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In-depth Feature:  CreamWare Luna II
Utter Lunacy - The Luna II PCI Card
Rob G writes: .

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The PowerSampler STS3000 Sampler
The review system provided also included a PowerSampler STS3000 license. This is a software sampler that integrates fully into the Pulsar/SCOPE/Luna environment.

The STS3000 supports both AKAI S1000/S3000 and EMU SoundFont sample formats as well as WAV and AIFF giving access to existing sample libraries or those available from third-party vendors.

As usual the PowerSampler is available in the Luna II environment as a module for use in the Project Window. The module supports inputs for MIDI (the usual input mechanism) and stereo recording – used for capturing samples. A default stereo output pair is provided, together with 14 individual outputs, monitor outputs and an editor output that receives the raw sample without additional processing (filters etc.).

Double clicking on the sampler displays the sampler’s main control surface or panel – used to manage up to 16 programs or instruments. PowerSampler uses a fairly typical hierarchy of presets and programs – a program represents an individual sound or sample, while a preset supports up to 16 programs assignable by key ranges or MIDI channel.

Individual programs may themselves comprise multiple samples, mapped by key range. Each key range may itself support velocity ranges and stereo samples. The STS3000 supports 64 mono or 32 stereo voices.This should be achievable as long as there are no other modules present - you can route the STS outputs directly to the output modules without the need for a mixer module. The available voices are distributed dynamically between programs, so less voices will generally suffice.

As well as simple sampler facilities, the sampler supports modulation from a number of modulation sources (mod wheel, pitch wheel, MIDI controllers, velocity, note number, key pressure, LFO’s, envelopes, etc.). Modulation can be used to alter pitch, filter frequency and resonance, volume, pan, etc.) resulting in a powerful sampling/synthesis engine.

Again, the system is well implemented. Program creation and assignment to presets is easy, and most modules work as expected. Unfortunately, however, creating a preset of any complexity once again quickly stretches DSP (and system) resources – causing the Luna II environment to be stretched beyond its limits. Using PowerSampler alongside Elektra is not an option, even on an Athlon 1GHz system with 256 MB of RAM.

In review, adding PowerSampler to a Luna II environment seriously curtails the other possibilities of the hardware, adding a couple of effects modules to the system went beyond the available DSP resources. The module really requires a more powerful DSP environment – adding another Luna II card or supplementing the Luna II with one of CreamWare’s more advanced DSP hardware offerings.

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