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Sample Playback Device

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Sample Playback Device

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:27 am
by RobinC
First a little bit of history. Was in a couple of bad bands in my youth. Unfortunately music making fell by the wayside as the necessities of adult living filled up spare time. Fast forward a number of years one of the bands I was in decides to reform and put on a birthday gig as we will all celebrate our 50th in the same year. Anyway we've got most of a set together. My role is keyboards. I use a mixture of soft synths and hardware on the songs we've done.

I need to create a live rig that is reasonably portable, robust and I won't get upset about if it gets damaged. I've got two keyboards already but I'd like to migrate away from the soft synths and remove some of the other hardware synths I also use.

The idea is to sample the stuff I don't want to perform with.

I have an old Akai S5000 that has been retrofitted with an SD card reader. But I'd like to lose the bulk though if I can

Does anything like a small sample playback device exist? I can only find ones that are really aimed at one shot / drums / percussion. It needs to be small and load samples quickly.

Re: Sample Playback Device

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:57 am
by Mike Stranks
'The Elf' may well be able to help... Thoroughly 'nice' chap; he won't mind getting a Personal Message.

The said Elf is a keyboard player and has done a lot of research and work over the last few years to slim down his rig. I'm not a keyboard/synths man m'self so a lot of what he explained to me went straight over my head, but seeing him 'live' it was clear he'd packed a lot of facilities into a rig that was much smaller than the family-Wakeman often use! :D

Re: Sample Playback Device

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:50 am
by The Elf
:thumbup: Sure, I'm happy to help.

'Cantabile' has been the key to it all. It does take a bit of work for it to become familiar, and it isn't the friendliest interface, but once the penny begins to drop you begin see a world of possibilities open up in front of you.

I waded in and began by using Cantabile in the most 'knucklehead' way. Once I'd done things the hard way I had a second run at it with lessons learned. This time a lot of the advice I'd been given from more seasoned users made sense. The thing with Cantabile is that it is utterly flexible; it provides you with enough rope to rig a three-ring circus or to tie yourself up in knots!

Once I'd grasped a few fundamental principles the rewards flooded in. I'm no longer tied to any specific hardware. I can play any part from any attached keyboard, hit any sustain, volume pedal, or other controller, no matter where it is connected, and have it bend to my will! I can add, or take away a keyboard or two, to suit the material I'm playing, and my rig will still work. Hardware synth or VSTi, it makes no difference - Cantabile embraces them all and puts them entirely in your control. I can run backing tracks, trigger song sections, have Cantabile switch my patches for me, layer, transpose, split... You get the idea by now.

For sample playback I use Kontakt. I also looked at such as the Roland SP range, but it all seems very DJ-biased and not really suited to what I want to do. With Kontakt I have the option of all the material I have back in the studio - no compromises needed.

If any of this sounds good for you then by all means drop me a PM and I can give you more details. Cantabile is a very sharp scalpel, and it can do as much harm as it can do good - if you can learn from my mistakes then please do so!

Re: Sample Playback Device

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:22 pm
by RobinC
Many thanks for the detailed response. I was vaguely aware of Cantabile but being a Mac person (for music at least) haven't looked greatly into it - I do have MainStage and also Kontakt.

I was hoping really to avoid using a computer if possible. Though it's not beyond the realms of possibilities to get a laptop just for this.

Most of the hardware that I've checked out though does, as you say, seem to be geared around DJs

I've been looking at a Beatsqueezer box but just have a few concerns that its a hobby project for a guy in another country so could end up left with something unusable or at least unsupported in a few years time.

Re: Sample Playback Device

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:38 pm
by The Elf
I do know that Cantabile is currently being ported to Mac, but I have no idea what stage that is at. I have no experience of Mainstage, but I understand it does a similar job.

These days I have absolutely no qualms about using a laptop on stage, though I do keep an emergency spare in the wings!

Re: Sample Playback Device

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:15 am
by Chevytraveller
Never had a problem with Mainstage and laptop on stage but would certainly advocate the use of SSD..

If you really want to ditch the laptop then the most fully featured, compact, sampling machine would probably be something like the MPC Live.. The new "Autosampler" function would allow fairly easy translation of your current softsynths to the MPC


Re: Sample Playback Device

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:53 am
by Guest
Chevytraveller wrote:Never had a problem with Mainstage and laptop on stage but would certainly advocate the use of SSD..

Out of interest, what sound interface do you use with the laptop when performing live?