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The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

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The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby leslawrenson » Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:46 pm

I've been tracking the sale of AKAI samplers on Ebay over tghe past few months, and I can't believe the stupidly low prices that decents bits of kit are going for these days!

I became particularly keen when I put myself in the market for a Z4, which don't come onto the market that often. I eventually managed to pick up a pristine unit with 80gig drive, and complete with optional fx board and extra outs. I paid £350! How cheap is that! This thing has 32 filter types for christsake! And it is maxed out with 512MB RAM!

A couple of S3200 have recently gone for £50 a piece, and today an S5000 with 256MB RAM and a 2gig Jazz drive sold for £212.

I don't know anything about the EMU or the Roland units, but they all seem pretty cheap, too, at the moment.

Now has never been a better time to get yourself a serious bit of hardware sampler!
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Re: The falling price of hardware samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby The real musiclover » Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:01 pm

Indeed. I simply have to get my hardware back into the equation soon, but i simply haven't got the room... Well, i have a room, but it's too small.

I haven't thus far seen anything in software that would be as easy to use as my hardware samplers. Mind you i haven't really looked intently to be honest.

Buyers market indeed. Now where did i leave that roll of fifty pound notes?
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Re: The falling price of hardware samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby narcoman » Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:32 pm

The real musiclover wrote:Indeed. I simply have to get my hardware back into the equation soon, but i simply haven't got the room... Well, i have a room, but it's too small.

I haven't thus far seen anything in software that would be as easy to use as my hardware samplers. Mind you i haven't really looked intently to be honest.

Buyers market indeed. Now where did i leave that roll of fifty pound notes?
software samplers, when you get into them, are MUCH easier and far more powerful than their hardware counterparts - however, they DO miss that tangible thing, the very limitation of the device. I use both!!
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby leslawrenson » Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:03 pm

I find it interesting, that the aksys software I use to program my Z4 feels similiar to how I program my soft-samplers. It did make me wonder I had bought it.

But there IS something different in the way the Z4 sounds to, say, Halion or Kontakt (both of which I have and use).

Perhaps it's the filters? Or perhaps its the way the AD converters work on the Z4? I don't know, but I do know that I love using the Z4. And if it helps me write songs, well, that's job accomplished as far as I am concerned.
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby hollowsun » Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:47 pm

leslawrenson wrote:But there IS something different in the way the Z4 sounds to, say, Halion or Kontakt (both of which I have and use).

Perhaps it's the filters? Or perhaps its the way the AD converters work on the Z4?
Probably the interpolation which has dedicated hardware just for that with highly efficient machine code running a chunky, very high quality interpolation algorithm. That and other soft/hardware dedicated to just one task perhaps.

And I agree that running the Z4 (or Z8 or S5000 or S6000 or MPC4000) from ak.Sys is almost indistinguishable from using a software sampler.
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby jellyjim » Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:11 pm

I've been tempted to get a hardware sampler (certainly had them in the past and have an MPC right now) but the thing that puts me off is sourcing and archiving instrument libraries. It's so easy with a computer, install library from DVD to large HDD, open Kontakt or dedicated player and off you go.

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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby leslawrenson » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:35 pm

jellyjim wrote:I've been tempted to get a hardware sampler (certainly had them in the past and have an MPC right now) but the thing that puts me off is sourcing and archiving instrument libraries. It's so easy with a computer, install library from DVD to large HDD, open Kontakt or dedicated player and off you go.

Jim.


Jim, the AKAI Z4/Z8 (and, so I believe, the S5000/6000) are so easy to work using the AkSys software. It will feel very much like your soft-samplers.

Accessing the sample material ain't difficult, either. My Z4 works with wavs. I plug the Z4 into my laptop via USB, and open the AkSys program on my Mac. I then locate the samples I want to use (in their folder on my Mac's hard drives), drag them to the appropriate folder in the AkSys program, use the editor to set the loop-points, velocity switches, key-groups, layers, etc (just as you would in Kontakt), then send them to the Z4 hard drive. The program creates an AkSys file, so that when you later locate it within the sampler, it will load up all the samples, mapped out as per your earlier editing.

Also, I have a Roland VariOS which uses a rather neat program that does so much more than this! You can manipulate the audio (pitch-shifting, speed changes, etc) in real time, all perfectly tempo-matched to other samples that it is running with. I understand that it works in a very similar way to the VP9000 sampler. It's a fantastic piece of kit. Again, not that expensive. And you get the benefit of a VA Juno/Jupiter and TB303 bundled in free.

Go for it, Jim!
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Aug 07, 2007 3:10 pm

I really miss my E-Synth Emu sampler, it's just over the hill and in need of a clean up and a bit of repair. The hands on approch to using the sampler and building up huge patches is what I miss most. Still would prefer one with a built in HD though.
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby leslawrenson » Tue Aug 07, 2007 3:38 pm

Richie Royale wrote: Still would prefer one with a built in HD though.

Get yourself one of the later AKAI samplers. Something like the S5000, S6000, or my beloved Z4 (or the Z8).

I've got 80GB! I can just about put every single sample collection I own on that drive!

AND it has a USB port so that I can connect additional USB drives to it, including a computer!!

There really is no excuse for every musician to own a hi-spec hardware sampler at this point in time, what with prices falling through the floor.
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby Peter Conz Connelly » Tue Aug 07, 2007 8:57 pm

I've been thinking about getting myself another "Akai" hardware sampler, probably the Z4 or Z8. I only sold my S5000 a year ago (+ accessories), for a reasonable price (considering todays prices) but still a hell of a drop from what I paid new.

But, I think if I'm going H/W again do I get myself something vintage like the great sounding S1000 / S1100. Then again, I do have a Fairlight Series III and these are a serious sounding piece of kit.

To have samples in a h/w sampler again rather than on my H/D does seem tempting, so maybe the Z4 / Z8 with AKsys is a great idea / compromise.

P
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby hollowsun » Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:37 pm

Conz wrote:But, I think if I'm going H/W again do I get myself something vintage like the great sounding S1000 / S1100.
Nah! Too much bloody hassle in this day and age.

Proprietary sample/disk format, floppy only loading or SCSI voodoo, zipper squeak on bass sounds with certain release settings, no 'puter interfacing, no proper stereo, daft individual output assignment, non-res single filter, bugger all modulation, proprietary (and expensive) memory and more than likely a faded LCD. Fantastic in its day but.....!

Dunno why you sold your S5000 - tut tut

A Z4/8 would be an ideal modern replacement - lots of fun.

Or get an S5000 again (but make sure it has the USB board for ak.Sys)!
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby leslawrenson » Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:35 am

Pete, I'd go with Hollowsun on this one.

A friend of mine has just gone for the S1100. He bought it for that retro sound, definately not the convenience!

If you have a good software setup, the Z4/Z8 is a superb choice (or the S5000 with USB board, as recommended). The beauty is that you can work with wav samples. And the AkSys software is a breeze to learn.

You'll probably find that you can buy an S5000 with a USB board for less than you sold your machine! Bonus!
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby Peter Conz Connelly » Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:21 pm

Hollowsun / Leslawson,

Interesting points regarding the S1000 / S1100, although if I did get one, it would be purely for the sound. I had a 950 not too long ago, got rid of that too...

Thanks,
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby jacqueslacouth » Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:08 am

In terms of the HW samplers I've used over the years, I rate the Roland S770 as the sweetest sounding lady I ever tweaked. I had an absolute mint unit and I let it go for under $500 last year....DOH!
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby Peter Conz Connelly » Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:51 pm

Yeah, I hear they have a FANTASTIC sound. Do they have additive / FFT synthesis or something too? A poor mans Fairlight I hear...

Or maybe I'm thinking of another Roland Sampler?!?!

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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby fatbenelton » Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:15 pm

Evening Gents
Just bought a Roland S760 for £100 with the monitor/mouse card. Happy but now searching for sample disks in Roland format! I understand it reads Akai S1000 disks (albeit rather slowly) but would love to get some proprietry Roland disks - found a few S760 sites but would welcome any other suggestions. HArdware samplers are great value as aslo got a ridiculously cheap EMU ESynth ULtra (£160 in mint condition)
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby tomafd » Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:30 pm

I've still got an s1100 (mostly for the gritty old fx), an EMU jobbie (mostly for insane pan and modulation I can't get off kontakt) and, unbelievably, an ancient Prophet 2002, 12 bit, with a total memory of ... wait for it... 512k ! Which is split into 2 halves, so the longest sample you can get in there has to be 256k or smaller.

Yet it's the one that gets the most use; there's no filtering of any kind on the input, and being 12 bit, slowing sounds down (go down at least 3 octaves from the original pitch) results in the most beautiful aliassing and distortions I've ever heard off a sampler. Add a bit of chorus and reverb and the results are gorgeous, shimmering, evolving pad sounds that beat most modern software synths hands down.

Modern samplers just don't do this in the same way, I guess the designers reckon it's 'wrong' so they just design it all out- but for me the old Prophet is still an essential piece of kit, 22 years later.

If you can find one, they must be £70 or so these days...
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:27 pm

Halion does a perfect imitation of an old sampler transposing, when you set it to low quality mode to save processor overhead.

I'm still very fond of my ESI4000 and Yamaha TX16W. An E4XT Ultra would be nice, although I hear the MIDI response is sluggish? The Z4 with Aksys sounds impressive, but I never liked Akai's UI- used to use an S3000 and an S2000.
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby olivier » Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:03 am

also, I was thinking it's funny to see how some vintage samplers still hold value nowadays.

I definitely LOVE old samplers. they have something unique to their sound that can not be reached with conventional soft samplers. even the plastic sounding Akai S2000 has something (but alas no GUI).
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby leslawrenson » Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:54 am

I still have my old S2000. It's fully maxed out with 32MB RAM, the additional 8 audio outs, and the fx card. I don't use it, but there's simply no point in my selling it as I would get nothing for it. Actually, I'd get about £150 for the RAM/8 outs/fx card, and about £10 for sampler itself.

Perhaps that's the way I should sell it?

By the way, Jonny, I note that you were in the market for a rather nifty fully maxed-out AKAI S3200! The bidding ended at £56.69!

Now, how ridiculously cheap is that!
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby Neal G » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:14 pm

There is something quite special about staring at a faded screen on an old S1100 (with the assistance of a small desk light) and constructing a drum kit from samples you have dumped into it through its optical/analog inputs and hand-trimmed yourself. To be honest sampling to me was just loading stuff off a CD-ROM and playing around with the filters but this old machine just made me start sampling again. I have a nice S3000XL ready to unpack and play with for the weekend and my S950 and Emu ESI4000 are seeing much more use - Get them while you still can!
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby leslawrenson » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:17 pm

Neal,

At long last you've taken the plunge and joined in! Welcome to the forum, mate!

Now get back to work!

[Opps! So should I, for that matter!]
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby fatbenelton » Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:35 pm

Les if only it had been a fully maxed out S3200XL. I noticed the picture was a S3000 so asked the seller to clarify - never heard back. A fully maxed out s3000 for £50 odd still isn't bad but to honest the blurred photo and loack of response killed my interest. Was looking for a couple of older samplers to use with my recently bought Atari running Notator. Got a S-760 this week and thought the S3200 would be ideal. I may now go for a USB equipped S5000/6000 which I could use with my main setup which would in turn release my Esynth Ultra for use with the Atari.
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby Blink » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:26 pm

I have an EMU ESI-32, with the turbo card in it, think it set me back about £1200 when I bought it.

I haven't used it in about 5 years, but I can bear to sell it as I am writing off about £1000.

I would rather have it sat in a rack, using up space and looking pretty, than admit I spent £1000 on something I never really got the use out of that I should.

(At some point I should at least hook it up to my PC and liberate the few good sounds I made on it)
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby leslawrenson » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:34 pm

Blink, you really ought to dust off that old EMU.

As with Neal G (he's the friend who recently purchased the S1100, that I mention earlier in this thread), I have recently had my interest rekindled in hardware sampling with my recent purchase of the Z4.

I had forgotten just how great sampled sounds are! It's obviously something to do with the way in which the sounds are stretched, and the complex interaction between the filters on the sampler and the way in which the sampler does its calculations in order to map everything out (as you can tell, I'm not at all technical in this!).

I've been messing around with some Emulator II samples that Hollowsun very kindly sent to me, and they are sounding fantastic! All I've done is map them out over a couple of octaves, and added some stereo chorus and a touch of reverb!

I'm going to be doing a lot more sample mapping and program writing over this long weekend!
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby TAKEN.BALL.GONE.HOME » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:52 pm

I bought an S3200xl plus CD drive about a year back for £100. Aside from the inevitably dimming backlight, which I will replace in due course, I reckon that is a fantastic price for a great hardware sampler. The later Akais and top-end E-mu Ultras seem to hold on to their secondhand value a bit better.

Those ESI samplers are nice sounding boxes and you can certainly get creative with one of those, a keyboard, and a sequencer (hardware of course).

As for my general ebay bargains, I don't know which wins: the 2x12u custom wooden rack under the desk for 1p, or the Alesis ADAT XT20 for a tenner!
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby MadManDan » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:18 pm

leslawrenson wrote:Pete, I'd go with Hollowsun on this one.

A friend of mine has just gone for the S1100. He bought it for that retro sound, definately not the convenience!

If you have a good software setup, the Z4/Z8 is a superb choice (or the S5000 with USB board, as recommended). The beauty is that you can work with wav samples. And the AkSys software is a breeze to learn.

You'll probably find that you can buy an S5000 with a USB board for less than you sold your machine! Bonus!
Ay! Used to "try" sampling at work all the time back in the day with the S-1000. FORGET IT! Sounded horrible. But use a decent front end, like the dat machine we used back then, and the samples will be great. But as others have stated, the machine is a dinosaur, too much proprietary issues to deal with
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby leslawrenson » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:22 pm

fatbenelton wrote:
Got a S-760 this week...

How does that compare to the AKAIs? Why do you like that particular sampler?

I've read up on it, but have never heard one.

I note that Francois Rossi set up a site in 2002, and no doubt that is a resource that you'll be dipping your toes into a fair few times over the coming months.
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby fatbenelton » Sat Aug 25, 2007 1:51 pm

Actually never tried an Akai - though as you spotted I was after one. The blurb about the s-760 seems to rave about its great filters and warm sound and it has the option of adding a monitor and mouse. Finally it was quite cheap -£100 with the digital card that will enable me to hook it up to a 19" flat screen. Found a couple of groups and it seems that Roland allowed disk images of the vast sample library to be made available......
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Re: The falling price of hardward samplers - it's a buyer's market!

Postby leslawrenson » Sat Aug 25, 2007 6:37 pm

fatbenelton wrote:

...it seems that Roland allowed disk images of the vast sample library to be made available......


Now that may well be a reason alone to invest in one of these babies!

Have you managed to track down this oasis of sonic wonder? Is it freely available, do you know?

I spent the early part of today browsing through all the samples currently on Ebay, and there are quite a few that I've not hear of. They seem mainly aimed at the DJ market, and for taking samples on the fly. The hi-fi audio connectors put me off a little, but then again, I am intrigued to try out some of these machines. They are so inexpensive that it's got to be worth while having a punt.
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