Friday, October 8, 2021

VST INSTRUMENT NEWS: A Look At Decent Sampler.


I recently came across the concept of decent sampler

It's an idea that's been developed by David Hilowitz. The concept consists of a free 'player' which is a VST/AAX instrument for Windows, Mac or Linux. 

Sampled instruments can then be loaded from the decent samples website or, I guess, from other third party soundware developers should they wish to support the platform/format whatever you'd like to call it. 

Sampled instruments are developed through a bunch of attributes (samples) alongside an XML file which can be edited via a text editor which basically instructs the decent sampler player where to place (map) the samples, sort velocity layers, add effects, assign root notes to samples, etc. 

To me the concept seems rather similar to developing a soundfont. Although there are a number of visual soundfont editors around which make this process easier, such as Polyphone, soundfonts can also be constructed in a similar way via a simple text editor.

However, soundfonts can only be loaded into a number of compatible instruments using the UI (user interface) of whichever instrument you choose. Bitwig's Sampler and Reason's NN-XT can both load .SF2 soundfonts whilst Zampler can load .sfz files with it's associated samples.  

What caught my eye about the decent sampler process is that you can define a background image and a basic 'user interface' with your own user defined controls and parameters. So you're more into 'virtual instrument' territory where you're defining the look and the controls and parameters of the instrument rather than just loading into a compatible device. 

At the moment, the parameters and 'knobs' that are available are a little limited, but David has already developed additional effects including chorus and phasing to the reverb that was also available. There is also a low pass filter parameter for setting up a 'tone' control within the user interface. So the concept is developing. Since it is, perhaps, primarily for acoustic instrument recreations, synth style parameters such as LFOs may be considered beyond it's scope. 

The one thing I guess I am curious about is whether there is a basic 4 stage amp envelope parameter set available. I would have thought it would be rather difficult to develop realistic sampled based acoustic instruments without such control. I will investigate further....

In the meantime, if the decent sampler (DS) concept interests you, you can find more information via the link below.

David has also produced a handy video showing you how you can develop DS instruments via a bunch of samples plus a text editor. You can check this out below. 

I don't think, at this point, I'll start to try developing instruments in this format. There still seems to be one or two gaps in the concept for my liking and I would like a dedicated editor rather than a text editor (David does hint at the possibility in the video maybe), but I will follow and see how the development goes.   


The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 

No comments:

Post a Comment