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Will Samplers prices go up?
Old 10th December 2013
  #1
Lives for gear
Will Samplers prices go up?

So last week I bought an EMAX I for $380 and today I got a DSM-1 for $250. I already own a s900 that I picked up for around $250. I don't consider myself a collector. I've bought these samplers because I am going to use them. But I put them at the top of my list because I was concerned about prices going up.

What do my fellow slutz think about the question? I'm of two minds. The argument for samplers appreciating in value is that some of them have features that software can not reproduce- bit crushing (I have never heard a bit crusher that can make a kick drum sound like my s900), interpolation, pitch-shift (again I haven't heard software that sounds like my s900 pitch shift), over-driving the input, and then there are the VCAs and VCFs. In many ways it is a similar situation to the 80s, when analogue synths could be had for nothing. Like the DX7 has more functionality than mini moog, Kontakt has more functionality than the EMAX I. But at a certain point folks realized that there was still a lot of good music to be had out of the mini moog and prices skyrocketed.

On the other hand, a mini moog is easy to use where as the EMAX I is not. That is the main reason I think samplers will not appreciate in value; they are just too much of a pain in the @## to use. Another factor against appreciation is that they are not as recognizable as the old analogue synths. At a certain point folks went in to a club and heard a mini moog in a hot new track. The recognized it and thought to themselves, "I saw one cheap down at the pawn shop, I should pick it up." That is not going to happen with old samplers. They distinctly color sound but they do not have a distinct sound that is easily recognizable.

Finally, not all samplers (if any) will increase in value. A s-3000 is always going to be a door stop. It is too clean; It doesn't offer anything Kontakt cant do and it has a much worse UI. The s1000 and s1100 on the other hand get a bit of love around here even though they are 16 bit. Some speculate it is due to their unique method of interpolation. So as an additional question, if there is a boom in the sampler market what samplers will go up in price? My vote is on anything 12 bit and lower, and anything with an resonant analogue filter. I'm on the fence as to whether a Z-plane filter would be swept up in the boom.

Any thoughts?
Old 10th December 2013
  #2
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

For most of them, I don't think so. But there will always be those models that people like for their particular character or historical weight: S900/950, SP1200, Emulator II, ASR-10, etc. On the other hand, I don't see much risk in buying a rack sampler these days because I doubt their prices could go lower.

I recently bought two Zoom Sampletraks (bought the second one because it was the exact same one I had 12 years ago), and they seem to be increasing in price. It has its own lo-fi sound and it's very easy to use. And you often see it mentioned in forums as an alternative to the classic stuff like the S950.

I also had the chance to buy an S900 with trigger inputs for less than $200 but took too long to decide and someone else snatched it. I currently have my eye on a loaded Emu ESI-32 or an expanded ESI-4000 (either is around $200). I used to own an ESI-2000 several years ago, and I liked it, even if it was a bit slow to program. I'd like something to sample sounds from my modular and turn them into polyphonic sounds, and I'm trying to stay away from the computer.
Old 10th December 2013
  #3
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Sampler Man's Avatar
The good news for us is that samplers are probably at an all time low in price. I don't blame people but the market is choosing convenience over sound so the demand for these units are low. They are never going to make these machines again so the hardware samplers we have now are it for eternity. Once the supply dwindles and people get board of using their soft sampler then the prices will go up.

Pitch shifting on an ESI-32 is bliss. Something that can not be duplicated with software.
Old 10th December 2013
  #4
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

Yeah, even the lowly ESI units impart a warm character to anything you put in, and the z-plane filters are great. I just received my xmas bonus and I'm struggling to avoid buying one right now.

Ok, which one would you rather have:

ESI-32 with 32 Mb, OS 3.02, Turbo Kit (extra outputs and effects!), zip unit (replacing the floppy), SCSI CD-ROM, and some sample libraries

or

ESI-4000 with 64 Mb, OS 3.02, floppy disk unit, SCSI hard disk and SCSI cd-rom

The 4000 has more memory (which I don't think I really need), twice the polyphony (64 voices vs 32 on the ESI-32) and a hard disk. The 32 has a zip drive (which I know can be unreliable) and the turbo kit. Either is around $200.

I'm leaning more towards the ESI-32 since I don't think I need the extra RAM or polyphony, but I could use the effects on the turbo kit.

My plan is to sample directly into the ESI, not so much to use third party libraries (although I may use a few).
Old 10th December 2013
  #5
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I wouldn't spend $200 on any ESi unit these days (this is coming from someone who spent well over a grand for an ESi-32 when it was new).

If you're pointing $200 at a 90's era E-mu sampler, an e6400 would be much more fun to use.
Old 10th December 2013
  #6
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by silent5 View Post
I wouldn't spend $200 on any ESi unit these days (this is coming from someone who spent well over a grand for an ESi-32 when it was new).

If you're pointing $200 at a 90's era E-mu sampler, an e6400 would be much more fun to use.
Of course, except that where I live you don't see E4-series samplers for $200. There's an E5000 Ultra but it's around $400, which is more than I would spend on a sampler.

I had an ESI-2000 that I bought new and I also spent over $1K on it, between RAM, ZIP drives and disks, and whatnot, so I know well what I'm getting into.
Old 10th December 2013
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac View Post
Of course, except that where I live you don't see E4-series samplers for $200.
Ah, bummer.
Old 10th December 2013
  #8
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enossified's Avatar
The big problem with hardware samplers is they are old technology...can't find RAM, floppies, SCSI drives, low density flash cards, etc. easily, the max sample times are low, load times slow, etc.

You have to love the sound so much that you will put up with all the inconvenience and maintenance issues.

Will prices rise again? Highly unlikely...the power and convenience of software wiped out hardware a decade ago. It will remain a buyer's market.
Old 10th December 2013
  #9
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FabGear's Avatar
I can't believe I paid over $5000 for a Roland S770 (with 2MB of RAM) back in the day. They are now worth maybe a few hundred. I did purchase four S760's a few years ago so I'm somewhat positioned if prices ever go up.

Along with only having a few seconds of memory one thing that likely hinders the value of some old Samplers is the multitude of obsolete storage mediums required for various models. The earliest Samplers used IBM Punch Cards before 5-1/4" disks came along. Then 3-1/2" HD disks held their own for a relatively long period. Some budget models used the short-lived Quick Disks. Later units had SCSI ports so you could at least hook up some kind of Hard Drive, CD-ROM, Zip Disk, SyQuest, Jaz, Magneto Optical, etc. Only a few of the most recent hardware Samplers will work with more modern storage formats and these formats are likely to become obsolete in the near future.
Old 10th December 2013
  #10
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turnstile's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by enossified View Post
The big problem with hardware samplers is they are old technology...can't find RAM, floppies, SCSI drives, low density flash cards, etc. easily, the max sample times are low, load times slow, etc.

You have to love the sound so much that you will put up with all the inconvenience and maintenance issues.

Will prices rise again? Highly unlikely...the power and convenience of software wiped out hardware a decade ago. It will remain a buyer's market.
I concur.

I saw a guy here in LA selling 6 maxed out Roland 760's for $500...
Old 10th December 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac View Post
Yeah, even the lowly ESI units impart a warm character to anything you put in, and the z-plane filters are great. I just received my xmas bonus and I'm struggling to avoid buying one right now.

Ok, which one would you rather have:

ESI-32 with 32 Mb, OS 3.02, Turbo Kit (extra outputs and effects!), zip unit (replacing the floppy), SCSI CD-ROM, and some sample libraries

or

ESI-4000 with 64 Mb, OS 3.02, floppy disk unit, SCSI hard disk and SCSI cd-rom

The 4000 has more memory (which I don't think I really need), twice the polyphony (64 voices vs 32 on the ESI-32) and a hard disk. The 32 has a zip drive (which I know can be unreliable) and the turbo kit. Either is around $200.

I'm leaning more towards the ESI-32 since I don't think I need the extra RAM or polyphony, but I could use the effects on the turbo kit.

My plan is to sample directly into the ESI, not so much to use third party libraries (although I may use a few).
I don't think the ESI-32 has the z-plane filter. I'd go with the 4000
Old 10th December 2013
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turnstile View Post
I concur.

I saw a guy here in LA selling 6 maxed out Roland 760's for $500...
Yea, but the 760 doesn't have any features that you can't do in software. Samplers like that will never increase in price. That doesn't mean that no samplers will increase in price. I think 12 bit and samplers with analogue filters could see an increase.
Old 10th December 2013
  #13
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Fresh Pants's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamblichus View Post
I don't think the ESI-32 has the z-plane filter. I'd go with the 4000
The latest OS gives the ESI-32 z-plane filters. I've seen the eproms on the 'bay before. However, getting samples into ESI series from your computer could be a challenge. Thr Ultra series samplers have SCSI and IDE connections that make loading samples a bit less painful.
Old 10th December 2013
  #14
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Rogue Ai's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac View Post
Of course, except that where I live you don't see E4-series samplers for $200. There's an E5000 Ultra but it's around $400, which is more than I would spend on a sampler.

I had an ESI-2000 that I bought new and I also spent over $1K on it, between RAM, ZIP drives and disks, and whatnot, so I know well what I'm getting into.
I got my ESI-2000 for $90 added another $30 to max the ram.
Old 10th December 2013
  #15
Gear Head
 

I bought an ESI32 (turbo, maxed out and loaded with great stuff) in my neck of the woods for 125$ a couple of years ago.
It has awesome filters (z-plane and others, though real-time filter sweeps are stepped, not continuous) and a 20gig SCSI drive.
It was a great deal! But how many times have I turned it on? Maybe 5. Pretty sad.
The me in the 90's would've creamed for it, but everything else I have is so much easier to use.
I'm sure putting the time toward it would be rewarding, but time is in short supply these days.
Pointless post? I don't know...just my experience; might help.
Old 10th December 2013
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Ai View Post
I got my ESI-2000 for $90 added another $30 to max the ram.
Do you use it much? How is the workflow?
Old 10th December 2013
  #17
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Sampler Man's Avatar
Because the ESI has no sequencer I use it differently then a SP1200 or MPC. I have a sample session where I sit down with a turntable and a bunch of records and go nuts grabbing sounds. Sampling, truncating and filtering bass, kicks, snares, hats, pops, glitches, fills, strings, piano ect. and assign it to a key on the controller. Then after that's all done I hook it up to an MPC and make beats yo! It's slow and lo budget but that's how I get my thrills. You can add to the fun by playing with the sample rate and effects.
Old 10th December 2013
  #18
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Ai View Post
I got my ESI-2000 for $90 added another $30 to max the ram.
That's a good price. Did it come with any storage media (zip drive and disks, cd-rom, hard disk?).
Old 10th December 2013
  #19
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crufty's Avatar
easiest thing would be a diy kit that does the converter & filter thing via midi and audio in in real time, so we don't need a 30 yr old casio watch just to tell time
Old 10th December 2013
  #20
OP: i agree with most what you said.. indeed they are a pain to use. this is why i barely used my emax rack and addone and sold both, even tho i liked the sound a lot. now i got s950 hoping itll be slightly easier. it's been 2 months and i havent touched it.. we'll see.


think things that have lofi, special character with analog filters will see a small but steady rise. especially if the unit has variable sampling rate of DACs to achieve pitch.(s950 has gone up in last yr). double or triple that if the unit has onboard sequencer/drummachine i.e. its standalone. (mpc60, sp1200, studio 440 etc) then they skyrocket.
Old 10th December 2013
  #21
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as soon as someone releases some convincing plug-ins to emulate these that is close enough to not tell the difference the price on these will crash IMO.
Old 10th December 2013
  #22
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The problem with a lot of the old samplers that is a killer beyond the interface is the file formats. Even assuming you have a floppy reader these days you need something like Chicken Systems Translator to deal with all of the conversions. Older analog instruments don't have this class of problem. With them, you still have a keyboard and audio outputs that are standard. It's possible that the prices for some samplers will go up but I don't see the market the same as for older analog synths.
Old 10th December 2013
  #23
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crufty's Avatar
Can nebula do sampler sound emu?
Old 10th December 2013
  #24
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Catabolic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crufty View Post
Can nebula do sampler sound emu?
I was wondering that too but apparently (from searches here a while back) no. Goldbaby had some IRs up at one point but they sound pretty rough. Someone reposted those here not that long ago.
Old 11th December 2013
  #25
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by killa ego View Post
as soon as someone releases some convincing plug-ins to emulate these that is close enough to not tell the difference the price on these will crash IMO.
The prices crashed about 8 years ago, IMO. I don't think most people cares about the differences in character anymore. Which is why I'm still reluctant to buy a rack sampler. It's more for nostalgic reasons than anything else. I have this crazy idea to "rebuild" my old studio with some of the pieces I originally had (or very similar ones).
Old 11th December 2013
  #26
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The thing is all samplers output a little Mojo, you can see it with your own eyes just by recording it straight out into your DAW, the waveform is not always the same (one of the reasons ITB samples sounds so dead when not programmed, ..its always the same picture/hit over and over again, even if we are talking just straight DA/AD , yet in most cases there is usually a chain between them and your DAW so mojo comes as natural bonus..

dont know if matters if your DAW has floating point (?) as your always using that one hit sample (speaking in one hit scenarios) but it actually differs between my MPC and spectralis quite a bit (spectralis has floating point and the same sample has more variant per each hit (we are talking very gentle differences) but you can sort-of feel it and then also see it on a recorded waveform..

and VCA isn't always the mojo part; the TR 707 has VCA yet always sounds terribly static dry .. my mpc easily sounds more alive simply due to velocity and gate (plays a big part in triggering samples) but overall nether has as much subtitle mojo as the my spectralis then again ''dry'' they´d all sound like dead ducks next to an sp1200 when talking hot mojo..

You can always add grit, bit crushing waveshapers, VCAs and VCFs with outboard.. so it will always be a threshold in the rise of ''hot'' samplers. On the flip side: vanilla Akai´s are worth their price just for the outputs alone. S1000s still sound great btw..

MPC4000 will rise; they are way under value as is (ultra tight clock, pro feature and total integration (akasys & Adat) so they keep modern and take advantages of PC ... Vsynths mk1´s will rise until Roland repack the technology.. Xt´s are quite high s/h as is

Emu E3s will forever continue to rise in value: they are rare and sounds beautiful ..

Some samplers have one or two features that make them worth it, ASR´s still have one of the best index modulation algorithm out there ..

rant mode /off
Old 11th December 2013
  #27
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crufty's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catabolic View Post
I was wondering that too but apparently (from searches here a while back) no. Goldbaby had some IRs up at one point but they sound pretty rough. Someone reposted those here not that long ago.
dang

i just spent some time you tubing and am reminded of the workflow nightmare ...

it's just so much time to get...well..depends on what one wants...
Old 11th December 2013
  #28
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I really doubt it. As someone who is transitioning into hardware, I've been desperate to get a good sampler in my rig. I'm currently saving for an Octatrack, but have considered picking up an old Akai or Emu in the interim (and did buy an Es-1 MkII that I'm selling as well), and have more or less decided against it. The mojo from those machines would be great, but the difficulty with dealing with antiquated storage formats just to get samples loaded is a big turn off.
Old 11th December 2013
  #29
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by Accent View Post
but the difficulty with dealing with antiquated storage formats just to get samples loaded is a big turn off.
HUGE turnoff.. For about 2 years I was obsessed with trying to find the perfect sampler. I nearly went insane breaking down all the plus/minuses of each. Right when you find the perfect one.. you find something annoying.. or usually just don't want to invest in a CF card reader..
Old 11th December 2013
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djugel View Post
HUGE turnoff.. For about 2 years I was obsessed with trying to find the perfect sampler. I nearly went insane breaking down all the plus/minuses of each. Right when you find the perfect one.. you find something annoying.. or usually just don't want to invest in a CF card reader..
I can at least deal with a CF card. Hell, at least I can still find those without 3" of dust on them. When you start looking at spending $200 on a sampler, and at least that much or more to retrofit it with a CF reader, or dealing with SCSI or floppy disks, etc...naw dude, I'll buy an ipad and some apps instead to meet my needs.
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