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  • Just for kicks, I thought I’d do another “timed trial” on how long it would take to do these more difficult crossfade loops. I started at 10:21 PM, and finished doing crossfades on 11 loops by 10:36 PM – much better than I expected.
    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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    • X2: OTHER EDITING TOOLS

      So far, I’ve touched more on looping than anything else. But there are several other editing tools.

      I’m not sure I mentioned there’s multiple undo, so you can try out quite a few processes on your samples and always get back to where you started (I have my history size set to 100 edits I the Preferences dialog box). You can clear this if desired, and specify automatic clearing when saving. However, note that this is not an undo history where you can arbitrarily go back to a particulary step; it’s a one-step-at-a-time “serial” undo.

      As to other editing tools, here’s the story:

      Fade: Click on the attachment to see the fade dialog box. This is more versatile than you might expect, as there is a choice of four curves (linear and three exponential), and you can set separate Start and End levels. So you can fade in, fade out, fade from partway up to partway down, etc. This affects only the selected portion of the waveform.

      Normalize: This raises the level to maximum, but is fixed at maximum – you can’t normalize to, say, -1dB. For this, you would instead use the…

      Adjust Gain: You can boost up to 96dB, and take the level down to minus infinity. You can also normalize from within the Adjust Gain dialog box.

      DC Filter: Removes DC offset from the sample.

      Reverse: .it desseug uoY
      Swap Channels: Simply swaps the left and right channels.

      Bit Reduction: OK dirtmeisters, this goes from 16 bits all the way down to 1 bit.

      Time Compression: This ranges from a ratio of 50% (twice as fast) to 200% (twice as slow), with your choice of 12 different algorithms. It works about the same as other time compression algorithms – really well on some material, not so well on others. It also includes a handy calculator that shows the final time and BPM after tweaking. This is for display purposes only; you can’t actually enter numbers in there and have the ratio change automatically – all changes are done with the ratio control.

      Pitch Shift: This covers –1200 to +1200 cents. You can shift pitch by nudging samples, or using something called “Gossett-Smith” tuning (which is not explained, and I have not idea what it is – other than the fact that using either of these two options doesn’t mess with whatever loop points you’ve set up). A third option, Constant Time, shift pitch while retaining duration. As with Time Compression, you have 12 possible algorithms. This option does mess with the looping, so you want to apply it before you start setting loop points.

      Transform Multiply: Copy a sample to the clipboard, and Transform Multiply multiplies the current waveform with what’s in the clipboard. There’s but a single control, Intensity, and thankfully the process takes much less time than it did back in the days of the Emax – because you still don’t have a clue about what the final result will sound like until you play it back! At least know you know you’ve created a clunker or a masterpiece in a matter of seconds, not hours.

      Convert to Mono: I’m sure you can figure this out.

      Convert to Stereo: Ditto.

      Sample Rate Conversion: Here you enter the target sample rate numerically. This also changes key, of course, and a little calculator shows you what the end frequency will be.

      There’s also a beat analysis option, but we’ll get into this later.

      As I worked with these various options, the exceptional sound design possibilities started to dawn on me. No law says the waveform has to be something you bring into the X2 and layer across a keyboard; you can treat the X2 sort of like Wavelab, Sound Forge, Peak, or other waveform editors. In fact, I’ll try that offline and report back if it’s either something that’s really cool or something that’s really cumbersome.
      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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      • I was about to wrap up for the evening, when I figured I'd import a short musical piece and do some sound tweaking. I copied a drum part from the beginning of the piece, and transform multiplied it with the entire piece.

        Whoa! It produced this primitive, rhythmic Peter-Gabriel-meets-digeridoo sound, but it was sort of muffled and strange.

        So I kicked it up an octave, then up another octave. It sounded even better. I didn't have to do much more to figure out that you can just throw sounds at the X2, mess around, and get some really cool sounds. And this was just a quick experiment before shutting down! Yeah, I keep getting more and more impressed...
        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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        • I freely admit this is addictive, and I just had to try "one more" thing.

          I wanted to put together a new preset with the waveforms that I'd swiped, and started paring down the multisamples and checking out some layers and...well, suffice it to say it didn't take much enveloping and filter tweaking to come up with some really fun sounds.
          Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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          • Good read, thanks Craig
            http://www.myspace.com/dahkter

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            • After you have a bunch of samples, it’s time to think about creating presets. Once you create the Preset, then when you expand it in the Tree view, you’ll see Voices and Zones, Links, and Voice Processing options. Clicking on Voices and Zones initially opens up a page that contains basically nothing. Click on the attachment to see the opening screen. You then drag samples over, where you can do a variety of mixing, tuning, key switching and crossfading/layering, velocity switching and crossfading, and linking to various controllers. Each of these editable functions is tabbed, and a variety of fields across the bottom give numeric or visual feedback on your edits. So, let’s create a preset.
              Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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              • I dragged over four samples from the DPM PICKBS set of samples I’d swiped, then selected them and combined them into a multisample. That way they could be manipulated as a group, although you can also “open up” the multisample to see each one. I also dragged over a SLAPBS sample. I didn’t bother doing a multisample, as I just wanted to tie it to velocity so that hitting notes hard would bring in a hint of the slap.

                Click on the attachment to see the Mix/Tune page. Here you can mute and solo individual samples, change their levels, panning, transposition, and even the looping characteristics (forward, forward loop, backward, backward loop, or one-shot). The bottom section gives info about the selected sample, as well as whwere it’s placed on the keyboard.
                Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                • Here the lower section is the same as the previous window, but click on the attachment to see how the samples are placed on the keyboard, and the cool way the X2 handles positional crossfading. You set the upper and lower ranges by just grabbing the right and left edges of the bar that represents a sample, and dragging them to the desired range. But here’s the cool thing: When you Alt-drag, you select a positional crossfade zone. For example, you can see that the four samples that make up the multisample are crossfaded so that as a lower sample fades out, the next sample up fades in. This makes for totally seamless sample transitions; it’s literally impossible to tell where one sample begins and the other one ends (note the red vertical line in each sample; it indicates the root note).

                  The slap sample isn’t faded, and simply extends the entire range of the keyboard.
                  Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                  • Click on the attachment to see the X2’s velocity crossfading window.Actually I didn’t use any velocity fading in this preset, but the principle is the same as positional crossfading: You drag the bar to set the upper and lower velocity limits that will trigger the sample, and if you Alt-Drag, the samples will “morph” from one to the other rather than switch abruptly.

                    Of course, both techniques are useful. For example, with a snare drum, the various multisampled drum velocities could morph into each other, but at a very high velocity, you could bring in a hard rim shot hit.
                    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                    • The preceding windows are the main ones that most samplers have (although few software samplers seem to do positional crossfading), but there are other windows too:

                      The Real-Time Window allows tying volume crossfades/switching to a controller (including LFO, envelopes, etc.) instead of velocity. For example, the Mod Wheel can crossfade between two different sounds to give more variations within a single preset, or switch between two entirely different sounds altogether. Note that you can also set up random switching and fading. However, this is a fairly complex process as it involves setting up software “patch cords” on the modulation section (something we haven’t covered yet).

                      The five Continuous Controller Window tabs do almost the same thing as the Real-Time Window page, except that changes occur coincident with note-on messages, so you can’t alter a note after it’s been played, but you can cause a different sample to be played next time you hit a note-on. This is simpler to set up, as all your controller info is available right in the window fields – you don’t have to go into the modulation area and mess with the virtual patch cords. A special mode, Keyboard CC, allows triggering particular samples with particular keyboard keys; instead of playing notes, these are basically “switches” for various samples. Another useful option, Cycle Groups, triggers different samples within the same group as you play either successive notes in the same MIDI channel, or successive notes on the same key (your choice). This is like the “round robin” approach used in other samplers.

                      This is by no means the end of what you can do with the Zones and Voices window, but it’s the end of the evening for me…and the next tab we need to cover, the Regions window, requires knowing about beat markers and other fun stuff I haven’t learned yet. So I’m going back to do a little more research, then will dive into the remaining features.
                      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                      • [QUOTE]Originally posted by dahkter
                        Hi Ichi,

                        per craig's request:

                        "Now, if we could just have a "render with processing and save as WAV" file"

                        Is this possible yet? If I run a sample through the x2's effects, whether it be the slicer or the sp12ulator, can I export through the x2, or do I first need to render as a wav in the host?
                        ***All real time synthesis(including FX) need to be rendered via a host at this time. The main reasoning is that they are "real-time" and can be modulated thus need a time base and control track. Making X2 FX into file based DSP routines is certainly possible so I will add it to the wishlist for future consideration.

                        Best,
                        ICHi
                        E-MU Systems

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                        • [QUOTE]Originally posted by Rique
                          Hi Craig, I’m glad your doing such a thorough review of the X2.

                          I’m a Mac guy and I’m considering getting a PC just for the X2 or will
                          an dual core intel Mac be just as good?

                          Looking forward to your Twistaloops and Transform multiply review.

                          ICHi, since this sampler is so complex, any chance of a DVD being made
                          showing creative uses and EXAMPLES?
                          ***You'll be glad to hear that we are definitely headed in that direction and have already done a quick overview video on TwistaLoop and hope to have more in the near future.
                          http://images.americas.creative.com/images/local/1/video/twist_loop_full.asx

                          Best,
                          ICHi
                          E-MU Systems

                          Comment


                          • Sorry for the long time between posts. I've been working with Twistaloop and it's very deep -- as if REX files went to do post-graduate work. I'll be posting more soon!
                            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                            Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                            • Okay, we’re back in action again, so let’s tackle the whole Twistaloop thing. I’m going to be making some assumptions about how this works, but I’m sure someone from E-Mu can correct me if I’m wrong.

                              In a nutshell, Twistaloop is a time-stretching thing that has the “look and feel” of something like REX files or acidization, in that there are transient markers that denote beats. However, there are also some significant differences. The Twistaloop automated beat detection process is much less prone to false readings, and you don’t need to mark every single transient; apparently there’s some DSP mojo going on during the beats themselves.

                              Another huge difference is that you can have loops within a loop, and this is really fantastic. For example, you can take an 8 measure loop, and have three two-measure loops and two one-measure loops within those eight measures. Then, you can assign loop selection to something like a mod wheel, so you can “play” the mini-loops. What’s more, when one loop transitions to another, it’s seamless.

                              As expected, twisted loops can also sync a particular tempo, like a host’s project tempo if you’re running the X2 as a plug-in, or an internal Twistaloop tempo.

                              So, here’s how the procedure works.
                              Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                              Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                              • I figured I’d start with something simple, but not too simple. So, I picked a Discrete Drums drum loop with drums and percussion, played in a pretty “humanized” way with lots of flams and such, and dragged it into the Voices and Zones window. From there, I went to the Sample Edit window to see what I was dealing with.

                                Next up is the Beat Analysis process. When you select Beat Analysis, a dialog box pops up where you specify a tempo range, the number of beats per bar, and other parameters. Click on the attachment to see the dialog box, in context with the menu and sample. The only parameter that requires some explanation is “Tempo Variation,” as it offers three options – for samples with small variations in tempo (that’s what I chose), one with sudden tempo changes, and another for short samples with rigid tempos, like a dance-oriented drum machine loop.

                                After you set the parameters – and in my experience, you can be pretty loose about setting things like tempo range – click on OK, and the X2 does its thing.
                                Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                                Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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