Anyone primarily using samples? Sampling questions...

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theorize
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Anyone primarily using samples? Sampling questions...

Post by theorize » Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:02 pm

So I've done some sampling in the past, but I've recently acquired a couple hw synths and finally have my pi going again, so I'm planning on using mostly samples, there's something charming about sampling directly into a tracker and running with it.
Now that I've invested some money in it and am planning on going mainly sample based, I figured this is a great time to ask for guidance from people who have a lot of experience with it... What are some of the things you learned along the way that really helped you out? Like is there a db level that is preffered for samples? When to normalize, what is an acceptable noise level? Should i be using a certain power strip for best audio quality? Best way to record certain types of sounds? Things along those lines... any and all tips are appreciated!

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Keres
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Re: Anyone primarily using samples? Sampling questions...

Post by Keres » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:52 am

Sampling as a technique or sampling as a theft of someone's hard work? which do you mean? sampling a sound that you create is a very useful tool, but sampling a drumbeat from some guy who barely got paid in the first place is just plain wrong. It's acceptable to steal some music beats or something if you are like... 16yo and just starting out, but if you actually know how to make tracks and you are still sampling like it's 1990, then u just plain suck. I can't think of any commercial synth or effect on the market that does something that sunvox can't do. You might make a point about some obscure analog resonance or some weird FFT transform, but in almost all cases sunvox can be programmed to do what any synth on the market can do.

that being said, if you sample things you come up with, like your riff on a synth you make... yeah, this is a very powerful way of composing tracks. it uses a huge amount of memory and it's not very portable, but it's actually faster. It can also save tons of CPU.

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Keres
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Re: Anyone primarily using samples? Sampling questions...

Post by Keres » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:17 am

You mention noise... like mic noise? yeah mic noise is a huge problem.

Example: you have an old ensoniq plugged into a guitar amp. nomatter what else you try, it doesn't get that sound out of the board or any other mix. You decide to stick a mic in front and sample it into sunvox. Problem: now you notice a really rude hiss and or humm. Solution: don;t use a consumer grade soundcard to sample. On my dell, you can hear a static computer noise at about -24bd when it is plugged in. most consumer grade sound cards are not shielded from the power supply on the dang computer. any USB pro audio card will reduce the noise and humm. i have a Lexicon USB 2 in/2 out that i bought used. only goes to 48k, but it is quiet for recording. you might have to change all your preffs in sunvox, but that will be more quiet. Then you have to check your mic setup. this is completely objective. I have used toy mics, and Pro mics. the fact is that you just have to plug them in and check. Mic Pre-amps can make a huge difference. most mic pres in new hardware are great. some seem really quiet with older mics... just depends on your hearing and what you like. spending a huge pile of cash is not necessary. there are USB Mics out there that could solve the sound card solution as well.

as far as noise that can't be avoided, the best thing is to sample into something like Audacity and use noise reduction processing. This would be necessary if say... the amplifier has a 60Hz humm and no polarity switch. This is an electrical problem that can be accentuated by things like florescent lighting, other computers and equipment on the same breaker... local truckers using illegal CB radio amps. In this case, you are at the mercy of your audio restoration skills. Long samples will show more of the noise, short samples that are properly cropped will have less noise, unless looped.

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Keres
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Re: Anyone primarily using samples? Sampling questions...

Post by Keres » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:28 am

oh, when you sample, you don't need to maximize the amplitude if it's 16bit or more. You only need to hear it clearly against the rest of the mix. You would only have to do that if you intend to degrade the sample to a lower bit plane i gues... you should leave a little room, but i suspect that even a little hard digital clipping is acceptable, especially in sunvox since you will have more headroom for mixing and are likely to use more effects on your sampling.

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Re: Anyone primarily using samples? Sampling questions...

Post by Keres » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:33 am

oh, when you sample, you don't need to maximize the amplitude if it's 16bit or more. You only need to hear it clearly against the rest of the mix. You would only have to do that if you intend to degrade the sample to a lower bit plane i guess... you should leave a little room, but i suspect that even a little hard digital clipping is acceptable, especially in sunvox since you will have more headroom for mixing and are likely to use more effects on your sampling.

theorize
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Re: Anyone primarily using samples? Sampling questions...

Post by theorize » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:09 pm

Thanks for the replies, very much appreciated. So for the most part I'll be sampling, 3 pieces of kit, for now: a roland sh-201, a waldorf blofeld, and a yamaha ry-10. I won't be using any mics. Btw I'm also using a focusrite 2i2 for sampling the blofeld and drum machine, i can sample the 201 digitally through usb. I'm not planning on doing any found sound stuff for a while, although that is fun. I mainly just want the old school experience that was involved with something like fasttracker 2 (or any other tracker that can sample) where you sample directly in to an instrument and then track it, not necessarily making loops unless it's absolutely neccesary because of some automation I want to do within the synth, but i really want to avoid that if i can. Like once i had a korg volca bass and an older usb audio interface i forget who made it, but i recorded a ton of single note samples that i had to throw away in the end because there was inaudible noise that was in a couple of frequency bands that turned into a kind of tone when i tried to track the samples because the noise was aliasing when pitched i think. That was a hard lesson to learn, check your recording setup for suprises like that before you do a bunch of work making samples. I tried hard a bunch of ways to eq out that noise but it was in the right spot to where it would ruin the sample if i did the eq. There is some slight noise from the blofeld, but it does even register on the vu in audacity so its well under -75db, and I might be able to mitigate some more by recording at a little bit lower level, i think im actually boosting a little on the 2i2's pres, there's not exactly a 0 mark on it, but the output of the blofeld seems a bit quiet to me, for some reason i just feel like I should be recording at a higher level than -15 db, that's what inspired me to ask for help in the first place but then i thought let me see if people have tips that i wouldnt even think to ask about

theorize
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Re: Anyone primarily using samples? Sampling questions...

Post by theorize » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:22 pm

I've always tried to record single note samples as high as i can because i figure it's nice to have the volume available if needed and it's easily brought down in the sampler, but just as a test, I recorded a single saw oscillator no filter no amp envelope, amplitude turned all the way up, and was suprised at how low the signal came in at. I used this as a baseline test because i could record digitally from the synth using usb, eliminating the audio interface from the test. I did this after noticing how low the blofeld seem to record in versus what i remember from a few years back recording the korg synth.

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Keres
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Re: Anyone primarily using samples? Sampling questions...

Post by Keres » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:36 am

I don't know if I can identify with the sampling one note thing... Phrases and licks seem better cause you can use the phase and offset commands.

On the noise side... I'm not surprised that a cheap Korg synth might have whiny sound artifacts. The vocla sample I picked up has a base rate of 32k or something.

For me sampling makes sense if you intend to use some really l33t process like a pod with speaker emulation or an old 1959 mono pre-amp and eq. Speakers can actually interpolate out some rate induced artifacts. Back in the fast tracker days, I had a friend who used the PC speaker output, but into a home made 5' cabinet with an 18" speaker. Believe it or not, the length of the paper cone sortof washed out the sample rate sounds. You couldn't tell it was from a 1 bit dac.

My favorite piece is a cheap behringer ultragain tube pre. I hook up 2 sennheiser vocal mics to it and record drums for sample loops... Sounds like God. Of course, my drumming is not to great, so I have to quantize the loops with the 7xxxx command and re-sample it into a sunvox tracker :-)

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