Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

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Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby Erotic Cabaret » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:45 am

I love the sound of my Emulator II, but there's a conspicuous noise-floor when I'm doing my own sampling. After I'm done sampling, the noise goes back down, but it's been imprinted on the sample. Very annoying and unusable. Anyone have any ideas? Am I supposed to clean something, or...?

Thanks! :D
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby madtheory » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:38 pm

Can you post an audio example? Maybe they do that, I don't know.
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby Erotic Cabaret » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:42 pm

Good idea...I'll get right to that!
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby Bitexion » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:58 pm

Bad microphone picking up too much background noise?
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby schmidtc » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:05 pm

There was a thread (by you?) on the EII list about this last week in which someone quoted a 45db S/N from their EII.
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby Erotic Cabaret » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:49 am

Yep, Schmidt, I've been having troubles left and right with this thing, haha.

Ok, so, here's a link to a WAV that showcases the problem I'm having. The first sound is of the source piano sample. The second sound is of that piano sample going through the Emulator II with +00 gain on the on-board preamp. The third sound is of a typical Emulator II piano sample from my stock library that is totally unrelated to my own sample.

Notice that the source sample is clean sounding, in terms of the noise floor. Notice, also, that the Emulator II stock sample is pretty clean sounding. But, my own sample, run through the Emulator II's onboard sample input, is NOISY!

http://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/yya7ax

Let me know what you think!
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby madtheory » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:04 am

The factory library is mostly very clean sounding, but some of the third party stuff like FMS is noisier. I think mostly people used a Mac with a sound designer card to get cleaner samples into the EII. The factory stuff was recorded to Sony PCM F1. These were used again digitally for the EIII library (you can tell by the sample rate= 44.056kHz) I don't know how these were "sampled" into the EII, it's possible that it was a digital transfer, not sampled via analogue. But then they sampled from an EII to make a lot of the Emax I library...
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby Erotic Cabaret » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:52 am

Hey Madtheory -

So you're telling me it's normal for my samples to sound this noisy when sampling through the analog input?
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby Stab Frenzy » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:51 am

An EII has a maximum theoretical noise floor of -48dB. That's already pretty noisy, add in early 80s analogue gain stages and the fact that you're probably not hitting exactly 0dBFS on the way in and you're actually pretty lucky it's not noisier.

I do find it funny when people insist on using old samplers and then complain that they're noisy. :lol: That noise it the 'warmth' 'dirt' and whatever other phrases people choose when they're getting a hard-on over old gear. If you want clean samples then use a soft sampler.
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby piRoN » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:29 am

Er... I don't agree with that at all. There's a difference between the combination of aliasing, DAC filters, etc. and the blanket of wideband hiss that some of the early samplers put over the top of user-sampled audio. If the noise was the "warmth", "dirt" and what-have-you then you're essentially saying that there's no difference between a 12-bit sampler and an S5000 with noise played over the top, which is absurd.

My X7000 has this too, and because mine is an odd early model which can't do midi transfer or use the later OS's I've just had to take it as a quirk of the instrument. It's just a nasty, bad-gain-stage flat hiss that doesn't show up in the monitor output but gets cooked into the sample somewhere along the line. It's annoying because sometimes you want to push the "character" of the sampler a bit in the mix, but you can't do it without dredging up a big bucketload of background noise that masks the aliasing and distortion you were trying to emphasise.
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby Stab Frenzy » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:53 am

piRoN wrote:Er... I don't agree with that at all. There's a difference between the combination of aliasing, DAC filters, etc. and the blanket of wideband hiss that some of the early samplers put over the top of user-sampled audio. If the noise was the "warmth", "dirt" and what-have-you then you're essentially saying that there's no difference between a 12-bit sampler and an S5000 with noise played over the top, which is absurd.

Sorry, I wasn't that clear. What I mean is that the noise is part of the package, you don't get the things that people want from old samplers without it. If you're looking for something to record a clean piano sample onto then the EII is a poor choice.
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby Erotic Cabaret » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:06 am

Well, I listen to those early Depeche Mode records and I hear no hiss in the samples. Just warmth and beautiful aliasing. There IS a difference.
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby madtheory » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:17 pm

PM Hideawaystudio. He's rebuilt an EII he knows exactly how cleverly put together they are.
Stab Frenzy wrote:An EII has a maximum theoretical noise floor of -48dB.

You'd be right if it was an 8 bit linear system, but it's not linear. It's (kind of double) companded so it's more like 12 bit. It's adaptive D*PCM apparently. So theoretically the noise floor should be -72dB. But companding does funny things to drum transients, for example.

So based on the assumption that Emu went to the trouble of getting as many bits as they could, I would assume that there is something wrong with the OP's EII. It makes no sense that they would put a crappy line input on it.

However, as I pointed out earlier lots of people used a Mac with sound designer and the 16 bit NuBus card to sample into the EII. There are videos on Youtube of Alan Wilder from Depeche Mode using the Mac with the EII.

PS great interview here with Dave Rossum, the guy that designed all of the Emulators:
http://www.theemus.com/interviews.html
Last edited by madtheory on Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby madtheory » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:26 pm

Ha, after all of that, I listened to the sample. Always trust your ears :)

That sounds far cleaner than most of what I hear in the original EII library! That is a very small amount of noise. I used to get more with my Yamaha TX16W. Don't worry about it!

The only way to avoid that tiny amount of noise is to dump the sample in via the comms port. There's a USB interface available now, check out the EII Yahoo group.
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Re: Emulator II - Sampling Noisefloor

Postby Stab Frenzy » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:30 pm

Erotic Cabaret wrote:Well, I listen to those early Depeche Mode records and I hear no hiss in the samples. Just warmth and beautiful aliasing. There IS a difference.

If you went through and listened to the multitracks of early DM albums you'd hear the same amount of hiss as there is in the sample you posted. You don't hear it in the mix because it's been mixed to minimise hearing it and there are other elements in the mix which mask it. On top of that they were recorded to tape which has a noise floor of its own.

Basically, the EII is noisy but that didn't make it unusable when it was new and it doesn't mean it's unusable now. :thumbleft:
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