Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

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Chewy
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Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by Chewy » Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:43 am

At the moment, the only sampler I own is a Korg ES-1 mk2. I like the TR style sequencing, but I want to add something to my setup that's not so "clean." I would prefer something that's 12 bit or lower (if it's higher but can be lowered, that'd work too), with an adjustable rate that can get down to a fairly lofi level.

Two really good candidates right now are Akai S2000 and Yamaha SU-700. These guys caught my attention because they are both 16 bit, but can be lowered to 8 bit, and have adjustable rates. I like that the SU has a sequencer and seems pretty hands on, but I've heard the encoders almost always start to get jumpy, and possibly that the sequencer isn't very good.

Other ones I've been looking at include Akai S950 (12 bit), Yamaha VSS-30 (limited, but looks pretty cool and is more functional and has more features than an SK-1, may get one of these sometime even if/when I get another sampler), Ensoniq Mirage (love that it's 8 bit with a VCF, but probably won't get one), Ensoniq EPS (13 bit, so doesn't really fit my above criteria, but may work), Roland/Boss SP series (again, probably won't get one), and other stuff.

Sorry for the length, the purpose of this post is to get some recommendations about nice dirty and crunchy samplers. Looking for feedback on some that I mentioned, and also welcome suggestions about gear I didn't mention. As stated above, I'd probably prefer something 12 bit or under, with adjustable (lower) sample rates. I do not need one with a built in sequencer necessarily. I'm only looking for hardware, by the way.

Thanks for your time!

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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:24 am

The S2000 is cleaner than the ES-1, so you're looking in the wrong place with that one.

If I were you I'd just get something to make the samples you put in the ES-1 dirtier, or more like how you want them to sound whatever that is.

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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by Chewy » Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:52 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:The S2000 is cleaner than the ES-1, so you're looking in the wrong place with that one.

If I were you I'd just get something to make the samples you put in the ES-1 dirtier, or more like how you want them to sound whatever that is.
Yes, I've heard about the S2k being "clean," but I assumed that's when people were leaving it at 16 bit and somewhere around 44.1kHz? From what I've read, the bit depth can be turned down to 8, and obviously the rate can be lowered, as well. It would still be clean at 8 bit and a low rate? I think my ES-1 is like 16 bit and stuck at 32 kHz, so I don't see how it would be at those settings

And the whole just applying bitcrusher and/or other distortion and compression to clean samples doesn't really provide the sound I'm after

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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by nuketifromorbit » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:41 am

Chewy wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:The S2000 is cleaner than the ES-1, so you're looking in the wrong place with that one.

If I were you I'd just get something to make the samples you put in the ES-1 dirtier, or more like how you want them to sound whatever that is.
Yes, I've heard about the S2k being "clean," but I assumed that's when people were leaving it at 16 bit and somewhere around 44.1kHz? From what I've read, the bit depth can be turned down to 8, and obviously the rate can be lowered, as well. It would still be clean at 8 bit and a low rate? I think my ES-1 is like 16 bit and stuck at 32 kHz, so I don't see how it would be at those settings

And the whole just applying bitcrusher and/or other distortion and compression to clean samples doesn't really provide the sound I'm after
The s2000, at least with the most recent version of the OS, can indeed sample at a lower bit rate than the es1.
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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by gcoudert » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:57 am

You really can't go wrong with an Akai S-950. It's lo-fi enough imho, uses standard floppies and has multiple outputs for external mixing / processing. Make sure you get one with the optional SCSI board and invest in some sort of external drive for storage.

You could argue that the S2000 has all this built-in anyway but its filter is digital (not a great one at that), unlike the S950 which - somebody please correct me if I am wrong - has an analogue low-pass filter. On the plus side, the S2000's filter has resonance, which the S950 hasn't got.

I have used an S950 and owned an S2000 and my preference goes to the S950. Whilst I am emphatically not an 'analogue-is-good-digital-is-c**p' sort of musician, those old samplers have a warmth about them that manufacturers have failed to re-create digitally. You may be able to achieve grittiness with an S2000 but is that enough?

On the other hand, you must also consider how much RAM you will need, as the S950 will only take just over 2Mb using rare, and therefore expensive, proprietary RAM. The S2000 left the factory with 2Mb RAM but many on the second-hand market have been expanded to 32Mb.
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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by Chewy » Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:53 pm

nuketifromorbit wrote:
The s2000, at least with the most recent version of the OS, can indeed sample at a lower bit rate than the es1.
Thanks for the corroboration! Not many people seem to mention or know that
gcoudert wrote:You really can't go wrong with an Akai S-950.
Thanks for the opinions and info! To be fair, though, all samplers are digital, but some do have true analog VCFs and sometimes envelopes. I don't think the S950 has an analog filter, but I'm not 100% sure on that. That doesn't really matter to me though, the 950 still seems like a good option, and I could always buy an external filter box if I need one

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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by zoomtheline » Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:14 pm

My first sampler (apart from an old vss as a kid) was the esmk2, same as you. I still use it. I wanted to upgrade and get something deeper and bought, sold or tried out most samplers/ groove boxes and the only one that I connected with was the machinedrum. 12 bit and much dirtier than the es.

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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by Chewy » Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:45 am

zoomtheline wrote:My first sampler (apart from an old vss as a kid) was the esmk2, same as you. I still use it. I wanted to upgrade and get something deeper and bought, sold or tried out most samplers/ groove boxes and the only one that I connected with was the machinedrum. 12 bit and much dirtier than the es.
Yeah, the ES-1 really isn't a bad little sampler, I'm going to keep it even when I add another. That's really interesting about it being 12 bit - I checked out some Elektron gear last night while browsing Guitar Center, and I found a lot of the features on their products to be really neat. I like that the Monomachine has a wavetable, FM, and at least 3 other synth engines onboard, and that the Machinedrum has like at least 5 synthesis engines, as well.

I like how many samples can be held in the Machinedrum UW (I think it's "UW?") and Octatrack, but if I remember correctly, the samplers of theirs I've looked at have been at least 16 bit, and somewhere around 44.1 KHz, with no mention of being able to change either. When I saw that, it was a dealbreaker, especially considering how expensive they are. However, those could be the Mark 2's I'm thinking of, are you reffering to a Mk 1 Machinedrum UW?

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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:56 am

The machinedrum UW is 12bit.

Regarding running the S2000 at 8bit, all it does is is add a bit of noise to the signal. The mojo that you get from 12 bit samplers isn't just because they sample at 12 bits, it's the analogue input circuitry, non-linear bit depth and the anti-aliasing filters that were all optimised to sound good, seeing as sounding clean was not possible at that stage.

Regarding your comment about running through bit-crushers, that's not what I'm talking about. Run your samples through whatever you need to make them sound how you want them, don't think that a sampler is going to do it all for you. You're going to be disappointed if you try to get what you're looking for from an S2000 at lower bit depth and sample rate, all it does is take a bit of the top end off and add some noise. Trust me, the S2000 was the first sampler I owned.

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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by zoomtheline » Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:40 am

Chewy wrote:are you reffering to a Mk 1 Machinedrum UW?
yeah, sorry. The MachinedrumMk2UW is what I mean. The Mk1 is just a drum machine. UW means User wave basically meaning you can import your own samples. It's less a sampler more a drum machine but still far more immediate and fun than any sampler I have tried. I have an Octatrack for cleaner and longer sample manipulation but it's far to deep for me to get to grips with with the time I have to play with it. It's amazing of course.
The MD UW is 12bit as said ^^^. You can instantly tell the difference when you import your sample in. Really pleasing sound. It makes the ESmk2 sound like a fresh water spa in comparison.

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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by tallowwaters » Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:37 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:The machinedrum UW is 12bit.

Regarding running the S2000 at 8bit, all it does is is add a bit of noise to the signal. The mojo that you get from 12 bit samplers isn't just because they sample at 12 bits, it's the analogue input circuitry, non-linear bit depth and the anti-aliasing filters that were all optimised to sound good, seeing as sounding clean was not possible at that stage.

Regarding your comment about running through bit-crushers, that's not what I'm talking about. Run your samples through whatever you need to make them sound how you want them, don't think that a sampler is going to do it all for you. You're going to be disappointed if you try to get what you're looking for from an S2000 at lower bit depth and sample rate, all it does is take a bit of the top end off and add some noise. Trust me, the S2000 was the first sampler I owned.

+1. You can have a lot of fun with the more modern (for their time) E-mus and Akais, but you are not going to get some instant satisfaction from the adjusting the bitrate in post processing.

An SU700 is just going to make you realize how much you enjoy your ES-1.

The VSS30 is fun. I've bent several, adding break out boxes, etc.

As Stabby said, you're going to have a lot more joy processing your sample how you want it to sound then simply saving it as a sample. Believe me when I say the creative possibilities in that regard are nigh about limitless.

That being said, if you are just looking for older samplers that sound good, the E-mu Emax series and Ensoniq EPS series are the way to go.
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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by synthroom » Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:37 am

Get a Mirage... Or Fairlight. Or EII.

I had a S900 and it sounded sounded much less "lo-fi" compared to those 3 listed above.
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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by Chewy » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:21 am

Awesome replies, guys, very helpful info. Thank you

Stab, S2k is off the list at this point, heh. I've seen it go for fairly cheap, which is great, but after what you said, I think I'll pass. Very good information
zoomtheline wrote: The MD UW is 12bit as said ^^^. You can instantly tell the difference when you import your sample in. Really pleasing sound. It makes the ESmk2 sound like a fresh water spa in comparison.
Great suggestion, then! Looks like MD UW has a spot on my list of potentials. Btw, when you say it's more of a drum machine, does that mean it doesn't have many specific sample edit features? And I'm sure it probably does, but it does have a line in, correct?
tallowwaters wrote: +1. You can have a lot of fun with the more modern (for their time) E-mus and Akais, but you are not going to get some instant satisfaction from the adjusting the bitrate in post processing.

An SU700 is just going to make you realize how much you enjoy your ES-1.

The VSS30 is fun. I've bent several, adding break out boxes, etc.

As Stabby said, you're going to have a lot more joy processing your sample how you want it to sound then simply saving it as a sample. Believe me when I say the creative possibilities in that regard are nigh about limitless.
Well, I was going to actually directly sample via the line ins, while already at 8 bit, would that make a difference? Don't know if that's a stupid question or not, haha.

Looks like SU700 is off the list as well. And the VSS30 does seem fun. A full ADSR and some (limited, but maybe useful) effects seems pretty cool for a "toy." Also, dirt.
synthroom wrote:Get a Mirage... Or Fairlight. Or EII.

I had a S900 and it sounded sounded much less "lo-fi" compared to those 3 listed above.
The Mirage is a possibility. It seemed to me that it may be hard to work with, but maybe not. I do know it's a sampler that could definitely attain the kinds of sounds I'm after. Also, I've looked at the EII, but it's kinda pricy, if I remember right

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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:17 am

If I were you I'd get a warm audio tone beast (stupid name, awesome preamp) and sample into your Electribe through that. You'll get all the dirt and crunch of an early sampler by driving it hard and backing off the output with none of the headaches of old sampler interfaces.

Or you could get an SP-12, that would be pretty awesome. Or a MDUW. But I'm a little biased against the idiosyncrasies of older gear, a lot of people aren't.

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Re: Good crunchy, dirty, lofi samplers

Post by gcoudert » Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:45 am

synthroom wrote:Get a Mirage...I had a S900 and it sounded sounded much less "lo-fi" compared to those 3 listed above.
What would put me off getting a Mirage, in spite of its ideal lo-fi sound, is the fact it only has 128kb sample RAM. That said, the filter is analogue.I was totally blown away when it first came out. Does it even use standard floppies? I can't remember.

Re. the S900, it's 750kb RAM and that's it but then that may well be enough for what Chewy wants to do.
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