I’ve owned a few hardware Samplers. When I was in high school my father bought me a Roland S-50. Later, I had an Akai S950 and further down the road a S3000XL. I’ve always thought sampled sounds cut through a mix in a strong interesting way. The best part of a sampler is that if you actually use it to Sample sounds you have audio that’s unique all to you. Make a song out of your kitchen pots and pans rattling? No problem.
I’m thrilled to see Korg is going to release a new hardware Sampler keyboard. The microSampler is the right size, has some effects, mic input, software control and it can apparently attach to an iPhone. I have no idea if all this will add up to yum but milk, sugar, eggs and chocolate usually equals awesome.
For the first few posts about the microSAMPLER on Matrixsynth: click here
Here’s a no brainer download for musicians. Native Instruments has released a free playback only version of their Sampler Kontakt with two free sample packs. The motivation is to get you into the NI world and buying new packs but that shouldn’t stop you from grabbing the freebie. I always think sample based sounds cut through a mix a little better than pure computer based synthesizers and drums. If you do end up with a collection of Kontakt “Player libraries” you can browse them from inside the plug-in and each library has a cover image and scrolls in a rack ala Reason. Kontakt Player also will operate stand alone so if your somewhere sans sequencer and bored you set to go.
“Building on the success of its predecessor, the free KONTAKT PLAYER allows for innovative, highly playable instruments that leave existing technological and musical limitations behind. The virtually unlimited flexibility of Kontakt Script Processing allows for instruments with unprecedented functionality and musicality.” – Native Instruments
Vintage color is the special sauce audio producers crave when producing. We want the sound of Mic pres from the 70s, spring reverbs and even that classic sampler sound. Decimort is a new plug-in from the ever impressive Polish software freaks D16. There are a host of bit crushers on the market but Decimort specializes in recreating the effect of old EMU Emulators and Ensoniq samplers.
“Electronic music producers (especially in Hip-Hop) have always been aware that classic samplers (such as early Akai and EMU units) had a character and sound of their own. They added a “grit” and “colour” to the samples and loops they played back which made them sound “Fat” and sit well in a mix. This sound colouration was due to the encoding techniques, lower sample rates, lower bit rate and conversion circuits which these early samplers used. Decimort recreates this colouration and adds the vintage sampler magic to any loop, bass line or sound played through it. It also acts as the perfect bit crusher with filter.” – D16.pl
You can hear some very good Decimort samples in the context of full songs on the D16 site: click here However, below I recorded and posted some straight forward clips. Each clip starts with the dry sound then I click on Decimort:
A choir sequence from the basic Reason soundbank. I chose the choir samples because you could find very similar samples in The Fairlight CMI:
A computerized vocal which I think shows off Decimort quiet nicely:
A simple Roland TR-808 loop through some Decimort presets:
One thing I really like about Decimort is that is has a wet/dry knob, something I wish all plug-ins had! Also, automating the Frequency in Decimort sounds very potent. Overall it’s a nice plug-in that I could see using many instances of. I like to try using filters and bit-crusher before I’ll grab an eq.
Decimort is Mac/PC AU/Vst for 35€. Demo available: click here
My father bought me my first keyboard, a Roland S-50 sampler. I remember he took me to Sam Ash in Teaneck, New Jersey. He worked nearby as a College Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. It was 1986 and I was lost in Depeche Mode’s Black Celebration album. I was 16 years old. Today, my father is now the president at FDU and that Sam Ash store is long gone.
The Roland S-50 was a futuristic looking black metal monolith with a fluorescent screen. It felt long and had 61 keys. Compare that with the measly cheap feeling two octave Oxygen 8 I use now! You could hook it up to an external monitor. I had mine hooked up to a 13″ green CRT poised on a three tier Ultimate Keyboard Rack. It also came with a digitizing tablet and pen similar to a Wacom tablet. This allowed you to draw waveforms but it was more gimmick than useful.
It was 4 part multitimbral and 16 voice polyphonic. It had a 3.5″ disc drive and 750k internal memory. You could sample at 12-bit at 15-30kHz. I remember actually using the different variable rates to save memory. You could even get some weird cool effects by sampling at the lower rate. Looking back I realize the discs of sounds that came with it were very good. Mostly they were rip off’s of Fairlight sounds. You had choirs, big 80′s drum kits and awesome nature sounds. I used to sit for hours playing with the rain and thunder sounds.
I would sequence it using an Atari 520ST and Cubase. All the multitimbral parts, voices and sample memory were always used. Back then we all dreamed of a day when we would have unlimited sample time (yay today!). However, using a machine to it’s fullest capacity for several years has a certain gratification to it.
The S-50 together with an extern CRT-screen and digitizer tablet – besides from looking real awesome – allowed a lot of cool things to be achieved. The S-50 is a breeze to use, and the sampling quality is nice and free from distortion, even if the bandwidth is somewhat crippled (due to the 30KHz sampling frequency). – sonicstate.com
Next time your staring at your 24″ Cinema Display, pirated copies of Kontakt or Halion and 30GB of sounds think of my father on a teacher’s salary spending over $2500 to give his son 28 seconds of sampling time. Now tell me you can’t make music with the technology you have. I dare you.
Today I was listening to the great podcast from Sonicstate.com called “Sonic Talk“. The last story of the show made me jump on the internet and start downloading. Nick and the Sonic crew were chatting about German software company Yellow Tools releasing a free gift for all musicians!
“Yellow tools is proud to release a powerful free version of Independence – the ultimate sampler workstation! Independence Free 2.0 is already based on the new Independence 2.0 version which will also be released during this months. Independence Free 2.0 comes with all the powerful features of the Independence Sampler version 2.0 – only the import of audio files is not supported.”
After reviewing the download page I am happy to report that your also free to use the sounds in commercial productions. Most people don’t realize that if you download a Waves demo your not authorized to release any music you create with the demo until you buy the full version. Happily Yellow Tools is allowing this download to be a real “tool”. I also noticed at the bottom of the page they will be releasing three more free soundsets for the free sampler.
full version – no demo or tryout
no yellow tools Authorization Key required
beside audio file import all Independence features are enabled
no time or save restrictions
commercial use is allowed
for Mac OS X (Universal Binary), Windows XP and Vista
I think it’s a great move by the company to help get their name out in the competitive virtual sampler market. Let me know if you download it and try it out.