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Old 29th May 2010 | Show parent
Originally Posted by thenoodle ➡️
I would post this question directly to the horse's mouth....Eric Persing of Spectrasonics via Northern Sounds. He has the benefit of being fully in the software domain, and yet he invented many if not most of the sounds you hear inside Roland units. And he was one of the main team members that had to figure out how to actually get those sounds working in the hardware.

If anyone has a take on why you like the hardware better, Eric is the guy who's opinion would mean something. Of course he may not even answer this kind of question, being that his niche is now totally software.
Thanks for the kind words....happy to answer since I've been on both sides of the coin now. :-)

Originally Posted by KingDaddyO ➡️
Apart from the reality that software emulation may never beat real hardware... it might also have something to do with the fact that certain Roland samplers do contain some of the sweetest sounding filters ever built.

I've got an S-760 that I'll never part with. It's like sprinkling 'audio fairy dust' on any signal that passes through it.
The Roland's are indeed the best sounding hardware samplers ever IMHO.

It's not the filters though, because you can hear the difference even when the filters are not in use.

Roland developed a special sample-interpolation/playback algorithm for those units that actually sounds BETTER than what you put into it. Not accurate per se, just really musical and gorgeous sounding....even strictly in the digital domain, bypass all converters and analog circuitry.

Those 700 series samplers are really amazing sound for sure. It was a shame that they never took off the way we had all hoped, because they certainly were very special sounding.

Hey dlmorley - A Roland S-750?
Not sure there is a 750?... by chance did you mean a 760 or a 770?
The 750 was the cheaper sibling to the 770 without the built in hard drive....the sound was alsoslightly different, but otherwise extremely similar unit to the 770.

Originally Posted by RKrizman ➡️
It's the analog electronics.
Only partially, but the 700 series samplers also sound dramatically different without any analog components involved period. Sampling digital input and using the digital output still has the Roland magic, so it's actually in the pitch interpolation algorithms, digital summing and the filter algorithms.

BTW, we did all the sampling of those Roland 700 series libraries bypassing the internal A/D covertors.

Also, the Roland has a unique emphasis/deemphasis thing that goes on too....which really affects the sound in a really nice way.

Same reason a 5080 sounds different from a 1080.
No...the difference there is actually easier to explain.

The chip that the 1080 uses is only 8-bit, 30k sample rate companded samples, with LOTS of tricks to hype it up, so it has a really unique sound. The 5080 is actually 44.1k sample rate samples (but still companded).

The 700 series are the only samplers of that era to be truly 16-bit linear, 44.1k samplers.

I've had the same conclusion about all this. I'm scoring a film now and have been using all my softsynths. However, when I slot in a track from my Triton or S-760 or 5080 things just come alive. You don't need any blindfold test to verify the difference.
Yes....all three of those instruments have some form of "hyping" going on to make them sound fuller or brighter.

Current software samplers like Kontakt, EXS24, etc have a more accurate, faithful response, so you need to add the "juice" elsewhere to get that type of sound.

We spent a lot of time with Omnisphere and the STEAM engine to make sure it had some of that same hardware "magic" in the interpolation algorithms that the Roland's are famous for.

Honestly though, they all sound really different. For example, the 5080, the MV-8000, the 760 and the 770 all sound really different....and that's just within the same decade of Roland hardware!

I'm using alot of Cranesong Phoenix on the softsynths to crunch them up a bit.
Sure...external processing is a great way to go with getting that kind of vibe with any softsynths.

Originally Posted by TonyBelmont ➡️
Bingo! Every piece of gear has analog stages of circuitry that it passes through (in this case the DA & output stage of the MV8000)... These analog stages color the sound and make things sound different to us. In this case it sounds better, sometimes it will sound worse, but it's best described as "different".
True, but that doesn't explain why there are such huge differences even using hardware completely in the digital domain - thus bypassing all the analog components, A/D, D/A, etc.

There's much more to the design of great digital gear than just the analog's most definitely not all the same. Every host sounds different, every software engine sounds different too.

We spent about 6 months just on getting the sound right on our own STEAM engine for Spectrasonics. I don't think that many software companies do that kind of critical sonic work at the early stages of their engine development.

Even working at Roland, there were very few serious "ears" the software development world, I've found it to be even more rare.

Originally Posted by Chrisac ➡️
Ive been saying for years that my S750 sounds better than any software sampler, but it goes further than that. There really is something special about the Roland S range convertors.
Yes....again though, it goes far deeper than just the convertors. It's many different aspects that they got right on that one.

I'm happy to see that at least all these years later, people can tell the difference in our hard work! :-)

I bought an S750 just under a year after the Akai S1000 arrived and am I so glad I did. I didnt realise at the time it was a far better sounding sampler than the Akai although the Akai has a charm if you like its sound. I bought the 750 because of the mouse and screen which was light years ahead of any of the competition. I could sample a sound, set up a partial and a patch and be playing it within 30 seconds. But theres no denying the S range has something special in its sound and is even more apparent today than it ever was. Oh and the LPF is something really nice. Overall what I liked about this sampler when using the filters was they became part of the sound rather than sitting on top of the sound.
Yep....too bad more people didn't realize how great they were. Otherwise Roland wouldn't have stopped making these samplers and shut down our R&D department here in the US.

The good news that came out of it though is that those of us at the Roland Sampler R&D department that got shut down decided to start Spectrasonics out of everything closing comes a new opportunity. :-)

I cant really use it for the moment. Ive gone totally digital and have tried to plug it in to my convertors but the latency just doesnt make a fruitful excercise when playing multiple channels at the same time.
Yeah.....we can talk all day about how wonderful they are, but 32 megabytes ain't much these days! :-)

Originally Posted by KingDaddyO ➡️
I would have to go with the Roland S-760. It has a legendary reputation for what are perhaps the best sounding analog filters ever in a hardware sampler.

And while I am not familiar with the later S-770 model, I understand that it also has the same filters plus an improved user interface.
Not quite.

The 760 was the cheaper, cut down version of the 770, but it has more memory and a much improved interface and features.

Sonically, the 770 is king....especially the analog outputs are incredible. The low-end and stereo imaging are completely sexy and gorgeous sounding.

If you like the sound of the 760 (which was a step down), you'd freak out over the 770....

The 770 has hand picked all discrete components for everything, the 760 has more ICs and consolidation in the circuitry. Still sounds great though.

Hope that sheds a little on this mysterious topic I've devoted so much of my life to! :-)


spectrum (aka: Eric Persing of Roland/Spectrasonics)