Added: 05-Jan-99 | Author: admin
New price: £ 249 | S/H price: 60-100 quid or so
Yamaha SU-10lways on the lookout for cheap but effective products, that's us....So how about this little baby, the SU10 from Yamaha.
Yamaha seem to be getting back into the sampler market again, now that their physical modelling corporate strategy has been scuppered by the massive surge in the popularity of Dance-based styles......... This little unit is about the size of a Japanese paperback manga book, and will nestle neatly on top of your master keyboard, or any other surface......You might be thinking......"Hmmmmm this is a toy !!"....... but you'd be wrong, this is actually quite a versatile little unit, notwithstanding some budget corner cutting, and comes equipt with a ribbon controller, which controls pitch, scratch (more on that later), crossfade, or filter cutoff, and is also freely assignable to any midi controller number.....so you can use it for controlling your other midi kit too.....Excellent bonus huh ?!!
What we have then, is a up to 48 seperate stereo or mono samples, a maximum 4 note polyphony (but only 2 note at 44.1).......and 3 selectable sample rates:
- 44.1 K.......................Giving 14 seconds sampling
- 22.05 K.....................Giving 28 seconds sampling
- 11.64 K..........................Giving 54 seconds sampling
You can achieve top quality if needed at 44.1, but you can also get a grungier sample if needed for a raw sound by utilising a lower rate.....Unfortunately, you can't mix the sample rates tho'.....Yamaha use data compression to achieve more sample time, but reports are that it sounds OK, especially in the context of a mix.
Believe it or not, the samples are all held in storage ram on power down, so you don't even need to save them to disk....When you do need to save, it's via MIDI Sample Dump or SYSEX bulk dump, so you can save your samples to your sequencer if needs be.......Ok, Midi sample dump is slow, but considering the price & unit size, I think it's a fair compromise.
Once the samples are recorded, you can set playback direction, (to get reversed samples), loop type (5 different modes), and pad action separately for each sample. You can also set arbitrary start, end, and loop points.........You can also adjust relative playback volume between samples, and assign your samples to any note number.......You can also map samples over a keymap, and samples can be assigned to different "Alternate Groups" (a total of 3), which I assume means that like with a drum box, you can assign open & closed hats for example to the same group which allows only one sample priority play within a group which I suppose makes sense with a 4 note poly unit.....What you cannot do, is tune the samples individually, it's global tune only.
On the connector side of things, you've got:
- LINE INPUT
- LINE OUTPUT
- MIC INPUT
- MIDI IN & OUT
- And also (joy of joys) a Headphone socket
Unfortunately, Yamaha have choosen to use the dreaded Mini-Jack for it's audio connectors.......I mean they are OK, but personally, I'd outlaw the friggin' things !!! (Along with plastic molded socket marker text)....It's a shame manufacturers can't use Phono's if they need a smaller connector......This is only a minor winge tho' !!
Now back to that Ribbon controller....cos it's really an added bonus if you ask me......... You can do scratching with it...(groan, I know it sounds dead cheezy !!)............. Basically, you can assign a sample to a special buffer, and "scratch" the ribbon controller to buggery !!.....The ribbon also does cross-fades between samples, or filter twiddle-ing........... and get this......You can use it to filter an external signal being fed thru the unit, so it also acts as a filter pedal type device....You can even X-fade between internal sample & external audio input.......Also, as I said, you can assign any MIDI controller to it and use it to control any pieces of external kit !!!.....The ribbon also can control pitch, which could be real useful for some sliding up & down Jungle snare rolls etc !!......Unfortunately tho', the unit doesn't recieve controller data for these functions, and you can only use the ribbon controller on internal sounds when using the "Standard" 22K sample rate.
Oh well, that's the waffle.......Lastly I'll say that for £ 299, it's pretty damn good value, but add to that if you like a dedicated ribbon midi controller & that's got to be worth a few bob....but also, Yamaha sling into the purchase price a couple of Sample CD's from Time & Space, & Yamaha....one of which is a T & S demo CD Rom with an hours worth of examples from their entire range, and the other being a Yamaha sound effects CD, which also includes some loops & other sounds......Well that's got to be worth another 30 quid or so.......
So.....All in all, a good little contender along with older S/H units if you need a cheap sampler to get your loops & stuff together............OK, it is only 2 or 4 note poly, and there are other compromises, but.........
I think I would still recommend an older S/H unit over this if you want sampling & sample synthesis beyond a phrase or loop player, but as a cheap loop/phrase machine, it seems fine.....Yamaha reckon they can get us a review unit in about 5 weeks time......So if you want basic sampling cheap, check this one out in your local shop...It's one of the few new cheapies !!...(Oh yeah...it also works with batteries, which is handy for location sampling).
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Total stars: 11 | Total votes: 3