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SWAN808
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14th March 2013
Old 14th March 2013
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New Set-up - Hardware sampler or not?

Im planning a new set-up which I hope to have OTB hybrid based around a Allen Heath Zed r16, a few compressors, and a couple of hardware FX. It will be a mix between ITB and OTB mixing with some bouncing then a final OTB sum with analogue EQ balance and a bit of main reverb, delay and master compression.

The decision Im struggling with is whether to use a hardware sampler in this. I have to admit Im attracted to dedicating drums to a hardware sampler because they seem to have a certain sound that gives seperation and definition...the thing Im concerned about is MIDI timing most of all (Windows 7) - and if its worth the hassle over say just using Xfer Nerve in the box (with a nicely prepared sample library) and running/processing the sounds OTB anyway...

The samplers I was considering were an EMU Ultra or some akai variant...perhaps an MPC1000 sequenced ITB (USB connectivity)...and using the first 6-8 channels on the Zed for drums seeing as they need to hit hard for house music...

Thoughts-is it worth it to go hardware....

....or once a ITB sample is run thru a hardware EQ and compressor-maybe its just easier and better timed to do ITB...
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14th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
because they seem to have a certain sound that gives seperation and definition....
I can't think of any reason that makes this statement valid.

I have an old EPS16+, used it a few times and it's nothing but a pain in the a$$ compared to any itb-sampler i've ever used. hardware sampler magic my a$$, tb timemachine or any sr-reduction fx to simulate the effect of a mid 80s low-cost signal path will work just fine.
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14th March 2013
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I do not agree at all.

I have an old EPS16+ and it's pure magic. I use it for drums and it gives such a punchy, crisp, defined and seperated sound, itb doesn't even come close.. Basically anything you sample with it hits your chest like a hammer and sounds like a record, you don't even need a mixer, let alone a mastering engineer.
It's for sale btw :D
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14th March 2013
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I'm thinking the same as you. Akai S3200 comes to my mind.

Someone did some latency tests over on the Expert Sleepers forum a while back.

Apparently, Akai samplers have excellent MIDI response/jitter performance.

So if your outgoing MIDI is stable, timing/jitter really shouldn't be an issue.

: D
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14th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRand View Post
I'm thinking the same as you. Akai S3200 comes to my mind.

Someone did some latency tests over on the Expert Sleepers forum a while back.

Apparently, Akai samplers have excellent MIDI response/jitter performance.

So if your outgoing MIDI is stable, timing/jitter really shouldn't be an issue.

: D
thats the problem - outgoing MIDI isnt really stable in W7 - a good result would be 3-4ms jitter...a possible solution is an MPC with sync-lok timing - but thats quite expensive...

Why the akai 3200? If I went akai I was thinking modern MPC (usb transfer) or S1100...

bit confused by evosilicas answers...Im sure some people will disagree about impact and precense differences with DAW drums vs samplers - Im not sold on the matter yet either tbh - but I have to admit I have heard times where it just sounds punchier and more musical coming out of sampler D/A...

maybe need to do a test...wonder if anyone with an MPC / sampler would be up for doing a couple of files with a 4x4 beat...
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for example - this is grainy - but Im not sure you get the same punch out of a DAW converter...

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14th March 2013
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I think hardware drums do sound better, Akai samplers in particular have a punch and hardness that really works on percussive sounds. The Emu sampler I had for a while (ESI2000) was more hi-fi, good in a different way but didn't sound as punchy as the Akai.

As mentioned, Expert Sleepers S/PDIF to MIDI could be the way to get solid timing with W7.

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I'd say something with a bit of juice like an E6400 and it's filters would be a great idea.

An old W30 might net some dirty results as well.

There's definitely an added pain in the ass in terms of workflow, but speed isn't always good!

I'd be interested how you get on with the ZEDR16 as well, especially in terms of hooking up your external FX and using them on sends. I'm torn between that and a 1640i at the moment.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockmanrock View Post
I think hardware drums do sound better, Akai samplers in particular have a punch and hardness that really works on percussive sounds. The Emu sampler I had for a while (ESI2000) was more hi-fi, good in a different way but didn't sound as punchy as the Akai.

As mentioned, Expert Sleepers S/PDIF to MIDI could be the way to get solid timing with W7.

yeah Ive seen the expert sleepers but its quite clunky and not cheap...well - I suppose its around £300...and I would have to use the ADAT out on the Zed r16...plus it potentially needs to be run at 48k to work...and even then there is no guarantee it will work with all MIDI devices...its a clever implementation but another MIDI company explained to me that it does not fully satisfy MIDI protocol...

Id also possibly like to use that ADAT out for more DAW outputs...
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14th March 2013
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I used to use Battery for all of my drums, but I am in the process of switching to a couple of Akais (a Z4 and a Z8).

The reason I made the switch was because I got tired of dealing with latency when trying to sync up my hardware synths with my Battery drums. It's really hard to get a good groove going when the bass is out of sync with the percussion!

Time will tell if the new setup works for me, but it seems promising so far.

So, I suggest you try out the hardware sampler. Even if it doesn't work out for you, you should be able to sell it for the same amount you paid for it.
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FWIW, I always preferred the sound of the s1xxx to the 3xxx series.

As for incorporating hw into your set up, I would sample the sampler and do it all as audio in DAW. S950 is the one for this I would've thought.

I'm still on win xp for many reasons, one of them being midi.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robonaut View Post
So, I suggest you try out the hardware sampler. Even if it doesn't work out for you, you should be able to sell it for the same amount you paid for it.
This. You never know until you try something.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robonaut View Post
I used to use Battery for all of my drums, but I am in the process of switching to a couple of Akais (a Z4 and a Z8).

The reason I made the switch was because I got tired of dealing with latency when trying to sync up my hardware synths with my Battery drums. It's really hard to get a good groove going when the bass is out of sync with the percussion!

Time will tell if the new setup works for me, but it seems promising so far.

So, I suggest you try out the hardware sampler. Even if it doesn't work out for you, you should be able to sell it for the same amount you paid for it.
ok but do I understand this as instead of having your drums in sync with your DAW but not with synths - you are opting to put your drums out of sync also? I suppose you assume your drums will take on the same timing as the synths...providing they have the same MIDI latency...

Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers View Post
FWIW, I always preferred the sound of the s1xxx to the 3xxx series.

As for incorporating hw into your set up, I would sample the sampler and do it all as audio in DAW. S950 is the one for this I would've thought.

I'm still on win xp for many reasons, one of them being midi.
Yeah Ill have to do some homework on which akai...thing is I dont feel resampling single hits is the same as triggering a sampler. Discrete triggers of the sampler circuitry providing very small differences...but enough to 'feel'...

Quote:
Originally Posted by KrisM View Post
This. You never know until you try something.
yes I have MIDI interfaces - so I could just try without - then pick up a low cost akai and try it without much risk...probably the best option...
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14th March 2013
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Swan, I have an Emu EMAX SE/HD, sp1200 and MPC60 any of which I'd gladly test both latency and fidelity for you. I also have a very modern/powerful/tuned windows 7 machine and/or current generation MBP with which I could test from both.

Just let me know what you'd like.
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14th March 2013
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Swan, I have an Emu EMAX SE/HD, sp1200 and MPC60 any of which I'd gladly test both latency and fidelity for you. I also have a very modern/powerful/tuned windows 7 machine and/or current generation MBP with which I could test from both.

Just let me know what you'd like.
thats awesome...Im trying to think the best way to do this that will minimise problems and be simple...Im thinking about a very basic 4x4 beat...sequenced ITB, then sequenced from the MPC - if youd like to try the others it would be interesting but tbh I would not be affording those machines right now...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
thats awesome...Im trying to think the best way to do this that will minimise problems and be simple...Im thinking about a very basic 4x4 beat...sequenced ITB, then sequenced from the MPC - if youd like to try the others it would be interesting but tbh I would not be affording those machines right now...
Sure, time is on my side so think up whatever scenario you'd like.

In the meantime I'll run a 4x4 standard kick/snare/? If you'd like tight 16ths with hats or some such to gauge the latency with more precision let me know.

What interface shall we send the midi out of? I have the best results with my MOTUs on the midi side, but I have a few other midi capable interfaces.

Also, and to be brutally honest, I don't think affording those machines is something you should worry about. Those particular items are for better or worse collection pieces for me. I put each through its paces before it was moved out of active duty, and none clicked well with me, with the 1200 being the nearest to said click.

In even more brutal honesty I was particularly displeased with the Emax.

But you didn't ask any of that, so now that we're done with narcissism hour...

Just let me know whatever you'd like to test! If you had another unit in mind to specifically test I may be able to source one in short order, but no guarantees.
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14th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
What about this for MIDI?

Alyseum - More than technology
Has anyone tested those things yet? I want to read a review by some tech head who can be bothered to measure performance etc - I'm not a "tester & measurement person" myself (sorry).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth Buddha View Post
Has anyone tested those things yet? I want to read a review by some tech head who can be bothered to measure performance etc - I'm not a "tester & measurement person" myself (sorry).
I thought ethernet solutions would be awesome but still there is OS scheduling and there can be jitter of 1-2ms...Im not 100% convinced of the performance increase vs well written FW, PCI or even good usb drivers...

That one looks like good value and there is also this company

KissBox the Network Answer

Interesting thing is they are designing as VST protocol that directly communicates MIDI to their boxes rather than relying on the OS...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kissbox
Our plugins are designed to drive hardware synthesizers directly over RTP-MIDI, without passing through all driver layers commonly used (these layers are responsible of most of the jitter you can see). Since we directly talk "RTP-MIDI" from these plugins, we are able to get the best possible performance
Issue is they are building a VST per instrument...so could take quite a bit of time...

I think for the time being I decided to take my chances with normal MIDI via USB if I go hardware sampler.
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+1 for the E6400. Its a great machine for the price one pays. Mine was a hefty $100 including a CDROM and a couple CDs. Lately I have been getting more into it...setting up the cords feature and trying out different filters. I am really liking some of the different band pass filters on pads. Also using it for drums in addition to the 909.

Additionally: +1 for the S1100 too. Really punchy for drums. Nice effects and built like a tank. I have sold mine to a fellow slut about 6 months ago or so. A week or so after he recieved it I got a PM stating how very happy he was with the S1100. On one hand I kind of regret selling it due to the sound, at the same time I am really glad I has a good home where it will be fixed up proper and well loved. ( I only have a limited amount of space, this I choose to keep the machine with greater functionality)

I think you should just do the slutty thing and get both.
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15th March 2013
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Get an S1100 and stick one of these in its backside:

Alyseum - More than technology

Then with an ethernet lead and free Copperlan software you can sequence it from the computer. Or do what I did and get an MPC4000.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Get an S1100 and stick one of these in its backside:

Alyseum - More than technology

Then with an ethernet lead and free Copperlan software you can sequence it from the computer. Or do what I did and get an MPC4000.
yeah S1100 with its fx is very enticing...I wonder how difficult it is to fit those Alex...maybe I do that once tested on USB MIDI that I like using hardware sampler...
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I have an emu e4xt ultra and run its stereo outs into my zed r16. also have an mpc1000 and run 8 outs into zed. It's awesome. soon I'll hook up more outputs from emu and then I can basically do all my sequencing OTB and record it into my DAW in one go.

It's a nice setup if you want to have something hands-on.
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re samplers

honestly, if you are going to use your own samples i say do it, esp if you are not sampling drums

but if you are going to use other peoples samples whats the point? might as well just get a rompler w/some drum cards or whatever, it will save a whole bunch of hassle

samplers are not for me because i don't have time to put in my own samples

it's so easy in ableton to setup one shots, or kontakt to do a quick chromatic spread
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How about a octatrack?
Quite suited as a dedicated drum sampler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
Im planning a new set-up which I hope to have OTB hybrid based around a Allen Heath Zed r16, a few compressors, and a couple of hardware FX. It will be a mix between ITB and OTB mixing with some bouncing then a final OTB sum with analogue EQ balance and a bit of main reverb, delay and master compression.
This is basically what I'm running. Inserts on the r16 and sampler inputs to one patchbay, FX and compression on another. Makes FX chains easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
The decision Im struggling with is whether to use a hardware sampler in this. I have to admit Im attracted to dedicating drums to a hardware sampler because they seem to have a certain sound that gives seperation and definition...the thing Im concerned about is MIDI timing most of all (Windows 7) - and if its worth the hassle over say just using Xfer Nerve in the box (with a nicely prepared sample library) and running/processing the sounds OTB anyway...
For me, it was THAT sound I was looking for, for the type of music I'm into. Gone the route of ITB processing to color things up, but it all got a bit convoluted. After I got my samplers, it was like, "THERE it is!" just recording into them.

Timing is rectified by a JL Cooper PPS2, a cheap Roland audio interface, and rv0 | Sync Unit AC

If I want a clean sample sound, I just chop up audio in Reaper's project window. I was also looking at Nerve, but I rarely have a need/desire for soft samplers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
The samplers I was considering were an EMU Ultra or some akai variant...perhaps an MPC1000 sequenced ITB (USB connectivity)...and using the first 6-8 channels on the Zed for drums seeing as they need to hit hard for house music...

Thoughts-is it worth it to go hardware....

....or once a ITB sample is run thru a hardware EQ and compressor-maybe its just easier and better timed to do ITB...
Sequence OTB with RS7000. I have the E4XT Ultra and S3000XL both fitted with CF drives chained via SCSI to a small XP PC(running Zoeos, Millenium Pro, Recycle 2.0), which is networked to my Win 7 DAW. IMO both samplers are a good compromise of sound vs practical workflow.
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15th March 2013
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yes without even reading, always.
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I am currently running a similar hybrid setup with a 20 channel 8 buss console and 8 channels a/d d/a.

I ran all channel inputs to patchbay and i/o of 8 busses to the patchbay as well as the converter i/o normalled to the busses in the PB in case I want to patch something in easily.

I run OSX mountain lion with 2 amt-8 midi interfaces syncing MPC 2000xl w/ 8 outputs clock is solid

2x eventides on the aux sends from the console ( delay and verb)

I use silent way out a motu 896 to sync my 606 from the DAW ( cubase 6.5 ) and then trigger stuff with the 606.

running 20 channels of hardwarez and 4 sux sends to a master comp ( and sidechain comp) sounds so epic and it is so effortless to get a large sounding mix. ( plus some of my secret weaponz)

I say go for the sampler, but make sure you get a PCIE scsi card for your desktop and just load samples to your MPC or whatever using soundforge 9.

If you want a non midi rock solid timing in win 7, I have successfuly slaved my MPC 2000xl to cubase 6.5 using smpte clock gen VST, then send out midi clock from your MPC. BAM problem solved.

Good luck with your setup! I wish you the best, my tip to you is to use patch bays! They will make it so much easier to just patch directly to your converters or to your busses, just trust me on this one.
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15th March 2013
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Could the Alyseum ALeX be used to transfer samples from the computer through ethernet/MIDI to an S1100?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pakito View Post
Could the Alyseum ALeX be used to transfer samples from the computer through ethernet/MIDI to an S1100?
I suppose it has all MIDI functionality, so you could likely MIDI dump, but not sure an 1100 lets you MIDI dump samples.

What it does do though is dump its memory to digital audio. Used to back them up to DAT tapes back in the day. No reason you couldn't just dump onto a track of your DAW (in 16bit of course) and hey presto, backed up. When you go back to it just play it into the S1100 and your back. Make sure it has digi in/out for this. Can't remember if it was standard.
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