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Hands on - Akai S1000 digital sampler (part 6)

If mono sampling is fun then stereo sampling ought to be twice as much fun, but you have to be aware of the best uses of stereo sampling...

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Stereo sampling

If mono sampling is fun then stereo sampling ought to be twice as much fun, but you have to be aware of the best uses of stereo sampling. It's definitely good for drum sounds and for sampling loops from CD or record (by the way, to perform this type of looping, make the loop in the sequencer by repeatedly triggering the sample, rather than by looping in the sampler). I find that stereo sampling isn't really much use for anything else. You can sample stereo synth voices, but it's a devil to create a good stereo loop, so most of the time I don't bother and just sample in mono. It saves tracks on the multitrack anyway! But getting back to drums and loops, stereo operation is very effective - but unfortunately they don't bother to tell you in the manual very clearly how to do it (although everything else that I have written about here is well covered). Taking stereo samples and creating keygroups is exactly the same as doing it in mono, apart from a few details, explained below.

  • In the Record Set-Up page, set the mode to 'STEREO'.
  • In the Loop page, remember that the automatic loop finder only works on one channel at a time, although you can copy the settings to the other channel manually.
  • In the Sample 1 page of program editing, set zone 1 to the left channel of your sample, e.g. SAMPLE-L, and zone 2 to the right channel, SAMPLE-R. Set the 'V-hi' of zone 2 to 127.
  • In the Sample 2 page, set the pan of zone 1 to L50 and zone 2 to R50.
  • Go to the Keygroups page and set the coherence to 'ON'.

In a way, it's a pity that Akai haven't made more of a fuss about stereo sampling, and automated it a bit more to encourage the user. But when you know the procedure, you'll find that your stereo samples really do sound excellent and that it's worth the extra bit of bother, in the right situations.

The Akai S1000, at the moment, is probably the world's number 1 sampler in terms of its range of features and user base. It won't always be, because there is always room for improvement, but in the meantime, if you want to be considered a sampler expert, then the S1000 is the machine to know.

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By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004
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