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SU-10 At a Glance
User rating: 3.6/5 | Read reviews (30)
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|Mike Forrest writes:
The SU10 is a fun little sampler, with a couple of interesting features, such as the ability to mix the samples with a sound source, and apply realtime effects to incoming sounds sources using the ribbon controller. These effects include simply setting the sound level of the source relative to the samples, and more interesting effects such as changing the cutoff-frequency and resonance, and "scratching" the signal. So for DJ use, this piece of kit is fine.
When it comes to composing music, the SU10 is pretty good for the price, with a reasonable level of control over the sounds. The sample quality is adequate if used in "long mode" (giving 36s of sample time), and quite good in Std Mode (~22s). If you want to work stereo, then obviously you'll end up with less time, but I haven't really had any problems with this. For live use, ie. putting samples in the middle of songs, the SU10 is quite cool, fitting nicely on top of your synth. But the display is not backlit, so switching between the four banks of 16 sounds with the tiny button is a bit unpredictable. This is also the only time that the very limited onboard sequencer comes in handy.
However, there are a couple of important limitations; 1) There is a GLOBAL pitch parameter, which means if you want to synchronize two loops which aren't exactly the same tempo, then you have to work out the relative sample rates necessary, and fiddle about with the rough pitch controls to get them in sync. This is, however, made easier by the way the sampler displays the calculated tempo on the screen when you are editing the start and end points. 2) There is no way of saving samples, other than by doing a MIDI dump (which, incidently, I could not get to work on my AMIGA). I have found that the best thing to do is to just record the samples onto tape and resample them when I need them. 3) NO AMPLITUDE ENVELOPES. All of the samples are played back exactly as they are recorded, but although you can loop the sounds, and even reverse them, you cannot apply envelopes of any sort to them. This problem can be overcome by using a bit of reverb to hide the ends of the sounds, and carefully editing the end position of the sample in your sequencer to avoid any clicks when the sample ends.
Maybe I'm expecting too much for my £300, but the SU10 does have some irritating limitations, and some fairly pointless effects. I think that Yamaha should have put a bit more effort into making the sampler a bit more functional, instead of adding the rather superfluous "scratching" and "resonance" features - even my £60 CASIO SK-1 toy sampling had some sort of amplitude envelope control! The SU10 is quite good for playing about with live, and is not without its useful features, but I sometimes think I should have gone for the Roland thing. But it's alright.
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Links for the Yamaha SU-10
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