer , just an extended sample playback machine . That said they are invaluable if you need piano ,Drums ,or other instruments you don't know how to tune , upkeep , or otherwise fit in your 10x14 studio . Bread n' Butter baby
Well we could extend a lot trying to define the term of synthesizer. I was looking for the "legal definition" that Mr Moog used once in court, in order to define their nature.
From Britannica Concise Encyclopedia:
"Machine that electronically generates and modifies sounds, frequently with the use of a digital computer, for use in the composition of electronic music and in live performance. The synthesizer generates wave forms and then subjects them to alteration in intensity, duration, frequency, and timbre. It may use subtractive synthesis (removing unwanted components from a signal containing a fundamental and all related overtones), additive synthesis (building tones from signals for pure sine-wave tones), or other techniques, most importantly whole-sound sampling (digital recording of sounds, usually from acoustic instruments)
In my opinion they are synthesizers, no sample-playback.
The basic confirguration of almost all the romplers I have used, does not goes too far when modifiying a waveform from its original recording state.
Generally you layer four waveforms. Define the velo response, the panning and volume of each one.
A filter section allows you to filter the frequencies of the waveforms, shape them with an ADSR curve, and even relate the filter amount with the velocity of the keys.
Same for the Pitch and Amplitude. ADSR curves for each one of the common paramenters.
And the LFO section. You can send the amp, pitch of fiter to be modulated by the LFO.
Also there is the EFFECT section, commonly divided on reverbs & delays, choruses, and insertion effects.
This basic configuration is present on almost all the romplers I have used, and allows you to obtain some basic interestimg sounds in some cases, but on a limited wy.
Now, since there are limitating ways to express your creativity on the sound programming area, a good selection and decent amount of waveforms is very valuable.
But most of the romplers are not designed for the synth freak market
, all those weird cyclops that wander around the synth forums like VSE or Matrixsynth... etc .etc
For example, on latin (salsa, merengue, socca, bachata rosa, cumbia etc) you will find a rompler. The configuration of these groups, is a conga-percussion player, one or two trumpetists, a drunk guy dancing and a keyboardist
I grew up looking these bands playing on local parties and tv. They always had a synth, and no Oberheim or DX7 there.
Latin music requires always some glassy keys or mostly piano sounds. And sometimes they use a trumpet lead. Their owners rarely will try to synthesize a sound. They just go for the piano presets.
The selection of waveforms, has a little bit of everything, but does not excels in any are specifically. SFX sounds are generally machine gun, storm, ambulance, bird, etc.
I sold my Yamaha W7 and Motif, Ensoniq TS 10 and SQ-1 plus, Korg Triton and Karma, Roland Fantom to these bands. By the way, MOTIF romplers are pretty decent emulating sounds. The synthesis of the ADSR is very very detailed, and the selection of acoustic guitars is very realistic.
Now, Roland brang the rompler synthesis more into the dance scene with the Grooveboxes series. Amazingly, these "drum machines" are not drum machines but they have exactly the same basic confirguration of 4 waveforms per patch of their old romplers. They just used more "electronica" oriented waveforms on them. But they are like XP 80s reduced to boxes.
Until there, I think there's nothing exciting for a synth freak on the common romplers. They can be just an addition to your palette sound, but for experimentation, most of us will feel a little bit dissappointed.
Now I retake the case of Kurzweil and Emu romplers. These are different from all the rest.
If you need a serious STRING ENSEMBLE for a movie filmscoring, or for a very emotional string section on your track, Kurzweil will do that job.
And their efforts trying to offer you expressive sounds inside an expressive instrumet are remarkable.
The string patch that you find on the Kurzweil, is a multisample patch. They sampled a real violin on multiple notes, not just C3.
So each note or octave, is a different sample. And the aftertouch programming is impressive. I have seen virtuous keyboard players in front of a K2600 playing strings or grand piano sounds, that really get very very close to the real instruments.
Kurzweil have released amazing romplers that actually can be a whole delightful experience for an analog synth freak.
Now about the EMU, I reiterate, those Protean romplers around there on Ebay for $300, aimed "hip-hop" or clasified as drum machines, are very powerful instruments that can go very far from the virtual analogs at that price Because the approach to the sample-playback synthesis of EMU is different. EMU protean romplers are their own kind. They admit the basic configuration of the classic romplers, but also have an impressive flexibility on the patch programming area.
I put another example on the LFO area:
I take the moogy bass sample, and link a LFO to the "sample loop". That means, it will reduce or enlarge the lenght of the sample looping according to the LFO variations. Then, I select one of the around 20 different LFOs there.
At the same time, I take a the LFO 2, and tell it, to go and modulate the amount of variation that the LFO1 produces on the sample loop, with the speed of the oscillation of the LFO2. Ant then, go to one of the 16 knobs, and program it to modulate the speed of the LFO2
What is most interesting: those programs I made to the LFO1, LFO2 and sample loop, can actually being modulated by other parameter, like a "quarter-clock-shifter" "half-clock-shifter" ,and I can keep going and going, creating long chains of parameters modulated by other parameters.
And at the end, modulate than big mess of weirdiness, to another knob. And graduate the intensity of the modulation knob, with another one!!!!
I'm honest, sometimes I feel dizzy, when I experiment with the PATCH CORD section of the command station, is wonderful. Is like a section, for those ones, who want to adventure into a jungle of interactions between different parameters. I just mentioned, a tiny fraction of what you can do there.
Inside the patch edit section, each one of the 12 instruments, can have its own chorus amount (wich can be modulated by X amount of paramenters btw), and the start of each waveform can be delayed with bpm sync if you want to.
And that's the point I wanted to reach with this boring and bad english writing: the moogy bass I took from the ROM, does not sound like a moogy bass any longer. The waveform changed dramatically when treated by the EMU's engine.
And I don't want to touch the extensive arppegio options or the sequencer or "superbeats" sections wich are impressive, because we are talking about the rompler synthesis capabilities.
And the variety of ROMS available, is quite good and interesting. The basic EMU ROMS have around 1000 waveforms on 32 Mb But there are some of them, like the Rob Papen drums, that have only 400. That tells me that the samples are longer. I have the Beat Garden rom, and this is oddiity. Such weird percussive samples that you donr't hear everyday. There are around 30 different ROMS available in the market for the command station or protean romplers.
I mean, here we have a sampleplayback-based ROMPLER, that has a different approach to the
virtual analog, wavetable, , substractive or additive types of synthesis.