Noob: Few questions regarding samplers, samples, midi controllers

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Member Since: Dec 23, 2005

I've been googling for hours now, and I just keep going in circles. I've been reading into synthesizers, software samplers, hardware samplers, library samples like EWQL Symphonic Orchestra etc... and boy am I confused.

Being a student, I cannot afford to go out and buy a synthesizer, or a really expensive midi controller, so does this mean I am unable to enter the world of using those nifty library samples of orchestras and choirs?
Up till now, I've been using guitarpro's simple 'click and play' interface, and I like it a lot. I choose the note I want to play, I choose which instrument I want playing it, and I'm off to the races. Add some reverb, and it sounds quite nice actually. It wasn't why I initially got guitar pro, but it is now my main "background synth" tool whenever I am composing music. But no, now I want more power. More realism. I want Hans Zimmer-like symphonies roaring along side my heavily distorted guitars.

So, are there no programs that have a similar approach to how guitar pro does it? I would love to have better string and choir samples, but it seems the only way I can do this is by buying some expensive keyboard that I'd have no idea how to use, and no idea how to even plug into my computer, followed by another expensive set of samples that I'd have no idea how to map onto a keyboard.

I found EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Gold Edition for 500 dollars, and I'm more than a little interested, especially if I can buy that, and need nothing else to use it.

This line has me more than a little excited: "Either as a standalone application or as a plugin in your favorite sequencing or notation program"
"Each VIRTUAL INSTRUMENT in the collection combines intuitive handling with excellent sound quality, and functions as a plug-in instrument, without the need for a sampler."

Now, I didn't understand everything they said, but does this mean I need a keyboard or not? I'm looking at their interface, and it has a picture of one at the bottom, which I'm guessing means that I do? But I don't see why I couldn't just take my mouse and click on a note that is on that GUI keyboard, and get the same effect. Is this possible?

And should I need a MIDI controller, I was leaning towards:

With the keyboard and that orchestral package combined, will that be able to suit all my needs? Are there any strings attached? Extra software or hardware I need to buy?

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Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Nov 25, 2006 01:26 am

Drizzt, you can actually run it as a plugin synth just like any other software synth or sampler. And yes, I believe you can step write in Guitar Pro just like you were doing with the other sampler plugin.

Although eventually you may want to make things easier with a controller like you listed.

Since: Dec 23, 2005

Nov 25, 2006 02:10 am

Hey Noize,

Bit rusty on the old terminology here. What is a sampler plugin, as opposed to just a sampler? Are software synth and sampler interchangable terms?

And that controller I listed above: If it is a 'USB' controller, that means I can connect it just by using a USB port, right? No special jacks that require some fancy external audio interface to connect to my computer?

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

Nov 25, 2006 12:06 pm

There are a lot of 'keyboards' on the market, new and used, that have MIDI out. Any of those should work. I use an old Roland D-10 (bought used and cheap) to write all my MIDI stuff. I think even the cheapo Casio (okay, calm down....) stuff has MIDI now. While the 'controllers' are very nice, you don't have to have one.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Nov 25, 2006 03:02 pm

Drizzt, The sampler plugin is just a VSTi or DXi version of a regular sampler. However, I believe the one you are looking at is actually referred to as a ROMpler as it reads the samples direct from disc to save on loading the memory. That is nothing you need to worry about though.

And no, a software synth is a completely differant animal as it forms its own sounds via oscilater's, filter's and other modulation devices in the software. Although some of the software samplers now are being built as a hybrid of both. But it isn't really that confusing once your into it.

As for the controller, yes you will just install the driver's, plug it into the USB port and your good to go.

Since: Dec 23, 2005

Nov 25, 2006 06:12 pm

Thanks guys! I think that clears up most of my confusion.
TallChap- I'll have a look around for keyboards then too and see what would better suit what I'm doing, thanks!

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