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The Alesis samples are driving me berserk!


coyote

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They're so close to being great, yet so far....

 

I just got the Vintage Keys Qcard in hopes there's be some improvement. There's some potentially good stuff there. BUT.... The Hammonds sound like a Hammond, yet they don't. The Mellotrons sound like a Mellotron, yet they don't.

 

There's this.... this.... unnatural shimmery thing in so many of the sounds - almost like an inserted breathiness to try to create the illusion of space.

 

The EPs also just aren't quite happening! You'd think the "Sunshine of My Life" Rhodes would be the absolute starting point for Rhodes sounds - yet the tone of these Rhodes is weighted far more to the DX7 EP in character than to a Rhodes.

 

It makes me wonder how they were sampled. Does anyone know the technique used by Alesis for sampling?

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Originally posted by coyote:

They're so close to being great, yet so far....

 

I just got the Vintage Keys Qcard in hopes there's be some improvement. There's some potentially good stuff there. BUT.... The Hammonds sound like a Hammond, yet they don't.

Buy a Hammond, problem solved.

 

Originally posted by coyote:

The Mellotrons sound like a Mellotron, yet they don't.

You'll guess my answer on this one ;)

 

Originally posted by coyote:

You'd think the "Sunshine of My Life" Rhodes would be the absolute starting point for Rhodes sounds - yet the tone of these Rhodes is weighted far more to the DX7 EP in character than to a Rhodes.

Buy a real... noooo, this is not funny anymore... I would like to state that I have never heard two Rhodes sound the same. So there is no "absolute" Rhodes. (same with a Minimoog - another story)

 

Originally posted by coyote:

It makes me wonder how they were sampled. Does anyone know the technique used by Alesis for sampling?

I guess the Alesis sounddesigners used Sounddesigner, but dB has more info about that.
:keys: My Music:thx: I always wondered what happened after the fade out?
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I already own a Hammond. There are times I'd like to not have to drag it around. And if I bought a real Mellotron I'd have to buy a damn semi to haul the stuff around lol. As for the Rhodes, I see your point that there is no 'absolute' Rhodes. However, that particular Rhodes tone is a classic that appears so frequently on so many major recordings.... it ought to be there.

 

My Q about sampling technique isn't so much about the software. It's about the physical recording process ie. when a Rhodes is sampled, is the signal taken straight from the piano into the recording system? Or is it played thru speakers and mic'ed? I was hoping Mr. Bryce would jump in here too.

 

Originally posted by Pim:

Buy a Hammond, problem solved.

 

Originally posted by coyote:

The Mellotrons sound like a Mellotron, yet they don't.

You'll guess my answer on this one ;)

 

Originally posted by coyote:

You'd think the "Sunshine of My Life" Rhodes would be the absolute starting point for Rhodes sounds - yet the tone of these Rhodes is weighted far more to the DX7 EP in character than to a Rhodes.

Buy a real... noooo, this is not funny anymore... I would like to state that I have never heard two Rhodes sound the same. So there is no "absolute" Rhodes. (same with a Minimoog - another story)

 

Originally posted by coyote:

It makes me wonder how they were sampled. Does anyone know the technique used by Alesis for sampling?

I guess the Alesis sounddesigners used Sounddesigner, but dB has more info about that.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Hi Guys.

 

Actually, I was doing outside work with Alesis before DB was there (since the S4+ time). I think this card was done before he was there too if I am not mistaken.

 

Well, anyway, I can tell you a bit about how a lot of those sounds on the two Alesis Vintage cards were sampled because a lot of them were sampled by me. Of course, after reading what you had to say about them, it's not like I want to come in and brag about it! ;)

 

Here's the thing... The sampling of the instruments was nothing out of the ordinary. B3's we would sample either direct off the preamp or a miked Leslie Cab. I can tell you more about miking techniques used if you'd like. The Rhodes are usually sampled direct of the output unless it's a Suitcase model which then would be sampled from the speakers miked.

 

The quality problem you are talking about isn't the way they were sampled, it's the way they all had to fit onto an 8 meg Q card! I also did some sampling for Roland's Vintage Synths and Keyboards of the 60's & 70's expansion boards and at least those had a bit more meg room to fit these instruments (not to mention some proprietary data compression).

 

The methods used to make multisamples of instruments smaller so they fit onto a rom chip or an expansion card/board is a very compromising task. Soooo much is lost in terms of quality when this has to be done. We are talking about less notes across the keyboard making transposition of the notes cheesier, sample rate conversions that sometimes make sounds alias a little, looping right after the attack which takes away the body and motion of the individual samples. I can assure you that the B3's, trons, synths and EP's I handed in which originally were at least 2-8 megs in size each sounded a thousand times better. I didn't do the sizing down for the card part (I wouldn't have been able to compromise to that degree). I must admit when I heard the end result card I could barely recognize any of my sounds! The same thing happened for the Sanctuary card, Latin card, Nanobass and a few other things I did some sampling for. I wasn't the only one who did sampling for them (they also did their own in house as well of course) but at that time I contributed a lot and when I kept hearing the end result I would scratch my head... what happened?

 

Anyway, it was hearing this stuff and some frustrations I had with some other sample library products I had worked on that made me want to just make products how I like them to sound. Now I do "virtual expansion cards" as VSTi plug-ins that are 200-400 megs each and don't have to be compromised like that. The funny thing is my company is about to release one called 60's & 70's Keys expansionROM and it probably has some of the larger versions of what some of those snippet samples came from. I've always own all the rights to the samples I've done so it's nice when we can also do them the way we want them to sound...more real.

 

Quite honestly though, it all depends on what level you want to get in terms of realism. What I am doing now is much much closer (even the sample library Vintage Timetraveler is a lot closer....even the old old library I did way way back called Classic Keyboards is more realistic than that 8 meg card). Still, nothing beats the real thing. A real rhodes? Yeah. a REAL B3 through a REAL Leslie? Yes, that's the stuff right there. But, we can't all have everything like that around at all times so it's nice to have these other options still.

 

Hope that was interesting for ya!

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Every sampler and ROMpler has it's own sonic character that alters what is fed into it. If you use Sound Bridge and send some raw samples over MIDI into a QS, you will notice a difference in the way the samples sound.
Give me the ANALOG and no one gets HURT
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Originally posted by Squids:

I think this card was done before he was there too if I am not mistaken.

Ah, but you are mistaken, Dr. Kerzner. I wrote a whole bunch of the programs on that card.

 

Check out my fave - #75 "RazorRotor". One of the best Hammond programs I ever did - the mod wheel not only starts the Leslie effect, it also fades in a fast Leslie sample. Big fun.

 

dB

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I wonder:

What's wrong with the standard Rhodes aboard the QS?

I sold a lot QS's over the past years and I had no complaints yet about the Rhodes programs. Same with the Hammond programs b.t.w.

 

Alesis made one mistake: in the first Quadrasynth was this great Mellotron string program. They left it out in the QS range. (same with the best flute ever heard, remember Dave?)

:keys: My Music:thx: I always wondered what happened after the fade out?
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Technically I guess there's nothing 'wrong' with the standard QS Rhodes. But I know what sound I want from a Rhodes, and I know others know that sound (The Yamaha P80 has it, as well as many of their other boards). If it were an esoteric, unknown sound I could see it not finding its way into production.

 

I'm fortunate in that my Rhodes(Roland) MK80 can actually do that sound fairly well. (Having similar dimensions to other Rhodes88s, however, means it's not always a pleasure to move around.) And there are some QS Hammonds which, after tweaking, are quite usable. A pleasant surprise has been the QS Clavs. Once you remove the slapback and tweak them a bit they really are pretty good.

 

Squids, thanks for the info on sampling processes. And Dave, despite my grumbling there is a lot of good in this synth. PEACE

 

Originally posted by Pim:

I wonder:

What's wrong with the standard Rhodes aboard the QS?

I sold a lot QS's over the past years and I had no complaints yet about the Rhodes programs. Same with the Hammond programs b.t.w.

 

Alesis made one mistake: in the first Quadrasynth was this great Mellotron string program. They left it out in the QS range. (same with the best flute ever heard, remember Dave?)

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Originally posted by coyote:

I'm fortunate in that my Rhodes(Roland) MK80 can actually do that sound fairly well.

It's funny that you should say that...

 

IIRC, the Rhodes sample in the QS factory ROM was actually taken from an MK-80. Kerz - do you know if that's right?

 

dB

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Originally posted by coyote:

I'm fortunate in that my Rhodes(Roland) MK80 can actually do that sound fairly well.

I think I understand what you mean. The MK80 used S.A. synthesis. S.A. uses a formant filter for velocity.

The MK80 must give a great feel of expression when you use velocity.

 

Any velocity sensitive rompler-synth with velocity>amplitude & velocity>lowpass filter can not give this experience of expression.

:keys: My Music:thx: I always wondered what happened after the fade out?
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Hmmm.... there is an entire section of presets on the MK80 which are designed to emulate the DX7, which was incredibly popular when the MK80 made its appearance. (I rarely use that group of presets.)

 

However. If they took *that* as the Rhodes to sample for the QS, it would (sadly) explain a lot.

 

Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

It's funny that you should say that...

IIRC, the Rhodes sample in the QS factory ROM was actually taken from an MK-80. Kerz - do you know if that's right?

dB

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Originally posted by coyote:

Hmmm.... there is an entire section of presets on the MK80 which are designed to emulate the DX7, which was incredibly popular when the MK80 made its appearance. (I rarely use that group of presets.)

 

However. If they took *that* as the Rhodes to sample for the QS, it would (sadly) explain a lot.

Oh, I imagine that they were a bit more savvy than that...these guys are Actual Keyboard Players... ;)

 

Listen to Ray's Roadz (PRE1, #05). Nice 'n crunchy - not DXish at all, IMO. Use Slider A to add distortion. Great patch... :thu:

 

dB

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Ray Roadz is a nice patch. I once assumed that Dave wrote it because of the Philly/Football connection, but this was before I understrood the extent of his Raiders passion.

 

Whirl Lee is not a bad Wurlie patch, and I've used No Quarter to good effect as well. That said, I think EPs are best emulated through modeling these days, from what I've heard of the Electro, and even a couple of the presets on my Z1. Then there's that Emagic jobby I haven't heard that gets such nice reviews. Oh, and while I am at it, why fail to mention the free VSTi mda epiano? It's actually a pretty workable emulation, if you are VST-enabled. And free is nice.

 

I should state my EP bias is passionately anti-DX and only slightly less anti-tine-y (is that a palindrome?) I like 'em dirty witrh plenty of velocity-triggered bite. Funny, I played around extensively on a great Rhodes all through my teen years and thought it was the most horrible sounding trash. Now I just love them.

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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Ray Roadz is a nice patch. I once assumed that Dave wrote it because of the Philly/Football connection, but this was before I understrood the extent of his Raiders passion.

 

Whirl Lee is not a bad Wurlie patch, and I've used No Quarter to good effect as well. That said, I think EPs are best emulated through modeling these days, from what I've heard of the Electro, and even a couple of the presets on my Z1. Then there's that Emagic jobby I haven't heard that gets such nice reviews. Oh, and while I am at it, why fail to mention the free VSTi mda epiano? It's actually a pretty workable emulation, if you are VST-enabled. And free is nice.

 

I should state my EP bias is passionately anti-DX and only slightly less anti-tine-y (is that a palindrome?) I like 'em dirty witrh plenty of velocity-triggered bite. Funny, I played around extensively on a great Rhodes all through my teen years and thought it was the most horrible sounding trash. Now I just love them.

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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Originally posted by Magpel:

Then there's that Emagic jobby I haven't heard that gets such nice reviews. Oh, and while I am at it, why fail to mention the free VSTi mda epiano? It's actually a pretty workable emulation, if you are VST-enabled. And free is nice.

 

I should state my EP bias is passionately anti-DX and only slightly less anti-tine-y (is that a palindrome?) I like 'em dirty witrh plenty of velocity-triggered bite. Funny, I played around extensively on a great Rhodes all through my teen years and thought it was the most horrible sounding trash. Now I just love them.

You'll love the EVP88. At least I do. :thu:
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OK, after two almost-sleepless nights I've been able to create a program that approximates the Rhodes sound I've been looking for (close enuf 4 R'n'R anyway). It wouldn't have happened without the Qcard - so that hundred bucks is now justified :)

 

Next up, a good Hammond patch. But that will wait til next week - I need some sleep.

 

Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

Listen to Ray's Roadz (PRE1, #05). Nice 'n crunchy - not DXish at all, IMO. Use Slider A to add distortion. Great patch... :thu:

dB

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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