New free steel drum sfz sampleset

Sampler and Sampling discussion (techniques, tips and tricks, etc.)
154 posts since 5 May, 2020

Post Mon Sep 20, 2021 2:12 pm

I just created an sfz sample set from recordings I made using a friend's C lead steel pan:
  • Hand-made oil-drum steel drum
  • 27 notes sampled, C4 (middle C) to B6, plus C#7, D#7, and F7
  • 5 velocity layers
  • 3 or 4 samples per zone
  • Stereo 16-bit 44.1 KHz
  • Unlooped
  • 44 MB in FLAC format
It's a bit amateurish.  I had trouble keeping the dynamics consistent for each note in a velocity layer.  I hope to try again, but it might not happen.  Anyway, have fun.  No rights reserved.

NOTE: there's a new version:
Last edited by JeffLearman on Tue Oct 12, 2021 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

1620 posts since 19 Mar, 2008 from germany

Post Mon Sep 20, 2021 3:54 pm

So 5-fold velocity and 3-4-fold round robin sounds very
complex and meticulous! Thanks for all the work!

free mp3s + info: songs + weird stuff:


Topic Starter

154 posts since 5 May, 2020

Post Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:28 am

YW. Frankly, it was a combination of meticulous and toss together. I use a pair of python scripts I wrote that do a lot of the busy work (cutting & labeling the samples, and then automatic keyboard mapping of the resulting sample files to produce the .sfz file.) The hard part was that my pitch detection algorithm only worked for about 2/3 of the samples (which is better than I expected, given how strange steel drums are.) So I had to manually review all the files and rename many of them by hand based on the correct pitch. That also gave me a chance to delete the clinkers.

For folks who fiddle with it, please give me feedback on the overall dynamic range. Using the default loudness for velocity curve made the highest velocities not nearly loud enough compared to the quietest notes. The default is based on (V/127)^2, or the square of the velocity as a fraction. I used the 4th power instead of the square and it got a lot better but I'm interested in feedback on that.

Also, there's some fun background noises in some samples. Extra credit for whoever finds any samples with a crow. A damn crow kept cawing while I was trying to record! So far I haven't noticed that in the tails of notes while playing but I'm sure it's in there somewhere. ;-) There were also a few samples where a truck passed by but I think I deleted them all.

I'll also appreciate feedback about whether the lowest and highest velocity layers are useful. I have my doubts.

If I get a chance to sample again, I plan to focus on consistency of the timbre of each note rather than on loudness or how hard I strike. That'll be time-consuming, but should deliver better results. I expect to toss out over half of the samples as I'll be trying to hit the target sweet spot for that velocity layer. There's a fairly narrow force range where (for the first octave notes) the first harmonic kicks in -- that is, when the strike activates the higher octave pad in addition to the main one being struck. In the 2nd velocity layer you can hear most of the notes don't activate that area but some begin to. In the middle layer it's very clearly active for all notes. What I hope to get is a layer below without it, a layer between where it's starting to emerge -- which will be the tricky one -- and a third layer that's like my current middle layer but more consistent, with the 1st harmonic very clear.

Thank goodness the instrument has only two octaves.

One thing I've learned is to learn from the first attempt, rather than trying to get it all right the first time. Sort of like, when you first get a DAW, don't start out trying to record your magnum opus. Record a few simple tunes first and learn!

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3063 posts since 19 Apr, 2002 from Utah

Post Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:19 am

Thank you! And Thank you even more for Open Sourcing it! It is kind and very generous of you! I really appreciate it!
C/R, dongles & other intrusive copy protection equals less-control & more-hassle for consumers. Company gone-can’t authorize. Limit to # of auths. Instability-ie PACE. Forced internet auths. THE HONEST ARE HASSLED, NOT THE PIRATES.


Topic Starter

154 posts since 5 May, 2020

Post Tue Oct 12, 2021 12:56 pm

I resampled the main octave to even out the timbre changes with dynamics:

Comparison to version 1
  • The lower octave was resampled to get more even dynamics. The first time I sampled the instrument, I concentrated on using the same stike force for each velocity layer. As it turns out, different notes respond very differently. So this time, I focused on the timbre, trying to get the same amount of harmonics for each note in a layer. I used the version1 samples for the second octave (where I had a harder time getting consistent timbres).
  • The top velocity layer here is the 4th (2nd highest) layer in the original. When playinb V1, I didn't find its top layer musically useful.
  • V1 is stretched dynamically so that low velocity notes are quieter than the default. This was needed to get the top velocity layers to sound loud enough (since the peaks are very high, whough without a lot of pitched content.) With the new sample set, this didn't seem necessary so I didn't bother.
  • I left out the three inner pads (C#6, D#6, and F6) which weren't musically very useful.
  • (Update) Velocity crossfades, so dynamic response is much smoother for any given note.
Have fun & let me know if anything's broken.
Last edited by JeffLearman on Tue Oct 19, 2021 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.


Topic Starter

154 posts since 5 May, 2020

Post Tue Oct 12, 2021 12:57 pm

I'd appreciate it if anyone would record a short demo! I put a demo up but not a very good one.


Topic Starter

154 posts since 5 May, 2020

Post Tue Oct 19, 2021 8:49 am

For anyone who downloaded version 2, try pulling it again. I added velocity crossfades and it helps a lot.

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30793 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Post Tue Oct 19, 2021 9:04 am

Thanks Jeff :tu:

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