MATRIXSYNTH: 12-bit Samplers from the 80s | Shoot out

Thursday, May 27, 2021

12-bit Samplers from the 80s | Shoot out

video by Espen Kraft

"12-bit samplers. 5 of them. From the 80s. Each with different sampling frequencies, sampling time and artifacts. One video - a logistics nightmare! Even at this very non-scientific level.

I've tried to keep the volume levels pretty much the same throughout, so no one will be fooled by level differences and think one sampler is 'better'. I've also kept all samples in mono, even though the TX16W can sample in stereo.

No effects or compression is being used so it's all bone dry out of the samplers. How much the YouTube compression algorithm destroys this I don't know, but I hope that the differences can be heard to some degree. Believe, they all sound different.


Sampler specs:
Akai S612 can sample in frequencies between 32 Khz and 4 Khz by pressing a MIDI key (midi number) between C5 and C2 before sampling. The main frequencies are C5=32 Khz, C4=16 Khz, C3=8 Khz and C2=4 Khz.
Roland S-330 can sample at 15 and 30 Khz
Yamaha TX16W can sample at 50, 33, 25 and 16 Khz in mono, and at 33 Khz in stereo
Sequential Prophet 2000 can sample at 42, 31 and 16 Khz
Korg DSS-1 can sample at 48, 36, 24 and 16 Khz.

The sample time will vary greatly depending on the sampling frequency, so check the manuals for each of these samplers for that.

Apart from the S-330 all the other samplers uses a variable sample rate conversion for transposing the sounds when playing. That means the sampler needs to have its own DAC (digital to analog converter) for each of the voices. The S-330 uses interpolation. This means that it uses only one DAC, but it needs a fast processor to handle all the voices when you play polyphonically. That technique imposes its own set of sound artifacts, which is why I love that sound in particular.

No one of these samplers are 'better' or 'worse', no such thing exists. We can love one over another for different reasons, but there is no such thing as Ford being better than GM or Toyota being better than Subaru. It's all good. ;-)"

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