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Multisampling - seeking an efficient workflow on the Blackbox

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    Multisampling - seeking an efficient workflow on the Blackbox

    Hello! I have the goal of using the Blackbox to multisample instruments and patches I come across in the real world, to keep the 'vibe' of that instrument with me forevermore. Think of this as akin to field recording in spirit. Currently I'm only sampling instruments that have a line out/headphones port, but in the future I would like to work with microphones to sample other non-electronic instruments and sound makers as well.

    So the scenario is that I'm creating multisamples from an instrument that I don't own, and in most cases that instrument doesn't support MIDI or CV, so I can't use the 'multisample robot' feature. Everything has to be done by hand, and as quickly as possible. To keep it simple, let's say I'm sampling an instrument with a traditional piano keyboard, such as an old Casiotone or something, so I at least know what notes I'm playing. Specifically I'm trying to sample the Casio CTK-330 right now, a dusty old keyboard I found in a closet, so we'll use that as an example. What I'm currently doing is:

    1) Create a new preset with the name of the instrument, e.g. 'Casio CTK-330'

    2) Choose whether I should sample in stereo or mono. In most cases, mono is sufficient. I just use the Blackbox's VU meter to see if there's any difference in the L / R channels, and if there isn't, then I sample mono from L channel only.

    3) Sample a range of notes such as C2, G2, C3, G3, C4, G4, etc. Generally I would just sample the range of the instrument's keyboard, whatever it may be.

    4) I name each sample descriptively with the note name and name of patch, such as "C2 Piano 1.wav", "G2 Piano 1.wav", etc.

    5) Go into each sample individually and set the root note to match the note name, such as C2. Make sure to save and overwrite each WAV file and not just the preset. As shown in the tutorial video.

    6) Go to an empty pad and 'Load All', then play the multisample across the keyboard. Listen and determine that it sounds like crap

    What I'm generally finding is that even though I have assigned the 'root note' value for each sample individually, the Blackbox is still loading the files alphabetically when choosing 'Load All', and so some will be out of order, and other files will be stretched across multiple octaves and therefore not sound very good. It doesn't seem to be mapping to the root note metadata, which makes me suspect that I'm not writing the metadata properly. However, I don't know how to check and verify this.

    I've read the manual several times, gone through every thread on these forums that are returned up with the keyword search 'multisample', and I've watched the official tutorial here:

    I'm on firmware 2.1.0, haven't tried the new beta firmware yet.

    I've also analyzed the SympleSound multisamples provided by 1010, and the only difference I can see is that the file names are using MIDI note numbers instead of note names. However, my understanding from the manual and various tutorials is that once the root note is saved in the WAV file metadata itself, the file name ceases to matter, and the files will be mapped out according to the note name in metadata. So I don't think that going through the trouble of adding the MIDI note value to each file name would make any difference, but I'm happy to be corrected there.

    I also noticed that the SympleSound examples are sampled at irregular intervals, alternating 3 and 4 semitone apart. I don't know why, but perhaps that would help me? Maybe I should memorize a specific order of notes to sample instead of a simple C2, G2, C3, G3 etc pattern? I understand that more samples means a higher quality result, but also sampling every single note seems too tedious for the workflow I'm after.

    Thanks everyone, and happy holidays!

    You're on 2.1.0, the current version is 2.1.5 which lists "Miscellaneous bug fixes" in the 2-line release notes. Maybe that includes some multisample bug fixes?
    If you're setting a root note on every file in the folder and saving/overwriting it, you shouldn't get the issue you're having where the files are loading alphabetically.

    I've been debugging multisamples a lot lately. One thing that has helped me is looking at the preset.xml file after creating a broken multisample pad/preset. If you scroll to the end of the file, you'll see all of the file assets along with some of the info. In the case below, I had 3 files with the same root note (28) so the blackbox decided to ignore the root notes because it didn't know what else to do. The notes were loaded alphabetically starting with key 36 instead of using the root notes.
    If you have the note in the file name, you can look through the list in the xml file and see if the rootnote value matches the file name value. If it doesn't, that may be helpful. For example, if you accidentally assigned the wrong root note to some files (maybe you assigned C2 to two different samples, etc) or they didn't all save or something.
    <cell row="0" filename="\Multisamples\Round5Robin\Rnd5 028 e0 V101.wav" type="asset">
    <params rootnote="28" keyrangebottom="36" keyrangetop="36" velrangebottom="0" velrangetop="0" asssrcrow="0" asssrccol="0"/>
    <cell row="1" filename="\Multisamples\Round5Robin\Rnd5 028 e0 V127.wav" type="asset">
    <params rootnote="28" keyrangebottom="37" keyrangetop="37" velrangebottom="0" velrangetop="0" asssrcrow="0" asssrccol="0"/>
    <cell row="2" filename="\Multisamples\Round5Robin\Rnd5 028 e0 V24.wav" type="asset">
    <params rootnote="28" keyrangebottom="38" keyrangetop="38" velrangebottom="0" velrangetop="0" asssrcrow="0" asssrccol="0"/>

    So I don't think that going through the trouble of adding the MIDI note value to each file name would make any difference​
    Correct. File names for multisamples are only used when the root notes are ignored.

    I also noticed that the SympleSound examples are sampled at irregular intervals, alternating 3 and 4 semitone apart. I don't know why, but perhaps that would help me?​
    Probably not, especially if you're doing it manually.

    If you can upload the files somewhere that I can download them, I can run them through the little app I'm threw together to add info to multisample files. That won't magically fix your workflow but should give you a working set of multisamples you can use for comparison.

    I would probably update to 2.1.5 and try the steps you listed above first, but maybe with like 3 files instead of the full set, so it is quicker and easier to manually add the root notes.


      Awesome, thanks so much for your detailed reply! I'll check the XML files as you said, that's great to have something to look at and debug at least. If I can't figure it out, I'll send you my files. Once I get the hang of this, I'm hoping to be able to share some multisample libraries with the community here!

      I'll definitely update firmware as well, I've been wanting to try the new beta, so I'll probably just jump to that.


        We have made fixes/updates to the multi sample mapping in recent updates. More in 2.9.1


          Thanks Steve! I updated to 2.9.1, and I'm playing around with it. Will report back.


            You can use EndlessWAV for editing multiple samples and root notes at once. It will write the root note into the wav file.


              I'm very happy to report that multisampling is working perfectly on firmware 2.9.1! I also went back through my original attempt and realized that I had saved the metadata note value for one of the samples incorrectly. I corrected it, overwrote the sample file, and now it all sounds good. So very possible this was just user error the whole time, and not a firmware issue at all.


              • sirshannon
                sirshannon commented
                Editing a comment
                That was my assumption but only because I inevitably mess up one file when doing it manually.

              Thanks for your list/manual - it just saved my life.
              Just some notes/thoughts from my side:

              * First - your sampling is asymmetric. G is closer to the right C than to the left C. If you sample 2 notes per octave C and F# are symmetrical. Unfortunately D# doesn't know which sample (C or F#) is closer. That's why I sample for a good quality C, D#, F#, A. And I do it primarily for the most played octaves 2 and 3. Right now I'm testing if it makes sense to sample notes "on the edges" of octaves 2 and 3 - ie. C1 C4 and C5.
              * Alphabetically ordered file names are not a must but come very handy. Unfortunately A comes after C and the blackbox doesn't support the # character (and using Gb instead of F# doesn't fit to the root note description). Additionally the pad names are optimized for file names with up to 4 (one line) or 8 (two lines) characters. And renaming file names cost much time using the blackbox keyboard. So I tend to name the directory with the instrument name with up to 4 characters (ie EP for E-Piano). And I tend to name the wav files with the same characters followed by the MIDI note (ie EP36 for C2 of the E-piano).
              * Maybe the next chapter of your manual can be how to "tune" the instrument. GATE-launch-mode, POLY, key velocity sensitivity (VEL) and ADSR (especially Sustain and Release are critical for every instrument) are the first candidates. But are there any others to raise the quality of the instrument?
              * And - that's where I have quite no experience - are there any "global" tweaks to raise the quality? Like effects (FX), mixer or the equalizer. I feel that the effects (Hall, Reverb) don't improve the quality.
              * And last, but not least: What can the blackbox do to "support" playing the instrument(s)? Is it possible to play two instruments at once (Piano + Strings) or to layer instruments (Bass on the left side of the keyboard + instrument on the right)? Loading a background music wav file on one pad and playing the instrument along would be a nice feature (like expensive workstations offer). Or finally (what the blackbox was made for) load some kicks and claps to build a rhythm/metronome sequence to time your instrument playing? Actually the blackbox was made for playing and arranging samples and sequences and record the play.

              Hope that helps and motivates to use the excellent multisample feature of the blackbox.


                Actually the blackbox can do most of the recording stuff automatically. There is a good video about multisample recording at:

                All you have to do is connect the Blackbox-MIDI-Out with your Synth/Piano-MIDI-In and the Synth/Piano-Audio-Out back to your Blackbox-Audio-In. So the blackbox can play your synth/piano per MIDI and record the audio.

                Switch the blackbox from single recording (1x) to Multi (Mx) and "program" the recording procedure (ie start- and endnote, velocity layers). This settings depend what you want to do later with the sample.

                The first thing I tried was a grand piano to play with high quality and comfort. So I decided the following settings:
                • Start Note: C3 (45)
                • End Note: C5 (72)
                • Sample Every: 3 (steps)
                • Velocity layers: 7 (to play the piano with many velocity levels)
                • Max Vel: 127 (for a little "buzzing" when the key is pressed very intense)
                • Note length: 5 seconds (that cuts deep tones a little bit to early but it is OK for normal playing)
                • Release length: 1 second
                Then start recording with PLAY+RECORD and let the blackbox work. 9 samples (C3 to C5 with step3) with 7 different velocities equals 63 samples are close to the limit of the blackbox.

                After recording I set some parameters for playing:
                • Conf - Launch Mode: Gate
                • Conf - Poly Mode: Poly 8 (which surely challenges the calculating power of the blackbox)
                • Main - Release: 60%
                The playing is perfect (for me - of course this is not a digital piano) and the recorded samples are much better than I could get "per hand" (you can't press keys with your fingers that constant).

                Hope that helps
                Regards deetee


                  The only thing missing from multi-sampling on the BlackBox is seamless loop with crossfading capability. Right now, I can attach my synths via midi and multi-sample (I sample every 3 notes from C0 to C8). I use a setting of 8 and 6 for how long to record and how long the tail is. Most of my sounds are pads and really beg to be looped. Other than looping multi-samples, the BlackBox is nearly perfect for this task.


                    Thanks a lot deetee for this instructions - works very well.

                    Just an addition as usually I want to multisample an "instrument" it should have gate and max. polyphony: Before you switch to "Multi" samples you have to adjust these parameters in "1x" under "Conf".
                    Last edited by develd; 01-27-2023, 03:02 AM.


                    • deetee
                      deetee commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks - didn't know this.

                    Edit: The info below is false! Thought multisamples can loop, but actually (fw 2.1.5) they don't.

                    @karmacomposer​ I think we have to do looping on multisamples the hard way on each recorded sample afterwards as blackbox can not find them automatically.

                    I have imported some multisamples with "Load all" and some of them do respect the looping info in the wave files, but others don't. Wave file format is Microsoft work and it varies by implementation
                    Last edited by develd; 01-27-2023, 10:21 AM.


                    • develd
                      develd commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I'll try to find an example. It must have been a very long sample if it wasn't looped
                      Thought the blackbox does not support *setting* loop points in multisamples, but why shouldn't it use loops from loaded files?

                    • develd
                      develd commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Hi -thus-, unfortunately you're right - the multisample does not loop
                      I have loaded Symplesound\Supersaw and the waves are around 30 seconds long. That's why I've thought they are looped

                    • -thus-
                      -thus- commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thank you for checking, develd. If this is important to you, as it is to me, please add your +1 to this thread!