What is "round robin"

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
vinceg
KVRer
9 posts since 13 Dec, 2009

Post Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:50 am

Noob question, I guess. I see the term "round robin" mentioned frequently when people talk of sample/model based instruments. Could someone point me to a tutorial where I could learn a little more about this?

thx, Vince

MWSOS
KVRist
387 posts since 13 Jun, 2006 from Cornwall, UK

Post Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:06 am

Hi Vince!

I doubt that you'll need to read a tutorial. Round-robin is simply a way to let sample developers play back a different sampled version of the same sound each time you hit the same key, so that just like most acoustic instruments each note sounds slightly different for more realism.

This feature becomes particularly important with drum libraries to avoid the 'machine gun' effect of rapidly repeating the same (for instance) snare drum sound.

By having two, four or eight slightly different snare samples, played back in sequence, you avoid such artificial-sounding effects, since if you keep hitting the same key it will play back (for instance):

Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3, Sample 4, Sample 1, Sample 2...

I first came across this feature when reviewing Tascam's Gigastudio, but it's also available on other softsamplers including NI's Kontakt.


Martin

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Krakatau
KVRAF
5830 posts since 25 May, 2002 from Bobo-dioulasso\BF__Geneva/CH

Post Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:18 am

MWSOS wrote:Hi Vince!

I doubt that you'll need to read a tutorial. Round-robin is simply a way to let sample developers play back a different sampled version of the same sound each time you hit the same key, so that just like most acoustic instruments each note sounds slightly different for more realism.

This feature becomes particularly important with drum libraries to avoid the 'machine gun' effect of rapidly repeating the same (for instance) snare drum sound.

By having two, four or eight slightly different snare samples, played back in sequence, you avoid such artificial-sounding effects, since if you keep hitting the same key it will play back (for instance):

Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3, Sample 4, Sample 1, Sample 2...


Martin
BTW i don't know if experience would proove me right but by intuition, i'd say that better would be to have a number of samples in a round robin effect that is uncorrelated to the signature of your arrangement (ex : 3 or 5 samples of a snare drum beat in a 4/4 signature)

Karmacomposer
KVRAF
4771 posts since 7 Nov, 2005 from Florida

Post Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:21 am

Good explantion! Round Robin is also VERY necessary for large orchestral collections where you have many articulations of an instrument. So, bow up, bow down, pedal up, pedal down, etc.

Even guitar libraries can use it for alternate strumming.

So, you, the end user, does not need to know anything to use Round Robin (except a slight practice pressing the same keys in a pattern based on what you want it to sound like). The fact that a rompler or engine uses it is a good thing - it's one of those features you look for in a rompler engine - it makes it a plus!

Mike

eDrummist
KVRian
1200 posts since 5 Dec, 2002 from Earth

Post Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:28 am

Using round robin is valuable for most sampled instruments.

For example, consider electric bass guitar patterns in rock and pop where the same note might be played for an entire measure in an 8th note pattern. If you use the same sample over and over it sounds pretty sterile -- very unlike a real performance using the physical instrument (a real electric bass guitar) live. Consequently, using round robins, even if the note is e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e using one round robin sample will mean that the second time the "e" note is struck a different sample will be used, whereas 2x, 3, 4x, 5x, etc. means 2, 3, 4 or 5 round robin samples will be used.

Round robins are indeed important for percussion instruments, but again, it is just as important for most other types of instruments, from strings to brass to just about any physical instrument you are trying to emulate using samples.

Edit: Fixed typo.
Last edited by eDrummist on Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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pdxindy
KVRAF
20515 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:48 am

You can also set up round robin type effect in some synths. In Zebra you would use the Modmapper module. You can make each key press for example alternate between two states, or 3,4 or more.

MWSOS
KVRist
387 posts since 13 Jun, 2006 from Cornwall, UK

Post Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:33 pm

Karmacomposer wrote:Good explantion!

Mike
Thanks Mike :hihi:
pdxindy wrote:You can also set up round robin type effect in some synths. In Zebra you would use the Modmapper module. You can make each key press for example alternate between two states, or 3,4 or more.
You can set up this sort of thing in Alchemy as well, with either two or four round-robin layers.


Martin

Dr.Wu
KVRAF
1890 posts since 23 Dec, 2003

Post Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:18 pm

Roland Fantom can do the same thing. Great way to create wavesequence like sounds where every attack is different (up to 4 in case of the Fantom)
A similiar result can be achieved in Omnisphere when you control Timbre and samplestart with Random.

MikeCL
KVRist
202 posts since 25 Jun, 2012 from Connecticut

Post Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:02 pm

Thanks for this topic I was wondering this very same thing.

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murnau
KVRAF
5573 posts since 13 Jan, 2005 from the bottom of my heart

Post Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:08 pm

Krakatau wrote:BTW i don't know if experience would proove me right but by intuition, i'd say that better would be to have a number of samples in a round robin effect that is uncorrelated to the signature of your arrangement (ex : 3 or 5 samples of a snare drum beat in a 4/4 signature)
i'll second that! with primes you never cant go wrong!
Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours.

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bmanic
KVRAF
9193 posts since 3 Feb, 2003 from Finland, Espoo

Post Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:10 pm

Good point! Some of the more advanced orchestral libraries have a dedicated way of restarting the round-robin count so that you can "randomize" or control it at will to avoid the "same sample every 3rd beat" syndrome.

Cheers!
bManic
"Wisdom is wisdom, regardless of the idiot who said it." -an idiot

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Tricky-Loops
Banned
10240 posts since 12 Mar, 2012 from the Bavarian Alps to my feet and the globe around my head

Post Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:19 pm

Wouldn't it be better if different samples are mapped to specific MIDI CC values, so they can be triggered in a controlled (not random) way?

Echoes in the Attic
KVRAF
9363 posts since 12 May, 2008

Post Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:07 pm

Tricky-Loops wrote:Wouldn't it be better if different samples are mapped to specific MIDI CC values, so they can be triggered in a controlled (not random) way?
The idea with RR isn't to be able to control which sample plays at which time necessarily because they should be too similar that it shouldn't matter much. It's just that they need to be different enough that the ear can't hear the exact same sample, which makes it sound electronic. There's often round robin reset though so that it's at least predictable enough that you know when it'll go back to the first sample so that it doesn't accidentally sound different then you're expecting. And it depends on the developer. Some libraries have RRs that are so similar you can't even tell they are different. But you can't tell they are exactly the same either. Sometimes RRs can be significantly different if they are loose, such as spitfire audio's staccatos. These can actually problematic too because they cause an identifiable loop. That's where the randomness is good.

But I think controlling it be a midi CC would be a bit much to think about. however deciding if it cycles or goes random, that's important and many devs offer that. and also reset after a certain amount of time is handy.

Round robins are getting crazy these days. Look at some Orchestral stuff like Cinesamples. Some of their percussion has like 5 or more velocity layers with 10 round robins, that's 50 samples key. Not to mention having a bunch of different possible mic positions which are different samples. I say hard drive space isn't keeping up with sample library storage requirements fast enough!
System: Windows 10, Dell XPS 2-in-1, Bitwig 3, Steinberg UR44.

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Frantz
KVRAF
5733 posts since 18 Jul, 2008 from New York

Post Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:26 pm

Round Robin is what you get when Batman's sidekick eats too many cheeseburgers. :ud:

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Numanoid
KVRAF
25857 posts since 20 Jan, 2008 from a star near where you are

Post Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:57 am

MWSOS wrote:This feature becomes particularly important with drum libraries to avoid the 'machine gun' effect of rapidly repeating the same (for instance) snare drum sound.
Ah, but that is the discreet charm of electronic music, no? :D

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