help me make the leap from software to hardware sampling

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colmon
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help me make the leap from software to hardware sampling

Post by colmon » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:46 pm

i have been using logic's exs24 mkii as my main sampler. while i love the ability to save unlimited samples of unlimited length, with incredible ease of editing, i want something i can treat as a single instrument, with its own sound and character

i'm the kind of musician who thrives on limitations, so i'm looking to enforce a few more. i want to get to the point where i am only using logic as a midi sequencer and effects unit - so all sampling will be performed directly into a hardware sampler, no editing samples on the computer and transferring them over. thus an excellent ui is a must. i'm not the type who is afraid of menu diving, and i have only owned digital synths so this isn't a problem. i've read elsewhere that the japanese samplers (roland, akai, yamaha) can be rather more difficult to orientate than emus or ensoniqs. true/false? i obviously don't expect any piece of hardware to offer the same level of ease as software

it must have filters, and a capable modulation matrix is a must, at least one lfo and eg, routable to as much as possible. i will not be using this as a one shot drum sampler, but for various noise loops. effects are not essential. nor will i be using this as a rompler for realistic sounds, i want something that is capable of synth-like shaping of sound

sound quality is not an option, i will not be using this for realistic sounds. neither is memory, a standard 2mb would be enough for me

the only thing that is troubling me is the question of storage. there seems to be several outdated storage solutions for many of the samplers i have looked at - zip drive, scsi, floppy etc. with regards to loading/saving times, reliability, and durability, what in your opinion should be the standard? bearing in mind i do not want to have to interface with my computer or anything, i want this to be a standalone instrument able to work independently of the computer

judging by my research, alot of the 90s emu's, rolands, and yamahas go for very little nowadays. as much as i'd love to own something like an emulator or emax they are way out of my budget right now. whether it's keyboard or rack based isn't an issue, though it must be able to scale samples across a keyboard so no mpcs please!

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colmon
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Re: help me make the leap from software to hardware sampling

Post by colmon » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:46 pm

um sorry for super long post

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colmon
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Re: help me make the leap from software to hardware sampling

Post by colmon » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:51 pm

i guess the esi series seems to be grabbing me the most at the moment, its basic functionality seems to appeal to me alot (ie the ability to scale separate samples to a keyboard whilst still being able to filter, modulate etc etc each separate sample)

the ensoniq eps/asr 10 samplers also look like they'd suit my needs, however i've had my heart broken by an ensoniq synth in the past and not sure we're ready to get back together just yet. how would you say the reliability of these two samplers compares to say the esq-1?

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Re: help me make the leap from software to hardware sampling

Post by Yoozer » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:53 pm

colmon wrote:thus an excellent ui is a must
They all suck. Seriously. There's a good reason several samplers have mouse, keyboard and even monitor hookups; it's because a big screen is better than a small screen and a mouse is way, way faster than turning some encoder wheel.

Usually, people bring up the argument that the imprecise editing that an encoder offers - because you have to do it by ear, not by sight - is a good thing. Gives you more "humanized" rhythms. This is easily refuted: you need that zero-crossing precision for looping properly, and not cutting precisely with a precise display is perfectly doable - but it's just more effort because you have to discipline yourself to edit the sounds like that.
it must have filters, and a capable modulation matrix is a must, at least one lfo and eg, routable to as much as possible.
E-mu Ultra series = routability and filter heaven. Otherwise, if you don't want one of the giant box samplers, Akai S3200i, which combines cheapness with a good UI.
the only thing that is troubling me is the question of storage.
http://www.scsiforsamplers.com/ - Problem solved. Pop a CF card in there and go to town.

I've had the ESI 4000 (still have). It's a bloody doorstop, and I wish I never bought it but went for the Yamaha A4000 instead, which I bought a lot later for a tenth of the price it originally went for. It's somewhat less useless; it's got a graphical display. It's got .wav compatibility. It works as an effects device, and it's got 3 of 'm in a row. It's got default waveforms (like the Akais have, too). It has an internal harddrive. As a downside, SCSI loading speeds are s-l-o-w and eventually the fickle rotary dials give up.

The ESI's filters are not that spectacular and the menu sucks; instead of having it tabbed like on the Yamaha and Akai where each function key directly maps to a menu, you have mystery buttons from 1-9 that you may memorize (and if you don't, you can use the cursor to scroll, one option at a time).

There's absolutely no fun in that, much like digging a ditch with a teaspoon is no fun. It's tedious and you're using the wrong tool for the job.

You want at least a graphical display. Transfer from computer to sampler - in other words plain .wav file capability - is something you're going to like more than you think right now.
"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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Re: help me make the leap from software to hardware sampling

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:47 pm

colmon wrote:i have been using logic's exs24 mkii as my main sampler. while i love the ability to save unlimited samples of unlimited length, with incredible ease of editing, i want something i can treat as a single instrument, with its own sound and character

i'm the kind of musician who thrives on limitations, so i'm looking to enforce a few more. i want to get to the point where i am only using logic as a midi sequencer and effects unit - so all sampling will be performed directly into a hardware sampler
I can't say I understand your reasoning. You can always set your own limitations when using exs24! What are you hoping to gain by "going primitive" with your sampling?

As Yoozer wrote, trying to get clean loops and such in HW is a lot of wasted effort when you can do the same thing automatically in a soft sampler.

Then there's waiting around for the samples to load!!! My Motif is my HW sampler and loading samples that fill the entire RAM takes about 45 minutes :oops: Basically I have to wait 30-45 seconds for every minute of sample length. Since I started using Live I don't sample with the Motif anymore 8-)
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Re: help me make the leap from software to hardware sampling

Post by Ashe37 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:17 am

Yoozer wrote:
colmon wrote:thus an excellent ui is a must
The ESI's filters are not that spectacular and the menu sucks; instead of having it tabbed like on the Yamaha and Akai where each function key directly maps to a menu, you have mystery buttons from 1-9 that you may memorize (and if you don't, you can use the cursor to scroll, one option at a time).
I will note on this that the Emu E4 series is essentially tabbed, with buttons for each 'tab'.

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Re: help me make the leap from software to hardware sampling

Post by Hugo76 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:43 pm

colmon:
I would advice you to take a good look at Yamaha's A4000 or A5000 samplers. Preferably the latter. These samplers are worth owning just for the effects. And they're very cheap.

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Re: help me make the leap from software to hardware sampling

Post by portland » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:01 pm

I completely understand where you're coming from. I used the software samplers in Reason for a long time, and while those aren't top of the line softsamplers, the hardware samplers I've used have had MUCH better sound quality.

I want to put in the good word for the Roland S-7xx series. As hardware samplers go, I think these are very good. They may not be exactly what you're looking for, as I'll explain, and it could be the Yamaha A series is a better choice for you.

Anyway, the sound quality of the S760 is just amazing. The S770 cost something like $8000 when it was first released, and the sound quality aspect of that is still great today. It's not really fair to compare it to the 12-bit Ensoniq I used for a while, but the Ensoniq sounded terrible (and not "warm") in comparison to the punch and clarity of the S760.

The filters in the S760 are also great. I heard demos of the much-lauded Emu digital filters, but I was unimpressed. While the Emu has more types, they just don't sound as good as the S760.

The S series has a lot of things that make sampling very quick and fun. It automatically detects where your samples begin and end, and then it will automatically truncate them for you. It's never made any mistakes for me. This is very important, because it speeds up sampling significantly. Mine doesn't have the video display option, but I'm fine with the built in interface that a lot of people complain about.

Let's be clear though; the S760 is not a "CRAZEE SAMPLE MANGLER". While I've created a lot of fun things using the time-stretch, there is no Ensoniq "GLITCHEE MODULATION" here. You can control pitch, filter, and amplitude with the envelopes and LFO. There's not much else. In my opinion, doing the "mod wheel -> sample loop zone" thing with an Ensoniq was cool, but it still sounded like a crappy Ensoniq. A lot of people think differently though.

Storage mediums: I've been using Zip 100 over SCSI. While it's cheap and better than floppy, Zip drives are kind of sketchy. I've had to repair one, and another was unrepairable. Also, I've bought UNOPENED zip disks which neither the S760 nor the MPC2000XL would format. "Mac Formatted" ones from the same source worked though, so I'm not sure if it was bad disks or that the samplers just didn't like IBM formatted ones. I think the ideal storage medium would be Magneto Optical, but these are very expensive. If you go with Zip, get two drives and a lot of backup disks.

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