Random sample select / Multi-sample player unit

Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone besides me has interest in the idea of random sample-select functionality on the ER-301, as well as the idea of a multi-sampler unit. Specifically, (and please, chime in if you agree) I’d like the ability to load a number of samples (8? 16?) from the Pool into a single, multi-sample player unit, and have a “random assign” function that would use incoming gate signals to trigger one of the loaded samples at random, such that it was a different sample on each successive gate showing up at one of the G inputs.This unit would be something more like a full-featured player for multiple loaded samples, e.g. multiple sample slots with a built-in VCA and ADSR for each, in addition to separate tuning for each one as well. So you’d have a single, powerful multi-sample player that could load some number of samples and have them handled differently, as well as the possibility of being triggered from different G inputs, and assign them to separate outputs in mono or stereo, depending on the loaded samples. I realize this is a major ask, so I was curious if anyone else thinks it would be worth having. For now, though, I’d be happy if there was some mechanism for doing random sample-select with the existing sample-player units :slight_smile:

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I think white noise into a triggered sample and hold that was scaled to your number of slices should accomplish what you are trying to do…

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You can totally already do this. :wink:

Go to the sample pool, load a bunch of samples as a sample chain. Assign that sample chain to a Vari-speed Player unit and put a White Noise unit in the slice select sub-chain.

If you need more hints, just let me know.

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To the OP, when you’ve got it working, please upload a sample/demo as this is a use case I am Extremely Interested In Seeing. Thank you.

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OK Brian, so this works, BUT…I actually need more control over the individual samples for this to be useful to me. As far as I can tell, loading them all as a chain means you sacrifice individual tuning control over each sample in the chain, because there is no such animal as per-slice tuning, amirite? These are pitched samples, and I need to be able to play around with relative tunings so that no matter how randomly they’re selected, their musical relationships to the rest of the track will always make sense. So unless I’m missing something, I’m back to my original quest, which would seem to point to making a patch with several individual Variable Sample Players and some sort of heretofore-nonexistent random multiplexing gate processor unit that would, say, take an incoming stream of 16th-note gates showing up at Gx and randomly (or cyclically, according to some cool Cirklon-like pattern presets) send them successively to a bunch of internal software outputs that would show up as possible Trig sources inside any currently-existing Variable Sample Players, or whatever other Units would benefit from this. So I guess I’m proposing a Multiplexing Gate Processor Unit. WHO’S WITH ME? :wink: Please let me know what you think, and whether I’ve missed something here.

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You still have the speed and V/oct inputs. How about using a pitch sequencer in random mode? :thinking:

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Do your samples have equal length? Time wise…

Well, the thing is, the only aspect I’m trying randomize here is which sample is actually playing at any given time. Their respective tuning and envelope settings have to be specified, not left to chance, and the samples should play from their beginnings, at least to start with. So, that. There’s no way around it in this case, I’m afraid - I need full control over each individual sample, which means I’ve gotta use individual VSPs, each with its own tuning and envelope, and randomize how they’re being triggered via some external method. So far, the Cirklon is looking like my best option without either a) buying some other module that does this gate processing stuff, or b) waiting for my Multiplexing Gate Processor idea to become a reality, lol :slight_smile: Thanks for the input on this stuff.

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Nope, never. All unique lengths.

It sounds very complex the way you describe it, and probably it is… but I fail to understand how you’re not getting what you are wanting by randomizing the slice parameter, and controlling the pitch from the pitch and speed parameters, as odevices is suggesting. The only fixed parameter in the slice chain is the tuning bias, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tune every slice differently on the fly (sequence them). You just need to pretune the samples in the chain to the same pitch so you can effectively sequence them. But this is really basic, so I guess, not what you are after…?

you can do it.
you can use different varispeed players into mixer channels.
then you use either Joe’s bespoke Pingable Scaled Random or you build one yourself with white noise followed by s&h gated by the same signal you use to gate your samples.
then before every instance of varispeed player , in the mixer channel, you put a bump scanner that picks the signal out of the pingable scaled random (via local routing) and you set the bump scanner so that it reacts only to a particular band of values. a bit long to setup but i think it might work (im already not much familiar with the bump scanner unit so sorry if this is wrong).

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Yeah, having to pretune anything misses the point here, because I just need them all to be independently tunable on the fly so I can react to the unpredictable harmonic relationships that are created between the samples by the random-selection process itself. So the idea is no pre-anything, other than choosing a pool of samples that I think are likely to work well together when randomly combined rhythmically, then adjust to taste in real time as the process unfolds.

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Intriguing, though highly complicated, but thanks for this. I’ll look into this approach. After a certain level of setup complexity, though, this starts to beg the question of why try doing it on the modular anyway, I suppose - I may be better off here just doing something in Max to accomplish the trigger randomization, then triggering keygroups in Falcon where all the sample independence is effortless anyway. Much head-scratching left to be done here, it seems…Anyway, thanks everyone for chiming in on this, I really appreciate the suggestions.

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i use the 301 a lot for sliced breaks and stuff like that and it’s close to perfection! much better than the octatrack regarding sound and mangling possibilities, i dare to say much better than an mpc either! and surely funnier than doing it in ableton live!

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funny, yesterday, in a private conversation, i made an argument by comparing pure data to the er-301. the metaphor was “machines being turned inside out”. concerning levels of complexity both are somewhat similar.
concerning user interfaces and corresponding workflows i see (and feel) some differences, that became important to me. don’t want to go into details here, but i believe those differences are responsible for one of the most important (and also most popular) answers to the question in question: it’s

but in the long term, pd/Max/MSP and all of their other derivatives that reside on ‘ordinary computers’ will maintain only two main advantages over eurorack or any other similar modular system:

  1. patch management
    though patch management inside the er-301 is already a breeze (and it surely will improve even further than we can imagine right now) patch management outside the er-301 turns to almost impossible, depending very much on the size…clearly, ‘ordinary Max/MSP solutions’ :wink: are far better in this respect.
  2. pricewise
    even ER-301 Micro systems are far from being inexpensive.
    and at least in my case the whole modular system is far beyond Max Ableton riding on a desktop computer.
    what i’m trying to say is: it’s better if you could afford and use both systems. if not, choose wisely…

people have different reasons for going into modular. my initial reasons were mostly artistic/aesthetic ones i had picked up from my childhood dreams and from ‘i dream of wires’. but once i got into it, more reasons added to the whole experience: most importantly playful “fun”. i mean the one that is able to keep you awake the whole night. i am speaking about the fun that would have turned into exceptional music if you just had pushed the record button. :slightly_smiling_face:

whatever you do

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oh, i forgot the interdependency of having to learn more stuff in order to have even more fun!

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Well, the fact is that no module, ever, can have a UI big and rich enough to even vaguely compete with, say, Max running on a 30" monitor, so it’s all about managing expectations and playing to the strengths of the format. I love my Euro system and continue to get things out of it
that would simply be either impossible or extremely difficult to achieve on the computer without a ton of work. It has changed my musical life, and I couldn’t live without it in my current workflow. However, as this whole category of “DSP container” modules like the 301 and SSP has arisen and started to evolve, sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is a very real ceiling on the level of patch complexity you can create before things get unmanageable, just due to the brutal realities of small displays. I realize that many people have a much higher threshold for tedious patch creation on tiny screens than I do, but after 34 years of this sort of thing, I’m all about whatever’s gonna get me somewhere interesting with the least amount of annoyance and cognitive effort involved, and the least amount of tedious, repetitive fiddling on a tiny UI. So my general approach tends to lean toward experimenting more on the macro side of the whole patch on the modular, rather than spending time making super complex, multi-level hierarchies inside the 301 itself, because for me, there’s frankly little reason to do so, and I find it quickly exceeds my irritation threshold, because I can never see an overview of my patch. As I suggested ages ago, an editor for the Mac would of course make things so much easier, but that is obviously a major piece of software development that I doubt is even vaguely realistic to expect. BTW, my gripes here are in no way a dig at the 301 specifically; I love the 301, and it’s pretty much the center of my Euro system. The problem I have here is the same with other modules that offer similarly deep functionality with a very small UI. Anyway, as always, it’s whatever works for the task at hand. As it happens, I just got a Gatestorm, which it seems will definitely allow me to achieve the particular musical result I’m after that prompted my original post. So we’ll see…

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i get what you are saying

that is why i like to consider the surface of my whole system to be one big and interactive (modular) display of what i am trying to achieve artistically. again, due to the size of my system

  1. the size of my UI not only easily exceeds the 30 inches you’ve chosen
  2. that one big interactive surface also allows me a kind of “tangible computing” that at least a simple Max system does not allow. clearly you’d have to add hundreds of midi and/or osc controllers as well as tangible patching possibilities (does anybody know of such a thing?) to a max-system…

absolutely, and that is exactly why i never thought of getting rid of the rest of my modular (and ordinary studio equipment which i also consider to be modules on the “macro side” of my studio). my er-301 is everything but isolated and you’re argument is the very reason, why i am always trying to “differentiate” parts of the complexity, so i can let them “compute” by other and far more specialized modules. the dedicated UIs (controllers and I/O!) of all the other stuff are irreplacable for my personal approach.
otherwise, you just

there’s one further tiny and rather personal observation i’d like to point out while also coming back to your original post :grinning: :

don’t get me wrong, i can clearly see circumstances where this neccessarily has to be applied!
live-situations, sound design for a living, drug induced urge to have “instant fun”…
but don’t forget the benefits of “goofing off” with your modular!
this might not apply to everybody, but i made the experience that investing cognitive effort into aspects that are not specifically aimed at particular results or goals often lead to unintended results that are just great.
the other day i had a rather specific goal in my mind that suddenly would turn a rather old school hip hop sound into some break beat driven dancing exercise. after a while of patching work i decided to take a break and also some time for more generally investigating the possibilities of modulating the slice parameter together with the pitch parameter on the clocked players i had patched up. usually i go for those specialized modulation sources that are external to the 301 (twinwaves-lfos, octasource, cirklon, bishop’s miscellany, newly aquired eloquencer and what not accompanied by also external cv-tools vcam, planar, levit8, quadratt …). so i defined two inputs on the 301 for slice and pitch. then i immediatly left the realm of those tiny 301 displays and didn’t look back for several hours. i just turned my attention to the rest of the 25 squaremeters of tangible computing surface :wink: i mentioned in the beginning and within seconds: lost all awareness of time and space :star_struck:

after several hours of that experimental break (beat session) i not only had a great time (fun that is) but also found an unexpected and stage compatible solution: 2lfos-on-twinwaves->xy-inputs of planar xy-outputs->er301.
but guess what:
unfortunately i forgot to push the record button.

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I’m not much for goofing off, I have to say. I’m totally down with experimenting w/ the modular, but not just for its own sake - it has to be in service of a musical context, or at least the beginnings of an idea for one. And btw, the system here is two 30" monitors and two smaller ones, but your point is taken. Just to sum this up and not go on endlessly about it, it’s horses for courses on this just like anything, e.g. everyone works differently, but for my part, I don’t have the bandwidth or patience anymore to be crammed into a tiny UI unless it offers possibilities that are simply essential to me and pure unobtanium on any other system, which rarely happens. So it comes down to choosing the right venue/system/methodology for a particular process or workflow idea I want to try in a given musical situation, such that I keep frustration to a minimum and don’t lose inspiration, y’know?

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i know i resurrect an old thread but the replies just slipped under my radar at the time and i think it was an interesting conversation.
well, my experience is very different, since i got into eurorack i totally changed my way of recording music AND performing. i must say that my music production has become much more similar to my live performances, with just a tad of editing, mixing and occasionally mastering.
the 301 was a real surprise. i must say when it came out i was totally skeptic (“a sampler with small screens and lotta menu diving in modular form? naaaah”), then i casually watched a couple of videos when firmware was already at version 2.something and it immediately intrigued me!
then i bought it. when it arrived i almost immediately realized that the form factor, the screens, the whole of the UI and UX was perfectly fitting my needs (im not talking in absolutes here, just saying that for whatever reasons it fitted like a glove!)
while i still use max\msp (im a bit of a rookie but i manage to create interesting and\or useful patches from time to time) and reaktor, also because i use them as didactic props at school (i teach sound design and electronic music production in two schools), and they both proven great value!
so, i want to stress how personal the whole workflow\environment is, how each one of us has different needs and inclinations and if you take that into account you realize that big screens or nearly infinite cpu is something that has value, but a relative value that must be put into context.
sometimes a 15 watt tube guitar amp is a far greater value than ultra high tech super physical modeling whatever can ever be :slight_smile: