Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Discussions about anything related to samplers and sampling techniques.
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by HideawayStudio » Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:53 pm

Dj Pound wrote:
HideawayStudio wrote: For me the issue with most of the earlier AKAI samplers is that they are poor when it comes to moulding sounds. The S900/950/1000 sound great with percussion but sadly lack decent crossfade looping and don't have resonant low pass filters.
Totally agree with you on that. And too some degree Akai still hasnt changed a bit in regards to sound modeling options on some of their newer samplers. Than again, Akai it seems never really focused on analog modeling style knob twisting when it came to the design of most of their sampling boxes, a feature/design I wish they would of integrated into their machines!

After seeing Ferris Bueller for the umpteenth time again, just yesterday. Im jonesin' for an EMULATOR II :mrgreen:
Just a word of warning about the EII from an owner.... It's prone to niggling reliability issues due to oxidation in the IC sockets and the fact that it's chassis is not really up to handling it's sheer weight. It's physically a very deep and heavy keyboard which doesn't fit too nicely on many stands. They don't have SCSI and require an old Mac to load via Sound Designer using the RS422 interface for access to large sample libraries. Their looping abilities aren't great compared to EIII or EMAX II. That said - they sound lovely and can be well worth the effort BUT they are not exactly cheap these days!

If you are not technically minded, remember the later EMAX IIs had SCSI, stereo sampling, considerably better looping and are MUCH more reliable with brilliant transposition running over the entire keyboard. For me, in many ways, this is a better buy. It was one of DM's samplers of choice for many years. Believe it or not the EIIIX hardware platform was based on the EMAX II - not the EIII. It sounds really smooth and is capable of making some lovely sounds. Mind you - even these are not exactly dirt cheap anymore!

The EIII is amazing but well beyond most budgets - it too is not noted for it's reliability.

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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by Dj Pound » Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:03 pm

Awesome, thanks for the info! I'll definetly look into those other options you gave me :mrgreen:
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by Spadz » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:15 am

HideawayStudio wrote: No - the EIV is not an embedded PC - it's really the last in the line of the traditional Emulator series and it's a fine piece of kit which is now great value for money. The EII and the EIII are now becoming very expensive to buy. For me, though, there was some magic lost with the newer models. I played with an E64 for a bit, which is very closely related to the EIV, but decided to let it go. For me the last great Emulator was the EIIIX. The last hybrid beast was the EIII and is still an amazing instrument.
The E64 is a sort of none upgradable EIV. I have both an E64 and an E-Synth. I find the E-Synth sounds a little cleaner, in a good way as it is the same as the E6400 with ROMS on it. It's a Dance edition with nice presets and samples in it.

But I agree, nothing beats an EIII in term of shear sound. I had one brand spanking new when they were available, and I had to sell it to eat... s**t happens. I never got another one because I completely stopped playing keys for many years.
Since I started back with keys, I've been wanting one, but the reliability factor and the possible repairs are keeping me away.
I might change my mind eventually when I have more cash to spare. I still want one and miss it very much.
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by sam » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:04 am

MPC 60 and S950....I use them for drums...
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by PitchBender » Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:56 pm

I'd buy a 2nd ES-1 in a heartbeat. Something about the simplicity and grittiness. :love4:
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by Dj Pound » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:03 pm

PitchBender wrote:I'd buy a 2nd ES-1 in a heartbeat. Something about the simplicity and grittiness. :love4:

I probably would to, if I had it to do all over again :)
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by balma » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:38 pm

Yoozer wrote:
balma wrote: (lots of demands)
The more you try to cram into the same box for a low price, the more likely you'll be to end up with a laptop.
I hate so much those samplers, that have great features but you can have only 100 seconds or less of sampling capabilities. that goes against creativity and sound variety.
No, it doesn't. Arguably, it can make you more creative because you have to deal with limitations.
5. A nice effect section. Samples, since they are frozen corpse sounds, come to live with a layer of effects over them....
So a CD - which is, after all, nothing but a long digital recording of sound - is a "frozen corpse", too? Of course not. Liveliness is done with recording multiple zones and velocities. It's only frozen when you try to stretch a single sample over the entire length or do not use techniques like round robin (for which Kontakt has very nice support).
6. Fast edition functions, copy, paste, organization, and OBVIOUSLY, since the PC helps a lot on .wav files, a good integration with a PC. At least, I demand USB.
Obviously, a PC with a big monitor and a mouse plus a keyboard is vastly superior to edit, copy, paste and organize, compared to anything you try to cram into a smaller (rack-based) machine with a tiny screen.

Give it a monitor output and a mouse input - whelp, that's the S330 - and you're back at a PC again. It's not like newer samplers use special memory or harddisks.
We need the highest quality possible when sampling. Optical input, and also at leas RCA DIGITAL, must be integrated.
Exactly what are you going to sample then?

A microphone will still be analog. So you can convert it to a digital format. Then what?
8. Possibilities of sampling more than one source at the same time.
There's no point to this when you can have an audio interface that does several tracks at the same time.
decent envelopes, noise and pink features, and a VA included to ring with the samples.
You're trying to cram too much into a single box again.
I think that these features are not big request. A sampler of this kind would not cost more than $2000
I think you're looking for a Radikal Technologies Spectralis.
1. Putting limitations to the material you work with does not increase your creativity, that's a contradiction. Put two inmates into a jail, give a teethbrush to the first one and a knife to the second one. You can become "creative" and create a weapon with the toothbrush, but the inmate with the knife will kill him first. You become more "effective" if you have more material to work with.

The more sounds you have access, the more possibilities for your music production.

2. A nice effect section will always be better when working with samples. You have more possibilities when editing with VA or real analog sounds, than working with samples. A sound that you recorded, can't be changed on its estructure in the same way you can with a VA or real analog. So a good effect section, is quite helpful when working with samples.

3. Requesting a VA inside a sampler, is not big deal or requesting too much features into a single box. Roland SP808ex actually has a 2 oscillator VA inside, and it costs $250.

4. I have my point requesting to sample more than two inputs at the same time. I sample my synths. I want to sample an Akai AX 80 and the waldorf microQ at the same time. I want to make a single patch, from two patches from different synths, and then, loading this .wav to a sample mangler like the Electribe ESX1. So, it make sense to me, sampling two sources at the same time.
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by hageir » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:48 pm

Fairlight CMI.
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by Sexor » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:21 pm

Casio SK-1

almost as good as the Fairlight :D
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by rockmanrock » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:05 am

Just confirming the Akai looping issue. Got an S950 recently and the looping is very basic, I bet many people didn't bother. My EPS16+ pisses all over it for getting decent loops. Even the parameters for loops are weird, you can't set the loop end point, it always loops to the end of the sample and you set the loop start by tweaking the Loop Length parameter. It's all back to front. The sound is good though, chunky 12-bitness and the timestretch is a classic effect and works faster than my ASR-X ever did! To be fair it is working with a smaller amount of data but it's much better for instant gratification.

A couple of things surprised me about it.

1/ No Normalise function! Yikes! They'd say "well set your levels properly on the way in" but if you edit a quiet chunk out of a bigger sample and want to boost it you're limited to what the gain/loudness param can manage.

2/ The encoder is notched, I always assumed they were smooth like Roland Alpha dials. I've not heard of these having to be replaced, must be some bomb-proof component in there.

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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by Barfunkel » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:45 pm

I have an S950, never needed normalize. Just sample louder to get better S/N, normalizing just increases the noise level, you could just as well increase the volume/gain on your mixer/DAW to get the same result.

The only sampler I'd buy without hesitation is an SP, the Akai does everything I need. I'm kinda interested in the V-Synth though, it sounds interesting, don't know how it sounds though.

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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by HideawayStudio » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:53 pm

rockmanrock wrote:2/ The encoder is notched, I always assumed they were smooth like Roland Alpha dials. I've not heard of these having to be replaced, must be some bomb-proof component in there.
The S950 and S1000 are tanks - you only have to look at the thickness of the solid aluminium front panel to see what you're dealing with. You have to remember, although these were no Fairlights, they were pitched well and truly at the pro market and the build quality really shows. In the 20 years I've had AKAI samplers the S950 and S1000 have been bullet proof. With the exception of failed drives and dim backlights I've never had a failure on one of these. I even have a really beat up S1000 (one of the first ever built) in the attic with lord knows how many hours on it which looks like h**l but still works perfectly! :)

It annoys me when people slag off old samplers - these workhorses were responsible for a vast amount of cherished pop music. Many famous artists swore by the S950 and the S1000. ...that said it's tragic that they didn't have resonant low pass filters!

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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by GeneralBigbag » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:02 pm

V-Synth
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Unconventional, but truly great samplers.
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by balma » Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:34 pm

Barfunkel wrote:I I'm kinda interested in the V-Synth though, it sounds interesting, don't know how it sounds though.

It sounds thin.....

Comparing it with the VA's of its price, V synth lost the battle. It is plenty of different oscillators, HQ Square, HQ saw, supersaw. Obviously lots of great sounds can come from it but for its price, there are better VAs on the market
The ION sounds a lot better than the V synth, strictly talking about oscillators.

however, V synth is sweet to handle samples. The pitch scaled samples sound fantastic.
the trick consist of the variphrase technology, and the hability of formating the samples depending of the usage that you're gonna give to them.
for example, if you are going to put the sample on a key, format it as "solo"
but if you're gonna spread it over the keyboard, format it as "ensemble" It takes more sample memory, but if you sampled C2, and yo play G3 for example, you will hear the sample with the same lenght and duration of the C2 note, and the lose of quality and the "mirror" effect (you hear the sample like duplicated, something that sucks on most of the samplers) is minimun. Even beat samples sound good....

most of the controllers for the oscillators, works over the samplers. The FORMANT key is crazy for morphing the samples.

It has not a big fat sound, but it's a great sampler indeed. One of the best around there for experimentation. Voices combined with oscillators, results on strange, weird effects. Is perfect for tweaking.

Now the V SYNTH LIBRARIAN software, is really simple, but it helps on sample edition a LOT!

Connect the USB and soon you'll see the list of the patches (512 if I can remember, btw there are no banks on the Vsynth, but a whole bunch of 512 patches) and the samples that they use are next to it. That's so useful for sound edition. There's a clean up option, that erases the samples that are not used on any patch. Very handy....


For a sampler lover like myself, It will always be on my setup. If you need samples to sound good on all the scale, the Vsynth or the Kurzweil K2600 are good options.
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Re: Wich sampler will you buy without hesitate

Post by rockmanrock » Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:50 am

HideawayStudio wrote: The S950 and S1000 are tanks - you only have to look at the thickness of the solid aluminium front panel to see what you're dealing with. You have to remember, although these were no Fairlights, they were pitched well and truly at the pro market and the build quality really shows. In the 20 years I've had AKAI samplers the S950 and S1000 have been bullet proof. With the exception of failed drives and dim backlights I've never had a failure on one of these. I even have a really beat up S1000 (one of the first ever built) in the attic with lord knows how many hours on it which looks like h**l but still works perfectly! :)

It annoys me when people slag off old samplers - these workhorses were responsible for a vast amount of cherished pop music. Many famous artists swore by the S950 and the S1000. ...that said it's tragic that they didn't have resonant low pass filters!
Well that's why I got it, it's a classic and I was curious after all these years. I'd always avoided Akai as they were the safe/boring option and I went for the Ensoniq at the time back in the early 90s. The S950 is good but it does make me think how far ahead Ensoniq were. The EPS/ASR is so easy to use in comparison. No need to name your samples, sensible looping, clear separation of param edits and destructive operations. And then there's effects and resampling! Akai did add those later but Ensoniq were way ahead. Ensoniq did have a bit of a reputation for unreliability at the time though I think.

To answer the original question this thead asked, I would say Ensoniq ASR10. I've never used one but my EPS16+ is damn close and the extra effects and horsepower would be great. Rarely see them for sale here in the UK though, think Akai outsold them by miles.

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