Soft Samplers?

Ive used Halion with cubase in the past, Emulator x (with cubase and renoise) and a number of hardware samplers over the years. Ive got the 1.5 version of emulator x and am selling the last of my hardware samplers and trying to decide between upgrading to the emulator x2 version or buying an entirely different soft sampler.

I really like a lot about the emulator. Great sound quality. Great synth, editing, etc options and in many ways it compliments renoises internal sampler well. I do keep finding songs in renoise with the emu cause minor probs (which im trying to pin down and check arent something else and will post about soon) but even assuming this isnt a prob with the later version im quite torn.

I hear good things about mach5 and kontakt. If i change it ll be because a) the emu uses a lot of cpu. B) It doesnt give great auditioning options when used as i currently do (though maybe if i organised my samples as is intended by emu i might find that easier)

It would be 3-4 times the cost of the upgrade to buy another bit of software but i can afford to and i dont mind doing so. Id just like to gather any experiences you guys have to offer with the others and particuarly how they work with renoise. Ive just noticed that a platinum version of emulator x is about to come out that can use dual processing. That might be good but makes the cost similar.

So is there anything thats nice and quick and easy to audition samples in, has good envelope, synthesis etc options and runs like a dream with renoise?

cheers for any advice given…

When I switched from Halion to Kontakt (was back in 2003 I think) it was a real relief: Kontakt was more CPU efficient, easier and more powerful.

Kontakt2 has great bonuses: you can save RAM with DFD (Direct From Disk) streaming, reduce instruments size using a purge option which removes from the instruments the sample which have not been played until now (very useful to do it when you are sure you have completed an instrument part), and has its great scripting capability: there is a specific programming language for K2 which allows sound designer to create and recreate great effects.

I don’t know what you need from a sampler, but I would definitely recommend you giving a look at Kontakt.

sorry for offtopic, but what has kontakt, emulator x, etc. to offer that renoise’s native core sampler hasn’t?
is it just because of the better support (more samples, velocity dependant) for multisample-instruments?

you said:

what synth? i think you’re talking about a sampler ?

“is it just because of the better support (more samples, velocity dependant) for multisample-instruments?”

Yes for those reasons, though i also use and love renoises internal sampler too. Triggering different renoise sampler instruments from the same note info in different channels can be lovely for some multilayered things but sometimes i want to do things that would mean tedious workarounds that are never quite right.
I used to use an mpc, an asr10, and a lovely grainy old roland together or apart depending on what i was doing. They re all samplers but they have their own feel, workflow and abilities so even if renoise incorporated some new features ill still use at least one other soft sampler and prob some hardware too.

As for the synth thing…im referring to the ability of the emulator x (or most modern samplers including renoises) to apply its synth architechture (Envelopes, filters, lfos etc etc) to sampled waveforms. Maybe we use different terminology or maybe i wasnt clear. The lack of a really solid line between sampling and synthesis is one of the things i love about electronic music.

Im interested in kontakt. Will definatly have a good look and arrange a demo of it soon. The utilitys and workflow/archiving etc things you mention sound very good Alien and are the kind of thing it can be tricky to find out in advance (whereas envelopes, filters etc are usualy shouted from the rooftops on the makers pages and are easy to check out.)

There’s also the fact that many high end sample libraries are in .nki format [or whatever], and usually come with some version of Kompakt [the smaller NI sampler which is no longer supported]. You have the option of using Kontakt with these sample libraries instead, and Kontakt has far more features and is not limited to just the one sample library.

what Kontakt has more than Renoise for me:

DFD, Multilayering, Scripting, Sample purging, Voice grouping.

This said, when at least mulilayering will be implemented in Renoise, my Kontakt usage will drop down significantly

I dont happen use sample libraries other than a grand piano set sometimes for scoreing (though thats always standalone when im not near a piano anyway) so thats not a big concern for me.

When and if renoise has multilayering i may use other samplers for less programming of vaugely synthish sounds and if it gets layering and can cope with different envelopes for different reigions in the same instrument i can see me only using a vst sampler quite rarely.

Since we re on 1.9 beta and that prob wont turn up till 2 at the earliest another soft sampler is the way ill go for now.

When ive decided which ill post my choice and reasons here in case its useful to anyone. :P

Kontakt has buff effects too. I have not found the same sounds in any other software yet.

It has wicked time stretching that can work on a subtle level, or totally destroy a sound in the most lovely way ever.

Renoise cant do this. The sampler in Renoise doesnt really have any musical features like this… Rather it is just a work horse for assigning the samples to keys (which is what you have to do in Renoise, so it is just part of the package.)

If Renoise gets timestretching like in Kontakt, and some effects that sound as good (not that they arent good now of course), then I will delete Kontakt.

There are lots of things that currently lack in the Renoise instrument structure what does not make an external softsampler overcomplete.

Its come down to a couple of questions…

  1. Does kontakt have dual processor support?
  2. How easy and quick is it to audition samples? (The emulator is a bit of a pain)
  1. yes

  2. you have to load up the instrument/sample and use a midi keyoboard (and/or the standard PC keyboard, if you are using it into Renoise) to listen to the samples. At least, I’ve never found a different way. Loading a whole instrument can be long, but under normal circumstances should not take more than 10 seconds.

This afternoon i got a demo of kontakt running and took some time to see if i can better use emulator x to audition samples.

Kontakts auditoning is great standalone but its lost in renoise sadly as you mention alien. Same goes for the limited auditioning abilitys in the emulator.

I know it seems a funny thing to focus on but i love the workflow in renoise and these things really eat away at it. Im not after everything being insanely fast for the sake of ease/laziness. Im happy spending hours carefuly programming instruments but sometimes i want to work quickly to get things down and it seems a shame not to have that option when its designed in. Maybe i can work out how to rout the output the audition function uses through cubase or through my 2nd soundcard? Ill see…

oh well even if not its the one instance where renoise laggs behind cubase for speed.

Wasnt as keen on kontakts filters but the rest of it was impressive so far.

hmm doesn’t renoise support soundfonts or something?

Why not convert the samples by using software such as cdxtract and run them inside renoise?

no, renoise does not load sf2

ahemmm okay then =)

Yeah, really… Renoise is a HELLA heavy bit of kit. The core of the whole thing is that you load in samples and program them into a track using a f****ing excellent interface.

But, the core of this (the sampler) is not up to scratch (at the moment). I would love to see a monster of a sampler. I mean, it is really good at the moment, but it needs to be SUPER-CHARGED to bring it in line with stuff like Kontakt.

Imagine the possibilities of a HEAVY sampler in Renoise… The UI is there already, so making the sampler dope would be a dream come true.

There is definatly a problem with running emulator x in renoise.
When im using the two together i find the buttons in renoise sometimes freeze up and wont change values. I think this may be after saveing the samplers memory.
Not sure if this counts as a bug or if its still a prob in v2 of the ex but i need to work this out before spending money on upgrading anything.

Id like to see this thing with the audition function in vst samplers being disabled fixed as well… whereabouts is best to post on these things once ive investigated when the other prob comes up a bit more?

Oh and does anyone know if this happens with emux v2 or kontakt in renoise?

Take a look at shortcircuit, I’ve used it in the past. It compliments Renoise very well:

trying it. looks very good but theres the same prob with auditioning. It seems to use windows folders to find files so i only hear them if i open them in media player or the like.

Am i missing a function in windows xp where its folders can play audio files quickly when selected but not opened or chosen for the relevent bit of software? Folder options lets you add options other than open and play but it doesnt make it easy to go through a lot of files to choose one like you can in cubase when browsing for audio to import.

anyone dealt with this before? Would be very handy.

audition has a preview option that plays a selected sample so you can go trough lists of samples fast. also there is a tool called “loop horse” which does about the same (and offers ways to batchcopy selected files, I use it to organize my samples)