Top 5 Greatest Samplers - Episode 4

There is an S in Roland...      12/11/07

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13:10 mins

Welcome to number 4, the penultimate episode of the Top 5 Greatest Samplers of all time... Ever! Of course, There are lots of other classic (and not so classic) samplers... Casio’s FZ-1, the affordable 16 bit sampler from Japan. Or the K250. Kurzweil's '84 release with features that out shone many of its contemporaries. Then there's the Synclavier and Roland's W30 (a favourite with Prodigy). And we're not forgetting all the modern synths that include sampling as a matter of course. But we just haven’t got enough room to mention them all in this short mini series... So we hope that the five mighty instruments we’ve chosen will satisfy your gear lust at least for the time being. Of course, there’s still one show to go and maybe this episode will give you some clues as to what we consider to be the most ground-breaking samplers ever invented. (no, it’s not the Electro Harmonix Super Replay…But, nice try... nice try!) Anyhow, without further babbling, let’s get on with episode 4 which is all about not one, but a whole range of samplers…

4. Roland 'S' Series samplers Roland's S-10 introduced a phenomenal series of samplers that excited and engrossed an entire generation of users in the mid 80's.
Roland used a basic marketing model (affordable digital sampling) to introduce a whole range of products over a number of years. The S-220, a rack version of the S-10 was followed by the S-50 keyboard and S-330 rackmount which were superseded by the S-550 and S-770. The ‘S’ series were renowned for their lush libraries and generous number of outputs. The operating system, although sometimes tiresome to navigate was advanced for the time and helped considerably by the introduction of a mouse and monitor giving the ‘S’ range direct lineage to the later computer driven samplers. Features included waveform smoothing, auto looping and a ‘previous’ function, which allowed you to sample input on-the-fly. They also included Time Variant filters (like the LA-type synths), which made the TVA’s and TVF’s more precise.
They sampled into 2 banks: A and B (a necessary feature which often caused confusion), and saved onto 3.5 floppies. The utility disks also came on a floppy.
They also sported a very basic sequencer. The S-550 came with 1.5meg memory in a 2U rack and the S-770 squeezed into 4U. The S-760 came along in 1994. This 1U was expandable to 32meg and had digital I/O’s. It could also read the Akai S1000 and S1100 sample libraries. That’s it for this week. Join us again in 2 weeks time when we will be revealing the all time greatest sampler... Ever!

See you then!

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