Is there such a beast?

Discussions about anything related to samplers and sampling techniques.
User avatar
Christopher Winkels
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 690
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:52 am
Location: Burlington, Canada, eh.

Is there such a beast?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:35 pm

I was thinking of buying a sampler, but it's been at least a decade since I paid the slightest bit of attention to what's available on the market (my frame of reference is an ESI-4000 that I bought new circa 1999). I've not kept an eye on what's been released subequent to the ESI. Looking up a few current offerings there seems to be only software samplers (not my thing) and a small selection of "groove" oriented boxes. Given how much technology has progressed in the intervening decade, is there a currently in-production hardware sampler that has the following features:

1. Flash memory card storage (SD, Memory Stick, USB flash drive, or similar)
2. Decent sounding filters
3. Relatively low price
4. Doesn't look like a badly lit Xmas tree for people with ADHD (SP-404, SP-555, and ESX-1: I'm thinking of you)
5. More than a two or three-character display.

Tabletop is best, but rack or keyboard are okay too. Am I missing something currently on sale that fits the bill?

Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3876
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
Real name: Unpronounceable
Gear: Ensoniq SD-1/32,SQR,VFX,ESQm
Virus Indigo, M3-61 , MS2000BR, Volca Bass
Emu XL-7, Matrix 6r
TG-33, K3m, Blofeld, Micron, Mopho, BS II, JV-1080
Band: Eridani V
Location: Central VA

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by Ashe37 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:17 pm

Generally, most of them end up violating one of your rules or implied rules- they are either grooveboxy, not reasonably priced, the filters are kinda thin, etc....
Last edited by Ashe37 on Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

JB
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 56
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 3:48 pm
Gear: K2500RS + KDFX, K2600R, 2 x DMTi, KSP8, Capybara 320, DSI Mono Evolver Kbd, DeepBase9, Powercore Firewire + Virus, Yamaha TX81z & 03d
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by JB » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:12 pm

Hmm, probably not one in production (not that interested in samplers of late due to their watering-down of what a good old pro 19" sampler was 10 or so years back).

Give me a K2500/K2600/EIV/E6400 any day.

To cross off a few items on the list of "wants":

1) you can buy SCSI card readers that will install into a Kurzweil K2xxx series (and I assume these will also fit in an Emu EIV/E6400 etc... if not you can always use it as an external SCSI device).
2) Filters on a Kurz/Emu are what I would consider to be good
3) Low price - E6400s go for knacker-all money these days (compared to RRP), Kurzis cost a bit more but because they're much more than just a sampler.
4) Not an issue with rack kit
5) Full graphical editing covers this.

I guess I should include Akai S5000/S6000/Z4/Z8 on the list, never used one myself but no doubt they're all quality machines.

Regarding sampler modules (non-racks), well, obviously much less of a choice unless you include MPCs & MVs.

So, to answer your question. I don't know of any in-production samplers that I'd want to use, let alone spend money on :)

JB

User avatar
23
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 593
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:19 am
Gear: TB-303, MC-505, MC-09, V-Synth GT, FR-777, FR-XS, MFB: Synth II, EMU Proteus 2500/CS, FS1R, Supernova II, Fusion 6HD, ER-1 MKII
Band: 23, A23P, Piss Ant
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Contact:

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by 23 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:12 pm

Christopher Winkels wrote:I was thinking of buying a sampler, but it's been at least a decade since I paid the slightest bit of attention to what's available on the market (my frame of reference is an ESI-4000 that I bought new circa 1999). I've not kept an eye on what's been released subequent to the ESI. Looking up a few current offerings there seems to be only software samplers (not my thing) and a small selection of "groove" oriented boxes. Given how much technology has progressed in the intervening decade, is there a currently in-production hardware sampler that has the following features:

1. Flash memory card storage (SD, Memory Stick, USB flash drive, or similar)
2. Decent sounding filters
3. Relatively low price
4. Doesn't look like a badly lit Xmas tree for people with ADHD (SP-404, SP-555, and ESX-1: I'm thinking of you)
5. More than a two or three-character display.

Tabletop is best, but rack or keyboard are okay too. Am I missing something currently on sale that fits the bill?
It's a h**l of a lot more bang then you may be looking for, but I'd say the Alesis Fusion.
1. Flash memory card storage (SD, Memory Stick, USB flash drive, or similar)
YES, COMPACT FLASH

2. Decent sounding filters
YES, 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 pole multi-mode filter selection (low, high, band-pass, band-stop, band-boost) and 3 vocal formant filters.

3. Relatively low price
YES, I had picked up my Alesis Fusion 6hd for $600 (NEW) [Gotta love end of product cycles].

4. Doesn't look like a badly lit Xmas tree for people with ADHD (SP-404, SP-555, and ESX-1: I'm thinking of you)
NO, the Fusion DOES NOT At all reflect that look.

5. More than a two or three-character display.
YES, much more than that actually.


Where it falls short of your reqs is that it is no longer in production (production cycle ended last year).

User avatar
cornutt
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2117
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:03 am
Gear: 6th
Location: Rocket City USA
Contact:

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by cornutt » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:59 pm

V-Synth! Although the original model is out of production, there are plenty around and they're pretty cheap. If you must have something that's in production now, I'd look at the K2662 with the sampling option, but that won't be cheap.
Switches, knobs, buttons, LEDs, LCD screens, monitors, keys, mice, jacks, sockets. Now two joysticks!

User avatar
novielo
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1221
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:37 pm
Gear: in order of appearence:
sh2000 s612 nord modular mpc1000 kp3 ms-something cp-251 gameboy s6000 and other crappy stuff
Band: one-man band
Location: by the river, st-jerome, quebec, canada, north america
Contact:

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by novielo » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:40 pm

from your list an advantage of the s5000/s6000 is that it runs with fat32 drive, that means that you can have an flash card reader for it and use the card almost anywhere. very handy to back up also. price wise you could also get the usb card to connect directly into you computer. for decent filters you may use your board?

in rack format the yamaha a4000/a5000 worth a look, steep learning curve but but massive edition possibility

i think a version of the mpc2000 had a compact flash card reader build-in
-Save yourself the time and have a conversation with a plastic chair. -RobotHeroes

User avatar
meatballfulton
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5941
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:29 pm
Gear: Logic Pro X

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:37 pm

Christopher Winkels wrote:1. Flash memory card storage (SD, Memory Stick, USB flash drive, or similar)
2. Decent sounding filters
3. Relatively low price
4. Doesn't look like a badly lit Xmas tree for people with ADHD (SP-404, SP-555, and ESX-1: I'm thinking of you)
5. More than a two or three-character display.
A used recent vintage workstation would hit all 5 points (some might argue about the filters, I wouldn't).

Too bad standalone samplers disappeared from the market just before SCSI got replaced by USB and flash cards.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

GeneralBigbag
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 852
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:16 pm
Location: Grad school

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by GeneralBigbag » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:38 pm

There's a V-Synth XT in the FS section for $750 shipped, which is just a stupidly awesome price.
virb.com/ookpikk

User avatar
23
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 593
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:19 am
Gear: TB-303, MC-505, MC-09, V-Synth GT, FR-777, FR-XS, MFB: Synth II, EMU Proteus 2500/CS, FS1R, Supernova II, Fusion 6HD, ER-1 MKII
Band: 23, A23P, Piss Ant
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Contact:

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by 23 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:52 pm

GeneralBigbag wrote:There's a V-Synth XT in the FS section for $750 shipped, which is just a stupidly awesome price.
Now don't get me wrong here, as I love the V-Synth line, and I mean LOVE IT.
But I don't know that I'd say they're exactly great as samplers....in fact, I'd say it's easily arguable that they are not.

1. All things considered in todays age, EXTREMELY small overall storage space for samples (one is pretty much certainly going to want some kind of external device for this)

2. Moderate amount of sample RAM.

3. No multi-sample support

I can think of a good amount of times where one or any number of these three things could become quite a hindrance.
That said, though the V-Synths are capable of sampling, I can't say I view them in the same light as more traditional samplers. (i.e. construction of a complex orchestral sample set would not be ideal on a V-Synth; and this is example and the limitations that might be ran into are much more numerous then just something like orchestra recreations and can in fact often extend out into the sound design domain)

User avatar
Christopher Winkels
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 690
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:52 am
Location: Burlington, Canada, eh.

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:34 am

Ashe37 wrote:Generally, most of them end up violating one of your rules or implied rules- they are either grooveboxy, not reasonably priced, the filters are kinda thin, etc....
I can live with 4 out of 5 being satisfied. Only #1 is inviolate (I do not want to play around with hard drives, SCSI c**p, or floppies - been there, done that, no thanks). I can compromise on one of the others.

User avatar
gmeredith
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 710
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:06 am
Band: Warning Will Robinson
Location: Tasmania, Australia
Contact:

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by gmeredith » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:36 am

Roland Fantom XR - flash storage (CF and Smart media slots)
Audio sampling inputs or .wav load samples from card
Graphical sample editing visual on screen (no guessing a'la ESi4000)
fat32 storage (compatible with PC)
Up to 512 MB RAM
USB port
1 rack unit high

Plus preset synth sounds as well

Typically $700 or less on ebay

Don't know about the filters. Download the manual from Roland for specs - it should tell you what filters it can do

Good Yahoo Fantom group for Q&A:

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/RolandFantomX/

Cheers, Graham
Casio: FZ1, CZ101, PG380, VZ10M, SK8, SK60, RAP10, DP1 drums, DH100, CDP200, DM100
Yamaha: TX81z, TX802, SHS10, DTXv2
Roland: SH101, DR660, MS1, PM16, TR33
Others: Korg MicroKontrol, ES-1, Alesis MMT8, Emu ESi2000 & card reader, BCR2000, V-Machine

User avatar
Christopher Winkels
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 690
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:52 am
Location: Burlington, Canada, eh.

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:21 am

Thanks to everyone for all the input. A quick roundup of replies:

V-Synth - I think 23 pretty much nixed that one on my behalf. :lol:

Fantom XR - I had a Fantom Xa and hated it. The ratio of menu-diving to playing was unacceptably high.

Akai S-series - I am about the least technically inclined person you will ever meet when it comes to actually getting my fingers dirty under the hood of a synth. The thought of swapping out a hard drive or floppy for a card reader fills me with dread. I was sort of thinking new rather than used as well.

Kurzweil, E-mu - see Akai.

Alesis Fusion - probably the best suggestion made so far, but it's a lot more than what I'm looking for both in terms of physical space and extra capabilities like HD recording, sequencing and FM synthesis. Finding one might be a bit of a hassle too.

No to poo-poo any of the input, because its appreciated. I guess I'm still looking.

Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3876
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
Real name: Unpronounceable
Gear: Ensoniq SD-1/32,SQR,VFX,ESQm
Virus Indigo, M3-61 , MS2000BR, Volca Bass
Emu XL-7, Matrix 6r
TG-33, K3m, Blofeld, Micron, Mopho, BS II, JV-1080
Band: Eridani V
Location: Central VA

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by Ashe37 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:43 am

Finding a Fusion isn't hard, Alesis has refurbed 61 and 88 key versions on their site.

User avatar
aeon
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 881
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 8:18 am
Location: a lily-pad in the pool of my mind.
Contact:

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by aeon » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:17 pm

Christopher Winkels wrote:Fantom XR - I had a Fantom Xa and hated it. The ratio of menu-diving to playing was unacceptably high.
Roland does make a software editor for it.


cheers,
Ian

User avatar
Christopher Winkels
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 690
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:52 am
Location: Burlington, Canada, eh.

Re: Is there such a beast?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:42 pm

aeon wrote:
Christopher Winkels wrote:Fantom XR - I had a Fantom Xa and hated it. The ratio of menu-diving to playing was unacceptably high.
Roland does make a software editor for it.
Point taken, but I have a "no software" rule. I could go on about the reasons why, but suffice it to say I find the limitations and tradeoffs imposed by software to be at least as irritating as hardware.

I just never liked the Fantom series, full stop. Even a good ed-lib isn't going to help matters for me.

Sorry, I know I'm being a bit of a PITA with all this. I might just buy an Akai S-series and be done with it. #-o

Post Reply