Friday, August 30, 2019


CWITEC TX16Wx Sampler and Sample Instrument Editor. 

Here at the Sound-Lounge, we're now using TX16Wx as our sampler of choice and our sample instrument and acoustic drum libraries will now be available for it. So we thought we'd give you a rundown on this wonderfully powerful free VST instrument. 

Within each VST instrument product category, there is usually one freeware product that is downloaded more than any other. One product that stands way ahead of any other similar device. 

In the freeware VST sampler world,  the TX16wx is such a product. 

In the following pages, we'll take an in depth look at this powerful freeware sampler, sample editor and sample playback device.  


For those who don't know, the original TX16w was a Yamaha hardware sampler from the late 1980s/early 90s, and this software emulation uses the same heirarchical structure as it's hardware predecessor.

Having been involved in sales around the time of the TX16w launch, the one thing I remember about the it was the extremely slow loading times from the on-board 3.5" drive. You could prepare not only a cup of tea, but probably a complete three course meal whilst this thing was loading samples. Thankfully, no such issues with it's 21st century software successor. 

So what you get is a sample recording, editing and playback musical instrument with editing at wave level (start, end, loop, etc.), sound level (filtering, ADSR, panning, level, etc), multisampling and mapping (assigning samples to areas of the keyboard with velocity fading/switching, etc), and performance level (reproducting several instruments simultaneously with their own Midi channel assignment, level, etc.) 12 individual outputs allow for independent EQ, processing, and effects assignments of individual samples. 

Basic 'waves' can be mapped into keyboard 'regions' which can then be layered into 'groups' to form a 'program' which can then be combined to form 'performances' which are complete multi-instrument setups with separate individual midi channels. This can then all be stored in what is known as a 'bank' which is the complete 'instrument state'. 

Whilst offering powerful performance and complex/layered possibilities, for me this structure is a little over-complicated since it ignores the fact that if you wanted several TX16wx instruments in your track you can just open multiple 'instances' of TX16wx, offering greater flexibility with EQing and effects routing, etc. So whilst TX16wx is undoubtedly the most powerful free* VST sampler there is, I think it's fair to say that this level of sophistication does come with a bit of a learning curve. 

* a very reasonably priced 'professional' version of TX16wx is also available and I'll run through the additional features and capabilities of this product later in the chapter, and, as ever, I would encourage users to take a close look and consider purchasing the 'full' version. 

Wave Editing

The most basic 'level' within TX16wx's heirarchy is the wave panel. Here you can load and edit basic waves. You can load .wav, .aiff, .aifc (compressed .aiff files), .ogg (whatever they are), and .flac files. 

The record button is used to sample new sounds from your audio interfaces inputs or, if you're using TX16Wx in a DAW, from other instruments within the program.  

A visual waveform graph of each wave is shown to allow easy editing which includes trimming, slicing, normalizing, duplicating as well as powerful loop modes including forward, backward and bidirectional loops. Crossfade looping can also be applied and zero crossing points can be searched to find good loop points. These two features are great for complex 'difficult to loop' instrument waveforms.  

One of TX16wx's most powerful features is the ability to modulate waves. Loop start/end, direction, and wave start can all be modified by a number of sources including envelopes, LFO's, pitch bend, etc. 

Wave editing also includes a powerful 'beat slicer' that slices waveforms into parts based on rhythmic content which can then be used as single 'hits'. A great feature fo artists working with beats and loops. 

TX16Wx Waveform Editor

Below the wave editing panel is the wave list. This shows all your loaded waves names and allows you to edit root note, fine tuning, as well as loop start and end points. This list is also used to 'drag' your samples into keyboard 'regions' (the next editing level up) to form complete instruments or drum maps, etc. 

Time stretching (altering the playback speed of a wave without modifying it's pitch) is not available in the free version of TX16Wx. This is part of TX16Wx Pro' s Transposition Engine. You will have to buy the Pro version fo rtime stretching.  

TX16Wx Wave Editor and Waveform List

Region Editor 

The 'region editor' is where your collection of samples from your wave list get mapped across the keyboard to form a complete instrument or drum kit. This can be as complex or as simple as you like with a single wave mapped across the entire keyboard with or without pitch assinment, or several waves can be mapped to each key with different velocity switching assignments. 

A visual editor makes this easier by allowing you to drop samples and physically define their keyboard areas and velocity assignments. 

TX16Wx Group Editor

Region cross-fading is available with TX16Wx Professional. 

The 'region' level is also where synthesizer style sound parameters can be applied. Six stage envelope generators, powerful multi-mode filters, and two LFOs are available, and this is also where volume, pan, and global velocity parameters can be set. 

TX16Wx Sound Editor

A modulation tables allows powerful and complex modulation routings. 

Group Editing.

'Group' level combines regions and allows setting of parameters such as mono/poly, mono priority, choke groups (for setting monophonic triggering of samples, for hihats, etc.), legato mode triggering, tuning, play mode, output bus, etc.

It's all very comprehensive, and it's difficult to think of any annoying omissions or flaws here. 

Programs and Performances. 

A program is a collection of groups of samples and here you can name the program, assign midi channels, output, and volume parameters. A number of programs can then be combined into a performance to form a complete multi-timbral setup with several instruments with their own level, panning and midi channel assignments ready for sequencing into complete songs.  

As mentioned earlier, this additional level of complexity is slightly baffling for a software instrument as within a DAW you can open several 'instances' of a VST instrument. Perhaps if you were using TX16Wx as a standalone instrument for live performances, this might be useful.  

File Browser

Permanently displayed on the left of the GUI window is the file browser which allows you to load waves or previously stored programs and performances from anywhere within your computer. 

A really useful feature of the file browser is a wave preview player which alllows you to preview a wave before loading it and you can also select 'auto-play' which plays a wave automatically when it is selected.

TX16Wx File Browser

TX16Wx Pro Features.

Some additional features of the TX16Wx have been mentioned above but others include a suite of six effects busses with reverb, delay and modulation type effects for each. An on-board arpeggiator is available in the Pro version, and the aforementioned 'transposition engine' which allows  time-stretch type editing for loop and beat type wave editing. 

TX16Wx PRO Arpeggiator

There is only one active version of TX16Wx, you can enable the additional features to evaluate them. You can then activate these additional features once you've purchased a license. 

I've used TX16Wx for some time now, alongside Reason's own NN-XT, for my own songs and production work. 

It does look a little daunting at first but once you understand the different heirarchy and slot editors it's quite quick and intuitive to work with. 

I use it as a VST instrument within Reason and it's always proved stable and reliable. 

For editing and playing samples and sample based instruments within a Freeware computer music package it takes some beating. The basic package covers most of what any computer musician would require from a software VST sampler without any major flaws or omissions. There are a few additional useful options available as part of the upgraded pro package, the most important of which would be the time stretching 'transposition engine.' The effects and arpeggiator functions can be quite easily recreated with alternative programs.  

CWITEC themselves describe the TX16Wx as a creative instrument rather than just a playback engine for sample libraries. Anyone who remembers the early days of sampling, with Peter Gabriel blowing over milk bottles and banging on metal pipes to create otherworldly sounds, and Depeche Mode rolling ball bearings across hotel balconies to create their' industrial percussion' will appreciate a feature set aimed at and capable of that kind of creative approach. 

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