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  • #46
    Originally posted by Anderton
    <<What i am anxious to know about is the auto sampling feature (i dont know how emu calls it). Where you can connect lets say an analog synth without memory and make a patch automatically within the emulator.>>

    That's called SynthSwipe, and it's one of the major X2 features along with Twistaloop. I'll be getting to those soon enough




    if it works i am sold for this feature alone.

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    • #47
      I'm anxiously awaiting the next update on this

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      • #48
        Me too! I've been on the road, which wreaks havoc with Pro Reviews unless I can do the whole thing on a laptop. As I wanted to try Synthswipe with my Ensoniq TS-10, I didn't think TSA would be real happy about trying to treat a keyboard synth as carry-on...

        Anyway, I got back Friday night and I'm setting things up for Synthswipe. Here we go...
        CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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        • #49
          The first thing I did was hook the TS-10 into the E-Mu 1820m interface: TX-10 MIDI in to 1820m MIDI out, and line outs from the TS-10 into the line inputs.

          I tried setting up the X2 within Sonar, but you need to do Synthswipe in stand-alone mode. No big deal, so I opened up the X2.

          The first thing you need to do is ask to "Acquire/Chop Samples." I should probably point out that the X2 is actually a SAMPLER, not just a sample playback device -- you really can SAMPLE into it. Just wanted to make sure that was clear.

          Once you have the Acquire/Chop Samples screen happening, then you click on Synthswipe and the fun begins.
          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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          • #50
            Click on the attachment to see the Synthswipe window.

            The whole point of Synthswipe is that it sends out MIDI data to drive the keyboard, then samples the output. As you can see from the attachment, there are several parameters you can set.

            First up, you set the note range you want to sample, and the interval at which you want to sample the notes -- every semitone, every few semitones, or whatever. This is global for the notes you specify; you can't "bunch up" samples in one area, and spread out the intervals in other places. What you can do, of course, is eliminate unneeded samples later on in the process.

            Then you get to sample at different velocities, and set the number of samples between the lowest and highest velocity. You can set this as high as 126 if you want to sample just about every available velocity, but usually 4 or 5 will do the job.

            Finally, you set how long you want the sample to be taken. This involves a key-down value, and a key-up value if there's a release time. You can also specify a pause between these samples.

            Then you name it (and save this setup as a template if you so desire), click on record, click on Monitor if you want to hear the samples go by, and sit back and wait.
            CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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            • #51
              Now the samples are loaded into the X2, it's time to save the samples and build a preset (or just save the samples, if you want to create the preset manually). Click on the attachment to see the Save Samples window, with the swiped samples in the background.

              You can normalize or not, and if so, choose whether to normalize stereo samples as a linked pair, or normalize each channel individually. You can also choose auto-loop, but don't expect too much from this; if you have a single-cycle sample, for example, the X2 isn't smart enough to isolate that sample and loop. Basically, auto-loop lets you loop the whole sample, just the last half, the last quarter, or the last eighth; you can also throw in crossfade looping if you like.

              If you're looping a small number of cycles, auto-loop puts you in the ballpark, or at least in the ballpark's parking lot, and that's about it. However, all is not lost, as tweaking loops is really remarkably easy -- as we'll see in a few posts.

              Where auto-loop is effective is on long, sustained sounds. The crossfading looping really does a good job, and you likely won't need to do any additional editing. For example, if the first half of a pad has an attack sound and the second half sustains, choose an auto-loop of half the sample + crossfade, and you'll pretty much get what you want.

              Then there's also the issue of building a preset, although you don't have to if you want to create a preset manually. You can name the preset, place the samples where originally sampled, or on consecutive white keys (or chromatically) at a particular starting key.

              If you didn't sample every key, there will be blank notes. You can choose whether notes will stretch up to fill in the blanks, stretch down to fill in the blanks, or stretch up and down (my preference for most samples).
              CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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              • #52
                When it works, it works spectacularly, but there are some limitations.

                For example, suppose you have a "triggered" percussion sound where you can either hold a note to have it complete its envelope, or "tap" the note and have a release time complete the envelope. With Synthswipe, you pretty much need to sample the entire note, as sampling just the attack and just the release won't give the same kind of "triggered" playability.

                In fact, the whole idea of separating the key down and key up is only moderately successful, as you seldom play the same key down time every time you play a note. The whole point is to be able to hold the key down a variable amount of time, then initiate a release; Synthswipe commits to a particular key down time.

                But those are really the only hiccups. Remember that you are sampling an output, so something like a clav sound will work perfectly. Ditto pads, especially with the auto-crossfade function. I sampled some kalimba, bass, and pad sounds from my TS-10, and the results were stunning -- great stuff.

                But I think there's an even better way to approach Synthswipe...
                CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                • #53
                  Laugh if you will, but one of my favorite synths remains the Peavey DPM-3. But it's now pushing 16 years, and at some point, it's gonna die and there won't be the parts to fix it.

                  What I like about it is the ROM set and the stretching algorithm Peavey used on those sounds; you can transpose cymbals way down, and they still sound very cool. The DPM-3 was apparently the only synth (aside from some other Peavey products) that used this particular transposition technology, just as E-Mu's SP-12 had a unique "sample-skipping" process.

                  The rest of the DPM is fairly standard: Filters, envelopes, LFOs, etc.

                  So here's my plan: I'm going to set up the DPM to play only its sustained waveforms -- VCA on full, VCF off, no LFO, etc. -- and swipe its ROM set. Then, I'll use the X2 to add the filtering, envelopes, etc., which are considerably improved over what the DPM-3 had to offer. I my swipe a few complete patches, but I'd rather have that Peavey "toolkit" available for processing with the X2.

                  So how hard is it to swipe just the raw waveform and tweak it? Well...
                  CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                  • #54
                    As a test run of the above concept, I took at TS-10 multisampled bass sound with single-cycle loops, opened the filters/VCAs wide open, sampled every third note, and built a preset. So far so good.

                    I then played back individual samples within the X2, and was disappointed that each sample's loops were extremely "clicky." I tried manipulating the loop points, but then figured I'd try the X2's automated tools.

                    The Emulator II had a "find loop point functions" that was pretty basic, but could help a bit. The X2 has gone waaaaaay beyond that. I was able to tweak all the loop points within a matter of minutes by simply selecting the loop, enabling snap to zero crossings, setting the end point to someplace that looked reasonable, and hitting the "autocorrelate" button. Click on the attachment to see the sample loop editing screen.

                    Sometimes the loop wouldn't be perfect, but that was a very rare occurrence. So I'd just jog the end point and hit autocorrelate again; usually that would fix. For the remaining "problem children," which happened mostly with high frequency sounds, changing the start time by one or two samples would solve the problem. How cool is that?

                    When I remember how long it would take me to set good loops...all I can say is the X2 came through this test with absolutely flying colors. Doing single cycle loops is a breeze during the editing process.
                    CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                    • #55
                      Very, very cool, as long as you understand the X2 is recording a sound, not deconstructing it and appying its own filters, LFOs, etc. However, if you take the time to swipe just the raw sound and apply your own processing with the X2, you can achieve remarkable results. You can end up with a sampled sounds that's as playable as the source. Yeah, it takes more work -- but if nothing else, it allows me to keep using my DPM-3 sounds for as long as there's an Emulator to play them back...and beyond, as the sounds will have been saved as WAV files.

                      This is a great feature...any questions about it before I move on to the next feature?
                      CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                      • #56
                        And before I sign off for today, I'd like to add that I'm really, really getting into the X2. What started off as a favorable impression, mixed with some exploding head issues due to feature overload, is settling down to the point where I'm starting to feel really comfortable with it. There's much further to go, but even with just what I've experienced so far, this is a wonderful instrument.
                        CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                        Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                        • #57
                          I gotta say, though, I do find the type to be rather unreadable on many of the screens, especially if you're using a monitor with decent resolution. I'd sure like to see the X3 make the labels more readable!
                          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                          • #58
                            I guess my main problem with Synthswipe is I just don't know enough about sampling. I know on acoustic instruments the more samples the better, but what about a synth? Do they synthesize a sound and then just transpose it up and down the keyboard? Would it be best to sample one note or one note every octive and stretch it up and down the keys for synthy sounds?

                            Also, I've been fiddling with my Alesis D-4. I've got some sets that sound identical to the original but I'm not sure which way to swipe them. I think the D-4 only had like 4 megs of samples total but it's velocity sensitive. I'm having a hard time sorting out how to make my swipes velocity sensitive. I tried the every note in the range and three velocity setting and it seems I have three volumes on each hit, but how do you get them all to be as velocity sensitive as the D-4?

                            Again, I just don't think I know enough about the nuts and bolts of sampling.
                            -David

                            (the artist formally known as DC before the move to HC)

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                            • #59
                              <<I guess my main problem with Synthswipe is I just don't know enough about sampling. I know on acoustic instruments the more samples the better, but what about a synth? Do they synthesize a sound and then just transpose it up and down the keyboard? Would it be best to sample one note or one note every octive and stretch it up and down the keys for synthy sounds?>>

                              Unfortunately, there's no easy answer; it's different for every sound. For example, if youre just sampling a waveform, you can probably get away with sampling every 3-5 semitones. But if you're sampling something with an envelope that lasts a specific length of time, it will get shorter as you transpose up, and longer as you transpose down. Stretch it a semitone or two and you probably won't notice a difference; stretch it an octave, and you surely will.

                              <<Also, I've been fiddling with my Alesis D-4. I've got some sets that sound identical to the original but I'm not sure which way to swipe them. I think the D-4 only had like 4 megs of samples total but it's velocity sensitive. I'm having a hard time sorting out how to make my swipes velocity sensitive. I tried the every note in the range and three velocity setting and it seems I have three volumes on each hit, but how do you get them all to be as velocity sensitive as the D-4?>>

                              I don't reclal offhand how many velocity levels the D-4 has, but if you sampled 10 or 12 different velocity levels per hit, you'd probably be okay. Given the short sample size, you wouldn't have to burn up a whole lot of memory.

                              Make sense?
                              CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                              Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                              • #60
                                Yes that does make sense. I guess it just seemed weird that the templates don't seem proper for a lot of what you'd want to do. Or it seems like there ought to be a way to play the same sample at a bunch of different velocities which is what I assume something like the D-4 is doing.


                                I was also wondering about the controllers. The bit that they jump if your hardware controller is set differently. What about something like that little Behringer thing that comes with all knobs or faders and knobs. (BCR2000 or BCF2000) The knobs are endless rotary encoders with little lights around them so do they know where the software knobs are set and light up accordingly with no jumps?

                                Didn't mean to change the object being reviewed here, but wondering if you'd tried anything with the endless rotary encoders?
                                -David

                                (the artist formally known as DC before the move to HC)

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