|Author||Topic: Drum Sampler Over-view|
Posted: 13th November 2004 19:57
I'm always looking for a better drum sampler. All the work I do is with acoustic instruments, so a sampler is going to be the best for me. What's everyone thinking? I see Battery 2 is out. I own Battery 1. I also own Halion 2. Tonight I downloaded the Battery 2 demo and the DR008 demo. I'm pretty disappointed with what is being offered. Here's my brief review:
Has not recieved an "unpaid" update since I bought it a few years ago. My gripes are: You can not trigger different layers while playing the pads. It's always going to play the one set to the highest velocity. There is no graphical layer editor, so you have to type in the value for each layer. No disk streaming, which causes huge kits to eat up a lot of ram.
I see from the NI forum that it has some bugs. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for NI to fix anything. I'm still put off by the way they handled Battery 1. The cost of the upgrade for Battery 1 owners is roughly what I paid for Battery 1; not much of a deal. My gripes: It has a graphical layer editor (map), but it does not stack the layers on top of each other. They also go horizontal. Editing a 32 layer snare cell is a real pain. There's a lot of scrolling around. What's with the CPU hit? With all effects off, B2 draws 3X what B1 did. I do like the look of the interface.
I've been looking at this on and off for years. The things that put me off were: The amount of cryptic icons used, the complexity of the user interface. On my screens 1280x1024, I have to use my glasses and get very close to see what the screen is displaying. The layer editor is, in some ways, better than B2. I like the fact that you can see all the layers on the left and details about them on the right. I don't like the fact that you can only edit the top most layer. I should be able to click on any layer and edit it without having to scroll. That gripe only applies to cells with more laters than can fit on the screen, because at that point, the layers are too small on the left to click on. It could be cured if there were some way to make that editor window larger. I'm sure that when he came out with it that, people complained that it took up too much screen, but I don't think so. I love the fact that you can play different layers in a cell be changing the mouse position. That's something that Battery 1&2 really needed. It doesn't appear that DR008 has an envelope for each cell; at least I can't find it. That's something I use often with long drum decays.
Halion 2 is not a "true" drum sampler. It doesn't give you a nice "cell" layout to work with. It is also a little touchy when making changes. selecting a layer on a key often leads to changing it's velocity zone point. It's really built as a full-blown sampler . I use it mostly for orchestral string stuff, but lately, I've been trying it out for drums. It does have a lot of power, but maybe not the best layout for drums. It's also, at this point, the only one of the four instruments I've listed, to include disk streaming. That is a real plus when putting together a huge kit.
So, what is everyone else thing about drum samplers? I saw that ttoz recently picked up DR008. If it had disk streaming and a slightly larger gui, I would have to agree that it's the best choice. I was not very impressed with Battery 2. I know a lot of people have been looking forward to it (me included), but it's a CPU hog and has some bugs. Halion has all the features, but a poor interface for working with drums. Maybe I should stick with it anyway and forget about picking up anything else.
Tell me what you think.
Posted: 13th November 2004 20:02
EnergyXT's sampler is perfectly suited to drums. You can use midi to set the low-key, high-key, and root-key. So its really easy to stack up samples around the keyboard. It allows velocity layers, and its sample mapping screen is very similar to that of Kontakt. Your samples stack left to right for pitch, and then vertically for velocity.
Its a highly competent sampler with lots of features. The best thing to do is to download the demo (it will save files, but wont re-open them without a liscence) and play around with the sampler.
See my signature.
Posted: 13th November 2004 20:12
If you want a sampler for drums there are so many good ones around.
VSampler 3 will even be a pretty good buy I reckon.
eXT's sampler is also capable and at $39 US you get alot more than just the sampler.
However, are you wanting to build-up samplesets from your own audio material or are you looking for something that has the sounds already there and ready-to-use?
I just put in for the SR Combi Kits Group Buy.
Doesn't come with the engine - but if you happen to like the idea of having a great Sound Module engine, then ST2LE or equivalent is a great option. Any drum content (in particular) produced by Sonic Reality is going to be great. Worth asking a few questions on this if you're interested in great drum content as a strong preference and you haven't decided on a drum sampler yet.
Posted: 13th November 2004 20:14
Sounds like he's a kitmaker Caleb, what with all the moaning about features
Posted: 13th November 2004 20:28
Moaning... who's moaning.... oh,... I am. Sorry about that. I do build my own sample sets, but I'm not opposed to buying some good ones either. I'll check out all your recommendations. I did find the place in DR008 that you can set the amplitude enlvelope for decay time. I guess the first time around, I didn't realize what it was.
As I said in my first post, I already own Halion 2 and Battery 1. I guess my question should have been: Is anyone working with something better than those? If so, what makes it better for you?
Posted: 13th November 2004 20:41
What makes the XT sampler better for me is price for a start.
Seriously though, its just really easy to use. Everything is laid out concisely, so you never get lost in a web of faders and missing samples!!
The differences between the big samplers are negligible, but the reason people choose between them is all about comfort. Whether it feels comfortable for you is the major factor. The only way you're going to discover whats comfortable is by trying them all out.
I'm the type of person to route for the underdog whenever I can, and thats the reason I even gave EnergyXT a looksie. Otherwise I'd still be using Reason and Ableton Live 4.
(Consequently I use Reason less and less, and I'm using Live and XT more and more!!)
Posted: 14th November 2004 01:37
BFD and sample sets are quite good. Excellent interface to boot, review at http://www.musicfaq.net. If you are into control and recycling good grooves this is something to look into.
It may be a pain but I love the change in Battery 2. Yes, it's more money but the drum kits are quite good and I like how it tweaks. Some scaling issues would be nice, agreed. Overall, it's a great way to tweak at the sample level without needing a degree in astrophysics.
Posted: 14th November 2004 01:53
Posted: 14th November 2004 06:12
I did look into BFD also. It looks like a great product. The thing that made me decide not to go with it (so far) was the fact that you are held to the samples included with it. They sound nice, but I'm always looking for something a little less "generic". I've spent a lot of time sampling some DW drums and assorted cymbals. I really would like to use those. For some reason, I always want to use things that other people don't have. Maybe that's my attempt to sound original, or maybe it's just vanity. Also, the cost of BFD is pretty steep. I would need the XL pack to give me enough variety. That would set me back >$500. But, if I can't find anything better, maybe I'll sell some other stuff to free up some cash.
My desire for more gear quickly exceeded my income. I'll bet most of us are in that situation.
Posted: 14th November 2004 06:58
There are particular solutions for particular productions. Of course, not all the percussion is made with samplers, but if youthink so, you've missed a lot of possibilities. DR-008 is more than a sample player. In any case, wherever a sampled drumkit is used, it doesn't matters if it is acoustic or electronic, the aim is to get a good sound.
Drumatic 1, 2 and 3, each with different capabilyties and all free. Of course, forget presets and tweak smethng.
Posted: 14th November 2004 07:11
Posted: 14th November 2004 07:19
Yeah - I thought you might be a kit builder.
Of course - sorry to plug again - the good thing about this particular group buy is that these drum sets are not arranged in kits by default which means you basically make combis of different kit components. So you are kind of making your own kits but with a large source of professionally sampled sounds to start with.
But enough of that.
eXT sampler is pretty logical at the moment and has an integrated beat slicer. You probably aren't that fussed about a beat slicer but it's there if you want it.
The great thing about the eXT sampler is it can assign effects per layer and these can be VSTfx.
This means that you can put your favourite VSTfx reverb within the sampler itself to affect only the snare. You could then use a totally different reverb for the hats.
And you can save the VST plug-in and even it's settings within the patch by exporting the .xts sample format to your harddrive. It's then saved.
You import the sampler into your project and everytime you load up your kit, all the effects are already there with settings intact.
This makes eXT's sampler very flexible and powerful and pretty damn unique.
It has the ability to set 128 different velocity zones per sample if you need that much granularity although I don't think it has cross-fade type functionality for switching velocity zones.
The sampler itself is multitimbral so you can have your kit and several other instruments loaded up.
I managed to create 32 stereo outputs (64 mono) from the sampler itself and each sample can have its own output - again, more flexibility. I'm not sure if any other sampler has so many outputs possible. Of course, eXT itself as a VSTi plug-in has I think 16 possible stereo outputs so if you want to use your own sequencer for adding the effects to the output you're limited to 16 stereo outs. But that's still a very handsome amount of possibilities.
But of course - the best thing about this sampler is that it comes with eXT which is an amazing tool in itself that you can use for a great many projects, not just as a sampler. And for $39? I struggle to find anything better value for money than this.