u-link

Recommend me a sampler

23 posts in this topic

Hi,

This question is not such a techy one for once. The issue is simple: I want to use my Seq4 for doing live gigs, and I am looking for a sampler to go with it. Here's the other kit I want to use: Ambika (probably as two mono synths and a 4 voice poly), Moog Minitaur for basslines, Audiothingies Doubledrummer (ordered this this week, hasn't arrived yet. It's a 12 voice drum synthesizer), some FX pedals, and probably the EHX 45000 looper pedal to loop stuff up for transitions etc. Mackie 1202 mixer. Maybe also the Nord Modular G2 Engine as a stereo filter bank thingie (on the "alternative out of the mixer, when you mute a channel, it plays thru there) plus FX or more complex sounds.

I want a small and portable sampler (so not a rackmount. I got a Roland S-760 that is really cool, but unhandy. It uses a mouse and an external screen, so I don't want to transport that) that can play both drum samples and pitched samples (not really multisampling, more like simple "one sample pitched across the whole key span" things), with a good MIDI implementation, so you can automate parameters via CC (cutoff etc.). It should also allow selecting programs via program changes and some kind of multimode so you can play a drum kit on one channel and at least one other "pitched" sound on another channel. Built in FX would be cool, too, and some kind of internal storage solution. Is there anything like that available? 

I have a Volca Sample, and it's pretty cool actually, but you can only store 10 patterns / programs and it uses one MIDI channel per sound with no real pitch mode. There's the SP-404 from Roland, but that doesn't respond to any CCs. There's the MPC500, but the MIDI implementation is subaltern. Are there any other options?

Key features:

-Desktop unit

-Internal storage (no SCSI drives to port around)

-Good MIDI implementation

-Easy to get sounds on (USB or something like that), doesn't necessarily need to sample itself

-Built in FX if possible

-2 stereo outs if possible

 

Thanks for recommendations! Has anybody experience with an Ipad and apps? Does that actually work? Sneak Thief once showed me how he' s using a touch screen computer running several instances of  Ableton Live's sampler, but that seems kinda complicated compared to some small box with some knobs on it. There's the Bastl MicroGranny that looks cool, but it's monophonic and seems more geared towards experimental stuff (want to get one anyways though). There's the awesomely named "Where's The Party At 2", but I think it's monophonic, too, and it's a bit cryptic and big, too. There's the Electribe Sampler, but I'm not sure if that can be played over MIDI in a meaningful way, also a bit big. Then there is this Gotharman company, but the stuff seems way too complex for what I want, and also too pricey. There's the Axoloti, but I guess that is opening another can of worms, and developing your own patch for this is gonna take forever again...

It's really weird. There is more cool little machines than ever, but simply no samplers!

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42 minutes ago, u-link said:

I got a Roland S-760 that is really cool, but unhandy.

Yes very cool, I've got one... 12bits sampling ;)
Not handy because of the screen and mouse? if it's the case you can maybe work on a small and external desktop touch screen and adding some dedicated pots on it too, I was thinking about doing it for mine... I've got no time for this but if you decide to do it, I can help you...

Best
Bruno

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Samplers, yummy! :-)

While there are a lot of really nice bigger units (i love the Roland V-Synth for sample bending and unreal time-processing, but it is not a "classic" sampler) and the E-MU E6400 Ultra (really great user interface, full MIDI control, 64 channels, classic sampler with lots of memory and a nice disk subsystem via scsi2sd), for your usecase (portable and small), a newer Elektron unit comes to mind: either an Octatrack or one of the new Digitakt machines! They are small and portable, have modern storage, inbuilt FX and sound good. My recommendation: watch a few Octatrack or Digitakt demos! :) (I personally also own an Elektron Machinedrum UW (their predecessor, also a 12-bit engine), including user sample storage on internal memory, it boots fast, and is great to use, but sample transfer is not so brilliant. But then, it makes you think about what samples to use before using them, so not too bad at all.).

But, don't let me hold you off from Bruno's modification proposal of the S-760, that sounds really awesome and would result in a totally unique machine!

Have a great weekend!
Peter

 

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1 hour ago, Hawkeye said:

E-MU E6400 Ultra (really great user interface, full MIDI control, 64 channels, classic sampler with lots of memory and a nice disk subsystem via scsi2sd)

Yes about E-MU, I got a discussion about sampler with @mrspring, he's got a lot of sampler during the last 30 years and explained me the EMULATOR IV was the best because of the internal routing, which may give you unfinished creativity and your own sounds too. But it's an heavy machine and like some others the price become to increase, I think about the SP1200 which reaches a non sense price for what it is.
Very soon I will try the MPC X, I will receive it by the end of the month, I will see, Akai returned back to Standalone Sampler, that's a good point, there's the MPC Live which is standalone too, small, can work 4hours on battery, maybe have a look. I owned a MPC2000 and a MPC2500, the new machines seem to respect this MPC philosophy and I read that the analogue part is warm like what they did in the past, I will see and compare.

 

1 hour ago, Hawkeye said:

My recommendation: watch a few Octatrack or Digitakt demos! :)

Agree too, Elektron is clever manufacturer and the funny thing is that they begun their activity with a SID machine ;)

Best
Bruno
 

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not use a mpx16...

hmm lot of your quests cant handle a akai mpx16, but its small, has envelops, it depends on your "typical"-sampling time for a patch... because here it is very limited! and it has a lot of BAD things like: https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/61ivbx/akai_mpx16s_midi_implementation_is_shit/

Edited by Phatline

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Thanks so much for your answers! Bruno, yes, the S-760 is awesome, it is a very good sounding sampler, I think. It's 16bit, though, maybe you are confusing it with the S-550/-330, which I think were 12bit. Well, you CAN of course use the S-760 without screen and mouse, but the built in screen is tiny. If everything is programmed right and all the programs in the right spot, it's also easy to just call them up via PC.

BTW it's the machine that Roni Size and Reprazent used in the 90ies, there's some really cool videos where they are playing live with those things (and a real drummer and bass player). Here's an example: 

 

Control possibilities are also quite good, as you can set a CC to control cutoff and also map Mod Wheel, Aftertouch and Pitchbend (and CC7 for Volume methinks) to some important parameters (no control of resonance via MIDI, though). So I could also just control those parameters via the MIDI Maps in the Seq. 32mb of RAM are also enough for me, as it's mainly about drum samples and single hits and some loops (that would mean no dynamic tempo changes, though). I am using it with a SCSI2SD V5, which I can only really recommend. For less than 100 euro, you get a very solid storage solution. I think I will try to fit it inside the case (as the S-760 is a 1U module, there are no internal SCSI connectors like on most other samplers, so you need to hack it in a bit (external SCSI connector, cable going back into the unit, remove disk drive...)). I am not sure if the touch screen proposition would be so simple. The mouse is a special type, the same as used on MSX computers (I don't even really know what those are, only heard about them reading up about the Roland samplers).

The S-760 really excels at dirtying sound up, as you can do lots of sample / bit rate rate reduction tricks, so it's quite easy to make stuff sound crusty. I recently found a SP-12 Turbo in a local store for pretty cheap, but I gotta say it wasn't for me. The aliasing thing when pitching the sounds down is fabulous, bit it's a bit of a one-trick-pony. The sequencer is also fairly boring and MIDI control possibilities very limited. The filters are also static unless you hack some pots into it. So I sold it again. I do have an MPC60 (with a CF card reader that I bought some years before the SCSI2SD, and also the other Japanese product that's similar, but I can't remember the name of, came out and cost a fortune!), which is great, I think it's the better machine as the SP-12. But of course, that's just an opinion. I also have a MPC4000, the sampling engine is the same as the Z8 I read. It's brilliant, but, while I am a bit reluctant to use those purely descriptive labels for sound, I don't think it has as much character as the Roland ("warmth" or whatever people call it, I don't even know what that means :-)). I also used to use the MPC1000 for a very long time, it's definitely the sampler I spent most time with. This is good as long as you just use it to replay drum sounds. As soon as you pitch stuff around much and do loops and use the filters in a more synth kind of way, the sound gets very muddy and looses definition.

I also used to have a E6400 Ultra, the one that you seem to be using, Peter, but I sold it again a long time ago. I was too young and didn't get how awesome it was at the time, I think. I understand your suggestion to get an Elektron thing, but I have a bit of an Elektron aversion, somehow I am not so down with their stuff (I have an Analog Heat borrowed from a friend at the moment, and it is brilliant though!). I don't think it makes sense to get something like that if you are not gonna be using the built in sequencer, and my whole point is that I want to sequence everything from the SeqV4, as it's the best system for integrative pattern based sequencing I know (MPC4000 is really good for turning stuff into arrangements, though - linear automation etc. That's the point where the Cirklon trumps the Midibox SEQ, as it combines the tweakiness of the pattern based approach with a MPC style sequencer).

Phatline: you are completely right. The MPX16 is such a let down. It had the potential to be awesome, but all I read it's another one of those Akai-Numark products that are just not thought thru!

Sounds like it's gonna mean lugging around the S-760, then. Maybe I just need some encouragement!

Oh, sorry, didn't intend to write half a novel. Samplers are very close to my heart, you see.

Edited by u-link
typo

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Yes the 760 is 16bits I confusing with the 550 effectively, thank you to stopping me thinking that.
You seems to know more than us (than me for sure) about samplers, you're question is like a trap ;))
 

47 minutes ago, u-link said:

Sounds like it's gonna mean lugging around the S-760, then. Maybe I just need some encouragement!

I was looking for the Remote Control protocol sometime ago, but I didn't find. Maybe someone already did the work, now, and share it somewhere.
If not we have to analyse it.
For position on the screen maybe the mouse is enough if not we need a DT-100.
For other commands we need a RC-100, but if you just want a touch screen this is too much.
Have you got some? I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about ;)

Once you get the protocol you have to find a screen with touch panel option and Video or S-Video input.
 

 

Edited by Antichambre

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42 minutes ago, Antichambre said:

I was looking for the Remote Control protocol sometime ago, but I didn't find. Maybe someone already did the work, now, and share it somewhere.
If not we have to analyse it.
For position on the screen maybe the mouse is enough if not we need a DT-100.
For other commands we need a RC-100, but if you just want a touch screen this is too much.
Have you got some? I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about ;)

Once you get the protocol you have to find a screen with touch panel option and Video or S-Video input.
 

 

There's these guys that developed some board that uses your computer mouse on some screen-in-screen  (not sure if that's the correct term) view as a virtual sampler mouse:

http://rc100-usb.at.tt/

there's a video here:

The thing is that you can't really edit in depth with the screen / mouse while playing anyways, as once you leave the "Perform" mode, the MIDI channels get all routed to the Partial (1 sample assigned to a certain key span and its settings are called a Partial) that's being edited, which ends up in a mess. There's a workaround via the menus, but it's quite slow (and I haven't fully gotten it). Probably SYSEX editing would be possible somehow, but I have no clue how that kind of stuff works. It stops with CCs for me :-)

It would just be really handy if somebody made a simple modern sampler. Imagine something that looks a bit like the Ambika (of course no knobs above the screen, TK doesn't approve of those ;-)) with a couple of outs and a card reader, Weird, you can buy 100 new analog synths now, but no potent modern sampler!

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Hello,
Yes I found this when I was looking for the protocol, it seems this guy has it but he sell his solution then he will not share the protocol, but we can ask him.
This solution is the opposite of what I was looking for, I don't want mouse and CRT and I don't want a laptop or a computer too. The goal is to get the 760 as a standalone machine, with a user interface which simplify the workflow.
For me it's a lot of work for a machine I don't use anymore.
 

On 01/12/2017 at 0:39 AM, u-link said:

It would just be really handy if somebody made a simple modern sampler. Imagine something that looks a bit like the Ambika (of course no knobs above the screen, TK doesn't approve of those ;-)) with a couple of outs and a card reader

The DE-GENERATOR seems to match this.
And @Elektruck made a polyphonic sample player here:
http://wiki.midibox.org/doku.php?id=midibox_sd_card_sample_player&s%5B%5D=sdcard

best
Bruno

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Just found this thing in a YT suggestion of a demo video for the "SD sample player" with a MBSeq, that little machine looks quite like what I am looking for:

http://www.hypnotriod.org/beatsqueezer/

 

Seems to tick all my boxes except "2 stereo outs"! No proper Multimode, but it seems you can have four Keyboard splits - sounds good enough. It doesn't pitch the samples, though, you need a sample for each key for pitched playback, so no nice "sample a chord and pitch it down an octave" stuff (it doesn't sample itself, anyways). Well I can do that at home wit the S-760 and record the results with the Auto Sampler in Chicken Sys translator. Can do three Velocity layers. As it reads directly from disk, too, there are no RAM restrictions. There's one "master LP filter", no filters per voice, but I could live with that for live playing. I sent the designer a message. Supposed to cost 225$.

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Thinking about it more, that Beatsqueezer thing doesn't really do that much more than the "SD Card Sample Player", except better polyphony and Pan, the FX are all global, so that's a bit boring and can be achieved by just having the output play through an FX unit (or in my case an input of the Nord Modular). Ordered some of those DA-chips from Aliexpress. As it's four, I have some spares. Anybody wants one (for free)?

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Hi,

The SD Card Sample player is a project that @Lee started and @norbim1 took it to another level, see  this thread. I just used their info and code to build my own. I still use it a lot in my eurorack but I have some trouble with it. I use the onboard 3,5mm jack output from the stm32f4 discoveryboard and the output signal is really low. If I play multisamples, like a piano chord, I get a lot of distortion. I tackled this by using low level samples but then the output is really low. I put it through a VCA but that add noise/hiss. But If you use external DA converters/opamps, it may not be a problem.

Never saw the beatsqueezer before but it looks like a great machine, I would like to have/build one!

And inspired by this thread I checked muffwiggler and found a thread about this little board from sparkfun. That also looks like a very good option!

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On 5.12.2017 at 11:58 AM, Elektruck said:

Hi,

The SD Card Sample player is a project that @Lee started and @norbim1 took it to another level, see  this thread. I just used their info and code to build my own. I still use it a lot in my eurorack but I have some trouble with it. I use the onboard 3,5mm jack output from the stm32f4 discoveryboard and the output signal is really low. If I play multisamples, like a piano chord, I get a lot of distortion. I tackled this by using low level samples but then the output is really low. I put it through a VCA but that add noise/hiss. But If you use external DA converters/opamps, it may not be a problem.

Never saw the beatsqueezer before but it looks like a great machine, I would like to have/build one!

And inspired by this thread I checked muffwiggler and found a thread about this little board from sparkfun. That also looks like a very good option!

Hi Elektruck, thanks a lot for your extra info! I had not seen that thread.That Tsunami board looks very interesting, more polyphony than I'd ever need, plus lots of outputs, so you can have two stereo outs for drums plus two for synth / background sound samples. Actually, that's something that struck me as almost a "waste" on the Midibox SD Card Sample Player: what's the use of playing back mono sounds perfectly centered over two channels? Feels like wasting a channel that could play another sound!

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Can anybody that is more knowledgeable than me estimate how hard it would be to connect a Core module via SPI to the Tsunami for more in-depth control? There is an Arduino Serial Library (written in C), so it must be feasible to port these commands into the Midibox-world? 

Imagine an instrument that uses one of latigid on's new Sequencer PCB as a CS, the preset management system running on the Core. Then add some Shruti filter boards for two or four of the outs controlled via CV-NG modules and a passive mixer with make-up-gain for the Tsunami's eight outs (the direct outs would be switched - might even provide an insert point like eg on the Vermona DRM1 MK3), and you got something like an updated Emu SP-12!!! That would be the machine I want.

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On 11.12.2017 at 10:16 PM, Antichambre said:

Its serial commands and MIDI implantation, there's midi I/O, maybe enough?
 

If I understood correctly, you could connect the Core and the Tsunami over SPI on J16, in line with the SD card. Would it then be possible to send the serial commands from the Core to the Tsunami? Do they kinda "speak the same language"? I am sorry for the simplistic questions.

The interesting commands are the serial ones, MIDI-only can't do so much intersting stuff. EG Pitch Bend and the Attack and Release Time (CC7 and 72) are gonna affect all the sounds (at least that's how I understand it), but the serial command could change the sample rate of each output independently +/- 1 octave. You could also dynamically set out of which output the sound gets played etc.

Thanks for your help! 

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Any progress on this. I bought myself a board and I'm just curious...:)

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2 hours ago, Elektruck said:

Any progress on this.

Maybe because I didn't reply oups! :blush:

@u-link In one hand MIDI is already implemented on both side but the MIDI commands are limited, on the other hand the SPI interface is fully implemented on Tsunami side, but you will need to write a small module software driver for MIOS32.
Write a dedicated module is not very complicated, and it can benefit everyone. Tell me if you do not know how to tackle it...

Best
Bruno

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17 hours ago, Elektruck said:

Any progress on this. I bought myself a board and I'm just curious...:)

I also bought one and tested it a bit, seems to work pretty well, even though noise floor seemed pretty high and the output low. One might be able to install the board inside of the sequencer itself, problem would be how to make the Micro-SD card accessible from the outside (would mean removing the Micro-USB-socket, too, that is one of the options for powering). I put it aside for the moment, as I don't really have much time on hand because of university til July.

 

14 hours ago, Antichambre said:

Maybe because I didn't reply oups! :blush:

@u-link In one hand MIDI is already implemented on both side but the MIDI commands are limited, on the other hand the SPI interface is fully implemented on Tsunami side, but you will need to write a small module software driver for MIOS32.
Write a dedicated module is not very complicated, and it can benefit everyone. Tell me if you do not know how to tackle it...

Best
Bruno

I do not now how to tackle it. ;-)

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Have you considered a tablet pc running kontact, mashine or don't forget fruity loops? They all have huge sample libraries already. You will also get a ton of effect and sample processing power. Fruity loops has tons of automation, effects, routing and samples. All these solutions have excellent midi integration.  A small tablet or ipad mini would be super portable and have all the storage built in. A bigger screen would be a bigger screen. You could assign knobs and buttons to your sequencer so you would not have to have another interface. No mouse or keyboard to clutter things up. The mashine interfaces are fairly good as well. I have a micro and the regular mashine. It is a good interface for changing between banks of samples. The regular standard and producer mashine also has midi on it. You also get pressure sensitive pads for entering midi data to your sequencer. Bit depth will be at least 16bit with the onboard sound card. Cost will be much lower then octotrack too...  You can go Native instrument Komplete elements for about $50 and just run Kontact player as well. Kontact player is also free on NI site but it is not as featured as what you get in elements.

The Tsunami looks pretty good solution but it will need programming (time) and it would not have the built in effects of the software solutions. The one thing to look out for with software would be latency. I think with ASIO and software it should be low enough (under 5ms) but if it is super critical it would be better with a hardware solution such as the octotrack or possibly the tsunami. A hardware solution would be super cool and compact but the software solutions are also well established and very powerful. They are worth a look if you have not tried any of them out. I think these solutions would be a lot simpler and more functional than ableton. I own all these softwares on my studio pc and I would recommend them all.

Hope this does not clutter you thread as you are asking for hardware. ( I love hardware ) I am just aware how good the available software is for this function.

 

-G

 

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Hi Gerald, I guess you are right in pretty much all of your arguments. Its just that I don't really enjoy using the computer for making sounds so much - as soon as there's super precise control over frequencies and gain etc, I want to use it, and I get completely lost in all the options. I also don't use any sample libraries (except for your standard drum machine samples...), I mostly just sample from records or resample my gear. 

Basically, I have this theory of the Digital Divide, that House and Techno (which is basically the music I make) really changed once people started to do most of the work in DAWs, because you can be much more detailed and have access to technology that before, only very few had. So the production value in music mixed in the computer tends to be much higher, but for me, there's a real lack of personality and excitement, which is maybe just my starry-eyed interpretation of the shortcomings of available technology. That is of course a gross generalisation, I am not meaning to say everything that's done on a computer is bad! But limitations spur creativity.

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I totally get that. I went down the whole computer music rabbit hole when it first came out. I built my first midi box the old midi box 64 on the pic to have a knob box as the mouse got to be exhausting, limiting and I really missed the hands on part. A good sampler is the only thing that is really missing from the midi box platform. That said I am also aware of the cost in time and effort to build create something that the big manufacturers are already building ie maschine. Good luck on what you decide if you fine the time to work on the tsunami it looks to be a really good project. There are boards for the sega chips too. You could build a sampler around them as well. that project is in the works a bit last I looked at it but it sounded like it would play samples if you set them in the sega format. 

What about the korg electribes the newer 2 S?  The new roland tr-8s also is supposed to let you load your own samples if you are mostly working with drum samples. There is also the https://modularaddict.com/bastl-microgranny2-kit. Their site looks to be dead but code page might be helpful if someone was wanting to get something going on midi box platform: https://github.com/bastl-instruments/microGranny2 

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Well, the Tsunami does work already, it's just much more limited in what it can do when you are only using MIDI commands. Most of the cool features are via serial, and routing is fairly restrictively set via the sample name. It also only responds to one MIDI channel, with PCs to switch "banks" of 128 possible assignments. I built mine into a tin box with 8 sockets for the outputs as a temporary solution. This Microgranny thing looks pretty cool, but probably more for experimental stuff, it's monophonic, too. 

I just kinda like the idea of having everything centrally sequenced by the MBSeq, so I don't want to add other machines with their own sequencers, but rather a plethora of small modules scattered around it!

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