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Author Topic: Sampling your hardware synths with Skylife Sample Robot  (Read 3548 times)
Marc JX8P
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« on: August 19, 2011, 02:20:30 PM »

For a while now I've been meaning to sample my hardware synths for use in NI's Kontakt. There are a number of reasons for this: better portability (a laptop with a software sampler somehow is easier to carry than a big synth Wink ), backup in case the hardware fails and in some cases, additional polyphony and multitimbrality options. For example, I love my Doepfer A100 modular but I'd really love to play chords with some of the sounds. Also, my JX8P only has six voices and when you play big chords with lots of release in the sound then you'll quickly hear the new notes steal from the still sounding ones...

So anyway, once every months when I got the enthusiasm and energy I started sampling a sound, but this was really frustrating because typically it would involve:
  • Recording several notes (to make it easier I programmed a range of notes into my sequencer and recorded those while playing back the midi)
  • Splitting the audio file, naming every file so I could easily recognize it (C1, G1...C6)
  • Trimming the silences from each file
  • Finding loop points
  • Importing it all into Kontakt and creating an instrument
Anyway, this was so much (dull) work that I never got into it (especially preparing the individual files and looping them). And when I did, I did only sample two notes per octave since doing more would drive me nuts. Also I didn't create very long loops since I had to try and listen to them all.

However, I have recently discovered Skylife's Sample Robot software which is abolutely fantastic! You tell it to sample a number of notes over a range of octaves (and you can even set it to do several velocity ranges per note). You can specify note length and (hooray!) whether it should be automatically looped. Export is possible in several formats although I still prefer wavs which import easily into Kontakt.

I've already sampled several sounds of my JX8P and A100 (if you're interested I'll put some of them up here as the wav files or the NKI instruments for those who have Kontakt) and this program is a huge time saver and makes the whole process fun again. Interestingly, you can also use this program to sample VSTi's and acoustic/electric instruments (although I haven't tried that yet).

It's by no means a perfect program: the whole GUI looks very much dated and it takes a while to get used to it. I've also encountered some bugs and other strange behaviours which I hope will be fixed in the upcoming new version. Still, even in its current version it has helped me considerably.

The JX8P hadn't seen much action lately and I really miss polyphony on the A100. Being able to relatively quickly 'get' their sounds into my DAW environment and still keep their analog quality by sampling lots of keys for long periods is really exiting. Recently I layered two JX8P pads with a digital pad sound from the M3... Pad bliss! Cheesy
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Also known as Marc JXP
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2011, 09:11:11 PM »

Very interesting. Thanks for this.
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2011, 10:06:40 PM »

I have recently discovered Skylife's Sample Robot software which is abolutely fantastic!...  I still prefer wavs which import easily into Kontakt.

I've already sampled several sounds of my JX8P and A100 (if you're interested I'll put some of them up here as the wav files or the NKI instruments for those who have Kontakt) and this program is a huge time saver and makes the whole process fun again. Interestingly, you can also use this program to sample VSTi's and acoustic/electric instruments (although I haven't tried that yet).
... Being able to relatively quickly 'get' their sounds into my DAW environment and still keep their analog quality by sampling lots of keys for long periods is really exiting
.
Great idea - some cool software! wOO
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elwoodblues1969
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2011, 01:29:41 AM »

Now you tell me,after all of the hardware keyboards I've had over the years that went un-sampled! Angry Wink On a serious note,the only hardware keyboard that I wish I still had in my possession,would be the Alesis Ion,since it contains sounds that I've never been able to replicate. Cry

If Alesis manufactured a re-issue of the Ion and Fusion keyboards(with all of the bugs fixed),I would gladly bear the expense of those hardware keyboards.
The Alesis Fusion sounds had the most unique synth sounds I have ever heard and if I ever find it in a VST format,I'll be all over that!



-Thom
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2011, 06:50:58 PM »

Cool software. I think Kara had a previous version of this soft. I remember him demonstrating this software to me.

Notice: there are not many options when you're looking for a sample-robot-like functionality. I know Emulator X3 ( and X2) from Emu also has this feature,  although take into account that Emulator X3 might be and it's end of life.

Moon
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Marc JX8P
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2011, 07:30:18 PM »

I didn't know that - I used Emulator X2 for a while with my 1212m card but never really got into it and when I got Kontakt, that really sealed X2's fate for me. I do wish that they'd implement something like it for Kontakt though. But at least this gives you more flexibility.

Skylife will soon release version 4 and I'm really curious. I do hope that the GUI and other functionality will be more streamlined and professional looking.
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