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slow speed phrase samplers

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(@patrick)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 138
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I guess this is the best forum for this question. I want to get a phrase sampler/transcriber/'trainer'...a device that plays back either a CD or a recorded sample at slow speed without changing the pitch...for the purpose of either figuring it out, or to simply play it slowly so that you can learn it easier. I want an actual device, not software. I've found these ones so far:

Tascam Guitar/Bass/Vocal Trainer: http://www.tascam.com/Products/CD-GT1.html

Reed Kotler TR-400: http://www.reedkotlermusic.com/rkm/TR_400.htm
The TR-1000 is too expensive for me.

Sabine Backtrak: http://www.stevesmusiccenter.com/SabineBT-316M.html

Zoom PFX-9003: http://www.americanmusical.com/item--i-ZOO-PFX9003--brand-290.html

Pocket Rockit Chop Shop: http://www.pocketrockit.com/products_cs.html

Akai Riff-O-Matic http://www.kellyindustries.com/keyboards/akai_u400.html

These two look good but too expensive for me:

Boomerang: http://www.zzounds.com/item--BOOBOOMERANGPLUS

Alesis Playmate: http://www.samedaymusic.com/product--ALEPMG

The most I can spend is about $150 US dollars. Question: anyone know of any others available, or can anyone recommend one? I just want one for learning & practising stuff on the guitar at slow speed. Anyone else use one of these?


   
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(@forrok_star)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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I'm not real familiar with any of those. So I can't really help in that department. Sorry. I know most recording software will allow you manipulate a file. What about using a free one like Windows media player? it has that option built into it and works great, haven't really used it other than I did try it just to see. I copied the file to my drive and use the slow down option and adjusted the speed. Didn't have any problems.

just wondering

Joe


   
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(@patrick)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Topic starter  

Hi Joe...I want a hardware unit (as opposed to software) because I find pressing a few buttons on a little box far more convenient than working with a computer. (Same reason I much prefer reading something from a book than on a computer screen).

But I also haven't heard of too many people using these transcriber devices either...I don't know why. I wonder if many guitarists/musicians use the software vesions...since everywhere you hear that the best way to learn something is to start off slowly and gradually speed up. Maybe most people use a metronome for that.


   
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(@forrok_star)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Didn't have any of these hi-tech devices when I started out. A 25.00 green guitar and a Gibson all tube amp. Then turn on the radio or a real 33 album and go from there. After learning to imiate what I heard then playing it on the guitar, I began to recognize whats going on in the songs and soon became more proficient at playing by ear. Now its second nature.

Good luck on your Quest.

Joe


   
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(@greybeard)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Have a look at the Pandora PX4. It will only give you a max of 30 secs. at a time, but will give you a rhythm/bass backing and a whole raft of excellent effects in a box no bigger than a cigarette paket (and a whole lot healthier). You can also connect up a CD player and jam along to your favourite artist.

The output can also go into your PC, so you can use it to record, as well.
It runs for about 5-6 hours on AAA batteries (the really tiny ones) or a 9V power supply - I use NiMH rechargeables in mine

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@larro123)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 33
 

I have the CD-GT1. It works pretty well. You can jam along with any CD, slow down any CD, select a precise portion to repeat and/or slowdown (such as a lead guitar part). I highly recommend it.

I use it to break a lead down into easily digestable parts and set it to loop, then I slow it down so I can figure out all the notes. Once I get this first part down, I change the loop to cover the next piece.

I used to listen to records (vinyl discs used to record music in the early days before tapes/CDs , aka LPs,45s) hundreds of times to learn parts, the CD-GT1 greatly reduces the time required to learn a part.

Larry


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Have a look at the Pandora PX4. It will only give you a max of 30 secs. at a time, but will give you a rhythm/bass backing and a whole raft of excellent effects in a box no bigger than a cigarette paket (and a whole lot healthier). You can also connect up a CD player and jam along to your favourite artist.

The output can also go into your PC, so you can use it to record, as well.
It runs for about 5-6 hours on AAA batteries (the really tiny ones) or a 9V power supply - I use NiMH rechargeables in mine

Greybeard -- have you tried the phrase sampling feature on the PX-4 yet? It is the one thing about it that truly sucks. The sampler audio quality is laden with lossy compression artifacts. I would disqualify it from consideration here, though I do recommend it for all the other things it can do.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@patrick)
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Topic starter  

Thanks for the input, folks. I'm sure that all of these phrase samplers (at least the hardware units) have reduced sound quality the slower the tempo is set at. I suspect this is one reason why quite a few of these units don't go any slower than 50%. One neat thing about the Reed Kotler TR-1000, Tascam Trainer, and the Akai Riff-O-Matic is that you can choose to slow it down with a proportional pitch change...much like a slow-speed tape player. The advantage of this is that the sound quality is retained better than when it keeps the pitch fixed.

Larry, can I ask you two things about the Tascam Guitar Trainer?

-Does it remember the sample even when turned off, or do you have to re-set the loop in & out points whenever it's turned back on again?

-Does it have the ability to sample an audio sample that is taken from an external source through the Line In jack? I'm guessing not, but I'm hoping...because I would also like to be able to use the slow-down feature on audio tapes too. Even if not, I like the Guitar Trainer simply because of its own built-in CD player.

Greybeard, the Pandora PX4 looks good, and I could definitely use it's rhythm & bass patterns. Do you know the range of slow-speed tempos available? (can't find that info on Korg's website).

Thanks in advance.


   
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(@patrick)
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I found the playback speeds of the Pandora PX4: 100%, 90%, 80%, 75%, 66%, and 50%. And I like how it's controlled by rotating the dial.


   
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(@larro123)
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Patrick,
The Tascam does have a line-in for external sources but I don't think the loop feature works with anything except the CD.

As for retaining the loop settings when turned off, I wasn't sure so I put a CD in and checked it out. Yes, it will retain a loop setting when powered off. When you turn it back on and hit play it will begin a normal play of the CD until you hit the "loop" button, then it will return to the loop that you previously set.

Here's the owners manual:
http://www.tascam.com/Products/CD-GT1/cdgt1_english.pdf

Larry


   
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(@gnease)
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I found the playback speeds of the Pandora PX4: 100%, 90%, 80%, 75%, 66%, and 50%. And I like how it's controlled by rotating the dial.

I'll repeat this, Patrick. Listen to the PX4's phrase trainer before buying. It is convenient and easy-to-use, but the sound quality of that feature alone is not good -- usable, but not good. But please judge for yourself. I just recorded this directly from CD to the PX4 at its 16 second setting (second highest quality -- 8 second is better). The first segment is at 100%, the second at 75% and the third at 50% speed. All the noise and warbling are created by the PX4 itself. I recorded the original at CD quality mono rates and re-coded it to a 128 kbps mono mp3 for uploading. The mp3 re-coding did not significantly worsen the sound quality -- it's all PX4:

PX4-sampler-100-75-50.mp3

My PX4 is two years old. There is always the slight possibility this feature has been improved. Greybeard should be able to tell you, as he obtained one recently.

As I said earlier, everything else about the PX4 makes it a great practice tool.

-Greg

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@patrick)
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Greg, thanks for taking the time to post the sound clips. The sound quality is pretty much as good/bad (however you want to look at it) as I imagined it would be. I'd call 75% "decent, usable" and 50% "barely decent, barely useable". How much better is the sound at the 8-second setting...a little?

Larry, thanks...it's good to know that it remembers the loop (most units have volitile memory.) The Tascam Guitar Trainer is now on my short list.


   
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(@gnease)
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8-second quality is very similar to 16-second quality. Both suffer from the same artifacts, which have more to do with the signal processing method than the actual sampling rate. Based on how different the quality of this feature is from everything else, I would guess the designers said something like "hey, we have enough memory and processing power to add this other feature - sort of." I work in electronic communications and recognize that there are missing or very sub-optimal processing blocks in the execution of the phrase sampler -- probably in the rate conversion and anti-aliasing filtering processes, if that means anything to anyone. OTOH, none of this really detracts from the overall utility of the PX4 -- and I think it is worth the price. I've used the PX4 to process most of my recorded submissions to the Guess the Riff and Hear Here forums. It's a great device to do some quickie approximations of various tones and effects.

BTW -- the PX4's phase sampler memory is not non-volatile -- switch it off, sample's gone.

-=tension & release=-


   
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