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Limitations E-MU ESI 2000 vs software SF2

PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:35 pm
by PabstBlueRibbon
Dear all,

I couple of months ago I got myself a E-MU ESI 2000 sampler. The main reason for that is to add some character in the music. Presently modern electronic music is often produced by nothing more than a laptop with DAW-software. I like that rawness in the electronic music from the nineties or before.

Another reason is it's fun to have a 'vintage' sampler.

Preparing soundbank with a hardware sampler requires lits of patience. Especially with my sampler, because it lacks a graphical display. It's easier to do that with software like Viena or Polyphone. I spent a lot of time searching for ways to upload sf2-files to my hardware sampler. I also found some very useful info on this forum, so lots of gratitude to the one who posted it!

I have a few questions though...

Programming soundbanks with my ESI gives me the opportunity to add two layers per preset. I asume that is for stereo-sound or for a layered mono-sound. However I wonder if I convert and upload a preset from a SF2-file with more layers... can the ESI2000 handle that? (Because I am familiar with synths who seems to have a lot more editing functions when being controlled by a computer connected with MIDI-cables. So for example ... can I upload a multi-layered stereo piano to my ESI (of course the whole preset isn't allowed to be more than the RAM in the sampler).

Or are there alternative ways? Suppose the piano soundbank contains 4 layers of stereo-samples, than I have to split all those layers, however I hope I can play them all 4 simultaneously.

I hope someone can help me giving me answers.

Regards, Michael

Re: Limitations E-MU ESI 2000 vs software SF2

PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:06 am
by blueknob
hmm.. we like a brain scratching session in here :geek:

I think a sample can be stereo and same too for the secondary sample in a zone of a preset. The trick then is to try and use "Link" which points to another preset programmed up to take over where the first one left off (threshold setting etc.). I'm not sure how many Links can be made more than 2.

Methinks, programming all that up is a life-times ambition!

Re: Limitations E-MU ESI 2000 vs software SF2

PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:36 pm
by madtheory
Yes blueknob is correct. A sample can be stereo, and you have primary and secondary zones for two velocity layers. And if you want more, you link them. The User Manual explains this all really well, it's an excellent manual.

But on the ESI2000 you really are working blind when you get into layering and zones. It certainly isn't a raw sounding sampler either. It is very pure sounding machine, and the transposing adds a subtle warmth. The analogue outs are a fairly poor design, prone to grounding noise. I always preferred the SPDIF output- you still get the warmth of the transposing there. The filters are really good, can be quite wild, but Kontakt can do all of the same filtering too. The modulation is more limited than in Kontakt, and the worst thing is the resolution of the parameters is quite coarse.

This was always a budget machine. Good in its day. It has very sloppy MIDI timing as well!

I would think, for the real hardware experience with a great intuitive user interface, an E4XT or ESynth would be much better, and not a whole lot more money to buy. If you want "nineties or before" rawness, then you need something older like an Emax 1 or 2, Akai S900, Yamaha TX16W Casio FZ-1 or the rawest of them all, Ensoniq Mirage.

Re: Limitations E-MU ESI 2000 vs software SF2

PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:57 pm
by PabstBlueRibbon
Yes, the manual is very clear, however the manual is +400 pages.

I never worked with samplers before. I tried to do things with SF2, however programming requires allready a lot of work.

I want to use it for some specific sounds like ARR1 from the Fairlight. I discovered some very good sounding samples from that sound: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=67623 That wouldn't be a problem I assume.

I found some very good sounding sf2-files with violin and other string-sounds. It would be awesome to get those presets into my sampler.

Just to make clear. My E-MU ESI has 129 Mb RAM and is updated to the latest version. Also it contains a turbo board

Re: Limitations E-MU ESI 2000 vs software SF2

PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:08 pm
by madtheory
It's not an easy machine, it's powerful. If you know SF2 inside out that makes it easier because Emu basically invented that format and their samplers have the same structure. If you want both ease and power, then ESynth, or Kontakt.

Re: Limitations E-MU ESI 2000 vs software SF2

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:40 pm
by Hyde
Interested in the responses, here. I just picked an ESI2000 for $20, with full memory upgrade. I've sampled in a few things & it seems to work great. 128mb is way beyond what I'm accustomed to, as well. Cool old machines.

Re: Limitations E-MU ESI 2000 vs software SF2

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:31 pm
by PabstBlueRibbon
Hello everybody,

Sorry for the delay. I was very busy with some other stuff.

My sampler is still being unused :P I have tons of (complex) ideas but don't know where to begin.

I've found a while ago a very good soundfont of a multilayered grand piano, however the whole soundbank is roughly between 300 and 400 Mb. If it was easy to make loops out of the samples then it would be awesome to use it with such a sampler, however making loops from 5x88 sound samples and program them so the release decays in a natural way seems like a whooooooole lot of work

Re: Limitations E-MU ESI 2000 vs software SF2

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 12:45 am
by Hyde
You should be able to find something. There's an E-MU Sampler Facebook page.
I bet someone, there has a paino file