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Samples into Keyboard? Or Software #3007408 09/10/19 05:28 AM
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Nathanael_I Offline OP
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Working on putting a rig together for an original project. It will be heavily synth driven, some piano. Somewhere on a continuum between Muse and Nightwish - heavier, but not grinding metal (or 200-300bpm), not advanced prog in odd time. I have several very nice and even exotic synths. They are lovely. Sound amazing. Some are very expensive. None have useful live features like patch remain, or the kinds of features that bring a rig together for performance like Mainstage does (layers, splits, etc). While it would be cool, I'm not planning to take 5 polysynths out and rock a keyboard wall of doom. I only have two hands, and can't see taking more than two boards.

I see it as two major options: 1) Sample the sounds from wherever I make them (soft or hard) into a hardware board like Kronos, Montage, or Forte, or 2) Sample the sounds from wherever I make them (soft or hard) into software like Kontakt, Falcon, etc.

I have run an all Mainstage rig with just VAX77 and a cheap 49key Akai on top - no sounds except from laptop. It worked great, had exceptional sound quality, and never let me down. I work in IT related professions and have all the skills to keep laptop rigs going in top condition. It is extra setup, and layers of things, and there's no "one board" light solution. Everything has the computer "rack" plus a board. So, there is a sense in which it feels like maybe the grass is greener doing it like Jordan Rudess - commit to a platform and turn it into "my instrument" over time. The flip side is the computer has way better software, interfaces, screens, etc, and makes the hardware only matter for keyboard feel, haptics, and knobs/sliders/buttons that can map to Mainstage or Gig Performer (I am on Mac and have both, so there is no additional cost either way there). I have LOTS of soft synths, Komplete, Omnisphere, etc.

It has been a few years since I owned a Kronos88, but I never sampled into it. I have the Chicken Systems auto sampling stuff already, so getting the multi-samples won't be hard. I do understand the work of reprogramming filters, etc to shape the sound if real control is wanted vs just play fixed settings. That work would have to be done in software or hardware, so I'm counting it a wash.

The VAX77 is now my studio control surface for the DAW rig, so one way or the other I'm at least buying a 88 note piano action "something" that I like. That will be purchased entirely on key feel. CP88, Nord Grand, RD-2000, etc. Triple sensor, focus on piano. Especially in a software rig, I don't need another thing out of it than keys I like and having a backup piano sound if something goes horrible wrong. I have no issues on the Kronos, or Montage - I can tell the differences to the better piano actions (and sounds), but it won't be a deal-breaker. Have not tried a Forte. The new 88 either goes into the studio so the VAX moves to live rig, or the new board anchors the live rig. But either way, 88 notes get added.

If I sample in hardware, the top board is probably the sampling keyboard - Forte7, Montage7, etc. Bottom board MIDI'd to top board so that performance patches lay out across both keyboards as needed.

The hardware route could be a CP88 bottom, Montage7 on top (to hold samples) for example. Or it could be 88 "whatever" on bottom, less expensive controller with marginal action but lots of knobs, sliders, etc for software.

I guess what I don't have a feel for is how evil it is or isn't to work with the samplers in the hardware boards. I know how to use Kontakt, and have even done piano samples with round robin groups, velocity ranges, etc. Say I wanted to sample in 100-200 sounds total that I've built in my various hardware synths.... I can read the manuals, but the Kronos for example just always has a little lag on the screen - you deal, but it isn't instant like a computer is. The touch isn't as good as an iPad (yes stylus helps). So kind of looking for feedback on the user experience of doing a bunch of work on the sampler side of a workstation.

I know ultimate sound quality and flexibility goes to the laptop rig. But there's no doubt that sampling into a workstation is plenty good enough for Broadway, Rudess, and me. There's no "right" answer". I can make either "work". Just curious what the wisdom of the group has to say. It is nice to not play IT guy. My acoustic grand piano is lovely in that regard. Sampling, synth programming are all "non-musical" work. Kind of wondering if I do the work to put it in a workstation if I then get out of the "IT guy" part of running a laptop that never goes away....

Does anyone with experience have an opinion about the experience of sampling into a Korg vs. Yamaha vs. Kurzweil? Is one significantly better at importing and working with samples? All three have adequate space, the Kurzweil being the most generous (and having VAST). The Yamaha has super knob and great modulation... And so it goes... Thoughts?

KC Island
Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: Nathanael_I] #3007410 09/10/19 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I

Does anyone with experience have an opinion about the experience of sampling into a Korg vs. Yamaha vs. Kurzweil? Is one significantly better at importing and working with samples? All three have adequate space, the Kurzweil being the most generous (and having VAST). The Yamaha has super knob and great modulation... And so it goes... Thoughts?


I currently have both Yamaha Montage 8 and Kronos 8.
Unlike the Korg, the Montage does not directly sample audio and does not have a Sampler. There is a free software called Sample Robot, you can use this to sample sounds via an audio interface and then import the file into the Montage to be played as a Sample.
The Kronos as with all Korg Workstation has a native sampler built right in, just connect your audio source and start sampling.

Korg has a 24-bit sampling.

I have not used the Kronos to sample but have used the Triton and I was very impressed.

If you want a truly clean sound, then go with the Montage because you get to use HD audio from your Audio Interface, like 24bits 192Khz with better conversion and simply dump the file to the Montage, with the Kronos, you have to rely on the internal converters and sample rates.

Here is that Sample Robot Software for the Montage.
https://www.yamahamusicsoft.com/samplerobot



Last edited by Audioicon; 09/10/19 05:56 AM.
Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: Nathanael_I] #3007413 09/10/19 06:41 AM
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Thanks Audioicon! I would be planning to sample via software, not natively direct into the keyboard regardless of make. Chicken Systems or Sample Robot will auto-sample a keyboard and build the multisample, saving tons of time. Both will output Yamaha or Korg files. Agreed that a highlight of the Montage is the full spec'd sampling engine (not that it would matter hugely for live).

I've never had a "matching" rig before, and the idea of an all Yamaha rig seems interesting - CP88 with Montage7 over the top. I like the Nord Piano/Stage3 Compact idea, but that is really just a keys rig - no sampling to speak of. Inside I know that "matching" doesn't mean much - it is sound and what I play. But vanity...

Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: Nathanael_I] #3007415 09/10/19 09:33 AM
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Here are my 2 cents:

I sample my own material and create my own samples/multisamples for more thant 20 years now. The last time a sampled on a hardware device was around 2000 on an Akai sampler. These days I would completely abandon sampling on a keyboard. It is not worth the hassle.
If you buy a Montage, you get a special version of Sample Robot for free and can use it to automatically sample from other sources. I owned a Montage and it is a very nice keyboard overall, however, it is veeeerrry bad as a slave keyboard if you want to control it from an other master keyboard. The Montage has fixed midichannels for the parts which are controlled externally and that means, if you want to access more then one part on the Montage, your master keyboard has to be able to control external devices on more than one zone.

Korg Kronos would be another good option. You don't get a special software, but I would personally rather use Wavelab or Soundforge on a computer for sampling and creating my own samples. Even the cheapest version of Wavelab has the necessary tools to create good looped samples (here you mostly need the loop crossfade function to even out the loop points and correct clicks on material which is harder to loop).
The advances of the Kronos compared to the Montage are that Kronos can stream samples directly from its HD. That means, you can use larger samples. Because of that, you maybe don't need to create loops on the individual samples, instead you simply sample the sound for a certain key for some 8 to 10 seconds and use it unlooped because the probability that you will press a single key for more then 10 seconds is probably very low.
The Kronos is also a better slave because you are free to set any midichannel to any of the zone/part. The downside is that the Kronos has quite a long boot up time (about 2 minutes) compared for example to a Montage (some 10 seconds). But this is up to you to decide whether it is important for you or not.

The Forte is also worth mentioning. It has 3,2 Gb of Flash Ram. That's almost the double size of what you'll find in the Montage. Here you can also use unlooped samples because the space for user samples is also very huge. The downside for me: The Forte is old school, no touch display, be prepared for a lot of clicking while programing your own stuff. Some can live with it, I could and did, but I really prefer touchdisplays. The name giving alone can be a very tedious work on keyboards without touch display if you have to do it often and alot.

A final thought:
I wouldn't record/sample stuf with 24 bit resolution and higher then 44.1 kHz. It just wastes your sample memory and you will definitely not have any advantage in using higher resolutions and bit depth, especially not if you plan to use the samples live on stage.

Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: Nathanael_I] #3007433 09/10/19 01:48 PM
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Look at the 1010Music Black Box.
I’m a sampling geek that use to drive from Tahoe to the Bay Area every day off to swap Emulator FDDs back in the early 90s.
ChickenSys Translator Pro software would Concert to Roland S760, Oberheim DPX, etc.
If I had the Black Box back then I could have been a contender.


Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic
Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: Nathanael_I] #3007438 09/10/19 03:12 PM
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Nathanael_I Offline OP
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Thanks for the suggestions. It seems that software is the way to go, I had a suspicion the screens got really "clicky" - there just isn't that much screen real-estate to do things. If I do that, then the sounds are also available as a library for the studio DAW rig. I still have to sort the core keys rig part, but I think the samples I will do in UVI's Falcon - it is kind of perfect for the task. It is like a workstation, only way, way better. Kontakt is perfectly adequate, just not nearly as clean and powerful as Falcon.

The 1010 box is interesting, I missed that one. I think I'm just going to accept that a computer has been the solution and still is. Once decided, it is just how it is done.

I'll get something for the bottom that gives me a one-board option for basics or other uses, and then put this project's material into a computer-based sampler. I have the computer, I have the software, so it really isn't any extra cost, and I know how to put it together, so there is little learning curve.

Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: Nathanael_I] #3007442 09/10/19 03:39 PM
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I have heard that sample file management on the Kronos is a little convoluted compared to other hardware solutions. Not completely inscrutable, and there are explanatory threads on this forum and vids on Youtube. But I've heard Yamaha's management of the samples is more straightforward on Montage / MODX than Kronos.

Can anyone confirm or correct this?


"I'm not just untalented. I'm multi untalented."
Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: Nathanael_I] #3007443 09/10/19 03:40 PM
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A couple of other options to consider:

1. Hardware: Korg MicroSampler. Pretty cool little unit, can sample in real-time. More importantly, it can also play pre-recorded samples. Pretty easy to use, easy to transfer samples into and out using USB, and can work up the samples on the computer using either the pretty good Korg MicroSampler software, or a SampleRobot version specifically for the MicroSampler.

2. Software. iPad. Some pretty cool sample playing options here, including Beatmaker 2 and 3, and UVI also makes a sample playing app called BeatHawk. Nowadays, I just use the iPad, as it is small, and tons of storage space.

Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: mojkarma] #3007555 09/11/19 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mojkarma


A final thought:
I wouldn't record/sample stuf with 24 bit resolution and higher then 44.1 kHz. It just wastes your sample memory and you will definitely not have any advantage in using higher resolutions and bit depth, especially not if you plan to use the samples live on stage.


Mostly with you on this. I will sample at 24 bits, 48Khz. All my orchestral samples are at 24/48, and so that's the standard rate in the studio. That way whatever I do can be used in multiple ways... While my PA mixer (A&H SQ-5) runs at 96Khz, that is more about latency than it is about extended frequency response, which will never be heard through PA speakers!

Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: timwat] #3007556 09/11/19 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by timwat
I have heard that sample file management on the Kronos is a little convoluted compared to other hardware solutions. Not completely inscrutable, and there are explanatory threads on this forum and vids on Youtube. But I've heard Yamaha's management of the samples is more straightforward on Montage / MODX than Kronos.

Can anyone confirm or correct this?


I don't own the Kronos (had the Montage), but I was a long time Korg user, including their Triton line and since Korg didn't change the sample format and file system, I would say that the Montage handles sample files a lot easier, thus better.

Korg uses three different file extensions, one for the single sample, a second one for the multisample, and a third one which is kind of a script file (.ksc) which tells the System which multisample is connected to which program (patch). Every time when you add a new multisample to the Kronos, you practically have to save a new script file because you connected a new multisample to a new program. It is a hassle. I don't know if Korg changed it, but on the Triton one couldn't even simply overwrite the old files by selecting the save all command to make the process faster because one couldn't overwrite the old .ksc file with the same name you usually use for your files.

On Montage, there is just one single file which contains the samples and the multisample data. Once loaded and connected to a patch, you don't need to care about anything. If you add new multisamples at a later point or delete old ones, there is nothing to reconnect, there is no script file to save which multisample is connected to which patch, it is all done by the system and the user can easily add or remove multisamples to/from the system without worrying.

Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: Nathanael_I] #3007565 09/11/19 11:03 AM
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Sampling KBs like the Kronos allow users to import samples and bypass direct input sampling.

I got a Roland KB for dealing with samples because it has pads to trigger them.

It's my understanding that the Roland RD-2000 works well with computers.

There are several waya to configure a two (2) KB rig for this gig. It definitely doesn't require five. laugh

Have fun building it. I look forward to reading the final solution. cool


PD

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"
Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: ProfD] #3007616 09/11/19 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ProfD
Sampling KBs like the Kronos allow users to import samples and bypass direct input sampling.

I got a Roland KB for dealing with samples because it has pads to trigger them.

It's my understanding that the Roland RD-2000 works well with computers.

There are several waya to configure a two (2) KB rig for this gig. It definitely doesn't require five. laugh

Have fun building it. I look forward to reading the final solution. cool


It will be fun! And yes, no way five are needed! It is interesting to have done this enough to know that it isn't about "right" or "perfect". There's more than one way that I can meet all requirements. Rig design seems kind of like studio design. There no "final answer" or "fixed configuration". As the needs/desires change, these things morph and evolve. For me a core remains, but stuff does move around. Sometimes I think it is just part of the creative process to shift the tooling/workflow a bit to enjoy the resulting changes in output.

Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: mojkarma] #3007618 09/11/19 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mojkarma
[quote=timwat]

I don't own the Kronos (had the Montage), but I was a long time Korg user, including their Triton line and since Korg didn't change the sample format and file system, I would say that the Montage handles sample files a lot easier, thus better.

Korg uses three different file extensions, one for the single sample, a second one for the multisample, and a third one which is kind of a script file (.ksc) which tells the System which multisample is connected to which program (patch). Every time when you add a new multisample to the Kronos, you practically have to save a new script file because you connected a new multisample to a new program. It is a hassle.


This is what I suspected. When I had the Kronos, I did sample some Minimoog bass sounds into it, and have memories of it being a bit obstinate. It works, of course, but one conforms to its needs for sure. I suspect Mr. Rudess outsources this to a keyboard tech and doesn't feel the pain...

Good to know the Montage has a streamlined sample handling interface.

Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: hardware] #3007638 09/11/19 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by hardware
Look at the 1010Music Black Box.
I’m a sampling geek that use to drive from Tahoe to the Bay Area every day off to swap Emulator FDDs back in the early 90s.
ChickenSys Translator Pro software would Concert to Roland S760, Oberheim DPX, etc.
If I had the Black Box back then I could have been a contender.


From what I understand, the Blackbox does not support multisamples:
https://forum.1010music.com/forum/p...ussion-blackbox/4246-multisample-capable

Otherwise, it seems to be a decent choice if you're looking for a phrase sampler as opposed to a sampler what will let you play your multsampled Rhodes Chroma or whatevver.

I once worked through the sampling tutorial created by RichF for the Korg M3 back in the day. It was a convoluted enough process that it would be been much more difficult, if not impossible, to learn how to use the M3 sampler without the tutorial. I don't know how what Korg has done to improve the sampling workflow in later generations of sampling workstations.

Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: GovernorSilver] #3007702 09/12/19 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
[quote=hardware]

Otherwise, it seems to be a decent choice if you're looking for a phrase sampler as opposed to a sampler what will let you play your multsampled Rhodes Chroma or whatevver.


This was my conclusion too. And I am definitely looking to play my multisampled "stuff that stays home"!

Re: Samples into Keyboard? Or Software [Re: mojkarma] #3007721 09/12/19 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by mojkarma
Here are my 2 cents:

The advances of the Kronos compared to the Montage are that Kronos can stream samples directly from its HD.


This is actually a really big deal. I kind of missed it at first, but without ability to stream from flash, 1.7Gb is ~98 min of stereo sampling at 24/48, or 5,880 seconds. Assuming 5 second samples, that's only 1,176 samples. Put that across some number of keys, and it is really not that many patches. You can grab some favorites, but that's just not much space for nuanced instruments, or velocity layers, etc. Too much computer resources may have already spoiled me.

No wonder Rudess uses a Kronos - he has to stream from SSD to get that huge amount of sounds into the machine. Without SSD streaming, putting a whole show in the keyboard isn't really possible.

Interface issues aside, that explains the Forte's "Flash Play" feature and why they can use it on Broadway - lots of user Flash for stuff, plus you can stream samples.

I think that pretty much settles that this will be a laptop rig again. It's 2019. SSD space is cheap. I should not have to think about sample space and loading times. I wanted to like the notion of putting it all in a piece of hardware, but it will be easier in the computer. I just need to make sure the 88 note bottom keyboard can be a grab and go 1-board solution for when that is needed.

I appreciate all the input on this thread. Even knowing the options fairly well, it was useful to have the dialog to help me sort out what I want to do.

Laptop rig of awesomeness it is. GigPerformer + Falcon it will be.


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