Recently, sampling is becoming a very popular art form in music. Whether you are using a popular software sampler such as Native Instruments Kontakt or a hardware workstation such the the new Yamaha Motif XF, there is a growing trend to sample new sounds for your instrument of choice. After spending a fair amount of time using conversion programs such as Awave, CDXtract, Translator, etc. to convert from one sound format to another, I stumbled upon the concept of sampling VSTi soundsets directly to create one’s own multisamples. Well, they are not exactly my own as I am sampling another soundset, but the multisample itself is something I have been programming into my hardware synths such as the Roland Fantom-XR and Xa. I also have a Yamaha A3000, Roland S-760, W-30, and S-330 hardware samplers. Hopefully soon, I’ll be jumping on the Yamaha Motif XF wagon and with that you get a whopping 2GB of Flash memory.
I recently purchased Nexoe’s YASE for the Roland Fantom-XR to import samples and create multisample patches. This lead me to trying out Nexoe’s RESAMPLE to sample patches from NI’s Kontakt because I couldn’t extract the WAV files very well. Unfortunately, RESAMPLE wouldn’t allow me to test fully in demo mode. Quickly one will find out that many of these auto sample VSTi applications are quite expensive. So, I went on to the next offering which was Extranslator’s Extreme Sample Converter. I was successfully able to sample “beautifully” 4 velocity layers with different zones across the keyboard. It was very fast and accurate. I was then able to select all the wav files at once and auto loop them. I then exported to AKAI S5000 format (Nexoe YASE imports this format into the XR easily) and opened them later in Sony’s Soundforge 8. Within Soundforge, I was able to trim the excess fat outside the loop points and work a fade in to eliminate any pops at the beginning. Flawless!
I then opened up Nexoe’s YASE and imported the AKAI S5000 formatted file and instantly created a new patch and multisample for the Fantom-XR. In addition, the loop points and root keys were fully intact. I then saved the file to my CF card and loaded it up in the Fantom-XR. The sound and quality was practically perfect. I couldn’t believe how simple it was using Nexoe’s YASE, Extreme Sample Converter, and Sony Sound Forge 8 to grab an NI Kontakt patch and dump it to the Roland Fantom-XR. In fact, Extreme Sample Converter allows you to load up just about any Software VSTi and start auto sampling patches galore!! You can sample any number of keys but there is a limit of only 4 velocity layers which is fine. Auto loop points in single or batch mode is also supported.
Sampling sounds from other VSTi and Hardware Intruments allows you to greatly increase the number of sounds you can work with away from the computer on stage. The technology is here and I can only see it getting more popular. With the release of the new Yamaha Motif XF series keyboards, you can now place your newly created multisampled patches into flash memory effectively eliminating the loading wait times. My Roland Fantom-XR is not bad though with a 15 minute or less wait at 512MB, but I’m sure Korg, Roland, and other vendors will soon have flash memory options for their newer workstations and synths.
So what’s the best software for auto sampling your hardware synths and/or VSTi software synths? I really can’t answer that yet, but for now I’m sticking with Extreme Sample Converter for sampling VSTi soundsets to be imported into the Roland Fantom X. It works fantastic and the price is reasonable at around $100 USD. I did glance at the other options I have listed below, but they are either redundant in features compared to Extreme Sample Converter, much more expensive, or in some cases lacking in necessary features.
What do you use for sampling your VSTi’s and Hardware keyboards? Any recommendations are greatly appreciated. I am amazed at how fast and easy it is (once you know what you’re doing) to auto sample any VSTi patch and import it into your synth or workstation of choice. WOW! A whole new dimension has been added to creating and adding fresh sounds to your instrument.
Here is a list of probably the most well known auto sampling VSTi and hardware synth applications. There may be others, but at the time of this posting, I was only able to find these below. Feel free to comment if you find others or wish to share your experiences. Thanks!!
UPDATE: I contacted the developer (Wlodzimierz Grabowski) of Extreme Sample Converter today (12/16/2010) and he replied within an hour of my message. I inquired about the future development and support of Extreme Sample Converter. His reply was “New versions are under development and supported all the time.” Thus it appears that Mr. Wlodzimierz Grabowski is still working on and supporting Extreme Sample Converter despite the last news date of 11/10/2009. His website hints at a new version 4 which would be exciting if released in the near future.