Welcome to the DWG Forums.
Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 65
  1. #1
    DWG Warrior
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Collector Ponce
    Posts
    3,549

    Samplers : Personal experience and reviews...

    I've been thinking about starting this post for a while now where we could share our experiences and opinions on different hardware samplers that we've owned as a sort of rough guide/review for those of us who like to mess about with them.
    I personally have owned the following presented roughly in chronological order...





    Roland MS-1
    --------------


    Always liked this although it was somewhat hampered by the extremely expensive memory cards and the pitch setting being global so altering the pitch of one sample altered the pitch of them all. Still worth picking up if you see one cheap nowadays. (Oh and if you're on Instagram check out DJ Q1 from South Africa using one of these with great skill.)




    Peavy DPM SP & DPM SX
    --------------------------


    An odd set of machines by a manufacturer not usually associated with samplers, the DPM SP played the sample whilst the DPM SX recorded the sample and transferred it via a scuzzy lead. It had a decent sound and was fairly straight forward to use except it did require a lot of menu diving via its extremely small alphanumeric screen.


    Yamaha SU-10
    ----------------


    Like the MS-1 this suffered with a Global Pitch setting, however in its favour it ran on batteries and had more functions than the MS-1. The SU-10 also has a primitive sequencer and a quite pleasant "dusty" sound.


    Boss SP-202
    --------------


    My least favourite of the Roland\Boss series of SP samplers and another machine with the awkward (in my opinion) Global Pitch setting.


    Roland DJ-70
    --------------


    Loved this machine, a supposed successor to the cult legend which is the W-30, it had full sized keys, pitch bend and modulation wheels, an LCD screen for graphical editing of your samples and a completely pointless 7" "scratch wheel" which produced sounds like no scratching I've ever heard.
    It was a big piece of gear and weighed a fair bit too, my keyboard stand used to creak whenever it was placed upon it.


    Boss SP-808
    --------------


    This was an interesting concept, take a sampler based on the SP-303 and squeeze it together with a digital multitrack. A very underrated machine in my mind, perhaps because people were expecting Roland to create something that would compete with the MPC series but this went off on its own tangent.
    The only big downside I found with it was that it used Zip disks which eventually fuck with the "click of death" and if you put a fucked one in the drive it fucks the drive which then fucks any other discs placed into it.
    There have been rumours and experiments over the years of people replacing the Zip drive with a CF card reader but only one or two people have ever claimed to have gotten the modification to work however someone on SP-Forums posted an email from a Chinese card reader manufacturer who is looking into making one, so life may be breathed into these old machines again...


    Emu SP-12
    ------------


    The forerunner of the SP-1200 I was lucky enough to pick up one with the Turbo expansion which took the sampling time up to just under 6 seconds. I even tracked down a commodore 1541 disk drive as well as a box of old style 5 1/4 inch floppy disks which allowed me to save whatever I'd been up to extremely slowly.
    These have the legendary Emu-SP sound and essentially the same simple OS, great if you're looking for a "budget" SP-1200 option.


    Akai SO-1
    ----------


    Entry level rack mount Akai sampler, simple to use sounds great limited by the amount of samples it can hold at one time but perfectly useable for making beats. I bought this as a companion for the SP-12 to expand my sampling time and they worked well together. The SO-1 was also the perfect size to place under the SP-12 so they took up less room too !


    Boss SP-505
    --------------


    Great little machine that I've owned two of over the years, envisioned as a studio based version of the SP-303 it's essentially the same machine with a few extras added on such as a four track sequencer and a LCD screen for editing your samples and sequences, it also has a very basic auto-chop function.


    Akai MPC2000XL
    ------------------


    The first MPC I ever owned and I hated this from day one, I just never clicked with it, the operating system to me was obtuse and made my head hurt. Don't let that put you off them though, thousands of people use them with no problem I think I just have MPC dyslexia.




    Emu SP-1200
    --------------


    The King of samplers if you're into hip hop, simple to use and pretty much anything you sample sounds better coming out than it did going in, honestly it's like your samples have been sprinkled with magic dust that improves their sound.
    However don't think that using one will improve your productions automatically, it won't turn you into Extra P/Pete Rock, second rate beats still sound second rate.
    This is the only item of equipment I've ever regretted parting with, to this day I would grab another if I had the right money or saw one at the right price.


    Akai MPC1000 (Black Model)
    ------------------------------


    I bought this after selling the SP-1200 due to space becoming an issue. Why did I buy this after hating the MPC2000XL so much you ask ? Well all the reviews I read seemed to say that the issues I had with the Akai OS had been addressed.
    I was wrong !!! It was not as bad as the MPC2000XL but I still didn't get it, help was at hand though in the form of the JJ OS upgrade which made the MPC much more user friendly and added a few options that were previously unavailable.


    Roland MV8000
    -----------------


    Roland's answer to the MPC4000, no complaints about this at all, like a whole studio in a box, a beast of a machine which you can now pick up for a very reasonable price. It was fairly straight forward to use, and could pretty much do anything you wanted it to.


    Roland SP-404SX
    -------------------


    Easy to use, great effects the most modern of the SP series no complaints about this little box at all.


    Korg ES2 Sampler
    -------------------


    Korg's latest venture in the ES series and whilst there was some great improvements overall this was a disappointing purchase, the OS felt clunky and unfinished and overall it was as if the full potential of it had been missed.


    Korg Volca Sample
    --------------------


    This was everything the ES2 sampler should have been, fast to use, lots of easily accessible option for editing and playing your sounds, a great little box which is ridiculously cheap.
    The only weakness is that it doesn't actually sample itself so you need to use your phone/tablet/computer to capture them.


    Boss SP303
    ------------


    The best sounding of the Boss\Roland SP series in my opinion, the 303 adds a distinctive colour to your samples. As with the 404SX it's got great effects and is quick to learn.


    Teenage Engineering OP-1
    ---------------------------


    An odd but beautiful machine with an elegant and simple to use OS which is deceptively deep.
    Expensive but well made (would it be wrong to say crafted ?) from the first time I tried one in my local store I was jonesing for one.


    Ok that's my potted history/reviews, please feel free to add your own experiences and opinions or to ask any questions...









    Last edited by Imperial_Mao; 24-03-16 at 03:02 PM.

  2. #2
    DWG Warrior
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    cologne
    Posts
    272
    damn yo,thats a lot of stuff you have/had.
    i bought a little mpd 5 years ago but i hate to work with software so i'm buying a mpc 2000 soon

  3. #3
    DWG Warrior
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    moon base alpha
    Posts
    13,586
    Great stuff, thanks Mao.

    I like the idea of being able to load up pads & play them live. Pretty sure i'm going to grab an SP404sx. Just need to work out the ins & outs & how versatile it actually is.

  4. #4
    DWG Warrior
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    moon base alpha
    Posts
    13,586
    Think i've sussed it.
    http://www.manualslib.com/manual/141...4.html?page=45


    Anyone done this before?

  5. #5
    DWG Warrior
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Collector Ponce
    Posts
    3,549
    Stilts you can grab the SP404SX manual from Roland's home site here :-

    http://roland.com/support/article/?q...SX&id=14997200

  6. #6
    DWG Warrior
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Collector Ponce
    Posts
    3,549
    Quote Originally Posted by dj scaramanga View Post
    damn yo,thats a lot of stuff you have/had.
    I'm a compulsive buyer and seller of gear which I think is due to where I live the opportunities to try things out are very limited so you usually just have to read reviews and take a punt if you think something appeals to you, it's a gutter when you get it wrong ha ha.

  7. #7
    DWG Warrior
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    moon base alpha
    Posts
    13,586
    Bit like taking a punt on an unknown record & it's a duffer! Great feeling when it you get it right though
    (thanks for the link)

  8. #8
    DWG Warrior
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    674
    Nice 1, Imperial Mao ! Good write up man!
    U certainly got thru a load of kit there man. Are/were you actively producing records? Or purely buying/selling kit? Sounds like u been into this quite seriously for a while.
    Im strictly hobbyist, i love to mess about with outboard gear but never releasd anything. Ive probably only made one or two half decent tracks over many years of pissing about with samplers etc lol good times tho


    (not really a sampler but..) Commodore Amiga 1200 running octamed - 8bit really dirty sound but can be quite harsh on the ears. You could only play 4 samples at the same time which meant lots of weird workarounds such as mixing two samples into one at times. Sounded pretty bad when a whole track was made on it alone, but when mixed with other gear the grimyness can be dope. Not a great bass response I have to say though. Used a lot for early jungle techno etc.



    Akai MPC 2000 - Found this to be extremely intuitive to use, never tried the XL. Sound quality is pretty clean, stereo if you want it & decent low end too. 8 outs for the mixer hookup, u can make some really clean tracks. I mainly used the 2000's sequencer with the s950 for samples.
    EDIT actually now I think of it, the value slider on the 2000 was always a bit of a mystery to me. Short of using it in pitch mode for psuedo-scratching, I never got my head around assigning it to sounds and recording changes with it. Also, i dont think you could use it for volume, which would have been really good for echos etc. the 16 levels function, when set up properly, was pretty useful for chopping, although it followed a logarythmic curve which meant the chops start off close together and end up further apart as you go down the pads. weird...

    Akai MPC 500 - Brilliant but hugely flawed device - solid build, battery powererd, great sound and ability to internally resample. But hampered by glitches within the OS and a hugely un-intuitive menu system. If jjos existed for this I'm sure it would be a winner.. I live in hope!

    Akai S950 - Another well documented sampler, the ability to change the sampling frequency is very useful for creating different levels of dirt. It just has a "nice" 12bit grimy sound, somehow. Especially when sampling a record on 45 and slowing it down after, for that weird "anti alias" effect that many producers use in hiphop.
    The low pass filter is quite special how it can create this murky smooth effect on certain samples, which I have not heard the likes of on any other sampler. 8 outputs is essential for hookup to a mixing desk for EQ'ing those filthy samples and cutting off any unwanted low-end. (if only it had a High Pass filter too!)

    Roland S-550 - I was given this sampler by a friend who sold me a broken mixing desk (long story) and refused to take responsibility, then eventually years later felt guilty and gave me a bunch of old music gear when he moved house. This sampler is very counter-intuitive to use. For a start, dont even think about trying to use it without hooking up a TV set (!) and a mouse to it. I was lucky to get the mouse, apparently theyre quite hard to get as they are wired in a very specific way or something.

    I only ever made one beat with it, mostly due to space and time restrictions - I have to say the sound quality is absolutely amazing. Its 12bit but has a certain creamyness to the low-fi'ness that I cant describe. Smooth like the s950 but in a different way. Its got really powerful filters, I belive Low and High pass, which go (i think) to extreme limits. The low pass goes REALLY low, and creates huge amounts of bass if I recall correctly. (Been a few years since I had a go on it) But the filters are nothing like the s950 for murkyness, I think theyre quite clean sounding.

    So yeah, sound-wise its phenomenal. HOWEVER the interface - even with TV and mouse connected - is an absolute nightmare. Maybe it gets better with time, but I remember having to press multi-function buttons on the front of the unit in conjuntion with onscreen clicks, jumping back and forth a lot, and big lags with the display. Probaby didnt help it was balanced on the corner of a chest of drawers, along with a really old CRT TV, midi keyboard etc stuffed into the corner of a very messy room!

    I ended up re-sampling the chops I (eventually) made back onto the mpc2000, and if/when i use it again, ill probably do the same. One other thing I noticed especially on this unit is that the envelopes on the sounds were always slightly different every time. there was an inconsistency to it, which ive noticed a tiny bit on the MPC and S950 but its really obvious on the roland.


    Yamaha SY-85 - this is a 90s synthersizer "workstation" (ie it has a crap sequencer on it too) but what made it different to a lot of synths was that its waveforms were entirely sample based. Eventually worked out a way to transfer samples via "midi dump" from the PC - and it became a sampler of sorts. (you couldnt record directly into it, sadly) The built in effects and filters on the 85 are really powerful, very digital sounding with not much warmth, quite a clinical sound, very distinctive though.


    Ive was also given a Akai S-01 by a customer where I used to work, which I have yet to use. interested to hear more about that one. Does it have any particular sonic characteristics?
    Last edited by theblend; 24-03-16 at 05:13 PM.

  9. #9
    DWG Warrior
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Coventry
    Posts
    107
    Yes! MPC dyslexia!

    Only owned 2 samplers.Roland W30 and an MPC 2000XL.I've still got the W30.

  10. #10
    DWG Warrior
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Collector Ponce
    Posts
    3,549
    I've only ever been a hobbyist, never got any further than playing things in my bedroom really but I have a real problem with gearlust which accounts for the buying and selling, perhaps if I'd put as much energy into making beats as I did reading about and buy and selling equipment I might have got a little further ha ha !

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •