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Which software sampler for a Mac PTLE user?
Old 1st November 2002
  #1
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Question Which software sampler for a Mac PTLE user?

Neophyte question here:

I have a simple Mac based Digi001 set up and want to do some work with samplers. My initial needs are very simple; drum beats, and occassional keyboard sounds and sound effects. I will be using the (limited) MIDI sequencer in PTLE, and look foward to any improvements that come with PTLE6. The key issue is being able to use a sampler simultaneously with PTLE.

Everyone seems to be moving towards softwware samplers, but I'm at a loss of which one to go with. I've read a lot of posts on the Digi forum, but I'm not clear which ones will work with PTLE or what the configuration issues are. I tried the Sample Tank FREE product, but after a number of installs and emails with the tech support at IK, I never got it to show up in any of my tracks (even though I can see it listed in the plugins during the PT splash screen launch). A lot of people dig Reason, but I sense that it may be overkill for the things I want to do. Then there is the issue of audio file formats, slicing up samples to make tempo and pitch changes....and a bunch of other issue. Is there a good source for all this information?

thanks for bearing with this beginner question,
dave patterson
Old 1st November 2002
  #2
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Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
David

Digi's own SoftSamplecell is the simplest, and it has easy interfacing with PT, although it is still piped in via Direct Connect like Native Instruments Kontakt. SSC is very under-featured for todays standards.

Kontakt is excellent value for money, it is much more expressive, modern and fun to use. You can keep it simple or get into some really exciting sampling work on there with fx and pitch and rhythm stuff. It sounds awesome too, and comes with a fairly large library of OK to great sounds.The next update will support disk streaming which is a major improvement and means you can load it up with some of these huge banks of samples that are on the market (eg. Garritan strings) without eating up all your CPU ram. It reads Giga, Akai, EXS24, HALion, Aiff and WAV files.

I'd recommend NI Kontakt. I'm 99% sure you can use it with 001, so I'm just off to check that out. You need a mimimum Mac of a G3 350.
Old 1st November 2002
  #3
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🎧 15 years
Renie,

Thanks for the info on Kontak. I went to the Native Instruments site and there's a ton of info on this. Looks like a very robust product. I downloaded the demo and will take if for a spin.

I'm currently running a B&W Mac 450mhz G3, but hope to replace that soon, as my 001 is frequently hitting the wall with lots of tracks and plug ins. I suspect that tunes WITHOUT drum audio tracks will free up enough CPU power to operate Kontak simultaneously with my 001. I should point out that my primary use will be for building drum patterns while composing tunes. If Kontak is overkill, maybe Battery is all I need.

thanks again,
dave patterson
Old 1st November 2002
  #4
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Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
David,

You're welcome. Good idea to try b4 you buy.

For drum programming, some people seem to find the latency with soft samplers intolerable. Might be worth bearing in mind...

'Stylus' from Spectrasonics might be worth a look also, as an additional tool.
The sound palette is limited to the sounds you are given but from what I've heard there's masses of scope within that though and better timing, a la Groove Control, I should imagine. Maybe someone else can comment on that.

Good luck
Old 1st November 2002
  #5
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🎧 15 years
Hi David

Hi Renie

I've been using stylus for a while now. It's very good indeed and you should consider it simply because it offers so much for so little outlay. However it's not flawless and there are some things to think about.

1. Obviously there is latency which you need to compensate for.

2. Midi timing can upset the solidity of the loops. When you audition a loops it just feels better than it does when triggering from midi. Hopefully the joys of core midi will address that. You can always print the 'auditioned' loops to audio and use beat defective or recycle to mess with it.

3. You cannot substitute your own samples within the program. This is about the only time when pro tools midi is useful. As you can have two adjacent tracks showing note info it makes it very easy to insert your alternative samples on the next track down.


So what is good?

It sounds fantastic. (it's a little bass heavy on the kicks but thats much better than too little bass and easy to fix in an instant with the master filter) It is quick and easy to use. It allows total manipulation of all the sounds, making presets unrecognisable in no time. Combined with that, it always sounds good...It's hard to get a bad result. There are plenty of variations available for most loops. The percussion loops, hits, and general fx are so good. I find myself going to it for everything. These additional features are almost more useful than the main loops and I would gladly pay the price of admission for those alone.

I would just buy it. If you hate it, you've lost very little.

Now if only my pro tools rig worked reliably with RTAS plug ins....

Jack
Old 1st November 2002
  #6
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🎧 15 years
Yeah, the latency issue concerns me. I've noticed it a few times already on some MIDI tracks, and of course with timing critical tracks such as drum beats, its more of an issue than say a string or synth pad that can come in a bit late.

I've considered getting a used hardware sampler, but was hoping the soft samplers have come of age and will do the trick. It would be so much easier to operate and manage sound files if everything is resident on my computer.

I've looked at Spectrasonic Stylus, and it looks seriously cool....BUT the product is geared towards contemporary dance / pop musics. I'm an old school guy, and need something to do rock, pop, blues and country style beats. I spoke and emailed with people at Spectrasonics and they don't think its the right product for me. Jack - How flexible is Stylus? Does it offer enough different beats that I might find it useful for the styles I've mentioned? Being an RTAS plug in is very appealing, and I noticed that Sample Tank has gone the same route. I emailed Native Instruments to inquire if they will produce an RTAS version of Kontakt, but haven't heard back yet.

Thanks again for helping me out with this. I appreciate you taking time to offer help.

dave patterson
Old 2nd November 2002
  #7
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by davidp158
[B]Yeah, the latency issue concerns me. I've noticed it a few times already on some MIDI tracks, and of course with timing critical tracks such as drum beats, its more of an issue than say a string or synth pad that can come in a bit late.

Well it's easy enough to offset the parts to compensate, but you are still left with a slight inconsistancy in the performance. The problem is certainly not helped by having a lot of system intensive plug ins running. I tend to print to audio as soon as possible. If you print the loop a few times, you can cut out a 'perfect' one. Running drums via midi all the time is shaky. People claim to measure very low latencies and very tight timing, but it never works like that in reality. Once you have 10 midi parts, loads of events, heavy system usage etc, forget it.

I've considered getting a used hardware sampler, but was hoping the soft samplers have come of age and will do the trick. It would be so much easier to operate and manage sound files if everything is resident on my computer.

Dont forget you will incurr a latency going out to a hardware sampler. The midi will have to go through the interface etc. It all adds up. You then have the problem of converting the samplers output on the way back in (assuming you would use analogue). I personally dont think this is a sonic problem with this type of sound (I wouldnt want to do it with a *non effect* vocal) but some people might prefer not to. There will be a tiny bit of added latency in the conversion too, which would add to your total. You would still get inconsistant timing, but not quite as much, as the harware will be very solid, while the software can be subject to little upsets. If you were running cubase or logic with hardware, you would be able to achieve a very solid result compared with pt. We should be ok with system 10 versions of pt as the core midi promises to sort out the miserable timing. You are right in suggesting that software is easier...I am using gigastudio now...Its so much quicker than my 6400 ultra.

I've looked at Spectrasonic Stylus, and it looks seriously cool....BUT the product is geared towards contemporary dance / pop musics. I'm an old school guy, and need something to do rock, pop, blues and country style beats. I spoke and emailed with people at Spectrasonics and they don't think its the right product for me. Jack - How flexible is Stylus? Does it offer enough different beats that I might find it useful for the styles I've mentioned? Being an RTAS plug in is very appealing, and I noticed that Sample Tank has gone the same route. I emailed Native Instruments to inquire if they will produce an RTAS version of Kontakt, but haven't heard back yet.

Forget Stylus for 'real' drums. It just doesnt do it. Double platinum drums is good for that type of thing. If you program a lot, the Bob Clearmountain drum samples are great. I think there is a new cd from zeroG that gives you loops in separate tracks for pt. As I understand it you get individual mics. It is geared towards surround use though. Check it out because I'm not quite sure exactly what it offers, but it sounds much more up your street. I cant get a link for you, because my connection keeps going wierd. I can only get onto certain sites just now. I think the Joey Kramer cd has that feature too. I imagine thats quite rocky though.


Thanks again for helping me out with this. I appreciate you taking time to offer help.

No problem Dave. Anytime.

Jack
Old 4th November 2002
  #8
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Jack,

Once again, thanks. Moving MIDI tracks forward in time to compensate for MIDI delay (and even for the A/D latencies) is something I can calculate and work out. Latency is just a given with DAWs, so it has to be dealt with.

I have a CD product from Naked Drums, called Multiloops. Its a bunch of rock patterns played by a drummer, multitrack recorded into a ProTools session, at various tempos. Sound quality is pretty decent, and of course you have all the tweak options of a multitrack recording session. The patterns are OK to very good, but there's not as many variations as I'd like.

http://www.multiloops.com/index.html

These types of CD products are great if you want a "real drummer" vibe, but you're limited to what's on the CD. Its also a bit of work to adjust tempos and pitch. Consequently, I'm thinking a sampler will give me the most options.

With all the changes going on with OSX, I'm a bit torn about buying more software until I see how things shake out. Then again, I probably won't be doing music in OSX until all my plugins are native, so I expect to be in OS9 for another 6 to 9 months, minimum. I received an email from Native Instruments, stating they ARE developing an RTAS version of Kontakt, but no estimated release date.

Anyway, thanks again for your input. I've got a few demos to try out (Sample Tank, Kontakt, Battery) but I may also invest in a cheap, used sampler (lots of them on the 'net).

be well,
dave patterson
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