What is Sampletank anyway, and why is it relevant?

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What is Sampletank anyway, and why is it relevant?

Postby u8ncm8 » Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:39 am

Am I right in saying; the '90's we'd call this type of software a Mod Tracker?

It seems to be something like that but because it exists in 2 forms:-
[1] Standalone
[2] As a plug-in

The first justifies its existence if we didn't want to load a full blown DAW, ( perhaps for live purposes ) but that would be overkill. Most backing tracks I know are completed exports of things we do in this type of software before the gig.

The second is strange because we'd have the DAW that do all the functionality anyway by loading the same plug-ins that come with ST separately.

I'm new to ST, so forgive me if it is a stupid question. And that's not by choice. I bought the Miroslav on July 4th Special, and that's all that was subtracted from my Visa account. But it seems I was given SampleTank4 as well, serial numbers n' all. I haven't downloaded it because I'm wondering what value is it? The Miro works without it . . .

thanks
~rob v
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Re: What is Sampletank anyway, and why is it relevant?

Postby DarkStar » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:11 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum.

No, SampleTank 4 ("ST4") is not a Mod Tracker.

It is a sample-based player with a huge library of instruments and a wide range of effects. It also has some built-in tools (Arpeggiator, Strummer and Phraser). It is multi-timbral so 16 different instruments can be loaded and played, all at once. Each instrument can be routed to a different audio output, so different effects plug-ins can be used on them. Using its Live mode you can create and use Set lists, easily selecting different sets of instruments. Many of the parameter controls can be automated or assigned directly to MIDI CC control.

The standalone edition is driven by a MIDI keyboard. The plug-in edition is loaded as an instrument plug-in in your DAW and is driven by MIDI and parameter automation from the DAW (MIDI clips or form keyboards). Most MIDI sequencing would be done in the DAW. ST4 plays the sounds.

https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/st4/
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Re: What is Sampletank anyway, and why is it relevant?

Postby garfy » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:21 pm

Hello rob and welcome to the forums.

I guess SampleTank is more like a ROMpler really. Based on samples, you can adapt envelopes, effects etc but you can't record new samples into it, although you can make your own instruments from wav files if you want to.

Plenty of live musicians would use the standalone as a live performance tool. I think it's genre-dependent for backing tracks to be used as opposed to a live band. The band I play keys in would never replace live sounds with backing tracks as it negates possibilities for improv or extending the music.

The capability for ST4 to load other libraries (Miroslav and Syntronik as well as legacy products) is for a couple of reasons. Instruments can be layered to create new sounds using different libraries. As well as that, the multi-timbrality of the software means that less instances of it can be used, if that is your workflow. But there's nothing stopping you from using one instance per 'sound' if that's what you want to do.

The version of ST4 that you've got in your User Area is the free (Custom Shop) version that includes it's own library of sounds and allows you to buy add-on libraries from IKM if you only want specific sounds, rather than buying one of the main versions. If you only want Miroslav then there is no need to install ST4CS or any of the other free version of IKM's software in your User Area.

Hope that helps.
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Re: What is Sampletank anyway, and why is it relevant?

Postby u8ncm8 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:01 am

Thanks to both
I risked asking a silly question with obvious answers, but in this Covid time you might get a lot of newbies with time on their hands asking what is obvious to seasoned users.

Garfy, I agree with the improv and extensions. I'd forgotten about that. I live in a rural area and the lone cowboys that do the country pub circuit all do the canned laptop backing thing. Gotcha on the other comments too.

DarkStar, from what you describe it helps avoiding too many tracks strung out in your DAW. I'll consider your other comments about built in tool functionality too.

Hmmmm the Set Lists functionality is a little like what I saw a big noise last night over at Presonus with their Show Page, only you had it quietly first. I think of these as 'scenes' in a lighting rig.
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Re: What is Sampletank anyway, and why is it relevant?

Postby DarkStar » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:11 am

Don't worry, your question was not silly.

Yes, the use of ST4 in a DAW can reduce the number of tracks, But I often use it with 16 tracks sending MIDI to it and another 16 for the output audio. Put them all in a folder or group track and that is 34! But I can display only the MIDI tracks in the DAW's Arranger area and only the audio tracks in the DAW's Mixer.

Within ST4 I can :
-- easily select and audition the best instruments for each track,
-- edit many of each instrument's parameters,
-- drive several instruments from the same MIDI channel,
-- layer instruments, setting note and velocity ranges,
-- use the built-in Arpeggiator, Strummer and Phraser,
-- apply some effects and do some mixing.

In the DAW i can edit each MIDI track, apply other effects to each audio output and some more mixing.

Even if you have not yet installed ST4, you can get the ST4 User Manual by going to your User Area / my Products, then the "SampleTank 4 CS" entry. Click on [Download Resources] and you can download it from there.

As for the Live Mode, here's a very simple example:
Image >>> https://i.imgur.com/F3R3FnP.png

The songs are selected by sending MIDI Program Change (PC) messages with values of 1 or 2 from a MIDI controller. Once selected you can send a different PC to load an instrument or Multi. In the example I am using 13-15 for "First Song" and 22-25 for "Second". The instruments can take several seconds to load so make sure you have some stage talk ready to fill the gap ;)
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Re: What is Sampletank anyway, and why is it relevant?

Postby u8ncm8 » Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:22 am

Wow DarkStar, you should be in sales :D

So from what I read, up to now if I wanted to use a soundfont I loaded a separate instance of Sforzando for each instrument. Which might be taking CPU load, so just loading a single sample tank on a virtual instrument track means I can route plain vanilla midi tracks thereto.

Up to now my work in any DAW has been simple background pads behind voice-over for community radio spots, so it can't be too attention gabbing. So I've never had the need for such complexity. Now that I've finished there I'm needing to learn techniques such as these. Thanks.
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Re: What is Sampletank anyway, and why is it relevant?

Postby DarkStar » Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:54 am

Sales? - I was, in a different life. :)

Yep, but please note that SampleTank does not load SoundFonts or .sfz instruments. There are other products that do. Anyway, here is a pic of SampleTank 3 (the principle is the same in ST4):

Image

I have 7 different instruments loaded (and 3 more that I was trying out). Each of those instruments is triggered by MIDI on a different MIDI channel. So I can send MIDI from the MIDI tracks in my DAW to each one as and when needed. Also, (in the Mixer,) each is routed so a separate SampleTank output, so that I can apply different external FX to each one.

You could load up several pad sounds and edit them, then trigger any of them from a MIDI keyboard.
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