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  #1  
Old 11-11-2013, 05:23 PM
cg2112 cg2112 is offline
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Default Alesis SamplePad?

I'm looking for a pad, like the Alesis SamplePad, that I can use for custom samples. For instance, my band does War Pigs, I'd like to be able to trigger the air raid siren sound at the beginning of the song, and I see the potential for a bunch of other stuff with something like this.

The SamplePad isn't terribly expensive ($200), but I'm wondering if there's a better option out there that I don't know about. I'm not looking for electric drums - just a tool I can use to trigger sound files, basically. Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2013, 06:23 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

Unless you can find something used, the SamplePad is the least expensive way to trigger your own sounds. It's certainly the simplest, most flexible, and most compact setup you'll find in its range.

The only possible drawback is its 14mb of ram, but that's almost 3 minutes of CD quality (mono) sounds, which can be budgeted further by reducing sample rates on sounds that don't need full-range fidelity (such as kicks, toms, congas, sirens...)

If you need more ram, you're also looking at a lot more money from the likes of Roland.

Bermuda
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:53 AM
cg2112 cg2112 is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

I'm reading about it on the Alesis website now. I'm really surprised at this limitation. From what I'm reading, that's 14mb total for all five possible triggers? That's probably something that can be worked around, but the limitation of 5 .wav files at a time might not be - I don't know if that would be a limitation I could easily work around live. But the price is awfully attractive.
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:10 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

Unless you need really long samples - like a full song as a track - you shouldn't have a problem. 3 minutes of samples is a fairly long time! And obvioujsly you can split up sounds among the presets, I think there are 8. So you could conceivably load up to 40 sounds. All things considered, you really get a lot for $200.

If you need more ram and additional flexibility, you can get the Roland SPD-SX. It has 2gb ram, handles stereo samples, has 9 pads + 4 trigger/pedal inputs, and is $799. That's what I use on tour.

But in town, I use the Alesis. :)

Bermuda
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2013, 06:30 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

Ha ha - I bought an Ensoniq EPS sampling keyboard the first year they came out. It was around $1,500 (about $3,000 in today's dollars) and had almost 1/2 Megabyte (480Kb) memory.
I very rarely felt limited with that amount of memory and a good sample editing program (Wavelab).

How times change.

http://www.vintagesynth.com/ensoniq/ens_eps.php
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  #6  
Old 11-13-2013, 04:20 AM
cg2112 cg2112 is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

In the same vein, thoughts on the Roland SPDS?
Basically, this:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums...percussion-pad

I found it used at Guitar Center for $299. $100 more than the SamplePad, but looks a bit more robust to me (nine pads instead of four, more memory, etc). Any thoughts on this, anyone use one?

The only downside I see is that it appears that I need to sample sounds directly to the unit - so instead of putting .wav files on a memory card, I need to plug my phone, or computer, or whatever, into the unit and record the sound. An extra step, but not that much of a burden.
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  #7  
Old 11-13-2013, 06:07 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

I don't know about the SPD-S, but I can tell you that hardware sampling is a real pain, and nowhere near as flexible as using a sound editor to sample or at least manipulate the sounds. The SPD-SX is a sampler, but I would never, ever use it for that. Last time I plugged a mic into a hardware sampler was about 20 years ago. I would sooner record a sound with my iPad, email it to my laptop, and tweak it in Sound Forge. In fact, I've done just that with excelent results!

Bermuda
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  #8  
Old 11-13-2013, 06:22 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

I agree. It was fun back then, but would be a nightmare now. I had to transfer samples through the midi sample dump standard, and it took almost forever - ha ha: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~sbirch...ard_messag.htm


Took a quick look at that SPDS and it looks like it uses compact flash cards. So, if cg2112 can dig up some of those, and has a card reader, and audio interface for his computer, it might not be too bad.
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2013, 06:23 AM
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Shedboyxx Shedboyxx is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cg2112 View Post
In the same vein, thoughts on the Roland SPDS?
,,,,,,,,
The only downside I see is that it appears that I need to sample sounds directly to the unit - so instead of putting .wav files on a memory card, I need to plug my phone, or computer, or whatever, into the unit and record the sound. An extra step, but not that much of a burden.
No that's not true. And like Bermuda said, the overwhelming majority of SPD-S users out there (I'm one) use samples that are imported in via memory card, often after manipulation and tweaking in a sound editing program or DAW.

With an SPD-S you use Compact Flash cards to store extra sounds or bring over sounds to import into the (very small) memory of the SPD-S. Unfortunately the SPD-S will only recognize 512mb on a CF Card even if it has more capacity. However you can have more than one CF card you switch out with the unit. You have to buy a USB card reader/writer to transfer audio between the computer and the SPD-S but they are relatively inexpensive.
Unless you are trying to use backing tracks, most drum and percussion samples as well as loops take up very little memory so the limited size of cards is not usually a factor.

I've never used the sampling on the fly feature using a mike or CD or anything else. It might be handy for some kind of spontaneous thing but.....not the norm.

HTH

Jim
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  #10  
Old 11-13-2013, 06:43 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shedboyxx View Post
No that's not true. And like Bermuda said, the overwhelming majority of SPD-S users out there (I'm one) use samples that are imported in via memory card, often after manipulation and tweaking in a sound editing program or DAW.

....

It doesn't sound like the SPDS has on board editing, does it? Seems like you can sample and use it as-is, or put it on a compact flash card to transfer to a computer for editing.
Or sample into a computer, edit it, then put it on a CF card and transfer it to the SPDS.
Never had one though, so I could be wrong.

Editing samples on a hardware unit that allows it, is usually pretty tedious, but do-able.
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  #11  
Old 11-15-2013, 10:39 PM
cg2112 cg2112 is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

I ended up with the SPD-S. It seemed like a good compromise between the SamplePad and the SPD-SX. $300 used, so a little more than a new SamplePad, quite a big less than a used SPD-SX. Haven't received it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
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  #12  
Old 11-19-2013, 01:09 AM
cg2112 cg2112 is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

So, I bought the Roland SPD-S used from Guitar Center's website - unfortunately, the store that had it went and sold it to a walk-in customer.
I went and picked up the SamplePad this afternoon, and so far, I'm underwhelmed.

Getting the sounds loaded was pretty simple, so far that's the biggest selling point to me. Apparently, sounds must be 16-bit, 44kHz, mono. 22kHz is advertised, but I can't get those files (the exact same ones that currently load at 44kHz) to work. That's kind of a biggy for me, because I'm using 45 second sound clips - they end up being 4.1M big, which is nothing on my wife's $30 mp3 player, but ends up being severely limiting on the SamplePad.

Also advertised is 14mb of space - but that's not really accurate. For some bizarre reason, the SamplePad rounds up to the nearest megabyte when it calculates file size. So, if I've got 4.1mb sound files, it's counted as a 5mb sound file, which means I can only load two of them (which is exactly what I ran into trying to get the sounds I wanted loaded onto the thing). If I could load 22kHz files, this isn't a big deal, but I'm not able to.

Overall, the unit is cool. It's a great size, seems durable, and comfortable to hit. But the limitations to me are kind of mind boggling, technology being what it is (and as cheap as it is) today. The 14mb limitation is kind of astounding, considering you can get a 1gb thumb drive for $2. I'm not sure why Alesis decided on such a limited amount of space.

I'm going to play with it a little bit more, but I have a feeling it's going back. I just expected it to be a bit more capable for the price.
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  #13  
Old 11-19-2013, 05:09 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

I'm surprised it won't accept 22,500 files... mine takes them just fine. As far as mono files, consider that drum and percusion sounds are basically mono sounds, panned as desired, which the unit happily does. I don't think they intended for it to play really lengthy samples, it's a down & dirty all-in-one .wav player at the best price going.

Agreed, it would have been very simple to expand the ram, and that's where the Yamahas and especially the Roland SPD-SX shine. But, you pay a premium for that with them, and have to wade through a lot of features, and a few interesting limitations.

Obviously I have the SamplePad, but for the road, I got the SPD-SX. It's 4x the price, but not likely you'd run out of ram.

Bermuda
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  #14  
Old 11-19-2013, 06:45 AM
cg2112 cg2112 is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

I played with it more, and I must have been doing something wrong (I'm not sure what, but that's all I can come up with), because I got the stuff to load at 22kHz. I'm a little more encouraged, now, since I can now fit all the samples that I immediately need on the pad.
I have no need for stereo sounds, so that part isn't really an issue.

Now that I've got the 22kHz files working, I'm going to hang on to it, and use it for now and eventually upgrade. I'm a little annoyed by the rounding up of file sizes, but that seems like something I can work around pretty easily. The lack of memory is a pretty big deal, but for practicing it shouldn't be too bad. I knew about that particular limitation going in, and even though I don't get why they'd build the thing with such a small amount of memory, I can live with it.
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  #15  
Old 11-19-2013, 04:20 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

Ya know, a 2nd unit would expand your usable ram, available pads, and would still be less expensive than the Roland! :)

But yeah, it would have been easy and cheap to provide more ram in the first place. Even if the SamplePad ended up being $249 as a result, I don't think anyone would have complained.

I guess this is where I need to confess something... I was consulted on the development of the pad. I specified what most drummers need, and that operation be uncomplicated, since most drummers don't have - nor should they need - the electronics skills of keyboard and guitar players, when what they really want is an all-in-one device where it's easy to assign samples to pads, hit the pads, and make the sounds. Not too much extra tweaking would be needed - that can be done when creating the samples - and the resolution had to be at least CD quality to accommodate the harmonics of cymbals and tambourines, for example. Also needed a pedal input and basic midi capabilities.

Well, they did produce an impressive unit, especially for the price. But it wasn't me that specified the ram. After it was released, we discussed a Pro version of the pad with a few more features, more pads, and definitely more ram. Alas, it has yet to materialize.

Bermuda

* Oh yeah, I also specified the internal sounds on both the PercPad and SamplePad. :)
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  #16  
Old 03-11-2014, 06:51 AM
Bobrush Bobrush is offline
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Default Re: Alesis SamplePad?

WAY off-topic:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill View Post
Ha ha - I bought an Ensoniq EPS sampling keyboard the first year they came out. It was around $1,500 (about $3,000 in today's dollars) and had almost 1/2 Megabyte (480Kb) memory.
I very rarely felt limited with that amount of memory and a good sample editing program (Wavelab).

How times change.

http://www.vintagesynth.com/ensoniq/ens_eps.php
I ROCKED my EPS!! I got the memory expander for a whopping 2MB of RAM shared between the OS, sample memory, and sequencer memory. This machine had ZERO ROM. Stacks of 3.5" floppy disks, sampling to hardware, using a one line LED screen and a handful of arrow keys and number keys to edit samples AND sequences, flaky keyboard crashing, using an original Octapad II as a MIDI drum controller....fun times. The funny thing is, 20 years later, with FAR better technology, and a lot better and a lot more equipment, I don't think I've really made much progress making music. Oh well, at least I'm still having fun.
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