MIDI phrase sampling software sought
August 9, 2004 12:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a MIDI phrase sampler [detailed question inside]

I'm looking for something similar to a software version of Roland's RPS functions, where I'm able to map an individual key on a MIDI device to trigger a MIDI loop/sequence on another MIDI device. Ableton Live only allows one MIDI output, and I need at least 4. Does this exist?

This is really turning into Music Day on ask.metafilter
posted by cmonkey to Technology (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, a bit of an example: if I hit C4 on MIDI device #1, I'd like it to trigger a 4 bar loop of notes on MIDI device #2. Hitting C5 on MIDI device #1 would trigger a 4 bar loop of notes on MIDI device #4, etc.
posted by cmonkey at 12:52 PM on August 9, 2004

MAX will let you set up something like this, and do a million other things besides. Perhaps more than you want to spend, though -- and it will definitely involve some learning, it's not a prefab solution.
posted by xil at 1:02 PM on August 9, 2004

there is an open-source max clone, but it's tough to install (i gave up).

Max/MSP is incredibly dope. It is well worth the money if you are into doing algorhythmic music or extensive MIDI operations.

i'm thinking, however, since Max/MSP has a thirty day trial, that you can d/l it, build the patch you want to use within 30 days, and then use it as a standalone, thus circumventing the need to buy the software (although you really might want to, after the 30-day trial. honestly. max/msp is some of the coolest software I have ever used).
posted by fishfucker at 1:42 PM on August 9, 2004

The learning curve on Max/MSP is incredibly steep.

There are many many many solutions for what you are after. If you want the all in one solution, Reason is good, as well as FL Studio. The former comes from a hardware emulation POV and the latter is written from a software POV.

If you get a host (ie, FL Studio, Cubase, Logic, Sonar, etc etc) that can host VST's (virtual studio instrument plugins), your options are even wider.

There is a VST version of just about anything you can find in a hardware unit, and then some. For a good VST sampler, check out Native Instruments Kontact. There are many others. Read up at www.em411.com for lots of good ideas.

Were I in your shoes, I would go with FL Studio (which is inexpensive, plus gives a lifetime of free updates) plus a VST sampler like Kontact.
posted by Espoo2 at 2:40 PM on August 9, 2004 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: MAX looks really great (although a bit more than I need), I'll give that a try tonight.

I tried FL Studio, but it didn't look like I could trigger MIDI loops, just audio loops. Did I just not look hard enough? Same with Reason, it just looked like I could trigger softsynths, rather than my hardware synthesizers. I guess I'm really looking for a MIDI-out version of FL Studio.

I think I'm just too used to the feel and responsiveness (and lack of crashing) that hardware synthesizers provide, so I'm not really into the idea of migrating to Reason. The lag tends to drive me insane.

Fishfucker: do you remember the name of the open source MAX clone?
posted by cmonkey at 3:21 PM on August 9, 2004

it's called jMax.

good luck.

if you have any familarity with programming/scripting at all, the MAX/MSP learning curve isn't as difficult as people might make out. Plus, if you're familar with hardware synthesizers, you probably have a good idea of how say, analog and digital synthesis works. Max/MSP takes these concepts and puts them in software. you can pick it up really fast; although I admit it is sometimes difficult to create decent UIs, and very very complex projects will sometimes run too slow to be useful for real-time performance (i tried to build something similar to Ableton Live in max/msp a few years ago and it was pretty miserable).
posted by fishfucker at 3:54 PM on August 9, 2004

that other link has decided to start hating me, so try this one:


or just google.
posted by fishfucker at 3:55 PM on August 9, 2004

Try Reason. I think it does everything you want.
posted by Kwantsar at 4:48 PM on August 9, 2004

also, Ableton Live is well regarded.
posted by Kwantsar at 4:49 PM on August 9, 2004

jmax is terrible, at least in my experience. i wouldn't recommend it. there's a better open source max-derivative program called pure data (no link handy, but i think there's a page on sourceforge?) that's actually being developed by Miller Puckette, one of the originators of Max. it's not as pretty as max (and that's saying something!) but is equally as powerful. it runs a lot smoother than jmax, in my experience.

it's been said plenty in this thread, but the learning curve on any of these programs is steep. like, 89 degrees straight up steep. they're more like visual programming environments geared towards audio and midi than a pre-fab, out-of-the-box "music program".

another good program to check out is Bidule, which is a little more high-level and less programmer-oriented, but still very modular and powerful. see also: reaktor, if you have cash to spend.
posted by cathodeheart at 5:31 PM on August 9, 2004

Try Reason. I think it does everything you want

Hope I'm not far off on this, but as a recent Reason owner, I haven't seen this particular functionality in it, so either I'm not far enough up on the learning curve or it's not there.
posted by weston at 8:11 PM on August 9, 2004

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