Samplers - the forgotten synthesizers?

Discussions about anything related to samplers and sampling techniques.
gunark
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Samplers - the forgotten synthesizers?

Post by gunark » Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:17 pm

I realise this may be the wrong section but I'm coming at this from the synth angle not the sampling one, that's why it's here. Hope that's cool!

I just got a Roland S330 for a song and, partly due to it's memory issues, I'm going to just sample in short (cycles not seconds) waveforms from my analogue gear (raw squares and saws, etc) and use the cool monitor editing and tva/tvf/partial setup to hopefully get some decent sounds, and as they are like kb each sample and the program data v. small I should fit a fair few cool patches on a floppy. I've done something similar before with an Emu EOS too, using it like a modular synth and it was nice to think of a sampler as just another synth with the facility for my own waves.

So, how many people use their samplers like this or do many of you use them to sample longer sounds, kind of as ROMplers?

(Part of what brought this to mind was the Roland S7* and DJ70 samplers having the same filters as the JD800/990, so with £75 and imagination you could get a DJ70II and get close to some of the 990 magic!)

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Post by Yoozer » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:34 pm

Each "layer" (tone, element, whatever) of a sampler is a fully functional 1-oscillator synthesizer.

The reason people do not bother to find this out is because most samplers have a complicated user interface and require a good bit of peripheral machinery to be enjoyable.

The moment you've added all that peropheral machinery, it's essentially just a primitive computer with a smaller screen. So, why bother? :D.
"Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.

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Post by nathanscribe » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:43 pm

I've been using my samplers like this for years. It's not a bad way to work if you like the sound the machine gives. Not many of my synths give real-time control of resonance, for example, so using a sampler in this way can provide little extras sometimes. You could also use velocity switching to fade between layers, with different sounds on each layer - normal for (say) piano sounds, but not so common with analogue synths. And as you say, such patches take almost no memory at all.

gunark
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Post by gunark » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:05 am

Yoozer wrote:Each "layer" (tone, element, whatever) of a sampler is a fully functional 1-oscillator synthesizer.

The reason people do not bother to find this out is because most samplers have a complicated user interface and require a good bit of peripheral machinery to be enjoyable.

The moment you've added all that peropheral machinery, it's essentially just a primitive computer with a smaller screen. So, why bother? :D.
The primitive S750 will sound far better than Halion or Kontakt will ever do for practically no money and no cpu cost.

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Post by gs » Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:28 pm

I am using my DSS-1 mostly for its synthesis capabilities and having a blast with it. I store something like 3 different sawtooths, a square, a sine, a tri, and a half-dozen pulse waves in memory, and practically nothing else. Floppies load up quickly this way too.

IMHO the 12-bit samplers with analog filters are the real "forgotten synthesizers". Having owned an ESQ1 and DW8000 in the past (both 8-bit with analog filtering), I feel the 12-bit waveforms on the DSS-1, SCI P2000 and Emax I are far superior for filtering and modulating than the earlier 8-bit "digital waveform" synthesizers. The 12-bit waveforms have more definition and sound punchier to my ears. Not too weak like the 8-bit, and not too "perfect" like the 16-bit ones.

In summary, the 12-bit hybrid samplers make for great "DCO" analog polysynths.
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gunark
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Post by gunark » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:24 pm

That's exactly my point! (Incidentally a DSM1 came up cheap recently but was pick-up only sadly - I don't drive). So many people see hardware samplers as dead tech now but it seems I'm also not alone in the sampler as a synth idea. Look at EMU EII and EIIIs with genuine Curtis analogue filters - EIII racks, while unwealdy, are not too much for a Curtis filtered synth.

Any specific tips when using a sampler in a synth-like way? Do you tend to use only synth waves or throw in some others?

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Post by Yoozer » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:28 pm

gunark wrote: The primitive S750 will sound far better than Halion or Kontakt will ever do
Debatable at best.
for practically no money and no cpu cost.
But it will cost you a lot of time since you just can't drag stuff in there and you have to adhere to the crazy moonspeak Roland way of doing things.
"Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.

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Post by madtheory » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:10 am

Yoozer wrote:the crazy moonspeak Roland way of doing things.
LOL :) Very true.

As for synthesis on a sampler, I've done this with an ESI4000. Excellent filters, and it does the Emu thing of making whatever you sample sound a fatter automatically. I've had great results with Casio VL Tone and CZ raw waveforms.

I'd have thought that an Emu EOS machine would be far better at this than a Roland S330 though.

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Post by gunark » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:44 am

madtheory wrote:I'd have thought that an Emu EOS machine would be far better at this than a Roland S330 though.
It's been offed in place of a Yamaha A4000. The S330 was £11 - can't turn that down and with the screen it's pretty good and the filters are pretty similar to the D50.

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Post by stikygum » Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:13 am

I hate to say it because I like hardware samplers and have the K2600 and had quite a few others. I think using any hardware samplers you like for sound or mangling is good, but actually if you use a software sampler and add a nice preamp (you should already have good convertors), I think it's just as good as a self contained unit, but with a bigger screen and more modern flexiblity. I think software samplers need the good convertors and preamp, but once they have them, the sound is just as good and probably better (if you use high quality pres).

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Post by madtheory » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:58 am

It's easy to get high fidelity, but it's much harder to get colour. Different samplers transpose differently.

It'd be great if someone could do an impulse of a Fairlight CMI IIx and III, sampling on those things sound quite odd to modern ears. I've tried to do impulses of Casio SK samplers, but I haven't got it to work yet. The variation created by transposing is difficult to emulate, you'd have to take an impulse for each note at a selection of sampling rates!

Tritone Digital Colortone Pro looks promising though.

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Post by Sir Ruff » Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:41 pm

gunark wrote:
madtheory wrote:I'd have thought that an Emu EOS machine would be far better at this than a Roland S330 though.
It's been offed in place of a Yamaha A4000. The S330 was £11 - can't turn that down and with the screen it's pretty good and the filters are pretty similar to the D50.
that's a great deal. I've always loved the concept of a standalone sampler witha big screen + mouse. Unfortunately, when these were being practically given away, I could not comprehend the utlity of such a thing! (Actually, I still can't but since I've been digging older samplers lately, they seem worth trying :wink: ).

A coupld s-series questions:
1) can ONLY the mu-1 mouse be used with these, or can other (cheaper) models? (the shape looks like a normal old style mouse)

2) Do they all have the video out, or do you need a special expansion card?

3) With mouse + monitor, is work flow fairly fast? Or is it just like editing on the unit, but prettier? (the thing I love about my 612 is the ability to record and sequence within seconds, despite the complete lack of real editing. Are the older rolands decidedly slower?)
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Post by Escobar » Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:37 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:A coupld s-series questions:
1) can ONLY the mu-1 mouse be used with these, or can other (cheaper) models? (the shape looks like a normal old style mouse)

2) Do they all have the video out, or do you need a special expansion card?

3) With mouse + monitor, is work flow fairly fast? Or is it just like editing on the unit, but prettier? (the thing I love about my 612 is the ability to record and sequence within seconds, despite the complete lack of real editing. Are the older rolands decidedly slower?)
To question #1:

The mu-1 mouse is actually an MSX mouse. Philips made it and Roland took the whole design and just changed the color from grey to black (same thing with the DT-100 tablet for S-50). You can use an ordinary PS2 mouse with a converter that you can build by your self. Check this website:

http://home.pages.at/pullrich/index4.htm

#2:

As far as I know all models but the S760 came with video out. If you're going for the S760 model be sure that it has the video output expansion card.

#3:

The workflow is much easier. It's like having a dedicated computer inside the rack with GUI, menu's and all. It's very straight forward. I have an S770 with both mouse and the RC-100 remote controler, it's very convenient compared using the LCD display, though it is rather big (the LCD). You can also edit sound waves by drawing.

In my opinion, the Roland S*** series samplers are the most user friendly hardware samplers out there, the reason I got the S770 was for it's display possibilities (and the sound ofcourse). It's so easy to get started with sampling!
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Post by Sir Ruff » Thu Jun 12, 2008 10:53 pm

Thanks for the response Escobar!
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Post by aeon » Thu Jun 12, 2008 10:55 pm

I like using my Yamaha A5000 as a synthesizer. The synthesis engine facilities, their sound, routing, and effects make it rewarding in this regard.

While I love the sound of my Roland S-760, I use it less often in this way. It is more a library machine for me.

I'd love to get a SCI Prophet 2002 to use in this fashion.


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Ian

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