Old 08-11-2015, 05:01 AM   #1
Don Schenk
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Default Rant, I'm a Virgin... No Not That Kind of Virgin...

I'm a MIDI Virgin - something officially known as being an MV.

After making a full-time living as a musician, I became sidetracked into another industry just about the time MIDI came into being. So, I have been relatively clueless. (Here, relatively happens to mean totally.)

I hear the following terminology spoken with great authority...

Some of these devices/softwares seem to do the same things and some don't.

For example...

-Roland makes a "Sampling Drum Pad" that won't record samples, but it does record a sequence the musician creates using pre-recorded samples - a process Roland calls sampling - not sequencing.

-Native Instruments offers a confusing array of Komplete, Kontakt, Reaktor, plus Reaktor Player and Kontakt Player. Oh yes, but wait, there also is Komplete Elements which I guess are supposed to be elementally komplete.

-Spectrasonics calls Omnishpere-2 a Synth, but it comes with 4500 instruments!

-I see Synthmaster called a player, but it's also a synth.

-IK Multimedia calls Sample Tank a "sound and groove workstation," and it includes sampled instruments, but won't sequence them. And it loads into a DAW as a VSTi.

AAAAHhhhhh my brain just melted!

-I have EZ Drummer 2, which loads as a VSTi, as do Kontakt and Sample Tank, and their samples are incompatible.

-To add to the chaos, I see a VSTi designed to play instruments called a synth, not a VSTi, and synths called oscillators and sound producers. Perhaps synths also play samples which would turn a synth into a VSTi, but not turn it into a sampler or sequencer.

Are you confused? I hope not, because I need it all explained to me.

And what does a sampler do besides record sounds to be used as samples in some kind of VSTi? Can't that simply be done in a DAW?

I guess I could sample a dog barking and have the dog become a scat singer, which apparently is different than being an s-cat singer.

IK-Multimedia even makes a sampler that comes with 1700 samples! I thought a sampler captured samples not supplied them.

Way too many questions for one post, because my knowledge is so inKomplete!

I have seen "Sampler" and "Player" used interchangeably. Now I'm really confused. (Apparently Google is not always my friend.)

:- Don

God grant me the serenity to accept the music I cannot change, the courage to rewrite the music I can, and the wisdom to understand MIDI.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:28 AM   #2
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Hiya Don - basically .....

● samples are short audio recordings

● they're stored in libraries

● and replayed by Sample Players

● A "Sampler" can record and/or import audio files, play them back, and manipulate the original audio sample

● these files come in various formats

● "Real" acoustic drum VSTis are basically Sample Players which call up sounds from their own Library.

● Any "real instrument" VSTis are much the same.....Sample Players with their own library of pre-recorded sounds.......whereas some VSTi Piano etc software works on the completely different principle of self-generated "acoustic modelling".

So a VSTi is a Virtual Instrument....not neccessarily a Sampler (a Sampler is only one type of VSTi) - and may or may not use samples (ie VSTi synths often generate their sound by themselves, so no samples needed. Omnisphere can generate its own sounds, but also has a huge library of recorded samples).


● Most Samplers have tools to manipulate the audio from the actual sample.
You can change everything from looping the sample to changing pitch, putting it through various effects and modulating loadsa parameters via filters and LFOs.

That's why fully featured Samplers like Kontakt etc are expensive - they're sound editing and manipulating suites.

Last edited by viscofisy; 08-11-2015 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:36 AM   #3
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Someone with more experience with the 12 step sequencer will probably shed more light.. but I can clear a couple up I think.

Sequencer - REAPER is a Sequencer. Something for recording/arranging media items sort of. Step sequencer is different.. sort of a simplified piano roll I think.

Sampler - I agree.. its weird. I think this term is used a lot to describe sample players

Sample - not sure other than a sound clip

Synth - a VSTI that generates sound through synthesis
Player - probably just sample player

VSTi - software instrument (VST standard). I think it just means that you can "play it" with midi.. maybe there is more significance to that but that's got me by.

Sounds - hmm

Instruments - Probably just software instrument.

Sample players tend to have some features to alter the sound of the samples.. whether its FX.. polyphonic, round robin, capability or other features that make it different than just loading samples into the DAW.

Plus you can "play" these with a midi keyboard.

Also a lot of these instruments are sort of a hybrid of sample player/synth. I think Omnisphere is one. I believe these player/synth hybrids should be called "Slayers"

I may get corrected on some of these points. But I am not budging on "Slayers"
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:02 AM   #4
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Yeah, I suppose technically a "sampler" should record audio......but there's so much blending of technology that a lot of functions are shared or sidestepped.

I suppose originally a hardware sampler would record its own audio, so it was basically a digital recorder with some editing and playback capability.

But what about a bells and whistles Sample "manipulator/editor/player" that needs to import recorded audio in order to create samples? You'd need to call that a Sample Importer/Manipulator/Editor and Player.......which is why people tend to say 'Sampler" for something that does this (but doesn't record directly).

OTOH, VSTi software like, say, Addictive Drums where only its proprietory sample library is playable/manipulable/ is at another remove, as it can't load user samples but can load tons of proprietory ones.

And then you've got soft synths which are intended to mangle imported waveforms., and sometimes with the ability (but not always) to play back manipulated blends of "real" acoustic sounds...........

(DAW music is gradually becoming like its visual counterpart - digital photographs, digital "painting", video, ITB animation, 3D CGI etc are all just varieties of pixels on a screen, or "ones and zeros" as they say )

But to recap ......

VSTi is a virtual software instrument, whether it generates its own sound or uses samples.

A software sampler or sample player is one that runs on a computer.....and one system is VSTi, so samplers and sample players which are VSTis belong in a sub category of "VSTi".

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Old 08-11-2015, 10:06 AM   #5
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@viscofsiy and the thequietroom

Thank you. Most of what you say is what I thought these things meant, but just as soon as I think I have a handle on it, I see one of the terms used in some other fashion. Then I begin to doubt what I thought I knew.

I recently bought EZ Drummer 2 and some libraries, then read Hopi's excellent pdf about using multichannel VSTis.

I had already downloaded the free Kontakt player and NI's free samples. Then upon Hopi's suggestion I downloaded the free Sample Tank player and its free samples.

It became most frustrating because I missed a step in the process. Fortunately Darkstar was kind enough to read through my tome about it, and he recognized the step I had missed. It turns out, that one step was not in Hopi's pdf in any manner I would have known.

So now I have ST working in multichannel from Reaper's virtual keyboard, Sample Tanks' virtual keyboard, and a Yamaha hardware keyboard.

There are still a number of holes in my understanding of how this all works, and Google searches were compounding my confusion.

Thanks again.

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Old 08-11-2015, 10:21 AM   #6
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This may help fill in some gaps:

DarkStar ... interesting, if true. . . . Inspired by ...
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Old 08-11-2015, 02:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Don Schenk View Post
There are still a number of holes in my understanding of how this all works, and Google searches were compounding my confusion.
Hi Don, based on what you're saying here, it appears you're trying to learn everything all at once.

I think it's actually good you're doing that, but now maybe it's time to sit back, relax, pick a VSTi (like Sample Tank)and learn as much as you can for now, especially since DS has given you some good info.

Nearly all the VSTis have a few things in common, and as you get into one of them and learn the various aspects, it might make things a little easier as you move on.

And don't get confused by the terminology, it's used inappropriately a lot, and I'm as guilty as anyone.
Kontakt Vid Tutorials->Create Outputs / Create Templates -|- SMDrums Free drums -|- Elk Video Productions -|- Tod's Music
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Old 08-12-2015, 02:54 PM   #8
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Good idea. I did spend a couple hours yesterday and again today trying different small projects in ST, until I found I could add more tracks (MIDI and Audio) after the fact. I think I am beginning to get a handle on it.

Wow, thank you for taking the time to make that chart. I dropped it into Photoshop, enlarged it to 300ppi at tabloid size, then split it into a pair of 8.5 X 11 inch images, and printed them out onto 2 sheets of paper. I've taped them together and have a large reference sheet. I will also attach a zipped folder to this post for anyone who wants to print them out as a large document.

Edit... It is here:https://s3.amazonaws.com/darkstar2pa...c+as+jpegs.zip

I had not gotten it through my skull that Reaper can record MIDI signals directly from a keyboard, it just needs a way to get an instrument's sound combined with those signals. I thought it had to send its signal directly to a VSTi.

What I see is Reaper recording the MIDI signals and sending them to the VSTi's I/O settings as Receives for the VSTi track. Then the VSTi uses audio Sends to the 2-bus for monitoring, and to the Audio tracks for recording as .wav.

So, if I have this correct, the keyboard sends MIDI to Reaper, in which the I/O settings on the VSTi track are set to receive MIDI, while the VSTi track also sends an Audio signal to the Audio tracks (and 2-bus) - thus the I/O setup of Sends and Receives in the VSTi track.

The audio tracks can be recorded either at the same time as the MIDI tracks, or (to be able to make changes later) the Audio tracks can be recorded later from the MIDI tracks after the MIDI tracks have be "adjusted" in the MIDI viewer.

Am I understanding this correctly?

Thanks again.

:- Don

Last edited by Don Schenk; 08-12-2015 at 06:59 PM. Reason: Add link
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