SAMPLING A SAMPLER!
Taking a break from the Novachord restoration/sampling project this weekend I turned my attention to something else in my studio in need of some TLC.
A couple of years ago I restored a 1985 SCI Prophet 2002, the more rare rackmount version of the Prophet 2000 sampling keyboard. The 2002 is a delightful rackmount 12 bit sampler with Curtis filters a delightful "stack" facility whereby up to 8 voices can be stacked, detuned and delayed and lovely built in arpeggiator. It is also arguably a better option than it's keyboard sister as it features proper tactile switches instead of a membrane keyboard.
Despite the 2002 having 2 x 512K of memory it has a wonderful smooth warm sound with a great bottom end. It is a very different beast to the Mirage, a sampler it's often wrongly compared with. It's analog filters go way into self resonance and can be made to dance just on the edge of it to great effect too. It's also quite quiet and capable of surprisingly high quality sampling, albeit for a very short period of time!, at max sample rate. At low sample rate the sound is wonderfully crunchy without being horribly thin or noisy. Drum loops and bass sound wonderful through this beasty.
That said, the Prophet is not without it's issues. The original floppy drives often failed, the user interface is sometimes maddening (especially setting up multisamples!!).
Mine had recently developed a sample memory fault which was manifesting itself as a series of random clicks heard throughout sample playback. I decided to investigate and on reminding myself that the DRAM is socketed I got lucky and found a superb old portable memory tester on the net. The item turned up, an ABI MasterRAM Compact, and within a few minutes it had identified a faulty memory chip. This was replaced and hey presto my samples were pop free.
The Prophet 2002 is quite unusual for a sampler in that it offers 12 built in basic waveforms. The idea is that the sampler may be used as a primative hybrid synth. I strongly susptect that the Prophet 2002 shares it's basic architecture with one of the other Prophet synths of the era - I keep meaning to compare the schematics. Many of the waveforms offered are not terribly nice but one or two are very useable. This manner of using the sampler - ie. sampled waveforms modified by synth like features is a superb way of using this little beast.
A few months ago I found that if you select preset #3, which is a basic guitar waveform, and then dial in a stack of 4 voices each detuned by 7 you end up with a lovely chorused guitar effect.
I liked this sound so much I decided to multi-sample it in Kontakt.
Here is the result - a 4Mb multisample using two cross faded sampled velocity sample sets:
The Prophet 2002: