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17/10/2016

SamplerBoxFAQ

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FAQ
GENERALQUESTIONS
1.Q:WhatisSamplerBox,andwhythisproject?
A:SamplerBoxisanelectronicmusicalinstrument.Dropaudio
samplesontoit,hookupaMIDIkeyboard,andyou'llbeableto
playwithrealisticpiano,organ,drums,etc.sounds!
Asstrangeasitmaysound,ifyouwantedtoaddgreatpiano
soundtoyourMIDIkeyboardorsynthesizer,therewas
previouslynohardwaresolutionexceptusingacomputer(okit
works,butsometimesyoudon'tfeellikeusingacomputerto
domusic)orbuyinganexpensizesampler/expander.Now
SamplerBoxprovidesasub99solution!

2.Q:WhatkindofMIDIkeyboadscanIconnectto
SamplerBox?
A:ThereisnolimitationaboutMIDIkeyboards.BothUSBMIDI
keyboards(withaUSBplug)andMIDI(withaMIDIplug)are
accepted.Youcanusesmall25keyskeyboards,suchasthe
AkaiLPK25weuseinsomevideosyoucanuse49keys
MIDIkeyboards,oreven61keysor88keysifyouwant!

3.Q:WherecanIfindinstrumentsamplesetstousewith
SamplerBox?
http://www.samplerbox.org/faq#wheresamples

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A:Youcanfindsomeinstrumentshere.Butyoucanalsodo
somesamplesetsyourselfinafewsecondsonly(nosample
setmakingskillsrequired)!Seequestions#5and#6.

4.Q:Isvelocitysensitivitypossible?
A:Yes.Seequestion#6.

5.Q:Howtocreatemyownsamplesettousewith
SamplerBox?(easy)
A:IfyoursamplesarenumberedbytheirusualMIDInotelike
this:36.wav,37.wav,...,youjustneedtoputthesefilesina
foldernamedlikethis:/1Piano/,/17Trumpet/,...,i.e.anumber
+awhitespace+aname.Thenumberwillbethepreset
number.
Nosamplesetdefinitionfilerequiredinthissimplecase!

6.Q:Howtocreatemyownsamplesettousewith
SamplerBox?(advanced)
Sometimes,apicturespeaksmorethanwords,sodon'tforget
tolookatthisblogarticlebeforereadingwhatfollows.
Ifyoursamplesarenotnamedlike36.wav,37.wav,and/oryou
wantadvancedfeatureslikemanyvelocitylayers,youneedto
createafolder(asdescribedbefore)andhaveadefinition.txt
fileinit.
Let'ssayyoursamplesare:
/1PIANO/MyPiano_60_vel70.wav
/1PIANO/MyPiano_60_vel100.wav
/1PIANO/MyPiano_61_vel70.wav
/1PIANO/MyPiano_61_vel100.wav
...

Thenjustcreateafilenamed/1PIANO/definition.txt
containingthissingleline:
MyPiano_%midinote_vel%velocity.wav
http://www.samplerbox.org/faq#wheresamples

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ThenSamplerBoxwillautomaticallydetectandassignallthe
.wavfilestotherightnotesandvelocitylayers!It'smagic!

7.Q:IsitpossibletochangetheMIDIchannelandloadtwo
patchesatonce?(Letssaybasssamplesonchannel1
andhornsamplesonchannel2?)
A:CurrentlySamplerBoxreadsallincomingMIDInotes,
regardlesstheMIDIchannel.ButMIDIchannelhandlingcould
beeasilyadded,ifthisfeatureisreallyrequested.Loadingtwo
patchesatonceiscurrentlyunsupported.

8.Q:WhereshouldIputthesamplesets?
A:IfyouinstalledSamplerBoxviatheimagefile
(RECOMMANDEDINSTALL),youhavetoputthesamplesets
onaUSBstick(oronaSDcardinaUSBSDcardreader)that
youwillplugintotheRaspberryPi.ThisUSBstick/SDcard
shouldcontainfolderscontainingyour.WAVsamples,likethis:
/0Piano/
/1Flute/
...

WhynotusingtheRaspberryPi'sbuiltinmicroSDcard?Two
reasons:1)BecauseSamplerBoxisabox!Theuserdoesn't
normallyhaveaccesstotheinternalmicroSDcard.The
internalmicroSDcardisusedforOSandsoftware,notforuser
samplesets!2)Becauseyouwanttobeabletoplugin/
remove/pluganotherSDcardintotheSamplerBoxlive!This
wouldn'tbepossiblebyusingtheinternalmicroSDcard.
IfyouinstalledSamplerBoxviatheMANUALINSTALL,you
canchangetheconfiginonelinetousewhateveryouwantas
thesamplesetsourcedirectory.

9.Q:Howtochangethecurrentpreset?
A:MostMIDIkeyboardshavebuttonscalledPROGRAM+/PROGRAM
http://www.samplerbox.org/faq#wheresamples

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thatwillsendProgramChangeMIDImessages.TheseMIDI

messagesareusedtochangeSamplerBox'scurrentpreset.
Howtochangethecurrentpresetifyoudon'thavesuch
buttonsonyourkeyboard?UseSamplerBox'shardware
buttons:it'sexactlywhattheyaremadefor!

10.Q:Whataudioformatsaresupported?
A:SamplerBoxusesstandardWAVfiles,stereoormono,16
bitsor24bits,atasamplingrateof44.1Khz.Itdoesn't
supportAIFF,MP3,OGG,FLAC,etc.files.

11.Q:DoIneedaRaspberryPi2orwillitworkaswellwitha
RaspberryB/B+?
A:ItwillworkonaRaspberryPiB/B+,butbetter
performances/higherpolyphonywillbeachievedwitha
RaspberryPi2.

12.Q:HowtoputtheSamplerBoximagefile,onamicroSD
card?
A:Seeinstructionshere.

13.Q:(Fordevelopersonly)Whyisthefilesystemmountedas
readonlybydefault,whenIusetheSamplerBoximage
file?
A:Inshort,removingthepowercordwithoutdoinghaltona
normalreadwritefilesystemcouldcausefilesystemcorruption.
Soifwewanteverythingtoworkwell,therearetwosolutions:
eitherwehaveanormalreadwritefilesystem,andthenwe
needtousehaltcommandtoshutdownsafelythe
SamplerBox(butthisisimpossible,aseverythingisembedded
inabox,withnokeyboard!),orweuseareadonlyfilesystem,
andwecansafelyshutdowntheSamplerBox...byjust
removingthepowercordorusinganON/OFFswitch(likeon
http://www.samplerbox.org/faq#wheresamples

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everysynthesizer,forinstance)!Weusedthissecondsolution.
Ifyouknowabettersolution(readwritefilesystem+safe
shutdownwhenweremovethepowercord),pleasecontact
us.
Pleasenotethatit'salwayspossibletoremountasreadwrite
afterbootbydoing:
mountoremount,rw/

14.Q:Whataboutlooping?Ihaveasampleofanorganwhich
is1secondlong,whathappensifIpressthekeyfortwo
seconds?
A:YoujustneedtosaveloopmarkersintheWAVfileswith
yourtraditionalsoundeditor(IrecommandSonySoundforge),
andSamplerBoxwillrecognizethemandloopthesound!

15.Q:Howtopermanentlychangethesoundvolume?
A:Thiswillevolveandbesimplerinthefuture.Fornow,run
this:
alsamixer&&mountoremount,rw/&&alsactlstore

http://www.samplerbox.org/faq#wheresamples

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thenselectyoursoundcardwiththekey<F6>,changethe
volume,andexitwith<ESC>.Thesoundvolumewillbe
permanentlysaved.

16.Q:Theaudiooutputqualityisbad.Why,andhowtosolve
it?
A:Thisisawellknownproblem:theRaspberryPihasavery
poorbuiltinsoundcard,resultinginnoisyandsometimes
stutteringsound.TheonlysolutionforthisistouseaDAC,
suchasthis6DAC,whichhasaverygoodaudiooutput.

17.Q:WhenIboottheRaspberryPiwiththeSamplerBox
image,thesoftwaredoesn'tstartautomatically.Howto
solvethis?
A:TheSamplerBoximageisdesignedtobereadytouse.The
SamplerBoxsoftwareshouldstartautomaticallyonboot.Ifnot,
there'saconfigurationissue.Open
/root/SamplerBox/samplerbox.pyandtryanothervaluefor
AUDIO_DEVICE_ID,itshouldsolvetheissue(trywiththevalue0

forexample).Ifnot,cometotheforumandgivesomedetails
aboutyourconfiguration!

18.Q:DoIreallyneedtobuildthewholething(electronic
parts,etc.)touseSamplerBox?
A:No,youdon'tneedto.Youcanstartwithjustabare
RaspberryPiandnoelectronicparts.Readmoreaboutithere.

19.Q:Whyisitimpossibletoeditthesamplesdirectlyon
SamplerBox?Whynotaddascreen,agraphicaluser
interfaceandeditingfeaturesonSamplerBox,likeonan
AkaiMPC?
A:Thiswouldbepossiblewithsomework,butitwould
becomeanew,differentproject.
http://www.samplerbox.org/faq#wheresamples

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ThephilosophyofSamplerBoxisabitdifferentthana"DIY
AkaiMPC".MyinitialgoalforSamplerBoxwastodesignwhat
wecouldcallacustomizableexpander.It'sdesignedtobe
abletocomfortablyload500MBsamplesets,likebigbeautiful
Pianosamplesets,withmanyvelocitylayers,etc.Such
samplesetscannotreallybecreatedonthesmallscreenofa
sampler.Inaword,toprogramsuchsamplesets,youneeda
computeranyway.
Theinitialphilosophywas:preparethesamplesetsona
computer,dropthemonaSDcard,andtheninserttheSD
cardinSamplerBox,andthat'sit!
Insteadofdoingtwothingsbadly(playingsamples+poor
editingonasmallscreen,withnokeyboard,nomouse,etc.),I
prefertofocusondoingonethingwell:tobeabletoloadbig
nicesamplesetsthatyou'vepreparedoncomputer.

2016SamplerBox

http://www.samplerbox.org/faq#wheresamples

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