Keyboard Samplers: Where to start?

Discussions about anything related to samplers and sampling techniques.
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Keyboard Samplers: Where to start?

Post by jsquarewave » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:01 am

I'm looking for a keyboard sampler that I can use to play sounds from my midiNES as well as some glitchy stuff from circuit bent toys and the like. Dragging out a TV, NES, AND a Midi controller AND a zillion bent gadgets on top of all my other synths to shows is not appealing to me at all! Being able to have a single keyboard that can play all of those sounds would be rad.
I want something that is portable, has a keyboard, and (preferably) easy to use and affordable, but I have no idea where to start! I've searched the internet and I'm coming up short on useful information.
I'm new to the concept of sampling (In the past I've just been using regular old synthesizers), so I appreciate any help anybody can throw my way!

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Re: Keyboard Samplers: Where to start?

Post by shaft9000 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:56 am

there are various levels of sampling in keyboards.

basic/toy - a Casio SK-1 or Sk-5 is the good-ole' 'press a button, talk, and then play it back on any key" type of sampler. No mic to connect (it's built in), instant fun, easy as can be, and very lo-fi. And cheap.

pretty much anything better is going to require loading sounds from disc or recording through a mic. Studio rules for great sound apply, of course. Your samples will not sound gret going thru a RadioShack mic direct into the sampler; good preamp and EQ/compression will make a big difference, as well as basic understanding of acoustics.

next level is pro-sumer - Budget workstations that sample fall into this category. also the 'Groovebox'es : Roland SP- and Korg Electribe 'S' series. Not keyboards per se, but samples can be pitched and sequenced internally. These boxes allow for not much editing power, but they are FAST and extremely fun to work with. And CAN sound professional with careful mixing/production.

modern workstation/ recent hardware samplers - these provide big sample times, lots of flexibility and editing features. The K2600, A3000/4000/5000, Fantom, Triton, Motif XS etc. Prices vary a lot, but some can be had for pretty cheap.

vintage hardware samplers - from the 80's and early 90's. Are lower-fi than newer samplers, and sample memory is pitiful...but there is something really musical about squishing 12-bit samples thru an analog filter. Emulator, Mirage, early Akais and old Rolands usually fit the description. They can be a pain in the a*s to work with, but if SOUND is all-important than you might find it worthwhile. Also usually can be found for DIRT CHEAP.

software - Practically unlimited sample time and minute editing ad infinitum. Technically these destroy all others in functionality and specs. But....not my bag at all. I need dedicated interface for my instruments. When I make music I like to avoid any MIDI/USB/latency h**l and confusion.
For editing WAVs, then yes, I use software (CoolEdit, SoundForge etc) but not as instrumentation I play live.
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Re: Keyboard Samplers: Where to start?

Post by tallowwaters » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:39 am

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Re: Keyboard Samplers: Where to start?

Post by mono/noise » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:15 pm

shaft9000 wrote: basic/toy - a Casio SK-1 or Sk-5 is the good-ole' 'press a button, talk, and then play it back on any key" type of sampler. No mic to connect (it's built in), instant fun, easy as can be, and very lo-fi. And cheap.
There is a mic input and line in on the SK-5 but I still wouldn't wanna have it as my only sampler.
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