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  • #16
    As I can attach only one picture per post, I wanted to also show an example of the type of curve that’s shown when you select a filter. Click on the attachment to see the “Deep Bouche” filter curve, which has a formant-type response. This illustration also shows the matrix modulation setup in the lower right corner. E-Mu gives you 36 “virtual patch cords” that connect a source to a destination.

    I should mention that when I moved the Filter frequency control, I could hear stair-stepping. This was also the case when driving the filter frequency from an external controller (mod wheel). But when driven from the envelope, the response was smooth. Still, I was really bummed that I couldn’t get a smooth response from an external controller, which is important to me.

    But then I thought wait – this is an Emulator, so it was designed by people who grew up on modular synthesis. Sure enough, I checked out the modulation destinations and one was named “Lag.” So I fed the mod wheel into Lag, then fed the Lag out to the Filter frequency, and added a slight lag time. Perfect! The response was smooth, but without feeling sluggish.

    I then started messing around with other modulation options, like the Function Generator. But we’ll have to wait on that one, as it’s getting late and it is filled with more possibilities than I can mention here.

    So far, I’m having a great time...it’s clear there’s a huge amount under the hood. But I must also say that the X2 is almost overwhelming in its options. It's not something that can be mastered in a day, that's for sure!
    N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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    • #17
      Hmmm...seems the Tooltips DO work in standalone mode, and they work with Cubase. But they don't work when the X2 is used as a plug-in in Sonar, so I'm assuming there's some aspect of the VST-DX wrapper that gets in the way.

      Ah, the vagaries of modern technology...

      I'm going to be on the road until Thursday, so I've installed the X2 on my laptop and hopefully I'll be able to file some reports while I'm gone. I'm using it with E-Mu's 1616 interface, so it sounds REAL good compared to the usual laptop audio!
      N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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      • #18
        I am curious about a couple of things regarding laptop performance. I do not own a modern PC since I am primarily a Mac user these days. However, given the Intel transition, my next computer purchase will likely be a MacBook Pro and X2 is a very tempting modern sampler.

        I am a Reason and Logic Pro user, so, I do have access to software sample playback systems but, I don't particularly like these options (although, in all fairness, I haven't given EXS24 much of a chance).

        I rely heavily on "found sound" sources and sample manipulation (i.e. filtering, modulation, etc...) but I also am in the market for well rounded Orchestral and Ethnic/World Instrument libraries. Is the X2 library competent and competitive with other libraries available? Do you feel X2 on a modern laptop would function well as a stand alone sampler to be integrated as an external hardware unit able to play back reasonably demanding orchestrations?


        Sorry for the wordy post. I look forward to your observations.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Anderton
          Before continuing, there was a mention of not being able to make the program change function work witinh Sonar. Well, I couldn’t get it to work either, but I could do program changes easily with Cubase.


          I just picked up my copy of Emulator X2 a couple days back, and am just working my way through it at the moment...an early issue here in addition to the ones you have mentioned, just in case you come across the same sorts of things (and better yet, their solutions?):

          I was hoping to be able to use the MIDI learn functions in Live and Sonar to control the MIDI control nodes in the Emulator from my hardware controller (Axiom 49), rather than the Emulator's own built-in MIDI control functions, for the sake of simplicity and easy automation recording. It's no problem to get the MIDI learn function in Live (also in Sonar) to control (e.g.,) the "A" controller in Emulator, which was hooked up to the "tone" control...problem was, when I adjusted the level from my Axiom, the changes would not take affect until after I had released the note and triggered a new one? This is not the case if you adjust the controls straight within Emulator, only when going through the extra layer of the host software, running Emulator as a plugin. Pretty much ruins this method of using hardware controls...things like slow filter sweeps on a pad just won't happen.

          Any thoughts on this? Anyone else tried this out?

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          • #20
            <<Is the X2 library competent and competitive with other libraries available?>>

            Thanks to this and another question regarding sound libraries, E-Mu is sending me a complete set of their sound libraries for evaluation...so I'll be working those into the review as well.

            However, do bear in mind that the X2 imports several formats -- more on this later. The original Emulator X was pretty good at translating parameters (not perfect, but what is?);I'll be checking out this aspect when I get back home.
            N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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            • #21
              I spent this evening checking out the X2 insert effects, and it was time well spent

              The X2 has 23 different insert effects, and you can put two of them in series. Click on the attachment to see list of effects that appears. The effect parameters appear in the X2's "TV screen"; there's a picture of this in the next post, along with some conclusions about the effects in general.

              Here's a list of the 23 available effects, along with some opinions on each one.

              Reverb: Not a bad reverb at all. It's not a spiffy new convolution-based type, but gives a reasonably smooth reverb without begging your CPU for juice.

              Early Reflections Reverb: Similar to the above, but a little hungrier for power, and with a more interesting character thanks to the inclusion of early reflection options. With lots of regeneration, this does very cool effects with pads and other sustained notes.

              Chorus: Your standard chorus, with initial delay up to 50ms, and choice of triangle or sine waveform.

              Chorus/Delay (mono): This gives initial delays up to 1 second, whereupon you add modulation. Modulation rate can tie to pan, which gives a more "spatial" effect. It reminds me a bit of the Electro-Harmonix Memory Man in that you could add chorus to delays, making for a more interesting sound than just delaying.

              Compressor: This surprised me with its smooth, even compression action -- a definite plus as an insert effect.

              Delay: Stereo delay with damping, with separate left and right delay times, plus four modes (discrete stereo, and three "ping-pong" options).

              Delay (BPM): Also a stereo delay, but with rhythmic values for left and right delays. At first I thought it wouldn't sync, but then remembered to check "External Tempo Source" under the X2's Preferences.

              Delay (Mono): Same as Delay, but mono.

              Early Reflections: A bunch of echoes with several modes, a Room Size parameter, and left/right offset. This didn't really thrill me, but made the more reverb more interesting if you put the two in series.

              EQ - 1 Band Parametric: You know what this is. But I didn't like the Frequency being a linear scale; 1/16th of the slider covers 40-1,000Hz. This really should be a logarithmic scale.

              EQ - 4 Band: This is a 4-band parametric. Because each band is restricted to a specific frequency range (Hi 4k - 16kHz, HiMid 1 - 8kHz, LoMid 200Hz - 3kHz, Lo 40 - 800Hz), their linear response is not as problematic as the 1-stage EQ. Still, I would prefer a log frequency scale.

              Flanger: After the EQ scale disappointment, I was thrilled to see a flanger that not only provides "through zero" flanging, but gives the option to make the through zero in or out of phase. Cool!

              Flanger (BPM): Same as the Flanger, except that the LFO syncs to tempo via various note divisions,

              Growl: This is sort of a cross between the "growl" that happens at the beginning of a brass note and a weird resonant effect, depending on how you set the controls (Initial, Depth, Color, and Pre-Filter). It's pretty unusual

              Limiter: It's your basic limiter, but like the compressor, is extremely useful as an insert effect for things like taming resonnaces, or following a very resonant flanger.

              Reverb Lite (Mono): About what you'd expect from an onboard reverb. It's rougher than the far smoother Reverb, and not as interesting as the Early Reflections Reverb, but doesn't do a major hit to your CPU.

              Phaser: This is cool. Its choice of 3, 6, 9, or 12 stages lets it do the E-H Polyphase type of phaser sound, but doesn't do the famous 4-stage "univibe" phaser effect. Bonus feature: You can shift the LFO left/right phase among 0, 90, and 180 degrees.

              Pitch Shifter (Mono): This sounds like the pitch shift stompboxes of yore; the quality isn't outstanding, but that's its charm. The feedback control allows upward and downward pitch sweeps -- sweet -- although I wish there was also a delay parameter, so you could vary the time between the occurrence of shifted pitches. Still, fun stuff, particularly with weird drum sounds.

              Ring Modulator: Okay, I'm a sucker for ring modulators, so kudos to E-Mu for including this. Better yet, it has an Envelope Follower parameter so you can add more animation than usual.

              SP12-ulator: A nifty decimator for lo-fi fans with resolution all the way down to 1 bit (yes, it sound wonderfully dreadful!), and the inclusion of the SP-12 drum machine's "sample skipping" sound, which was the heart of transposing SP-12 drum sounds. As far as I know, the sample skipping technology was unique to E-Mu, and it's a quite distinctive sound.

              Tremulator BPM: This is an overachieving tremolo, as it does volume and/or filter changes, syncs to tempo, has adjustable L/R phase, and offers 8 waveforms.

              Tube: Pretty decent distortion, especially if you follow it with the 4-band EQ. In addition to Gain and Level, it has parameters for Presence, Compresssion, and Bias.

              Twin (mono): This simulates a dual-stage tube. In today's world of amp models, it doesn't sound like what most people would expect from an amp sim, but it produces groovy distortion in its own right.
              N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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              • #22
                The effects parameters show up as sliders you can adjust. If there are more parameters than fit on the TV screen, then a scroll bar appears so you access them. Click on the attachment to see the reverb parameters that appear when you call up the reverb effect.

                At first, I didn't think you could save presets, because there's no explicit "save as" menu. However, if you right click in the TV screen, you can save the effect settings as a template, as well as access other template settings. You'll see templates for all the effects, so if you call up, say, a reverb effect, it will call up the reverb if it isn't already.

                This is a somewhat different way of doing things, but it makes sense. I don't save a zillion different presets; in most programs, I save the equivalent of templates -- points of departure -- that I tweak for the sound at hand. The X2's approach is very much in keeping with how I do things, so it's not surprising I like the way its handled. However, if you like to have folders with different, very specific effects for different processors, the list of templates could become unwieldy.

                I'll also add that the effects parameters are automatable, but we'll get into the specifics when we cover automation and modulation.

                Finally, I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the X2 insert effects harken back to stompbox and vintage analog effect sounds, such as through-zero flanging and ring modulation. They're a somewhat "classic" collection, and while you might miss some of the modern goodies like multi-tap delays, I think E-Mu's design philosophy has two main points:

                * You have the usual, bread-and-butter effects like delay, compression, and EQ that are essential for all kinds of musical applications.
                * There are a lot of "minority" effects, like ring modulation, the SP12-ulator, and growl, that are seldom included in instruments, let alone available as stand-alone plug-ins.

                So you don't get glamorous insert effects, like convolution reverb. But you get a mix of useful and innovative effects that add to the X2's value.
                N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Anderton It’s hard to believe that over 20 years ago, I wrote the manual for E-Mu’s Emulator II. [/URL].


                  now i feel really, really old. i'm not a keyboard player, but back in the 80's when i was an assistant, i used to get sooo much work 'cause i was the only person who knew how to work the damn thing... new order, 3rd world, arthur baker... i must have read the manual.

                  curse you 5 1/4' floppies!

                  -d. gauss
                  d. gauss

                  http://www.betteroffdead.com

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Anderton
                    <<Is the X2 library competent and competitive with other libraries available?>>

                    Thanks to this and another question regarding sound libraries, E-Mu is sending me a complete set of their sound libraries for evaluation...so I'll be working those into the review as well.

                    However, do bear in mind that the X2 imports several formats -- more on this later. The original Emulator X was pretty good at translating parameters (not perfect, but what is?);I'll be checking out this aspect when I get back home.


                    I have a Proteus XLE and and number of the libraries: Mo' Phatt, Protean Drums, Beat Garden, Techno Synth Construction Yard, and VintageX 3 Keyboards.

                    The E-MU library is awesome!
                    I'm not sure what else I want: Street Kits and maybe one of the World/Ethnic sets.

                    This library has made the Proteus the first instrument I use to start projects. Multitimbral operation (and multiple outs) is one of the things I ALWAYS looked for in my earlier hardware modules: CZ-101, D-110, Mirage, TX81Z, Korg N1R. I'm glad that E-MU made this happen.

                    Protean Drums is almost making me forget about my need for a dedicated drum machine app like DR-008, RMIV, Guru, or DK+ Drums. Craig, If you could check to see if the sample mapping allows for a random layer selection, then I really won't need a drum machine.
                    Naked Soul
                    Chicago House Music
                    www.nakedsoulchicago.com

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by d. gauss


                      now i feel really, really old. i'm not a keyboard player, but back in the 80's when i was an assistant, i used to get sooo much work 'cause i was the only person who knew how to work the damn thing... new order, 3rd world, arthur baker... i must have read the manual.

                      curse you 5 1/4' floppies!

                      -d. gauss


                      It's funny because the only reference I can give the new commers is "the keyboard in Ferris Beuler's Day Off"
                      Naked Soul
                      Chicago House Music
                      www.nakedsoulchicago.com

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                      • #26
                        hi,
                        I currently have proteus LE.
                        I can upgrade to Proteus X2 for $149.....or Emulator X2 for $249...
                        two NEW features seperate them, synthswipe, which I have no interest in and transform multiply.
                        Craig how useful if any or compelling have you found transform multiply if you have gotten a chance to try it out as yet.
                        thanks
                        rsp

                        Transform Multiply
                        Transform Multiply is a convolution DSP tool that creates new sounds by combining the timbral and time elements of two signals in a way that reinforces frequencies common to both sources and discards frequencies not present in both. This powerful tool is applicable to everything from adding a custom reverb (by adding a reverb impulse to another sound) to full blown voice articulation of musical instruments (combining speech with an instrument).
                        richard sven
                        sound sculptist

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by wwwill
                          It's funny because the only reference I can give the new commers is "the keyboard in Ferris Beuler's Day Off"


                          i remember sitting in the lounge with a client watching the MTV video from the chevy chase movie, "spys like us." client wanted to know why paul mccartney had an emulator III and we only had a II...
                          "um, because he's paul mccartney and they haven't even released the thing yet."

                          -d. gauss
                          d. gauss

                          http://www.betteroffdead.com

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                          • #28
                            Well I hope you all had a great Labor Day vacation, let's get back into the X2.

                            The roster of effects for the aux buses are the same as for the inserts (see above). They also have the same kind of interface, with sliders for the various parameters.

                            As mentioned, there are three aux bus effects and as expected, each preset (whether used alone or as part of a multi setup) can feed a variable amount of signal to each aux bus. But that's not all. Each voice also has aux bus controls, so you could feed, for example, the bass split from a piano/bass split to an aux effect, but not the piano split.

                            Where this really comes in handy is multi-sampled drum kits, as you can keep some drums dry, some reverbed, some delayed, and so on.

                            On the preset level, you can also determine what bus the aux outs feed, or whether they're turned off. Ditto the main instrument output, so you could, for example, feed the instrument sound only through the aux buses.

                            It's also worth mentioning that there are several places where you can bypass the insert FX and aux effects so you can compare what something sounds like with and without various effects.

                            Click on the attachment to see the "lay of the land"; I've bordered various elements so you can see what I'm referring to.

                            The area bordered in red is where you select aux effects, and vary their parameters. The area bordered in green has the buttons for bypassing the FXA, FXB, and Aux effects. The yellow border shows where you assign the aux outputs to buses; the orange border is where the output gets assigned to a bus. And before signing off from this screen, the area bordered in light blue contains a limiter. This keeps levels under control, which is particularly important in an instrument with this many filters, which can be made very resonant if you so desire.
                            N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                            • #29
                              At this point, I've played with sounds, loaded them, added effects, created some multis, and pretty much stumbled through finding a lot of the important stuff. But, as pointed out, the X2 is very deep. As a result, we need to get a handle on how its interface is organized.

                              So, let's sort of rewind back to square one, and go through the X2 in a more methodical manner. We'll start off by covering how you actually find sounds for the X2.
                              N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                              • #30
                                The left side of the X2 has a browser tree, very much like Windows Explorer. Click on the attachment to see the browser tree. It has three tabs:

                                * Sampler shows a view of the bank that's loaded in the X2. Here is where you browse presets, the samples that make up the preset, and multi setups.
                                * System shows an Explorer-type tree of your computer, including hard drive, external drives, and the like. This is where you can look for files, and this is also where you must load E3 and E4 disks, as for some reason they won't load from external USB and FireWire drives.
                                * Library keeps track of where all X2-related banks and presets reside. This is where you can "take an inventory" of your sample library, browse it, and decide what to load. This is also what allows you to mix presets from various banks, and create a new bank.

                                As with other samplers, such as Kontakt, indexing your entire system to initialize the library can be time-consuming if you have a lot of big hard drives (and if you have a sampler, I'm pretty sure you have some big hard drives!). Indexing is the kind of thing you want to start happening before you take a break, and let it do its thing while you have lunch or whatever.

                                The Sampler browser is particularly important, as it controls what you'll be viewing in the main display. This is the heart of the X2 interface, and while it's logical, as you'll see there's quite a bit of page-flipping involved if you're deep into a heavy editing session.

                                In the attachment, you can see that under Presets, one of the preset folders has been opened up to reveal three entries: Voices and Zones, Links, and Voice Processing. Selecting one of these opens up a corresponding screen (in this case, the voice processing one).

                                But let's put that thought on hold right now, and get back to a more top-level topic: Single channel view, and multi setups.
                                N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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