Samplitude 2496

PLEASE NOTE: This article has been archived. It first appeared on ProRec.com in May 1998, contributed by then Editor Jim Roseberry. We will not be making any updates to the article. Please visit the home page for our latest content. Thank you!

As many of you know, I’m currently writing the US manual for Samplitude 2496. I work closely with SEK’D as an independent contractor, but I’m not an employee. So… as a professional DAW user with quite a bit of experience with Samplitude Studio 4.0 and Samplitude 2496, I’ll do my best to provide facts and opinions that are truthful and accurate. I’m calling this an Overview / Review because I’ve included a lot of technical information about the program.

Projects – The DNA of an editing session

Samplitude 2496 is unique in that it can record audio to hard disk or your system’s RAM.

1. HARD DISK PROJECT: A recording made to hard disk is called an HDP (Hard Disk Project). In most cases, you’ll want to record to hard disk due to the large storage requirements of digital audio.

2. RAM PROJECT: A recording made to your system’s RAM is called an RAP (RAM Project). RAP recordings are useful for short segments of audio such as Impulse Responses (for use with the Room Simulator) or drum loops. Used sparingly, this feature can help stretch your system’s performance.

3. VIRTUAL PROJECT: Objects representing HDP and RAP recordings are manipulated in a window called the VIP (Virtual Project).

The VIP window is where you’ll do most of your work in Samplitude 2496.

Some folks get confused by the use of Projects, and wonder why Samplitude doesn’t just record audio as Wav files. Well… the audio IS recorded as Wav files! Samplitude just uses the HDP and RAP files for internal organization (to distinguish between recordings made to RAM and Hard Disk). So… audio recorded in Samplitude 2496 can be used in other audio applications (and vice versa).

Editing – Destructive vs. Non-destructive

Using Samplitude 2496, audio editing can be performed in two ways: DESTRUCTIVE or NON-DESTRUCTIVE.

DESTRUCTIVE EDITING is the process of applying cuts/splices, fades, effects, etc., directly and permanently (destructively) to Hard Disk (HDP) and RAM (RAP) recordings.

NON-DESTRUCTIVE EDITING is the process of applying cuts/splices, fades, effects, etc., to a recording, without physically altering it. How is this possible?

In the VIP window, Samplitude 2496 uses OBJECTS to represent your Hard Disk (HDP) or RAM (RAP) recordings. You can cut, splice, or apply fades to the Objects, but since they are merely representations, you aren’t changing (destroying) your original recordings. One of Samplitude 2496’s most powerful features is its ability to perform Non-destructive Edits WHILE you are listening to the audio playback.

Non-destructive editing if FAR more flexible and powerful than its Destructive counterpart. You are NEVER locked into an Edit decision, and you don’t have to worry about destroying the original audio.

Now that you understand the concepts, it’s time to take a detailed look at the VIP window.

VIP window

Since all Non-destructive Editing is done in the VIP (Virtual Project) window, lets take a look at some its features.

Each track in the VIP window has a row of buttons.

? (Track Properties) button – Click on this button and a Track Info window will open allowing you to: name the Track, select the Record and Playback device, enable Surround Mode (stereo files only), etc.

M (Mute) button – Click on the M button to mute the Track (the button should now appear brown). Right click on this button and a list of all installed audio cards will appear. (This enables you to quickly assign a Play Device to the track.)

NOTE: The number after the “M” refers to the order in which the selected audio card is listed. In other words, if three audio cards show up in the list and you select the second audio card, the mute button would show M2. This provides a quick way of verifying which audio card is assigned to playback the Track.

S (Solo) button – Click on this button to solo the Track (the button should now appear green). All other tracks are muted.

L (Lock) button – By default, clicking on this button will prevent Objects in the Track-Slot from being moved horizontally (the button should now appear gray). By going to the OBJECT MENU and selecting LOCK OBJECTS > LOCK DEFINITIONS, you can choose the functions that will be Locked.

V (Volume Curve) button – Click on this button to enable the Custom Volume (vector mixing) Curve. The button should now appear yellow, and in the track-slot you’ll see a yellow line representing the track’s Volume.

CREATING A CUSTOM VOLUME CURVE:

1. After clicking on the V button to enable the Custom Volume Curve, double click anywhere on the yellow line (at the top of the track-slot) and a HANDLE will be created.

2. Handles represent points on your Custom Volume Curve. By creating and clicking and dragging these points (HANDLES), virtually ANY Volume Curve can be achieved.

NOTE: If you wish to temporarily disable the Custom Volume Curve, simply click on the V button. The yellow line representing the track’s Volume will disappear and the Custom Volume Curve will be ignored. Click on the V button again and the Custom Volume Curve will be restored.

P (Pan Curve) button – Click on this button to enable the Custom Pan (vector mixing) Curve. The button should now appear blue, and in the track-slot you’ll see a blue line representing the Track’s Pan Position.

CREATING A CUSTOM PAN CURVE:

1. After clicking on the P button to enable the Custom Pan Curve, double click anywhere on the blue line (middle of the track-slot) and a HANDLE will be created.

2. Handles represent points on your Custom Pan Curve. By creating and clicking and dragging these points (HANDLES), virtually ANY Pan Curve can be achieved!

NOTE: If you wish to temporarily disable the Custom Pan Curve, simply click on the P button. The blue line representing the track’s Pan Position will disappear and the Custom Pan Curve will be ignored. Click on the P button again and the Custom Pan Curve will be restored.

R (Record Enable) button – Click on this button to arm the Track for recording (the button should now appear red). Right click on this button and a list of all installed audio cards will appear. (This enables you to quickly assign a Record Device to the Track.)

NOTE: The number after the “R” refers to the order in which the selected audio card is listed. In other words, if three audio cards show up in the list and you select the second audio card, the Record Enable button would show R2. This provides a quick way of verifying which audio card is assigned to record the Track.

Just below the row of buttons, each track has a pair of LED peak-meters.

LED Peak-Meters – The LED Peak-Meters reflect the track’s peak level during playback. A “Peak Hold” function is also employed which allows you to quickly see the highest peak that was reached during playback. For stereo tracks, the top LED Peak-Meter represents the left channel and the bottom LED Peak-Meter represents the right channel. For mono tracks, both LED Peak-Meters function together as a single unit.

Below the track’s LED Peak-Meters, you’ll find Volume and Pan sliders.

Volume Slider – This slider provides a quick way to increase or decrease a track’s Volume. If you’ve enabled the Custom Volume Curve or used the Mixer window to record Fader movements, this Volume Slider will SCALE the track’s overall Volume.
In other words, say you’ve applied a Custom Volume Curve to the Track, but later decide the Track is too loud. No need to redo the entire Custom Volume Curve, simply use the Volume Slider to reduce (scale back) the Track’s overall Volume!

NOTE: Double click on the VOLUME SLIDER to quickly return it to detent (0db) position.

Pan Slider – This slider provides a quick way to alter a track’s Pan Position. If you’ve enabled the Custom Pan Curve or used the Mixer window to record Pan movements, this Pan Slider will SCALE the track’s overall Pan Position. In other words, say you’ve applied a Custom Pan Curve to the Track, but later decide the Track needs to be SKEWED further left. No need to redo the entire Custom Pan Curve, simply use the Pan Slider to skew (scale to the left) the Track’s overall Pan Position!

NOTE: Double click on the PAN SLIDER to quickly return it to center detent position.

In the lower left corner of the VIP window, you should see four “S” buttons and four “Z” buttons. These are referred to as SCREEN FORMAT buttons.

S (Screen Position & Zoom Level) buttons – The four S (Screen Formatting) buttons can each store the current Screen Position and Zoom Level. This allows you to quickly switch between up to four different (stored) VIEWS. To store the current Screen Position and Zoom Level to one of the S buttons, press the SHIFT key and click on one of the S buttons.

Z (Zoom Level) buttons – The four Z (Screen Formatting) buttons can each store the current Zoom Level. This allows you to quickly switch between up to four different Zoom Levels. To store the current Zoom Level to one of the Z buttons, press the SHIFT key and click on one of the Z buttons.

In the upper left corner of the VIP window, there is a button labled MULTI CARD MODE.

Multi Card Mode button – Click on this button to enable Multi Card Mode (the button should now appear green). Multi Card Mode was designed to support audio cards (such as the Analog Arc88) that offer multiple inputs and outputs.

NOTE: Currently, Windows can only address Stereo audio devices, so these cards must present themselves as multiple (virtual) Stereo audio devices. IE: In Windows, the Analog Arc88 (8 analog inputs and outputs) will appear as 4 (virtual) Stereo audio devices.

When Multi Card Mode is active, a track can be assigned to playback through any of the (virtual) stereo audio devices. This is perfect when you want to use an external mixer to mix down your audio tracks.

NOTE: When using Multi Card Mode, the Master section of Samplitude 2496’s Mixer window will be removed. It is not needed in this scenario.

Mo’ Bits

High resolution audio (or Mo’ Bits as it has been eloquently put) is available now.

Bit depth: Samplitude 2496 can record and playback audio using either 32Bit Floating Dynamic Range or 16Bit Integer formats.

Floating Dynamic Range means that no matter what the level of the audio (IE: -20dB or +20dB), you still have 32Bits of resolution (the audio is scaled). Also, it is virtually impossible to create clipping internally. IE: When applying additive EQ with a large boost, you don’t have to worry about the EQ causing clipping.

Sample Rate: Samplitude 2496 can record at sample rates up to 96kHz.

What does this increased audio resolution mean to you?
1. The storage requirements of 32Bit Floating Dynamic Range audio are twice that of ‘standard’ 16Bit audio. Also, your system will have to literally move twice as much data to achieve the same track count. If you plan on multi-tracking at 32Bit Float., you MUST have a fast CPU/Hard Disk. If you intent to primarily Master with Samplitude 2496, a more modest CPU/Hard Disk will do fine.

2. 32Bit audio provides a LOT more resolution than 16Bit audio. (Each added bit literally doubles the resolution. Check out this month’s EM for more info on this subject.) Bottom line… Fades will sound smoother, you have a wider dynamic range to work with, when applying DSP – the cumulative effect of Rounding Error will be MUCH less than when using 16Bit resolution, etc. One thing I’d like to mention… you will NOT hear the difference of 32Bit Float audio when a tune is blasting away (unless you are talking about avoiding clipping), instead – you’ll notice the difference on the lower level material! When it’s time to burn your CD, Samplitude 2496 will dither (user selectable type and amount) the 32Bit Float. audio down to 16Bits maintaining much of the original quality.

3. If your project is destined for CD, I’d stick with 44.1 as your Sample Rate for the time being. This will avoid having to put your material through a Sample Rate conversion. Samplitude 2496 has a good Sample Rate conversion algorithm (realtime – while recording), but it’s better to avoid any Sample Rate conversion process if possible.

User Interface

Samplitude 2496 has a slightly different ‘feel’ than many audio programs. (Probably because the program originated from behind the Iron Curtain.) But… in my opinion, this difference is part of what makes Samplitude 2496 stand out from the crowd.

IE: Let’s say you want to apply a Fade-In to an Object. Select the Object (click on it in the lower half of the Track-Slot). Five Handles will now appear. Click on the upper left Handle and drag it to the right. The length you drag this Handle will determine the length of the Fade. What’s that you say, you want to alter the curve and taper of the Fade? No problem, click both mouse buttons together on the Object (right button slightly before the left) and a window will open allowing you to adjust the Fade’s curve and taper. Sinus and Cosinus curves are available for super smooth fades. Virtually ANY Non-destructive Edit (including the above Fade-In example) can be performed WHILE the audio is playing.

With its realtime capabilities, Samplitude 2496 has a ‘just reach out and grab it and change it’ kind of feel. Keep in mind that this performance is from a host-based DAW, not one relying on dedicated DSP hardware! In my opinion, that puts Samplitude 2496 in a class by itself. This my friends is why I have been so excited about Samplitude. Not because I work with the company, but because (as a user) the program has impressed me and enabled me to do things that would otherwise be a nightmare.

Want another quick example?

Let’s say you want to Split an Object into two separate Objects.

Select the Object (click on it in the lower half of the Track-Slot), place the cursor where you want to Split to occur, and press the T key. What’s that you say, you decided you don’t like where the Objects were Split? No problem! You can fix this in a couple of different ways.

1. Press CTRL + Z to undo the Split. Then repeat the process making sure to place the cursor at the desired location.

2. You can Select one of the two Objects and drag either its lower left or lower right Handle (depends on which way you wish to ‘move’ the Split) to Re-size it. Now, (making sure Snap is enabled), simply repeat this process for the other Object. When you get close to the Edge of the first Re-sized Object, this Object’s Re-sized Edge will automatically Snap to it.

Again… you can perform this Edit WHILE the audio is playing. If you first mark a Range surrounding the Edit (click and drag in the upper half of a Track-Slot), Samplitude 2496 will continuously loop playback through the marked Range. This way, you don’t have to keep pressing the Spacebar to start and stop playback. This makes Editing VERY fast.

To end this section, I’d just like to add that no matter what audio application you use, once you’ve experience true Non-destructive Editing (of audio or MIDI), you’ll NEVER go back to Destructive Editing. I guarantee it!!!

Attention all audio software creators: Software (audio and or MIDI based) that doesn’t catch on to the power of Non-destructive Editing will be left behind.

Recording Audio

To record a mono or stereo Track:

1. Arm the desired Track for recording by clicking on its “R” button (the button will appear red).

2. Press the “R” key. This will open the Record Parameter window.

3. In this window you can: set the Bit Depth and Sample Rate, name the File, monitor incoming audio level, drop Markers ‘on the fly’, and start and stop Recording.

To record multiple Tracks simultaneously:

1. For each Track you wish to record, click on the Track’s “?” (Track Properties) button and select the desired Record Device. Also, select whether the Track should be recorded in Stereo, Mono, or whether the Track should be recorded ONLY by the Left or Right input of the Record Device.

2. Arm the desired Tracks for recording by clicking on their “R” buttons (the buttons will appear red).

3. To check the incoming levels for each Track, go to the FILE MENU and select MULTI INPUT MONITOR. The LED Peak Meters for each Track will show the level of the incoming audio. When you have finished checking levels, click on STOP.

4. To begin recording, go to the FILE MENU and select RECORD MULTIPLE FILES.

Mixer window

Press the “M” key to open Samplitude 2496’s realtime Mixer window. This is where you’ll apply realtime EFX to your Tracks, as well as being able to use the Volume Faders and Pan Knobs to control your mix. ALL functions in the Mixer window are realtime. The Mixer window shows eight channel-strips at a time (for the sake of screen clarity), plus the master section.

Channel-Strips: Each channel-strip contains a Volume Fader, Pan Knob, Three EQ Knobs, Dynamics Processor Knob, Delay Knob, two Aux. Send Knobs, Mute Button, Solo Button, Automation Button, DirectX Button, and a Link Button. Yes Virginia, each Track has its own independent realtime EFX.

Volume Fader: To adjust the Volume of a Track, click and drag its Fader either up (louder) or down (softer). A numeric display at the bottom of the Fader will (temporarily) show the amount of volume increase or decrease in db units. The Volume Fader can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing.

Pan Knob: To adjust the Pan position of a Track, click on its PAN KNOB and drag the mouse left or right. The text “Pan” (beside the Pan Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the Track’s Pan position in db units. The Pan Knob can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing.

EQ Knobs – These Knobs control the Track’s REALTIME three-band fully Parametric EQ. Each of the three bands can overlap the others allowing maximum EQ flexibility. The EQ can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing.

Click on any of the EQ Knobs and drag the mouse left to Cut or right to Increase. The text (beside the EQ Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the amount of EQ decrease or increase in dB units.

For finer control, right click on any of the blue EQ KNOBS and a Filter Adjustments window will open allowing complete control of ALL parameters for that Channel’s Parametric EQ. You can use the display (bottom half of the window) to help visualize the EQ you are applying.
Dyn Knob: This Knob controls the Track’s REALTIME Dynamics Processor (Compressor, Limiter, Gate, etc.). The Dynamics Processor can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing. Click on the DYN KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease Dynamics Processing (Compression). The text “Dyn” (beside the Dyn Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the Track’s Compression Ratio. IE: If the display shows 4.0, the Compression Ratio is 4.0 to 1.

For finer control, right click on the light purple DYN KNOB and a window will open allowing complete control of ALL parameters for that channel’s Dynamics Processor (see below).

Delay Knob: This Knob controls the Track’s REALTIME Delay Effect. The Delay Effect can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing. Click on the DELAY KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease the level of the Delay Effect. The text “Delay” (beside the Delay Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the level of the Delay Effect in dB units.

For finer control, right click on the dark purple DELAY KNOB and an Echo/Delay Effect window will open allowing complete control of ALL parameters for that channel’s Delay Effect.

If you are using a multi input/output audio card, you can use Samplitude 2496’s Aux 1&2 Sends to send audio (in realtime) to an outboard processor.

Aux 1&2 Send Knobs: These Knobs control the Track’s REALTIME Aux 1&2 Send Levels. The Aux 1&2 Send Levels can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing. Click on either AUX KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease the Aux Send Level. The text (beside the Aux Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the Track’s Aux 1 or 2 Send Level.

NOTE: The Master Aux 1 & 2 Send Levels and the Audio Device used to output the Aux 1 & 2 Sends are selected in the Master Section of the Mixer window.

LED Peak-Meters: These meters function just like the meters in the VIP window.

Mute button: Click on this button to Mute the Track (the button will appear red).

Solo button: Click on this button to Solo the Track (the button will appear green).

NOTE: Multiple Tracks can be Solo’d (simultaneously) from the Mixer window.

Auto button: This button enables the Track’s REALTIME Volume and Pan Automation. Volume Fader and Pan Knob movements can be recorded WHILE audio is playing.

Dir X button: This button enables DirectX compatible Plug-Ins to be used as REALTIME Channel-Insert effects for the Track. The Plug-Ins can be manipulated WHILE audio is playing.

NOTE: It is important to understand that your computer’s CPU is bearing the load of ALL Realtime Effects (including DirectX Plug-Ins). Therefore, the faster the system’s CPU, the more Realtime Effects it will be capable of running.

Link button: Click on this button to Link two adjacent (odd, even) Mixer Channels. The button will appear light blue indicating that the two channels are currently Linked. At this point, either Channel can be used to control both simultaneously. IE: If you move Channel 1’s (Track 1) Volume Fader, Channel 2’s (Track 2) Volume Fader will follow.

So how do the stock Samplitude 2496 channel EQ, Compression, and Delay EFX sound? In my opinion, the EQ and compression are amongst the best soft-processors available. The Delay sounds good, but is monaural. Don’t forget, Samplitude 2496 supports DirectX, so you can use ANY available Plug-In as a channel insert effect.

Master Section:

In addition to the channel-strips and their EFX, Samplitude 2496’s Mixer window offers (realtime) Master: Volume Faders, LED Peak-Meters, Non-destructive Normalization, level control of Aux Sends 1&2, Multi-Band Dynamics processing, separate broadband Dynamics Processor, 3-Band fully Parametric EQ, Dehissing/FFT Filter, Multi-Band Stereo Enhancer, and any DirectX compatible Plug-In as a master insert effect. For those who don’t know, the Master Section of a Mixer controls the combined Stereo output of ALL channel-strips.

Master Volume Faders: To adjust the Master Volume (combined Stereo output of ALL Channel Strips), click and drag the Left or Right Master Volume Fader either up (louder) or down (softer). A numeric display at the bottom of the Fader will (temporarily) show the amount of volume increase or decrease in db units. Notice that the Left and Right Master Volume Faders are Linked by default (when one is adjusted, the other follows). The Master Volume Faders can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing.

Master EQ Knobs – This section functions just like the EQ in each channel-strip.

Master (Multi-Band) Compressor Knob: This Knob controls the Master Section’s REALTIME Multi-Band Dynamics Processor (Compressor). The Multi-Band Dynamics Processor can process up to four separate Bands, and can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing. But… check this out. Any of the Frequency Bands can be soloed!

For those unfamiliar with Multi-Band Dynamics Processors, they basically combine the frequency selection of a Parametric EQ, with the ability to apply Dynamics Processing independently to each selected Frequency Band.

Click on the MASTER COMPRESSOR KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease Multi-Band Dynamics Processing (Compression). The Activate/Bypass button (just right of the Master Compressor Knob) now appears green to indicate that the Multi-Band Compressor is active. Also, a numeric display (just above the Activate/ Bypass button) will now temporarily show the Compression Ratio. IE: If the numeric display shows 4.0, the Compression Ratio is 4.0 to 1. By default, ALL Frequency Bands are initially Linked (share the same settings) and thus share the same Compression Ratio.

For finer control, right click on the light purple MASTER (MULTI-BAND) COMPRESSOR KNOB and a Multiband Dynamics window will open allowing complete control of ALL parameters for the Master Section’s Multi-Band Dynamics Processor.

Typical uses for Multi-Band Dynamics Processors are: adding PUNCH to the low end of a mix without disturbing the rest of the frequencies, and de-essing vocal tracks that are too sibilant. The Multi-Band Dynamics Processor in Samplitude 2496 is extremely powerful.

Master Limiter Knob: This Knob controls the Master Section’s REALTIME Dynamics Processor (Limiter). The Dynamics Processor can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing (just like you’d experience with a “real” outboard Limiter)! Click on the MASTER LIMITER KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease the Threshold of the Limiter. The Activate/Bypass button (just left of the Master Limiter Knob) now appears green to indicate that the Master Limiter is active. Also, a numeric display (just above the Activate/ Bypass button) will now temporarily show the Threshold in dB units.

For finer control, right click on the light purple MASTER LIMITER KNOB and a window will open allowing complete control of the Master Section’s Dynamics Processor. This window is identical in form and function to the window used to manipulate a channel-strip’s Dynamics Processor (outlined above).

Projects – The DNA of an editing session

Samplitude 2496 is unique in that it can record audio to hard disk or your system’s RAM.

1. HARD DISK PROJECT: A recording made to hard disk is called an HDP (Hard Disk Project). In most cases, you’ll want to record to hard disk due to the large storage requirements of digital audio.

2. RAM PROJECT: A recording made to your system’s RAM is called an RAP (RAM Project). RAP recordings are useful for short segments of audio such as Impulse Responses (for use with the Room Simulator) or drum loops. Used sparingly, this feature can help stretch your system’s performance.

3. VIRTUAL PROJECT: Objects representing HDP and RAP recordings are manipulated in a window called the VIP (Virtual Project).

The VIP window is where you’ll do most of your work in Samplitude 2496.

Some folks get confused by the use of Projects, and wonder why Samplitude doesn’t just record audio as Wav files. Well… the audio IS recorded as Wav files! Samplitude just uses the HDP and RAP files for internal organization (to distinguish between recordings made to RAM and Hard Disk). So… audio recorded in Samplitude 2496 can be used in other audio applications (and vice versa).

Editing – Destructive vs. Non-destructive

Using Samplitude 2496, audio editing can be performed in two ways: DESTRUCTIVE or NON-DESTRUCTIVE.

DESTRUCTIVE EDITING is the process of applying cuts/splices, fades, effects, etc., directly and permanently (destructively) to Hard Disk (HDP) and RAM (RAP) recordings.

NON-DESTRUCTIVE EDITING is the process of applying cuts/splices, fades, effects, etc., to a recording, without physically altering it. How is this possible?

In the VIP window, Samplitude 2496 uses OBJECTS to represent your Hard Disk (HDP) or RAM (RAP) recordings. You can cut, splice, or apply fades to the Objects, but since they are merely representations, you aren’t changing (destroying) your original recordings. One of Samplitude 2496’s most powerful features is its ability to perform Non-destructive Edits WHILE you are listening to the audio playback.

Non-destructive editing if FAR more flexible and powerful than its Destructive counterpart. You are NEVER locked into an Edit decision, and you don’t have to worry about destroying the original audio.

Now that you understand the concepts, it’s time to take a detailed look at the VIP window.

VIP window

Since all Non-destructive Editing is done in the VIP (Virtual Project) window, lets take a look at some its features.

Track controls in Samplitude 2496


? (Track Properties) button – Click on this button and a Track Info window will open allowing you to: name the Track, select the Record and Playback device, enable Surround Mode (stereo files only), etc.

M (Mute) button – Click on the M button to mute the Track (the button should now appear brown). Right click on this button and a list of all installed audio cards will appear. (This enables you to quickly assign a Play Device to the track.)

NOTE: The number after the “M” refers to the order in which the selected audio card is listed. In other words, if three audio cards show up in the list and you select the second audio card, the mute button would show M2. This provides a quick way of verifying which audio card is assigned to playback the Track.

S (Solo) button – Click on this button to solo the Track (the button should now appear green). All other tracks are muted.

L (Lock) button – By default, clicking on this button will prevent Objects in the Track-Slot from being moved horizontally (the button should now appear gray). By going to the OBJECT MENU and selecting LOCK OBJECTS > LOCK DEFINITIONS, you can choose the functions that will be Locked.

V (Volume Curve) button – Click on this button to enable the Custom Volume (vector mixing) Curve. The button should now appear yellow, and in the track-slot you’ll see a yellow line representing the track’s Volume.

CREATING A CUSTOM VOLUME CURVE:

1. After clicking on the V button to enable the Custom Volume Curve, double click anywhere on the yellow line (at the top of the track-slot) and a HANDLE will be created.

2. Handles represent points on your Custom Volume Curve. By creating and clicking and dragging these points (HANDLES), virtually ANY Volume Curve can be achieved.

NOTE: If you wish to temporarily disable the Custom Volume Curve, simply click on the V button. The yellow line representing the track’s Volume will disappear and the Custom Volume Curve will be ignored. Click on the V button again and the Custom Volume Curve will be restored.

P (Pan Curve) button – Click on this button to enable the Custom Pan (vector mixing) Curve. The button should now appear blue, and in the track-slot you’ll see a blue line representing the Track’s Pan Position.

CREATING A CUSTOM PAN CURVE:

1. After clicking on the P button to enable the Custom Pan Curve, double click anywhere on the blue line (middle of the track-slot) and a HANDLE will be created.

2. Handles represent points on your Custom Pan Curve. By creating and clicking and dragging these points (HANDLES), virtually ANY Pan Curve can be achieved!

NOTE: If you wish to temporarily disable the Custom Pan Curve, simply click on the P button. The blue line representing the track’s Pan Position will disappear and the Custom Pan Curve will be ignored. Click on the P button again and the Custom Pan Curve will be restored.

R (Record Enable) button – Click on this button to arm the Track for recording (the button should now appear red). Right click on this button and a list of all installed audio cards will appear. (This enables you to quickly assign a Record Device to the Track.)

NOTE: The number after the “R” refers to the order in which the selected audio card is listed. In other words, if three audio cards show up in the list and you select the second audio card, the Record Enable button would show R2. This provides a quick way of verifying which audio card is assigned to record the Track.

Just below the row of buttons, each track has a pair of LED peak-meters.

LED Peak-Meters – The LED Peak-Meters reflect the track’s peak level during playback. A “Peak Hold” function is also employed which allows you to quickly see the highest peak that was reached during playback. For stereo tracks, the top LED Peak-Meter represents the left channel and the bottom LED Peak-Meter represents the right channel. For mono tracks, both LED Peak-Meters function together as a single unit.

Below the track’s LED Peak-Meters, you’ll find Volume and Pan sliders.

Volume Slider – This slider provides a quick way to increase or decrease a track’s Volume. If you’ve enabled the Custom Volume Curve or used the Mixer window to record Fader movements, this Volume Slider will SCALE the track’s overall Volume.
In other words, say you’ve applied a Custom Volume Curve to the Track, but later decide the Track is too loud. No need to redo the entire Custom Volume Curve, simply use the Volume Slider to reduce (scale back) the Track’s overall Volume!

NOTE: Double click on the VOLUME SLIDER to quickly return it to detent (0db) position.

Pan Slider – This slider provides a quick way to alter a track’s Pan Position. If you’ve enabled the Custom Pan Curve or used the Mixer window to record Pan movements, this Pan Slider will SCALE the track’s overall Pan Position. In other words, say you’ve applied a Custom Pan Curve to the Track, but later decide the Track needs to be SKEWED further left. No need to redo the entire Custom Pan Curve, simply use the Pan Slider to skew (scale to the left) the Track’s overall Pan Position!

NOTE: Double click on the PAN SLIDER to quickly return it to center detent position.

In the lower left corner of the VIP window, you should see four “S” buttons and four “Z” buttons. These are referred to as SCREEN FORMAT buttons.

S (Screen Position & Zoom Level) buttons – The four S (Screen Formatting) buttons can each store the current Screen Position and Zoom Level. This allows you to quickly switch between up to four different (stored) VIEWS. To store the current Screen Position and Zoom Level to one of the S buttons, press the SHIFT key and click on one of the S buttons.

Z (Zoom Level) buttons – The four Z (Screen Formatting) buttons can each store the current Zoom Level. This allows you to quickly switch between up to four different Zoom Levels. To store the current Zoom Level to one of the Z buttons, press the SHIFT key and click on one of the Z buttons.

In the upper left corner of the VIP window, there is a button labled MULTI CARD MODE.

Multi Card Mode button – Click on this button to enable Multi Card Mode (the button should now appear green). Multi Card Mode was designed to support audio cards (such as the Analog Arc88) that offer multiple inputs and outputs.

NOTE: Currently, Windows can only address Stereo audio devices, so these cards must present themselves as multiple (virtual) Stereo audio devices. IE: In Windows, the Analog Arc88 (8 analog inputs and outputs) will appear as 4 (virtual) Stereo audio devices.

When Multi Card Mode is active, a track can be assigned to playback through any of the (virtual) stereo audio devices. This is perfect when you want to use an external mixer to mix down your audio tracks.

NOTE: When using Multi Card Mode, the Master section of Samplitude 2496’s Mixer window will be removed. It is not needed in this scenario.

Mo’ Bits

High resolution audio (or Mo’ Bits as it has been eloquently put) is available now.

Bit depth: Samplitude 2496 can record and playback audio using either 32Bit Floating Dynamic Range or 16Bit Integer formats.

Floating Dynamic Range means that no matter what the level of the audio (IE: -20dB or +20dB), you still have 32Bits of resolution (the audio is scaled). Also, it is virtually impossible to create clipping internally. IE: When applying additive EQ with a large boost, you don’t have to worry about the EQ causing clipping.

Sample Rate: Samplitude 2496 can record at sample rates up to 96kHz.

What does this increased audio resolution mean to you?
1. The storage requirements of 32Bit Floating Dynamic Range audio are twice that of ‘standard’ 16Bit audio. Also, your system will have to literally move twice as much data to achieve the same track count. If you plan on multi-tracking at 32Bit Float., you MUST have a fast CPU/Hard Disk. If you intent to primarily Master with Samplitude 2496, a more modest CPU/Hard Disk will do fine.

2. 32Bit audio provides a LOT more resolution than 16Bit audio. (Each added bit literally doubles the resolution. Check out this month’s EM for more info on this subject.) Bottom line… Fades will sound smoother, you have a wider dynamic range to work with, when applying DSP – the cumulative effect of Rounding Error will be MUCH less than when using 16Bit resolution, etc. One thing I’d like to mention… you will NOT hear the difference of 32Bit Float audio when a tune is blasting away (unless you are talking about avoiding clipping), instead – you’ll notice the difference on the lower level material! When it’s time to burn your CD, Samplitude 2496 will dither (user selectable type and amount) the 32Bit Float. audio down to 16Bits maintaining much of the original quality.

3. If your project is destined for CD, I’d stick with 44.1 as your Sample Rate for the time being. This will avoid having to put your material through a Sample Rate conversion. Samplitude 2496 has a good Sample Rate conversion algorithm (realtime – while recording), but it’s better to avoid any Sample Rate conversion process if possible.

User Interface

Samplitude 2496 has a slightly different ‘feel’ than many audio programs. (Probably because the program originated from behind the Iron Curtain.) But… in my opinion, this difference is part of what makes Samplitude 2496 stand out from the crowd.

IE: Let’s say you want to apply a Fade-In to an Object. Select the Object (click on it in the lower half of the Track-Slot). Five Handles will now appear. Click on the upper left Handle and drag it to the right. The length you drag this Handle will determine the length of the Fade. What’s that you say, you want to alter the curve and taper of the Fade? No problem, click both mouse buttons together on the Object (right button slightly before the left) and a window will open allowing you to adjust the Fade’s curve and taper. Sinus and Cosinus curves are available for super smooth fades. Virtually ANY Non-destructive Edit (including the above Fade-In example) can be performed WHILE the audio is playing.

With its realtime capabilities, Samplitude 2496 has a ‘just reach out and grab it and change it’ kind of feel. Keep in mind that this performance is from a host-based DAW, not one relying on dedicated DSP hardware! In my opinion, that puts Samplitude 2496 in a class by itself. This my friends is why I have been so excited about Samplitude. Not because I work with the company, but because (as a user) the program has impressed me and enabled me to do things that would otherwise be a nightmare.

Want another quick example?

Let’s say you want to Split an Object into two separate Objects.

Select the Object (click on it in the lower half of the Track-Slot), place the cursor where you want to Split to occur, and press the T key. What’s that you say, you decided you don’t like where the Objects were Split? No problem! You can fix this in a couple of different ways.

1. Press CTRL + Z to undo the Split. Then repeat the process making sure to place the cursor at the desired location.

2. You can Select one of the two Objects and drag either its lower left or lower right Handle (depends on which way you wish to ‘move’ the Split) to Re-size it. Now, (making sure Snap is enabled), simply repeat this process for the other Object. When you get close to the Edge of the first Re-sized Object, this Object’s Re-sized Edge will automatically Snap to it.

Again… you can perform this Edit WHILE the audio is playing. If you first mark a Range surrounding the Edit (click and drag in the upper half of a Track-Slot), Samplitude 2496 will continuously loop playback through the marked Range. This way, you don’t have to keep pressing the Spacebar to start and stop playback. This makes Editing VERY fast.

To end this section, I’d just like to add that no matter what audio application you use, once you’ve experience true Non-destructive Editing (of audio or MIDI), you’ll NEVER go back to Destructive Editing. I guarantee it!!!

Attention all audio software creators: Software (audio and or MIDI based) that doesn’t catch on to the power of Non-destructive Editing will be left behind.

Recording Audio

To record a mono or stereo Track:

1. Arm the desired Track for recording by clicking on its “R” button (the button will appear red).

2. Press the “R” key. This will open the Record Parameter window.

3. In this window you can: set the Bit Depth and Sample Rate, name the File, monitor incoming audio level, drop Markers ‘on the fly’, and start and stop Recording.

To record multiple Tracks simultaneously:

1. For each Track you wish to record, click on the Track’s “?” (Track Properties) button and select the desired Record Device. Also, select whether the Track should be recorded in Stereo, Mono, or whether the Track should be recorded ONLY by the Left or Right input of the Record Device.

2. Arm the desired Tracks for recording by clicking on their “R” buttons (the buttons will appear red).

3. To check the incoming levels for each Track, go to the FILE MENU and select MULTI INPUT MONITOR. The LED Peak Meters for each Track will show the level of the incoming audio. When you have finished checking levels, click on STOP.

4. To begin recording, go to the FILE MENU and select RECORD MULTIPLE FILES.

Mixer window

Press the “M” key to open Samplitude 2496’s realtime Mixer window. This is where you’ll apply realtime EFX to your Tracks, as well as being able to use the Volume Faders and Pan Knobs to control your mix. ALL functions in the Mixer window are realtime. The Mixer window shows eight channel-strips at a time (for the sake of screen clarity), plus the master section.

Channel-Strips: Each channel-strip contains a Volume Fader, Pan Knob, Three EQ Knobs, Dynamics Processor Knob, Delay Knob, two Aux. Send Knobs, Mute Button, Solo Button, Automation Button, DirectX Button, and a Link Button. Yes Virginia, each Track has its own independent realtime EFX.

Volume Fader: To adjust the Volume of a Track, click and drag its Fader either up (louder) or down (softer). A numeric display at the bottom of the Fader will (temporarily) show the amount of volume increase or decrease in db units. The Volume Fader can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing.

Pan Knob: To adjust the Pan position of a Track, click on its PAN KNOB and drag the mouse left or right. The text “Pan” (beside the Pan Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the Track’s Pan position in db units. The Pan Knob can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing.

EQ Knobs – These Knobs control the Track’s REALTIME three-band fully Parametric EQ. Each of the three bands can overlap the others allowing maximum EQ flexibility. The EQ can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing.

Click on any of the EQ Knobs and drag the mouse left to Cut or right to Increase. The text (beside the EQ Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the amount of EQ decrease or increase in dB units.

For finer control, right click on any of the blue EQ KNOBS and a Filter Adjustments window will open allowing complete control of ALL parameters for that Channel’s Parametric EQ. You can use the display (bottom half of the window) to help visualize the EQ you are applying.
Dyn Knob: This Knob controls the Track’s REALTIME Dynamics Processor (Compressor, Limiter, Gate, etc.). The Dynamics Processor can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing. Click on the DYN KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease Dynamics Processing (Compression). The text “Dyn” (beside the Dyn Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the Track’s Compression Ratio. IE: If the display shows 4.0, the Compression Ratio is 4.0 to 1.

For finer control, right click on the light purple DYN KNOB and a window will open allowing complete control of ALL parameters for that channel’s Dynamics Processor (see below).

Delay Knob: This Knob controls the Track’s REALTIME Delay Effect. The Delay Effect can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing. Click on the DELAY KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease the level of the Delay Effect. The text “Delay” (beside the Delay Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the level of the Delay Effect in dB units.

For finer control, right click on the dark purple DELAY KNOB and an Echo/Delay Effect window will open allowing complete control of ALL parameters for that channel’s Delay Effect.

If you are using a multi input/output audio card, you can use Samplitude 2496’s Aux 1&2 Sends to send audio (in realtime) to an outboard processor.

Aux 1&2 Send Knobs: These Knobs control the Track’s REALTIME Aux 1&2 Send Levels. The Aux 1&2 Send Levels can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing. Click on either AUX KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease the Aux Send Level. The text (beside the Aux Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the Track’s Aux 1 or 2 Send Level.

NOTE: The Master Aux 1 & 2 Send Levels and the Audio Device used to output the Aux 1 & 2 Sends are selected in the Master Section of the Mixer window.

LED Peak-Meters: These meters function just like the meters in the VIP window.

Mute button: Click on this button to Mute the Track (the button will appear red).

Solo button: Click on this button to Solo the Track (the button will appear green).

NOTE: Multiple Tracks can be Solo’d (simultaneously) from the Mixer window.

Auto button: This button enables the Track’s REALTIME Volume and Pan Automation. Volume Fader and Pan Knob movements can be recorded WHILE audio is playing.

Dir X button: This button enables DirectX compatible Plug-Ins to be used as REALTIME Channel-Insert effects for the Track. The Plug-Ins can be manipulated WHILE audio is playing.

NOTE: It is important to understand that your computer’s CPU is bearing the load of ALL Realtime Effects (including DirectX Plug-Ins). Therefore, the faster the system’s CPU, the more Realtime Effects it will be capable of running.

Link button: Click on this button to Link two adjacent (odd, even) Mixer Channels. The button will appear light blue indicating that the two channels are currently Linked. At this point, either Channel can be used to control both simultaneously. IE: If you move Channel 1’s (Track 1) Volume Fader, Channel 2’s (Track 2) Volume Fader will follow.

So how do the stock Samplitude 2496 channel EQ, Compression, and Delay EFX sound? In my opinion, the EQ and compression are amongst the best soft-processors available. The Delay sounds good, but is monaural. Don’t forget, Samplitude 2496 supports DirectX, so you can use ANY available Plug-In as a channel insert effect.

Master Section:

In addition to the channel-strips and their EFX, Samplitude 2496’s Mixer window offers (realtime) Master: Volume Faders, LED Peak-Meters, Non-destructive Normalization, level control of Aux Sends 1&2, Multi-Band Dynamics processing, separate broadband Dynamics Processor, 3-Band fully Parametric EQ, Dehissing/FFT Filter, Multi-Band Stereo Enhancer, and any DirectX compatible Plug-In as a master insert effect. For those who don’t know, the Master Section of a Mixer controls the combined Stereo output of ALL channel-strips.

Master Volume Faders: To adjust the Master Volume (combined Stereo output of ALL Channel Strips), click and drag the Left or Right Master Volume Fader either up (louder) or down (softer). A numeric display at the bottom of the Fader will (temporarily) show the amount of volume increase or decrease in db units. Notice that the Left and Right Master Volume Faders are Linked by default (when one is adjusted, the other follows). The Master Volume Faders can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing.

Master EQ Knobs – This section functions just like the EQ in each channel-strip.

Master (Multi-Band) Compressor Knob: This Knob controls the Master Section’s REALTIME Multi-Band Dynamics Processor (Compressor). The Multi-Band Dynamics Processor can process up to four separate Bands, and can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing. But… check this out. Any of the Frequency Bands can be soloed!

Samplitude 2496 Multiband Dynamics Processor
For those unfamiliar with Multi-Band Dynamics Processors, they basically combine the frequency selection of a Parametric EQ, with the ability to apply Dynamics Processing independently to each selected Frequency Band.

Click on the MASTER COMPRESSOR KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease Multi-Band Dynamics Processing (Compression). The Activate/Bypass button (just right of the Master Compressor Knob) now appears green to indicate that the Multi-Band Compressor is active. Also, a numeric display (just above the Activate/ Bypass button) will now temporarily show the Compression Ratio. IE: If the numeric display shows 4.0, the Compression Ratio is 4.0 to 1. By default, ALL Frequency Bands are initially Linked (share the same settings) and thus share the same Compression Ratio.

For finer control, right click on the light purple MASTER (MULTI-BAND) COMPRESSOR KNOB and a Multiband Dynamics window will open allowing complete control of ALL parameters for the Master Section’s Multi-Band Dynamics Processor.

Typical uses for Multi-Band Dynamics Processors are: adding PUNCH to the low end of a mix without disturbing the rest of the frequencies, and de-essing vocal tracks that are too sibilant. The Multi-Band Dynamics Processor in Samplitude 2496 is extremely powerful.

Master Limiter Knob: This Knob controls the Master Section’s REALTIME Dynamics Processor (Limiter). The Dynamics Processor can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing (just like you’d experience with a “real” outboard Limiter)! Click on the MASTER LIMITER KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease the Threshold of the Limiter. The Activate/Bypass button (just left of the Master Limiter Knob) now appears green to indicate that the Master Limiter is active. Also, a numeric display (just above the Activate/ Bypass button) will now temporarily show the Threshold in dB units.

For finer control, right click on the light purple MASTER LIMITER KNOB and a window will open allowing complete control of the Master Section’s Dynamics Processor. This window is identical in form and function to the window used to manipulate a channel-strip’s Dynamics Processor (outlined above).

Dynamics Processor Screen
The Master Section’s Dynamics Processor can not only function as a Limiter, but also as a Compressor, Expander, Gate, and Distortion device.

Dehissing (FFT Filter) Knob: This Knob controls the Master Section’s REALTIME Dehisser/FFT-Filter. The Dehisser/FFT-Filter can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing! Click on the DEHISSING KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease the Hiss Reduction. The Activate/Bypass button (just right of the Dehissing Knob) now appears green to indicate that the Dehisser/FFT Filter is active. Also, a numeric display (just above the Activate/ Bypass button) will now temporarily show the amount of the Hiss Reduction (in dB units).

Right click on the black DEHISSING (FFT FILTER) KNOB and a Dehisser/FFT-Filter Mixmaster window will open allowing complete control of ALL parameters for the Master Section’s Dehisser/FFT-Filter.

Tip: In most cases, you want to adjust the Absorption parameter to be just aggressive enough to reduce the Hiss. Extreme settings will most likely cause artifacts!

When using the Dehisser, click on (enable) the INVERSE DEH. option (just below Byp. Filter) to hear ONLY the “Hiss” that is being removed. This is a great way to make sure that you aren’t causing side effects by using the Dehisser! If you hear any significant amount of signal besides Hiss, you should probably readjust the Absorption and Reduction parameters.

If the concepts of Dehissing and FFT-Filters seem complex, you don’t need to think about the science of the technology. What you have here is a Hiss Reduction unit combined with a Graphic EQ that lets you DRAW the EQ curve (instead of using sliders).

Stereo Enh. Knob: This Knob controls the Mid Frequency Band of the Master Section’s REALTIME Multi-Band Stereo Enhancer. The Multi-Band Stereo Enhancer can process up to three independent Bands and can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing. Also, any of the Frequency Bands can be solo’d!

For those unfamiliar with Multi-Band Stereo Enhancers, they basically combine the frequency selection of a Parametric EQ, with the ability to Expand or Collapse the Stereo Image independently for each Frequency Band.

Click on the STEREO ENH. KNOB, and drag the mouse right to Expand or left to Collapse the Stereo Image of the Mid Frequency Band. A numeric display (above the Knob) will temporarily show the amount of Expansion (settings above 100) or Collapse (settings under 100). Notice that the Activate/Bypass button (just left of the Stereo Enh. Knob) now appears green to indicate that the Multi-Band Stereo Enhancer is active.

For finer control, right click on the black (MULTI-BAND) STEREO ENH. KNOB and a Multi-Band Stereo Enhancer window will open allowing complete control of ALL parameters for the Master Section’s Multi-Band Stereo Enhancer.

NOTE: If Multi Band Mode is NOT enabled, the Multi-Band Stereo Enhancer becomes a Single-Band Enhancer that affects the Mid Frequency Band only.

Master Aux Sends (1, 2): Samplitude 2496’s Master Aux Sends (1, 2) can be routed Internally to any DirectX compatible Plug-In/s installed on your system, or Externally to an outboard processor.

MASTER AUX 1&2 KNOBS – These Knobs control the Master Section’s REALTIME Aux 1&2 Send Levels (combined output of ALL Channels’ Aux 1 and Aux 2 Sends). The Aux 1&2 Send Knobs can be adjusted WHILE audio is playing. Click on either the AUX 1 or AUX 2 KNOB and drag the mouse right to increase or left to decrease the Aux Send Level. The numeric display (just left of the Aux Knob) will temporarily turn into a numeric display and show the Track’s Aux Send Level.

Again, it is important to understand that your computer’s CPU is bearing the load of ALL Realtime Effects (including DirectX Plug-Ins). Therefore, the faster the system’s CPU, the more Realtime Effects it will be capable of running.

You must have an audio card with multiple outputs (at least 4) to route the Master Aux Sends to external outboard processors.

Master LED Peak-Meters: The pair of Master LED Peak-Meters reflect the combined Stereo (peak) output level of ALL Tracks during playback. Otherwise the meters are identical in form and function to the other LED peak-meters in Samplitude 2496.

Master Norm (Normalize) button: This button (in between the Master Volume Faders) can be used to quickly (Non-destructively) Normalize the Master Stereo Output.

To Normalize (Non-destructively) the Master Stereo Output

1. Press the SPACEBAR to start playback of your project. Make sure that the loudest section of audio has been played.

2. Once the loudest section of audio has been played, press the SPACEBAR to stop playback. The Peak-Meters (LED and Numeric) will now display the level of the loudest section.

3. Click on the NORM button. The Master Stereo Output Level will be (Non-destructively) Normalized to 0dB. Notice that the Normalization is accomplished by automatically adjusting the Master Volume Faders.

NOTE: Since the (Non-destructive) Normalization is accomplished by automatically adjusting the Master Volume Faders, you can undo the Normalization by simply double clicking on one of the Master Volume Faders.

Master Dir X button: This button (between the two Master Volume Faders) enables DirectX compatible Plug-Ins to be used as REALTIME Master-Insert effects (to process the Master Stereo Output). The Plug-Ins can be manipulated WHILE audio is playing.

Now might be a good time to interject that Samplitude 2496 can perform a realtime (while the audio plays) Mix Down using the Mix to File option in the lower right corner of the Mixer window. This function is similar to the realtime mixdown feature in Cakewalk Pro Audio (what you hear is what you get). An offline Bounce Down (mix down) of the Master Stereo output also available by selecting TRACK BOUNCING… under the TOOLS MENU. In both cases ALL realtime processing is included in the Bounce Down.

So how do the realtime Master EFX sound?

The Multi-Band Dynamics processor is simply the best soft-processor of its kind available right now. In fact, I personally feel that this processor alone is worth the price of admission. Incredible sound and incredible control! Want to hear the downside? This processor uses a considerable amount of CPU power. If you plan to use it in a multi-tracking situation, buy the fastest P2 CPU/Hard Drive that you can afford.

The broadband Master Limiter uses the same algorithm as the Dynamics processor in each channel-strip. As previously mentioned, it is amongst the best soft-Limiters available.

The Master EQ uses the same algorithm as the EQ in each channel-strip. As previously mentioned, it sounds excellent.

The De-hisser does an excellent job of reducing Tape Hiss. The fact that you can enable the INVERT DEH. option and hear EXACTLY what is being removed is a tremendous feature. Use this option to ensure that you aren’t degrading the desired audio. The FFT Filter takes some getting used to, but offers a powerful way to control the overall Frequency Contour of the Master Stereo Output. Again, think of this processor as a sort of Graphic EQ that lets you draw the Frequency Contour. Sound quality wise, the results sound very good. SEK’D has done an excellent job in creating ‘musical sounding’ soft-EQ.

The Multi-Band Stereo Enhancer works well, but I advise you to use the Phase Correlator to make sure that you aren’t throwing things too far out of phase.

Currently I know of no other host-based DAW that offers realtime audio processing this advanced. But… don’t take my word for it, give Samplitude 2496’s realtime DSP a thorough workout and let your ears be the judge.

Realtime CD burning

Ever wished you could burn a quick ‘one off’ CD of your latest rough mix without having to first perform a Bounce Down and creating an Image File? Samplitude 2496’s realtime CD burning can do just that. All realtime processing is included while burning the CD.

To make a quick ‘one off’ CD from a current rough mix in the VIP window:

1. Click on the AUTO TRACK MARKERS icon (in the upper toolbar). This will automatically set all PQ codes.

2. Click on the MAKE CD icon (in the upper toolbar).

3. Select BURN ON THE FLY (under Mode).

4. Click on OK. Samplitude 2496 will now burn your rough mix directly to CD.

Realtime CD burning isn’t as flashy as some of the other features of Samplitude 2496, but it’s most definitely a feature that you will use constantly. Anything that makes life quicker/easier in the studio scores high marks with me. If you are extremely busy, realtime CD burning is a valuable time saver.

Get to the end already – Geesh

I’m going to cut this Overview/Review short now. I could literally write a Book about Samplitude 2496. 😉 You’ve probably already realized that if you’re still reading.

I just want to quickly mention a list of other items that Samplitude 2496 offers:

1. Punch-In recording (manual or automated)

2. Graphic Noise-Print style Noise-Reduction (a la SoundForge).

3. Room-Simulator (very similar to Acoustic Modeler) for creating truly World-Class reverb.

4. De-Clipper for fixing digital overs. I’ve used this function MANY times. It really works and it doesn’t leave artifacts.

5. Waveform generator for creating test-tones, etc.

6. Take Manager – allows you to quickly swap Objects in the VIP window.

7. You can Link a VIP to an AVI file and have the frames and Video displayed and controlled by the VIP. Great for those creating/working with audio for AVI.

8. User Defined Shortcut keys for ALL Menu Options.

9. Live Input mode for processing/mixing of external audio tracks (IE: from an ADAT) without first recording them in Samplitude 2496! You need an audio card with multiple audio inputs to use this feature.

10. Markers can be stored and recalled (even dropped ‘on the fly’ as the audio is playing).

11. Nudge key combinations – for nudging Objects or Crossfades left or right (in either of two user-defined increments).

12. Object based realtime EFX: Each Object can have its own REALTIME 3-Band fully parametric EQ and or Dynamics Processor! These are completely separate from the processors available to each Track.

13. Multi-Level undo, up to 100 levels

14. Vector style Volume and Pan curves.

I’m sure I’m leaving some things out, but I think you get the picture here. Samplitude 2496 is ushering in a new era in host-based DAWs. With its realtime nature, high-quality DSP, DirectX support, etc. you are easily looking at the most advanced host-based DAW currently available. Samplitude 2496 is simply a monster. If you are in the market for a powerful host-based DAW, I urge you to check this one out.

2496 – A Big Step in the Right Direction

Joel Braverman

Samplitude 2496, SEKD’s new product shows some promising improvements in the area of user interface, and has some fantastic new features. I believe the product still has a long way to go in conforming to “windows standards”, but if you are willing to spend the time learning the interface, it can pay off quite well. If you are already a user of Samplitude, then you have the option of continuing to work in the old ways, or to use some of the new features. 2496 is, as its name implies, a recording package capbable of recording 24bits at 96khz, if you have hardware that supports those frequencies.

In terms of user interface improvements, the most notable is the new “Universal Mouse Mode” which alters the way the mouse works depending on which half of a recorded waveform the mouse is over. If the mouse is over the upper half, it works in ‘range’ mode – where you can select a range of the wave to edit or process. If its over the bottom, its in object mode, which looks at the recording as an object which you can move and manipulate as a whole – sliding it forward in time, or performing a non-destructive fade, or overall volume change.

The coolest new features of 2496 are the Multiband Compressor, and the Multiband Enhancer. The enhancer is a stereo expansion effect, which is quite dramatic – you can apply separate enhancement settings to the Bass, Mid and Treble, with selectable frequency ranges. The compressor also functions in a similar fashion. The coolest in both of these is the ability to SOLO any band, and tweak the compression or enhance, then un-solo and hear how it sounds in the entire mix. Extracting the soloed band to a file and using it soloed for a few bars is a KILLER effect for Techno and Rap. Both effects need to be applied sparingly, when used on the whole as the effect on the overall mix can be negative if either of them are overused.

Another new feature is the Dehisser. This is a special function that removes tape and other hiss type noises, without killing off too much of the high end. As in Samplitude Studio, there is also an extremely cool acoustic modeler for capturing the ambience of any space and applying it to a sound.

I used 2496 to Master a demo for a Rapper known as “Tha Gabba”, to send to a record company in New York. I processed two versions, one with minimal alteration and one with a good amount of experimentation with the Multiband compressor, and enhancer, and a tiny amount of modeled reverb. Then i burned a cd with the !!!BUILT IN REALTIME CD BURNING!!!. Previous versions required you to create a Table of Contents file, and use an external CD burning package. (One came with the old 24bit version of Samplitude Master)

Everyone who has heard the processed version liked it much more than the unprocessed version. I spent several hours tweaking the compressor and enhancer settings. I only used a small amount of enhancement, on the mid, and more on the highs. Enhancement can kill your bass end really easily, so it must be used sparingly.

I did suffer several crashes, trying to use DirectX plugins, but for the most part 2496 worked quite well. Since I only used 2496 heavily for a week, I don’t feel that I can give a truly critical review – it has some problems, mostly stemming from the user interface’s inital obtuseness. However the UI also allows one to work faster once you become familiar with it – almost every function is on or two keystrokes away – you might never need to touch a mouse if you don’t want to, and if you do use it heavily, it is MUCH easier to deal with than in previous releases. The one-keystroke functions tend to work against you when you first start using 2496 though. – be careful with your precious projects – back them up before converting them to 24bits and processing them.

I recorded an interview into 2496 to transcribe while it played. I discovered that the space bar, which is used to start and stop playback, is active even when you are in a different app, typing text. This interrupted the playback so that many times I had to go back to using my micro-cassette recorder in order to quickly get it done. The realtime pitch shifting function did help me to listen to words that were semi-unintelligable on the tape, and understand them, + to record the tape in quickly – I set the microcassett to play back at high speed, then tranposed (non-destructively) down 16 semitones to play it back.

There are many more features, and 2496 is a comprehensive package, with tons of features, new and old, and an attempt to further improve the user interface that is a step in the right direction.

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