Hardware sampler recommendations?

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pricklyrobot
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Hardware sampler recommendations?

Post by pricklyrobot » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:31 pm

Hello,

I'm new to samplers; so forgive me if any of my terminology is incorrect. I have a Korg ES-1 which I enjoy, but I'm looking for a sampler where the sampled sound can be transposed and played across a keyboard (as opposed to the rythm-based sampling/sequencing of the ES-1). I've played around with a friend's Yamaha VSS-30, which is the concept I'm going for, but I'd rather have something less toy-like and with some memory.

My main criteria are: ease of use, price (ideally in the sub-$150 range), small size (rack or small keyboard). I'm thinking the Akai S2000 may fit the bill. But I'd appreciate any alternate recommendations or advice anyone may have. Thanks.

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Post by translucencecs » Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:03 pm

Well... I just replaced my ES-1 Mark II in a very similar way and for pretty much the same reason.

I nearly went for the Akai S-series, but in the end I got an E-mu ESI-4000 last month. It cost me $100 with a "Buy it Now" on eBay and came with 32Mb memory, which I've now upgraded to 128Mb for $10. It also came with an internal 2Gb hard drive, which I moved out to an external case that I happened to have lying around, and replaced it with a 4Gb drive, which I also happened to have lying around!

So all in all, taking into account the value of parts that I upgraded it with, I have a 128Mb sampler, with 6Gb of hard drive storage, and I reckon in total I paid $150-ish for it.

By all accounts, the ESI is apparently a better sampler than the S2000, although I have no personal means of comparison. I did once own an Akai S01, and the ESI is way better than that, but that's no surprise at all, as the S01 has a tiny memory and is floppy storage only! :roll:

The only other thing I would say is that if you did get an ESI, a PC with a SCSI card (I got a SCSI card free with the sampler) is a very useful thing to have, both for backing the sampler's hard drive up, and also for SMS/SMDI sample dumps (and possibly even the ability to edit and tidy samples in something like SoundForge or Wavelab before using them on the sampler).

Personally, I reckon I made the right decision and got the best VFM, but don't take my word for it - Google the ESI-4000 and see what you think... :)

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Post by tallowwaters » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:37 pm

esi4000 sure is easy to use, but lots of big yamaha a4000 fans here too. i was remarking on how bad a*s those roland filters sound on the s760/dj70 sound the other day, but interface is daunting.
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Post by piRoN » Wed Mar 21, 2007 1:28 am

While I'm quite an avid fan of Akai gear, I'm going to agree with Translucences and say that you can probably get a more powerful unit for much the same price. The S2000 is a great workhorse, but using the 2-line LCD might be tiresome for some (I never found it so, myself). The main problem I have with the Akai S-3000 family is that the filters are pretty thin sounding, which limits the sort of synth-style sounds you can make.

A few weeks ago I would have praised the S2000 to high-heaven, but after getting my S3000XL the S2000 suddenly seems really hard to use. ;)
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Post by pricklyrobot » Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:41 am

Thanks all. That gives me a few more options to research. The E-mu looks good, still need to check out the others.

I've got my synth type sounds pretty well covered with my current keyboards, so I'm not overly concerned with a sampler having awesome filters. I'd more likely be using it to sample and play realistic type sounds: bells, xylophones, nature sounds (you know, dogs barking Jingle Bells); without a whole lot of processing within the sampler itself.

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Post by tallowwaters » Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:29 am

you would be surprised how helpful a little filter tracking is for making sounds play more realistically.
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Post by Altitude » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:15 pm

I'll add another vote for Yammie A series samplers. The free Bzone software is brilliant and makes programming the samplers as easy as using any software sampler

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Post by pricklyrobot » Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:05 pm

Right now I'm looking at a E-mu Esi-2000 and a Yamaha A-3000, both in the $150 price range; I'm not completely sold on either. Any thoughts on which would be a better value? Or if I'm better off waiting and trying to find a better price and/or model on either of these?

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Post by Altitude » Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:54 pm

I run a A3k and i love it. It's just a slimmed down version of the bigger a series samplers so let me know if you need to know anything specific. Cant really say anything about the emu since i never used one.

I can say that the open source software is what sold me on this thing though (http://www.bzone.be/) and It is also worth noting that recycle 2.0 (not 2.1) and soundforge both support this sampler natively. It also imports from Akai S formated sample discs albeit it does so program by program (not bank)

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Post by Xab » Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:25 pm

Hi,

give your ears a treat. Get a Roland S-760.

Xavier

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Post by madtheory » Wed Mar 21, 2007 7:45 pm

It's kinda hard to get a sampler that doesn't have good filters :) I still use my ESI4000 from new, I even wrote an article on it in 2001:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Dec01/a ... ede0d5b1d7

I've had an S2000 and an S3000, I personally disliked the sound and the OS. Even though the ESI is a "budget" instrument, it is straightforward to use and sounds like its more expensive brethren. Sometimes I wish the quality was not so good- for example, it has superior transposing to most other samplers, apart from the better Emus. The Akai import loads s1000 disks faster than the contemporary Akais!

Anyway, I'd recommend it. Very cheap, classy sound, easy to use.

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Post by pricklyrobot » Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:03 pm

I ended up opting for the Yamaha A-3000. I found one with the max amount of RAM and a hard-drive for $150, and the compatibility with .WAV files and Soundforge (something the E-mu esi's didn't seem as good at according to the research I did) was also attractive.

Altitude, I may hit you up for some advice once I get the thing in my hands. And thanks again to everyone for the input; I think I ended up with a better sampler than I would have all on my own.

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Post by Altitude » Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:09 pm

pricklyrobot wrote:I ended up opting for the Yamaha A-3000. I found one with the max amount of RAM and a hard-drive for $150, and the compatibility with .WAV files and Soundforge (something the E-mu esi's didn't seem as good at according to the research I did) was also attractive.

Altitude, I may hit you up for some advice once I get the thing in my hands. And thanks again to everyone for the input; I think I ended up with a better sampler than I would have all on my own.
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Post by professornine » Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:16 am

pricklyrobot wrote:I ended up opting for the Yamaha A-3000.
i think you did well here, it's really good!
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Post by bleorg » Sat Mar 31, 2007 7:51 pm

Pricklyrobot, That was my a3000 that you bought. How do you like it? I have the a4000 and will probably never part with it. The user interface is kind of weird at first, but it is easy to use once you get the hang of it.

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