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  A-4000 At a Glance
Click for larger view arrowReleased: 1999  Specifications
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Dave Magnuson writes:
While this is an easy enough sampler to use, it is not for the faint-hearted. Yamaha has managed to take sampling to a whole new level with the introduction of the A4000/A5000 samplers. And you need to be willing to sit down and learn it if you want to use these samplers to their full extent.

Just about every other sampler uses samples as the raw wave for a sound with tuning, keyspans, filters, outputs and envelopes all being handled at a higher level by programs. The A4000 does things differently.

Samples still hold waveforms and loop information but envelope, filter, tuning, key and output information is all attached directly to a sample. The program level is purely for adding external modulation and assigning MIDI playback control. It takes a little getting used to, but once you've worked it out, the system soon becomes pretty intuitive and flexible.

First off, each filter can have its own LFO and modulation parameters set independently of the program, as well as separate filter, envelope and effects routings. If you want to group samples together as you would in a traditional sampler, you would create a sample bank. Not unlike Soundfonts for those of you who are familiar with Sound Blaster cards.

Sample banks can contain multiple samples arranged across the keyboard in any way. This is because of the freedom that holding playback info with the actual sample gives you. Since you determine how a sample can be played, for example which key triggers it, they can be layered, velocity switched or key-split within a sample bank.

To actually play back sounds from the A4000 you need to assign them to a program, since this is where MIDI control is determined. The system has 128 programs available at any one time and you can play them individually or via Multi mode which is for multitimbral operation.

With features like real time beat change, which speeds the beat up or down without changing the pitch. Or the reverse of that, change the pitch without altering the time signature. And the Loop Remix and Loop Divide. You will be making music you never dreamed of in just a couple of simple steps. What these functions do is analyse a sample to break it up into chunks according to volume and frequency, effectively separating individual elements of a drum pattern. Loop Divide then maps these samples out across the keyboard as a sample bank, enabling you to treat them as separate instruments. Loop Remix goes further, actually using the parts to build a new rhythm. Each section can be gated, tuned or reversed which can produce some dramatic drum 'n' bass patterns from even the simplest loop. You can even set this to sample a group of samples at once (say, a drum kit), as seperate samples. Without having to push any more buttons. Just set it up, and play each sample, the sampler will make a new file everytime silence is heard. And it will automatically create and assign the group of samples to a new sample bank. WOW! This makes sampling a large group of samples very easy.

The A4000 has a large, clear 320 x 80-dot LCD, which makes editing a breeze. And the manual is very easy to follow, especially for being some 300 pages long. MIDI syncable LFO's, Direct-to-cd burning, 16 types of huge filters. The list of capabilities and functions goes on and on.

All in all, not your standard sampler. But if you're looking for something that will help you make your music, and make it different. This is it.

Comments About the Sounds:
The sounds on this are going to be as good as you make them.The sound quality is pristine at 44.1k. The effects are superb. And you can use one of the effects banks as a seperate effects unit for other instruments, using the audio in.

(Thanks to Dave Magnuson for this info.)

Links for the Yamaha A-4000
 More Synth Gear  Best US prices on many current models
power sampler A series
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bZone - The ultimate editor for your Yamaha A-series sampler
A3/4/5000 usergroup [In Finnish] OK, You can talk to english too -but just a littlebit ;)
The Patch King The Worlds Largest 3rd Party Synth & Sampler Developers. Thousands of New Sounds for over 100 Synths & Samplers on Floppy, CD-ROM or Zip Disks. samples & loops
User reviews on Harmony Central
Future Music UK review

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