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Topic: Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

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  1. #1

    Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

    Hello everyone,

    Last night a friend told me that he thought Giga was convinient but its sound quality was not as good as hardware samplers - especially E-MU\'s E-IV, he said - and since I never owned any hardware sampler I couldn\'t say anything about it.

    But I\'m very interested with the answer. Anyone has done any A-B test, please share your opinion.

    Personally I think the piano samples and libraries like GOS are unbeatable, but how about Miroslav in Giga and E-MU formats? if you have a very good soundcard for your giga-PC?

    Thanks in advance,

    Arys Chien

  2. #2

    Re: Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

    I use the TDIF sound card. Tascam currently sells one, I used to get them from Aardvark. Its the best sounding thing in the studio and the quietest.

    The noisiest instrument in my studio is undoubtedly the Emu E1V (using analog outs). Later I plan to eliminate the Emu and replace it with another Gigastudio, TDIF digital out. The Emu is noisier than my old Roland S760s.

  3. #3

    Re: Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Deep White:
    Hello everyone,

    Last night a friend told me that he thought Giga was convinient but its sound quality was not as good as hardware samplers - especially E-MU\'s E-IV, he said - and since I never owned any hardware sampler I couldn\'t say anything about it.

    But I\'m very interested with the answer. Anyone has done any A-B test, please share your opinion.

    Personally I think the piano samples and libraries like GOS are unbeatable, but how about Miroslav in Giga and E-MU formats? if you have a very good soundcard for your giga-PC?

    Thanks in advance,

    Arys Chien
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Hello Arys,

    I very much disagree with your friends assessment of hardware versus computer software based samplers, most especially for sampled acoustic instruments. Manufacturers of hardware samplers do not use quality converters in their products. Hardware samplers are very much over priced, considering the low quality components they use in these boxes.

    A while back, I had a very startling first hand experience with Giga versus a Kurzweil K2500. At that time, I was needing a quality sampled mandolin. The only sampled mandolin that I had was the Hans Zimmer Gibson A2 mandolin in Hans Zimmer\'s Guitars, Volume 2, in Kurzweil format. I loaded this sampled mandolin into the K2500 and it sounded HORRIBLE! It did not even sound like a mandolin. Just for the heck of it, I took Garth\'s \"Chicken System\'s Translator\" and translated this Hans Zimmer Kurzweil format mandolin into Giga format. I then loaded it into Giga Studio and I was totally shocked and amazed at how much better this sampled mandolin sounded. This sampled mandolin literally went from being totally unusable in the K2500 to sounding like the most beautiful live recorded mandolin in Giga Studio.

    I will also mention that the Kurzweil was being played through the same monitors as Giga Studio. Therefore, this was a fair and accurate A/B comparison.

    Kip
    Bardstown Audio
    www.bardstownaudio.com


  4. #4

    Re: Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

    Hi Arys,

    As Kip said, with a good soundcard, giga will sound more accurate. Is this what you want? I still have an old Roland S770, and while the converters are extremely inaccurate by todays standards, there are certain samples that sound \'nicer\' to me through the Roland. Usually drums. The S770 seems to have a similar effect to analogue tape, and sounds very \'warm\'.

    Maybe your friend\'s EMU has a similar \'warmth\' that he prefers. At the end of the day, it depends on what the individual likes, but if you want accuracy, then Giga with a good soundcard will be better.

    Regards,

    Chris

  5. #5

    Re: Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

    IMO, there\'s simply no comparison (when dealing with acoustic instruments, as Kip noted). The Giga format allows for so much more detail, considering how you can load gigs of samples at a time on one setup.

    It\'s still very far from perfect, but even then, the potential is outrageous.

  6. #6

    Re: Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

    I think that soundquality wise, it totally depends on what kind of soundcard you are using with GS. If you were using an SBLive, there would be no contest; the EMU would sound way better than GS. However, with some of the newer soundcards (RME, M-Audio,Motu etc.) the difference is neglible, and in most cases, Giga will come out on top. The fact that you can choose a custom interface (analogue, digital (Spdif, Adat, Aes EBU etc.) means that it is a lot more flexible and cheaper than an EMU.
    EMU converters colour the sound, and a lot of users appreciate the warm character it endows unto samples. However, Giga, with it\'s easy to use interface, near limitless samplememory and user definable I/O options (soundcards) could sound a lot better and is a lot easier to use. Secondly, the libraries that are available for it will never be equalled by EMU in terms of quality and size until EMU will support streaming as well.

    On the other hand, there are still features the EMU has that GIGA doesn\'t. (I own one, so I should know .
    EMU\'s filters are still unrivaled, and the CORDS system (a patching system that allows extensive modulation programming) is in my opinion the best system out there to control your samples. Case in point is random or semi random sampleswitching; something that requires an external Tool such as GOS\' Maestro Tools to do in GS, and requires about 3 cord entries on an EMU

    I\'ll be holding on to my EMU for a while, and nobody says you have to use one or the other; they both have their pros and cons.

    Cheerio,

    Joe


  7. #7

    Re: Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

    Regarding Emu vs Giga and other samplers:

    Some time back I ran extensive comparison tests, both using the ears and some test hardware including a precision real time audio terts analyszer with memory/hold function.

    Very curious about the true qualities of the Emu\'s, I figured out what happened at various sample frequencies and filter settings.

    I switched some years back to the Emu\'s mainly for being dissapointed by the Akai S3000 I owned at the time.

    Conclusions:
    the E4 and E6400 are pretty good. There\'s a relatively modest colouration present when no filtering is applied (12dB or 24dB/Oct wide open).

    At 44.1 kHz, there\'s quite a bit of ringing at the top end for current standards. On hearing, this translates into a slight amount of artificial presence. Most people will actually like it,, as things sound more \'crispy\' then they are.

    At 48kHz, the results were quite good with virtually no ringing and colouration in the 20-20kHz range. This proves that Emu\'s anti-aliasing algorythms are quite ok, although no match for current high-end soundcards / converters.

    The biggest problem with the Emu\'s is that their internal bit-resolution is in no way the 18 or 16 bits as advertised, leading to quantification distortion. The reslution is actually closer to 14 bits, because of the way Emu implemented the ability to handle 128 voices without clipping while summing the outputs of several 32 voice (E4:four, E6400:two) filter chips. Even when recording a sample at 0dB, and applying output boost, the real dynamic range is limited to some 80 dB. This is not a disaster in most cases. However, when playing back fortissmo samples, you for sure get the same kind of distortion present in early budget CD players.

    Another problem with the Emu\'s is what happens when actually using the filter, when a higher amount of voices is used. You can forget simulating a fat Moog sweep with more then say 32 voices, no matter what the brochure says. It will cause significant digital artifacts, mainly because the E4 series is NOT truly 128 voices (or 64 in case of the E6400) with filtering is active.

    Despite this, the Emu\'s are much more transparant then the Akai\'s. Their transient response is MUCH better.

    Of course, the Emu\'s excell in other area\'s as well. Jos mentioned the random sample switching, I used that a lot for e.g. realistic Hi-Hat patterns. The patch-cord modulation matrix is another strong point, not matched by ANY software sampler.

    Tascam, Steinberg, are you listening

    You guessed it, I haven\'t sold my Emu\'s yet!

    Cheers, Robert

  8. #8

    Re: Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

    Hi Robert,
    Could you describe the Emu\'s random sample switching and particularly the patch cord modulation? It\'s possible I could implement these features in software if appropriate, and then they could be used with GS. Thanks!

  9. #9

    Re: Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jeff Hurchalla:
    Hi Robert,
    Could you describe the Emu\'s random sample switching and particularly the patch cord modulation? It\'s possible I could implement these features in software if appropriate, and then they could be used with GS. Thanks!
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Jeff, I could explain it but the manual probably explains it a whole lot better.
    http://www.emu.com/products/pdf/PDF_manuals/EOS4.0Software/08_PresetEdit2.pdf

    This describes random switching at the last two pages of the document. You might want to read the first Preset PDF to get an understanding of how the presets are set up.
    Reading this back reminds me of how well the EMU samplers are designed!

    Kind regards,

    Joris de Man (not Jos :P )



  10. #10

    Re: Giga v.s. Hardware Samplers?

    I have an EMu ESI 4000 with all the options (Zip disk, S/PDIF out, full RAM) virtually unused if anyone would like to purchase it...

    But I have come to the conclusion that Giga needs to include several features in the next major update:

    #1 a real manual-obvious

    #2-full support for all MIDI control #s. My Kurz 2500 ribbons default to an unusable controller (I\'m not at the studio, but I believe it\'s controller 15.

    #3-more dimensions, layers, etc. to support the many simultaneous parameters needed to use with wind controllers, guitar controllers, and multi-funtion keyboards in general.

    #4: More more!!!

    Dasher (who still can\'t figure out all the parameters of the current editor, but wants more ANYWAY!!!)

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