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Hands On – Emu Proteus (part 3)

How much variety can you get out of a mere (‘mere’ in today’s terms) 8 Megabytes of samples? A lot is the answer, if those samples have been carefully selected and trimmed down to occupy a minimum amount of space…



How much variety can you get out of a mere (‘mere’ in today’s
terms) 8 Megabytes of samples? A lot is the answer, if those samples have been
carefully selected and trimmed down to occupy a minimum amount of space. Those
of us with samplers tend to get a bit lazy. My Akai S1100 is fitted out with
10 Megabytes of memory and rather than spend tedious and frustrating hours (at
least it seems like hours) on looping, I’ll just take samples which are
six or eight seconds long, if possible, which is usually enough for the longest
notes I ever want to play. Emu’s programmers obviously have a lot more
patience than I have because there is a considerable wealth of material crammed
into the 4 or 8 Megabytes that a Proteus offers. Not only that, the samples
have been carefully chosen so they can be mixed and modified to offer an even
greater variety of sounds. Sampler owners could definitely learn a few lessons
from Emu.

There are plenty of editing parameters to get your teeth into, but I’ll
concentrate on just a few – the ones in my opinion which will give you the most
value and the easiest pathway to sonic variety. When you have begged or borrowed
a Proteus, or stolen a few minutes in front of one, press the Edit button and
let’s explore. In Edit mode the Data entry knob will allow the selection
of the parameter to be edited and modification of the value depending on where
you position the cursor. Rotate the Data knob until you get to Link 1. When
I was explaining the multitimbral operation of Proteus earlier, skeptics might
have been saying, “Aha, it is simple but you can’t assign more than
one preset to a single MIDI channel.” Well this is where you can do just
that. Under the Link parameter you can assign any other preset to play on the
same MIDI channel as the preset you are editing, with no compromise other than
the fact that both presets have to work within the 16 note/32 voice limit. And
you can set two other links. Linking presets, on this and other instruments,
is a very powerful technique for developing new sounds. This is where the XR
version excels, even if you have the facility for external System Exclusive
data storage. With 384 presets to Link this creates a range of possibilities
in excess of 50 million. If you could try one every two seconds it would take
about three and a half years to go through them all. (With the standard version
it would only take five months!).

Linking sounds is a good way to create new ones, but the limitation is that
they always end up sounding thicker than the originals. Although once upon a
time (the DX days) synthesists considered thickness to be something akin to
the Holy Grail, thick sounds are now ten a penny (four a pfennig!) and not always
what one might be looking for. Another way of easily modifying sounds is by
manipulating the Primary and Secondary Instruments. In the same way as the Emu
Emax, each preset can use one or two sets of multisamples. If you start with
a preset which uses just the primary, then you can try adding different secondary
instruments. If the preset started with primary and secondary already in place,
then you can try changing one or the other. This doesn’t always lead to
an increase in the thickness of the sound because Proteus is well stocked with
basic waveforms that you probably wouldn’t use on their own, their function
is to complement and enhance.

So far, you know about enough of Proteus’ possibilities to last you well
into retirement so you probably don’t need to know about any more. You
do? Read on…

David Mellor

The Mix

The Mix

Mixing is a complicated “mix” of art and science. In this Singing Canary tutorial, follow top engineer Clint Murphy as he takes you on a 60-video, step by step mixing journey.

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David Mellor