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Review of the Emulator
X2 Software Sampler


The first true software sampler?



Tweak asks the class "So, how many of you do sampling with soft samplers these days?"  Nearly the whole class raises their hands.  "Hmm, are you sure?  Call them out for me.  You!  Tweak points the TweakWand at the first unsuspecting newb.  "Call it out"  "Uh.. SoundFonts" says the newb.  "Nope, the SF2 engine doesn't sample, and nor do the others"

Emu Emulator X2 Software Sampler (Windows)
Emulator X2 Software Sampler for PC is the culmination of over 30 years of sampler development that offers the pristine sound quality, powerful synthesis and filters of E-MUís legendary hardware samplers and introduces a host of new groundbreaking tools that includes SynthSwipe automated hardware sampling, TwistaLoop non-destructive audio manipulator, Morph Filter Designer to create custom filters, Multi-Function Generator for advanced LFO/envelope/arpeggiator programming, advanced Transform Multiply convolution DSP tool, real-time control of multiple loop points, REX2 and MP3 import, and much, much more.

Kompakt?  Nope. Kontakt.  Nope.  Intakt.  Nope.  Halion. Uses Cubase's recorder.  EXS24.  Uses Logic's recorder.  Get the idea?  These products rely on a separate application to record audio.  In fact they only use and process samples, they don't make them.  So you make them in another application and drag them into the softsampler.  Emulator X (the first version) did allow basic audio recording and waveform manipulation but now the X2 has arrived.  With the upgrade we are given the tools we need to capture and map audio quickly and easily and with a power samplists have never known before.  Is this important?   If you are a samplist, Yes.  Emu pushes the boundaries of recording audio for samples far beyond its hardware samplers, far beyond typical audio editors like Sound Forge, Recycle and Peak. 


You don't have to get deep to enjoy the benefits of this recording system in the X2.  Plug in a Mic, Click Acquire Samples in the menu, the recording window pops up, set the source input and hit the red record button.  Then say something.  Anything!  (Tweak scans through the crowd) "You--give it up!"

Mr. Newb steps up to Tweak's conveniently set up MD421.  " Yo, Dawg, whas poppin'.  Press stop and immediately the waveform window comes up.  Click Apply on the Gate/Chop and your phrase is automatically chopped into regions.  Then just go down the items on the right side of the screen.  Set the root keys, names and save.  I gotta say, this is the easiest and most powerful sampling method I have seen in any sampler, hard or soft, ever!  The regions are moveable after you apply the gate.  Zoomable too, so it's easy to get them perfect. 






Convinced?  Well there's more.  The Emulator X2 automatically detects and assigns the pitch of your material.  That is an amazing feature.  For my test, I grabbed my trusty classic guitar, brought the mic close, and played an "E" chord one note at a time.  The audio was recorded and after 3 quick button presses of the Gate/Chop, Set Keys and Set Names, all 6 samples were mapped to the keyboard at the correct root notes.  The recording and mapping was done! At no time was I waiting for the program--it was waiting for me!  Why am I so jazzed about this?  Well let me tell you, I have sampled guitars hundreds of times in my life and it usually takes 20 minutes or so to record and map 6 samples.  This process is intuitive took less than a minute. 



Already I have told you enough about why you need to upgrade to the X2, or get it if you don't already have Emulator X.  Now emu comes in for the kill.  That is a new feature called synth swipe.  This feature is an "auto sampling" procedure for sampling your MIDI devices.  It lets you sample the presets of any MIDI keyboard or sound module (or another sampler) with amazing ease of use.  I did not even bother to read the help files and i got it working the first try.  I loaded a favorite drum kit on one of my hardware samplers and used one of the many supplied templates for the sample swipe feature.  The Emulator X2 sent out MIDI notes to my hardware sampler, triggered the notes, which were routed to the audio input of my 1820M.  Emulator X2 recorded the audio, split the file into regions, mapped them to the keyboard automatically and i had a perfectly sampled version of my drum kit.  You can do this with drum machines and synth patches too.  Just a matter of routing the midi and audio cables and setting a few parameters or using a template. 



If you are into sampling synths, the value of this feature is worth many times the price of admission.  

There are more new features in Emulator X2 but I can't talk about everything here in detail.  I'll be back to talk about Twist-a-loop and the new Morph filters and function generators soon, so stay tuned.  Suffice it to say for now, the true tweaks will not be disappointed.  Emulator X2 is a milestone in sampler design. 



Want to discuss the X2?  Go to The Emulator X2 Discussion Topic at Studio-Central



INDEX of Sampling And Sound Development
Secrets of Sampling
Using your Hardware Sampler Creatively
How to Burn a Sample CD Rom
Surviving SCSI Hell
Resources for Emu Hardware Samplers
Connect your Hardware Sampler to your PC
Emulator X2 Soft Sampler
Working as a Sound Developer
Build your own Soft Synth with SoundFonts
Downloadable Sounds at zZounds
Field Recorders
Audio for Video and Film
Review of Sound Forge
Tweak's Sample CD Roms
Tweak's Synth Patches for Select Synths
Convert your ESI banks to EOS
Zoom H4 Review
Samplers Price List

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