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Do you use the Alesis' QS Series capability to load your own samples??


Rod S

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Dave's comment on another thread lead me to start this one:

 

Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

This has been tried before - Alesis' QS series allowed end users to burn custom sample sets onto flash cards, which gave them exactly what you are asking for here. According to Alesis' market research, next to no one took advantage of this feature. This is mainly due to the fact that it's a relatively complicated procedure on a few different levels.

 

First of all, the best sounds on any expansion ROM (or ROM set) are usually the biggest ones. Consequently, doing a "best of" ROM set will usually end up being bigger than you think it will. Secondly, once you get a custom ROM set of raw samples that you are happy with, you need to then come up with the programs that will go along with these samples. The best (and pretty much only) way to do that is to write them yourself. This intimidates the average user. You may think that it's just a matter of importing programs that already exist - this is not necessarily the case. Since many ROM samples are very short and can tend to be somewhat compromised in quality in order to fit them on to a ROM, many programmers use all sorts of different waveforms to get their programs to sound good and/or to get around limitations of their engines, not necessarily just the ones that are associated with the specific sound that they're trying to emulate.

 

So have you taken advantage of this capability? Did you like the results?

 

Speaking for myself, for years I had a very early QS6 which did not have this capability, so I never looked into it for this reason alone. I recently 'traded' it for a qsr, and again I've thought about this. On the other hand, it's hard to justify since I have the K2000 now.

 

Also, from what I hear the procedure is extremely long, several hours to fill up an 8 Meg card. One guy actually wrote a whole procedure how to do it, if anyone's interested, I can dig up the link.

 

Also, with the decrease in prices of the qcards, I think people felt that it was cheaper and easier to just buy them.

 

So... tell us your story

 

[ 01-06-2002: Message edited by: Rod CA ]

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So have you taken advantage of this capability? Did you like the results?

 

Well, I can start this, since I certainly have done this. I love the results of using this trick. Once a flash card is burned, it loads all the samples the second I plug it in. It's basically a fully-customizeable QCard I have used Sound Designer files, .WAV files and converted Kurzweil samples. It is truly a great trick.

 

On the other hand, it's hard to justify since I have the K2000 now.

 

The Kurz has a lot more memory, but it doesn't load samples instantly...

 

Also, from what I hear the procedure is extremely long, several hours to fill up an 8 Meg card.

 

Not so. It can be done at two speeds - one takes around 45 minutes to burn the card, the other takes about 1/3 less time. Plus, once they're burned, they take no time to load (as I've said) and can't really be harmed - you can pass then through x-ray machines, leave them in the glove compartment of your car - whatever. The only way to erase them is to reburn them.

 

The other cool thing about this trick is that you are not just restricted to samples and programs. You can also put up to 50 sequences (playback only) on the same card - that's a way lot more than any workstation. Plus, as the QS series has two card slots, you can keep 100 sequences on board the synth at all times, and have another 100 ready to go in as long as it takes to swap two cards. They also load and play instantly. If you wanna get really extreme, you can actually do things like automating backing vocals in a live performance using this trick!

 

Here's the drag - if you want the programs that you have to write for the samples to live on the same card (as opposed to in the internal memory), you have to do it in two passes - the first pass, you burn the samples to the card, and save the project to your hard drive. Then, you write a bank of programs using the samples on the card, and save it as a sysex file. Then, you re-open the project on your hard drive, add the sysyex bank, and re-burn the card.

 

Here's the other drag - as this is a seven-year-old trick, I understand that the cards required to use SoundBridge are pretty hard to find now, and kind of expensive if you can find them.

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

So have you taken advantage of this capability? Did you like the results?

(Well, I can start this, since I certainly have done this. I love the results of using this trick. Once a flash card is burned, it loads all the samples the second I plug it in. It's basically a fully-customizeable QCard I have used Sound Designer files, .WAV files and converted Kurzweil samples. It is truly a great trick.

 

Also, from what I hear the procedure is extremely long, several hours to fill up an 8 Meg card.

Not so. It can be done at two speeds - one takes around 45 minutes to burn the card, the other takes about 1/3 less time. Plus, once they're burned, they take no time to load (as I've said) and can't really be harmed - you can pass then through x-ray machines, leave them in the glove compartment of your car - whatever. The only way to erase them is to reburn them.

 

 

Here's the other drag - as this is a seven-year-old trick, I understand that the cards required to use SoundBridge are pretty hard to find now, and kind of expensive if you can find them..

dB

 

I totally agree. I have been using a lot of customized samples on my QSR. There's no loading time at all and it is very convenient. Took me an hour or so to burn an 8meg card, but in the long run, it's worth it!!! Also, I got my cards off eBay pretty cheap...

2mb AMD C Series Flash Memory Card 5V -- $10.00

8mb AMD D Series Flash Memory Card 5V -- $22.00

8mb Pretec Flash Memory Card 5V -- one bought for $15.00 and another for $33.00.

BTW, the AMD C or D series cards should be the plastic ones. The metal ones won't work with the QS.

 

[ 01-06-2002: Message edited by: DeafMix ]

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The Kurz has a lot more memory, but it doesn't load samples instantly...

 

Right. The reason I'm looking into this is I'm thinking about start gigging again, and not only do I not want to have to load samples, I don't want to carry the k2000r with me :)

 

Not so. It can be done at two speeds - one takes around 45 minutes to burn the card, the other takes about 1/3 less time.

 

Interesting. I wonder why I was told by 2 different people that it takes much longer. :confused: Is that thru the serial port or MIDI?

 

The other cool thing about this trick is that you are not just restricted to samples and programs. You can also put up to 50 sequences (playback only) on the same card

 

Yep, but I can do that with the cs6x...I got load it, but it's easier :) I'm looking for for just the samples. I'm looking at possibly doing a duet thing with my brother (guitar player) + some backing sequences. Just for fun anyways :)

 

Here's the other drag - as this is a seven-year-old trick, I understand that the cards required to use SoundBridge are pretty hard to find now, and kind of expensive if you can find them.

 

Well, that's the catch, isn't it? Damn... I think I remember seing them for around 60-70 when I left the US. My chances of getting these here are close to 0, but I'll keep my eyes open at ebay, and have a friend do the transaction.

 

Well, I have about 30 things on my to-do list, so we'll see if I get to this or not. Between the vintage synth and the vintage keyboards cards plugged in, I'm actually fairly well served.

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2mb AMD C Series Flash Memory Card 5V -- $10.00

8mb AMD D Series Flash Memory Card 5V -- $22.00

8mb Pretec Flash Memory Card 5V -- one bought for $15.00 and another for $33.00.

BTW, the AMD C or D series cards should be the plastic ones. The metal ones won't work with the QS.

 

Thanks for the info, including the model numbers. I'll keep an eye. If anyone has any to sell, send me an email privately.

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

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Interesting. I wonder why I was told by 2 different people that it takes much longer.

 

I dunno, but you might wanna trust me on this one, my brother...I've done this once or twice. ;)

 

Is that thru the serial port or MIDI?

 

I never tried it through MIDI - I always used the serial port. However, I believe that even through MIDI it doesn't take an hour.

 

dB

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:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

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Yes, this is worth doing. Your best bet is to pick up some Sample Cell format CD ROMS and grab some of the sounds you want to consentrate on the most (or the sounds that require a little larger size than the QS has devoted to it). For instance, the Strings in the QS are not particularly great so I put some of my Strings multisamples onto a card to use live. It also doesn't have an electric grand or a good wurly so I also dedicated a second card to that. I use this for my live band because although I have many samplers, I can't be bothered to take them to bar gigs so the QS8 is a great all aroung axe for gigging...at least for me. The flash cards are great because there is no loading time for the samples. It does take a little time to get those sounds to the card through midi though but once it's on there you are good until the next time you want to change it. You might have sound effects you want to fly in or vocal backgrounds etc. You almost might as well consider the QS as a 64 voice sample playback machine which for the money is kind of the secret to it being a great deal. Unfortunately, many people don't take advantage of this. But, I say, why not?

 

I also use the Q cards occasionally too. But, I did work on some of the Q cards as an outside programmer for Alesis. Just so you know where I am coming from. But, I am not biased. I have a lot of keyboards and the QS has a place in my rig for a lot of reasons...the flash cards being one of them. In fact, at one point my company, Sonic Reality, was going to make custom flash cards with sounds on them but the cards at the time were too expensive. We do make Sample Cell CD ROMS that can be used for making your own cards however. I do it all the time for myself. Just make sure your sound does not exceed 8 megs.

 

Oh, and it doesn't take an hour to burn. Less than 1/2 hour...maybe a lot less I forget.

 

[ 01-06-2002: Message edited by: DaKerz ]

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Okay, wait. Quick question. If I wanted to burn Strings from a sample CD onto the cards, would it automatically be mulitsampled? I dunno if I'm asking this question correctly but would the strings be sampled acrossed the keyboard once it is burned to the cards? I guess this question leads to a "how do you sample" question.
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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

 

 

I dunno, but you might wanna trust me on this one, my brother...I've done this once or twice. ;)

 

dB[/QB]

 

 

When the synth engineers burned me the Film Score card at work one day, it took about 4 or 5 hours.

 

 

steadyb

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Originally posted by steadyb:

When the synth engineers burned me the Film Score card at work one day, it took about 4 or 5 hours.

 

A) It wasn't a SoundBridge project.

 

B) When they did that, they used peculiar cards that took forever to burn. They were cheap, and they required that one computer only to do it.

 

Long story, and not one that's necessarily appropriate here...

 

dB

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Originally posted by ktempo7of9@aol.com:

Okay, wait. Quick question. If I wanted to burn Strings from a sample CD onto the cards, would it automatically be multisampled?

 

If you use Sound Designer/Sample Cell CDs, then yes. SoundBridge has a window where you can tell it to grab the whole instrument file, not just the individual samples. If done that way, it will preserve keymaps.

 

dB

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:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

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Here's a couple of suggestions to get into this sort of thing. There are two software applications that can export SampleCell that I like to use. One is Bitheadz Unity DS-1 and the other is Digi's new Soft SampleCell (mac only). Both are nice software samplers to have anyway but you can also use them to map out your samples across the screen keyboard and then export them as SampleCell instruments which will include the raw samples as either SDII or AIFF files.

 

Sound Bridge, as DB mentioned, can read SampleCell Instrument files (this is the data that stores the "pointing to" the raw samples being mapped across the keyboard...and a few other usable parameters as well). Let me tell you that this is the easiest thing! You just drop the file into the Sound Bridge box and it's in there. Like I said, you just have to make sure that all of your sounds together for the card do not exceed the size of your card (max is 8 megs per card).

 

Now, there is one more step after that which is to take a blank program and call those sounds up. I didn't check if that was mentioned in this thread or not...sorry. But, anyway, you select the multisamples off the card just like you would select any of the ROM instruments inside the machine to make a program. Remember if you have a stereo sample you have to make a separate left and right for two different oscillators and be sure to pan them. Another thing you can try (if you are lazy or curious) is "slot" your samples into another program. For one thing this can save you some time. You can often (but not always) successfully use another program as a "template" for playing back your samples.

 

Here's an example. If you can find yourself an 8 meg or smaller piano in SampleCell format (if not then, here's a free SampleCell format "piano stack" you can download from one of my company's web sites to play with. Get it here: http://www.esoundz.com/soundz.html ) Okay, now take that sound (the instrument file) and drag that into your Sound Bridge box on the screen. (Ok, first do all the things you are supposed to do for Sound Bridge like set up your midi back and forth - or serial connection- and put the 8 megf card in the top slot of your QS- and select 8 megs and that it is for the QS not the DMpro etc) Okay, just go through the process of burning the card which is pretty much a button that says "send to card" or something like that. This will take maybe 15-20 minutes or so... grab a coffee. (no 4 hours...or anything like that!)

 

Alright, when it says your card is ready then here's what you can try. Find the patch that says "True Stereo"-it is one of the first patches in one of the banks and is a grand piano. This piano consists of 4 oscillators (I call them oscillators, but voices, elements whatever...) however, they are split across the keyboard with the first two oscillators being a stereo left and right hard panned and going across most of the keyboard until it reaches the upper register where the dampers would stop. This is where the other two oscillators pick up the mapping and also have a stereo left and right hard pan but their envelope has a longer release (to simulate a piano not having dampers on those upper notes). [bTW, I hope I am right about this patch as I am doing this from memory- not in front of the machine]

 

Now, in this example, the programming of the split done for the damper realism as well as whatever filter settings and modulation routings there are in the program are all part of your "template" for slotting in YOUR samples to replace the ones it is using in that program now. So, what you want to do first is copy that program over to another spot (so you don't lose that nice patch) then rename it "Watermuck" (or any name you like). Hit the edit button and scroll through your instruments and groups until you find your samples on the card. Replace the first oscillator/voice with your piano (or piano stack) Left instrument and then replace your 2nd oscillator/voice with your piano (or stack) Right instrument (Sound Bridge will automatically have made two files- a left and a right- out of your stereo piano file). Then, take that same left and right sample of your piano (or stack) and assign the left to osc 3 and the right to osc 4 (this is the upper part of the keyboard that has no damper...may sound funny on a stack but you get the idea of the concept anyway). The samples are already panned hard left and right in this program so you don't have to do much after that except hit write and start playing. Tweak a little from there but it got you somewhere quick (even though reading this took some time :) )

 

Not all patches will work for this because you never know what the parameter settings are in a patch unless you look. But, it take a few seconds to try it once you have the sample data burned onto the card. Please let me/us know if anyone who has a QS tries this experiment and is successful. Just curious. Good luck though. It can be a fun new side of your QS that you never knew before!

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Dave K -

 

Thanks for the additional tips and pointers, as well as the piano sample. You rock, dude!! Have I mentioned that I'm glad to have you hanging here? :D

 

Originally posted by steadyb:

sorry, wasn't trying to start trouble.

 

Didn't think you were, my brother - I just didn't see the point of explaining the deal on the prototype QCards here...

 

BTW, are you telling me that you never burned your own flash card while you were working for Alesis as a product specialist?

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

Dave K -

 

Thanks for the additional tips and pointers, as well as the piano sample. You rock, dude!! Have I mentioned that I'm glad to have you hanging here? :D

 

dB

 

Thanks, Dave. I am trying not to come off like a "know it all" or anything like that. I don't want to be intimidating either. I know that a lot of guys, including you, know a lot about this stuff too. But, for those that can benefit from what I might suggest or talk about... I'm here as much as I can be to help out.

 

It's nice to be welcome on this forum. Keyboards are my thing.

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I am trying not to come off like a "know it all" or anything like that.

 

You're not...

 

I don't want to be intimidating either.

 

You're not. You're coming off like a guy who knows his stuff who's willing to share that knowledge. No problem, D.

 

Keyboards are my thing.

 

Mine, too... ;)

 

dB

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Oh, thanks both Dave's for your replies!! Very very helpful indeed.

 

I'll start burning those flash cards after I buy some, but man wait...

 

Are the sample CDs from Sample Cell the only ones that can be multisampled? I'm using a PC with Propellerheads Reason and Cakewalk, can this be done using Reason's digital soft sampler or would I need a more specific soft sampler like Bitheadz Unity to do this? Or, would Sound Bridge alone do the trick?

 

From a very confused keyboardist...

 

Kim :(

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Originally posted by DaKerz:

Cool deal. So let's see someone burn some flash cards on their QS. Come on! Show me that someone out there is going to take advantage of this great special ability that the QS has to offer.

 

I used to do it fairly regularly when I was playing live with some friends. We had an 80's cover band thing going that was a lot of fun. During a lot of the song intros, I'd run samples of different things from that decade (movie quotes, Reagan, Max Headroom, etc).

 

SoundBridge worked great for that because everything fit easily on the 8MB card and I didn't have to haul a sampler around for that fairly basic need. The "instant access" thing is real nice when you're playing out also. When I'd leave my home studio, I just popped out whatever commercial Q-card I was using and popped in the custom flash I burned. Done.

 

The only drawback was the time to burn the card... since it usually needed to be done when you were in the creative mood and really wanted to start playing the samples from the card right away. I can get sounds into my sampler more quickly, but the trade-off is that I have to do it every time.

 

Some of the guys are talking about getting together to play again and I'll happily use that feature still... Anyone know if SoundBridge alright will work with Windows 2000?

 

-- jeff

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You can also do this with the E-mu P2K line. You buy either 16 or 32 meg ROMS's and load them from an E-mu Ultra line sampler. One difference is the cards are internal so it is not easy to take your custome rome with you unless you take the whole unit.

 

Robert

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Originally posted by Rabid:

You can also do this with the E-mu P2K line. You buy either 16 or 32 meg ROMS's and load them from an E-mu Ultra line sampler. One difference is the cards are internal so it is not easy to take your custome rome with you unless you take the whole unit.

 

Yeah, I've got a P2K also... In fact, I run the

 

P2K Support Site and mailing list (which you can find via Yahoo Groups if you're interested). I'm very happy with my P2K and think it's probably one of the best bang-for-the-buck synths out there if you're into programming your own stuff (though I need SoundDiver to do it because those 2-line LCDs kill me). That said, the ability to burn ROMs for the P2K doesn't impress me as much as I thought it might.

 

The problems with it are, as you point out, you can't easily swap the ROMs... then there's the fact that you have to own a completely separate (expensive) piece of gear to burn them, and the blank ROMs themselves aren't real cheap either. Understandably so given what they're required to do, but it's not quite within the grasp of the average P2K owner.

 

What is cool about the P2K thing is that it opens it up a lot more to professional sound designers and third-party companies. People like Rob Papen have done a great job of putting out some very cool new ROMs.

 

The QS/SoundBridge thing is slick because all you need to do it is the media... everything else is included in the box with the synth.

 

-- jeff

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Originally posted by jdonnici:

 

Yeah, I've got a P2K also... In fact, I run the

 

P2K Support Site and mailing list (which you can find via Yahoo Groups if you're interested).

 

I found it last week and joined. My post name is robertabrownjr. (Note the initials RAB as in RABid.) I was hoping someone would reply to my question about the P2500 Expanded that I saw on Sweetwater and one othere online music store. They list it around $500 more than the cost of the regular P2500. I have seen no information on this from E-mu.

 

The only reason I would do the ROM on an P2K is for vocal samples. The filters would be great for creating vox pads but I don't like the selection of vocal samples that I have found on expansion ROMs.

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Getting an Emu E5000 would probably be better for vocals. You can also load and burn those ROMS on it. I had a Proteus 2000 with the intention of buring my own ROMS or possibly doing some professional ones with my company. But, the price of the ROMS wasn't cheap last time I checked. Anyone know what the 16 and 32's lowest prices are these days?

 

Anyway, it seems like a good idea but at some point (especially since the P2500 is HUGE) it's not a bad idea to just get the one that can really be updated...the sampler. The E5000 is so cheap that it makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

 

So, did anyone go to my site and grab some free sounds? You might as well.

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i've owned a qs 6.1 for about 3 years and always dreamed of using this function, but the stumbling block for me was...you guessed it, finding the right kind of cards!

 

since there's some alesis folks here, just an innocent question: why did alesis make such a unique product at such a great pricepoint, but make the media so hard to find that folks like me give up on this cool function (and end up blowing $350 on a midi data filer in the process)?

 

and, if anyone knows where to locate these things besides ebay, could they share the info? i remember there used to be some manufacturers for the cards but they either stopped carrying them or went out of business....

 

thanks for reviving my interest in this function!

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and, if anyone knows where to locate these things besides ebay, could they share the info? i remember there used to be some manufacturers for the cards but they either stopped carrying them or went out of business....thanks for reviving my interest in this function!

 

http://www.pretec.com/faq/faq_Synthesizer.htm

 

These guys have supposedly always been a *safe* place to get the cards.

 

Hope this helps. Let's try to keep this thread alive. I'll see if someone in the US can order one for me too, so I can play with this a bit, now that I have the qsr. We can exchange war stories afterwards.

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Originally posted by xfactor111@home.com:

why did alesis make such a unique product at such a great pricepoint, but make the media so hard to find that folks like me give up on this cool function

 

When Alesis first started doing it about 5 years ago, the cards weren't so hard to find. As a matter of fact, Alesis always had them in stock, and all it took was a phone call to get one.

 

Plus, there was a pretty comprehensive list of sources for the cards on the Alesis website.

 

Of course, that was then...

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

 

When Alesis first started doing it about 5 years ago, the cards weren't so hard to find. As a matter of fact, Alesis always had them in stock, and all it took was a phone call to get one.

 

Plus, there was a pretty comprehensive list of sources for the cards on the Alesis website.

 

Of course, that was then...

 

dB

 

Try guitar Centre - they seem to have a few lying around still. Going cheap too!

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Maybe some of the people who know how to do this fine option would mind sharing or charging for cards. I would like some but my time is being spent on learning recording & I still gig pretty regularly. But if I could get some better horn section sounds, I would appreciate it. I would cover whatever costs were incurred. Maybe other people feel the same way. . .

Steve

 

www.seagullphotodesign.com

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