Sampling Fun with OAX

Over the past few days, a great conversation on using the sampler feature recently introduced in OAX and VST’s. We have tried both. The comments have taken over a post that was really about the ability to use Yamaha styles on OAX. Not sure how many comments we might get on this topic, but I’ve started a new thread on this topic with this post. I’ll link to the earlier comments to make a little easier to catch-up on the conversation.

You should be able to find most of the earlier comments on this topic below:

On the one hand, the samples are easier to use once loaded and setup. If you prefer going the VST route, you have the option of loading a playback engine such as Kontakt (a free download) directly on the organ or externally on a Mac or PC attached to your Sonic via MIDI. Perhaps a little more setup required to get VST’s installed and configured, but once completed, it opens up an almost endless source of new sounds to be used as solo instruments or combined with many of the excellent sounds already onboard OAX.

Clearly two groups of folks out there. One groups favors VST while the other group, using samples directly in OAX, is a little smaller and quiet on the topic. Which do you prefer?

I sent Mark a sample in two formats to test with and looking forward to his comments on what he learns.

From an email I sent Mark earlier today:

In the attached zip file, you will find one sound in SF2 format. That one is for you to use with the folks you are talking with and have them convert it for you. That’s the format Ketron uses. Also included are the same sounds with the supporting *.wav files and *.sts file. You should be able to load that directly into OAX.

  1. Save the *.wav files and *.sts files to “\My Wersi\Sounds.”
  2. Select Upper1 (or whatever location you want for the sound).
  3. Touch “Sounds.”
  4. Touch “Import.”
  5. Navigate to the above location (Don’t remember if OAX looks there by default?).
  6. Select the user voice location where you want to save the sample.
  7. Touch “Save.”
  8. Touch “Load.”
  9. Play.
  10. You will notice the release is set WAY too high.
    1. Not sure if this is a Wersi issue or something messed up in the sts file? The same sound (the attached *.sf2 file) works as expected in our Ketron.
    2. To correct, touch the sound twice to get to edit screen where you can set reverb, delay, release, etc.
    3. Adjust to your taste.
    4. Also, I find that velocity is on. Perhaps a default on the OAX side. Not sure about that. Depending on the sample, you may want to turn on/off as needed.

The sound attached sample, “Strings 2,” is from a Crumar organ. Please post back what you learn so everyone following can learn a little about samples/OAX. Probably a good video series. We haven’t done a Wersi video in a long time!

35 thoughts on “Sampling Fun with OAX

  • 05/14/2020 at 05:13
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    Hi folks, I can only speak from the experience of playing an Abacus duo of a friend of mine who loaded in some of my organ samples. My personal feelings are that the Wersi OAS/OAX system of being able to have your own favourite sounds direct in the instrument is amazing. If I could afford to buy one I wouldn;t even think of trying to run samples from an external source from a VST. But each to his own. If it’s a case of wanting to play backing tracks then I would use the old fashioned method of playing them from a seperate recorder/player , even such as a mini disc player what ever was lying on my shelf which would do the job and sound adequate.

    Reply
    • 05/15/2020 at 13:53
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      Hi Jason,

      I am in the convenience camp at the moment. I have been playing around with converting samples from a source format, typically .SF2 into .STS format for direct import into OAX, and have to say that the handful I have done so far are excellent – I Have played around on the Wersi for the last hour or so and have a 250mb Steinway Grand sounding lovely, a nice expressive Oboe, and some Very rich 165mb choir sounds. I have also loaded a 350mb Rhodes Piano, but OAX failed to import a 985mb Yamaha C5 Grand Piano, so the OAX import limitation is somewhere between 351mb and 985mb – a bit more testing required!

      I have downloaded hundreds of high quality samples, in Soundfont format, and whilst I wait for Chicken Systems to Test convert a sample for me, I have been using an eval copy of AWAVE, which is doing the job just fine – only the Chicken Systems Translator looks more polished, and there is not much in it cost wise to push me in a particular direction based on cost.

      I intend to convert some more over the weekend and report back on progress.

      From a backings track perspective, I found an old one for Dancing Queen in .MP3 format, which I loaded into OAX, and it sounds great – has the advantage that I can play along and record on the internal recorder too if I chose to.

      Thanks
      Mark

      Reply
      • 05/16/2020 at 04:07
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        Sound Fonts are as old as the hills https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SoundFont# so hardly surprising that they convert pretty well, however you will be better using software like the VSts from DSK https://www.dskmusic.com/ (There are many others available) as you do not lose anything in the conversion process (They all have native support) giving a much better sound and editing flexibility. (Note: I have posted the link for the full page (Sound font players are about half way down) as they do other instruments as well, with most being free)
        BTW: The Steinway Piano on OAX is almost 1GB in size.
        Have fun

        Reply
      • 05/16/2020 at 04:22
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        Following on from my last post, one of the most popular producers of samples for OAS was by Pemo (Many OAS owners have them) which I didn’t think was still around, but they are, so here is the link http://www.orgel-studio.de/index.php?software_wersi to the demo page, naturally they are not free but they will also work in OAX.
        Enjoy

        Reply
        • 05/16/2020 at 04:57
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          Hi Bill,

          Yes, I have some of those from when I had the Verona – some are pretty good. I have about 40 saved in a server backup from must be 10 – 15 years ago. I have about 50 theatre samples saved also, but for the life of me cannot remember where they came from.

          What I am finding at the moment is that the Pemo samples are “relatively” small, and to my ear don’t sound quite as good as they did under OAS, small differences though, however some of the larger samples I am converting and loading in are just blowing me away. I have about 100 Gibson And Fender guitar samples to convert and play around with today.

          I don’t mind paying for the right samples, but I do want to hear them first.

          One of my first tasks is to find out the Import size limitation in OAX that stopped the C5 yesterday, so am now looking for some samples between 350mb and 900mb to find that point.

          Thanks
          Mark

          Reply
          • 05/16/2020 at 07:40
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            Mark,

            Watching from afar with great interest. Sounds like you are making great progress. Keep the updates coming.

        • 05/16/2020 at 07:46
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          Bill – Interesting site. Nice demos and some pretty good sounding instruments.

          Reply
      • 05/17/2020 at 03:01
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        Hi Mark, Sounds like you are having lots of enjoyment with your samples in conjunction with your OAX. If that large piano sample which won’t load which you mentioned is a stereo sample, if you convert it to mono it will reduce the file size without necessarily reducing the audio quality too much and then it may load ok. I know a lot of people disagree about this but not all samples need to be stereo till they are mixed in the conductor sections of the keyboard instrument one is using. Hope this helps. 😀

        Reply
        • 05/17/2020 at 05:05
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          Hi Jason,

          I found a smaller 592mb version of the same piano, on the same site, and whilst it loaded, it did not sound. I spent a bit of time comparing the file structure to that of the Rhodes piano, again from the same site, and could not see and difference in the structure of the .sts header, however the .wav files all sounded when played on a pc. I had similar issues with the guitar samples, where none sounded – they all converted ok, and were less than 200mb each, and again all the .wav files sounded individually. There is obviously an issue with converting some soundfonts to .sts, but I don’t know why yet.

          I don’t have time to mess around too much today, but may just try and convert from .sf2 to .p instead, to see if that makes any difference.

          I do however think the 985mb piano was genuinely too big, as I got a sound dll error message from OAX and had to restart OAX after deleting, as no other sounds would work until I did.

          Thanks
          Mark

          Reply
          • 05/17/2020 at 07:01
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            Mark – You may have already asked when you checked regarding Kontakt. Is it worth sending a note to Uli for clarification?

          • 05/17/2020 at 08:30
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            Hi Curt,

            Yes I will be doing that.

            I have had another hour to play and the mystery continues. I saved the smaller C5 and one of the Gibson Les Paul guitars as a .p, and initially thought they did not work, however after playing with the velocity waveform in OAX git some sound out of both – however cannot get them to sound at all velocity levels – so don’t know if that is a sample of OAX issue. Will discuss with the OAX team.

            The bits I could hear though were really good though – .p appears to be smaller in size to .sts, but given the size of these, it is not a size issue. I also retried the .sts C5 with different velocity settings, but nothing.

            Thanks
            Mark

          • 05/17/2020 at 08:35
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            Or indeed it may be an issue with the eval copy of AWAVE I am playing with!

            Too many variables to pin it down right now, so need to eliminate one by one.

          • 05/17/2020 at 11:14
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            Sounds like it is getting fun at this point! 🙂

          • 05/19/2020 at 02:17
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            A bit of an update – sorry it is out of order, but there is no reply button after Curt’s last post.

            I had a response from the Wersi team, who are being very helpful.

            1. Max size of sample is c. 500mb, but is also limited by the number of samples.
            2. Problem with not all sound sounding is probably down to data for all layers not being available. I have tried both 6 and 8 velocity layer C5 piano, and same results with each. The 15 layer C5 is too big!
            3. The sound import function in OAX is purely there to support the c. 5% of prior OAS users who have .sts and .p sounds from other sources – not really to support converting .sf2 or other samples to .sts or .p, as no convertor will be 100% accurate, so not really for what I am trying to do.
            4. No plans to support any other formats

            Separately I did a hex dump of a .sts file yesterday, and whilst not that big, the majority is not decipherable without a file structure layout, however about half way down it contains the full ASCII path name for each of the .wav files. I thought I had found something when the .sts I had copied to USB contained the path of my hard drive before the copy to USB. I hex edited the .sts file to correctly point at the USB path, this made no difference – clutching at straws.

            I haven’t had the same luck with looking at the .p file yet, as there is no ASCII content but have found a file format layout doc for s1000 AKAI samples, so will give that a go.

            So at present, simple .sf2 (size and number of samples) are converting, importing and working fine as .sts in OAX, however more complex such as piano’s and guitar’s are not. Some of these when converted to .p work at some velocity levels, if the velocity settings are played with. Whilst not yet acceptable for playing, the velocity layers That do sound are very very good, so worthy of some more time being spent on this.

            If anyone has any input on how layers are defined in .sts samples, please shout, as I can see that an option may be to hex edit the .sts file to add more velocity layers by duplicating the last couple of layers .wav files.

            As Curt said, getting interesting!

            Thanks
            Mark

          • 05/19/2020 at 11:45
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            First, let’s see where this reply comes out. Not sure what is going on with that and not all comments having the ability to post a reply.

            Mark – Great info. While I do like the simplicity of using a sample, that is just a simple button push to call up a sound; your findings are making me start to rethink using Kontakt again… Hmmm.

          • 05/19/2020 at 11:48
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            As for the reply test, I clicked on the reply found in the 05/17/20 @ 05:05 post from Mark. This one should come out right after my last post just a few minutes ago???

          • 05/25/2020 at 11:00
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            No further progress yet, however I have just posted a new tune on YouTube that uses a newly converted Rhodes piano and a choir sample on the left hand, both of which were converted from a .SF2 soundfont to .STS and imported into OAX. Also uses an imported Genos style!

  • 05/12/2020 at 17:24
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    is it possible to extract a sample from a vst, convert it to sts format and import it to oax.

    can sounds be set up to crossfade on the sonic. could do on oax by setting volume to -127?

    Reply
    • 05/12/2020 at 18:48
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      Yes, but you will lower the quality thus making the conversion pointless. (It’s a bit like putting a V8 in a Mini, you can do it but you lose massively on everything else)
      I presume you mean OAS and crossfade via the swell pedal, if so then yes; you can do all that in the Sonic and much much more. (OAS is really primitive when it comes to how the Sonic does it)
      NOTE: It is fully explained in the manuals (Yes I know its sacrilege to read the manual but sometimes it’s the best way) and once you get the hang of it you will wonder why only a few other manufactures have anything similar.

      Reply
      • 05/12/2020 at 19:39
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        looked in both the user and programming manual. which manual and what section?
        looked through the sound editor section but not sure. showing my ignorance.

        Reply
        • 05/13/2020 at 04:38
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          Section 8.3.3 on page 88 of the user manual, (The section apples to all 4 of the settings in professional mode and can be stored in a total pre-set) NOTE: It looks completely alien compared to OAS but just play about with it and you will soon get the hang of it.

          Reply
          • 05/13/2020 at 11:59
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            Thanks! Much appreciated

      • 05/13/2020 at 08:19
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        Anyone know the maximum size of a .STS and associated .WAV’s that can be loaded into OAX?

        I am playing with AWAVE until the guys at Chicken Sys get around to doing Curt’s for me, and have downloaded quite a number of .SF2 SoundFonts ranging in size from a few hundred kb to a few hundred mb (one piano is 977mb). Both have converted to .STS ok, but would like to know the probable point of “too big” before I attempt to load and potentially corrupt the Wersi Sounds Database. I don’t have time to play at the Wersi until the weekend.

        I fully understand and agree with Bill’s mini analogy, however whilst I fully accept that the 4.0l V8 is going to be the best, if I can upgrade some of the existing sounds from an 850cc to a 2000cc, I should still see very measurable improvements, whilst keeping the convenience of OAX sound selection.

        I appreciate that this approach will divide opinion, however as I have it in writing from Wersi Support that they do not recommend Kontakt Player VST for live playing In OAX, I am initially going down the load the sample into OAX route.

        Thanks
        Mark

        Reply
        • 05/13/2020 at 08:45
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          HI Mark
          If you don’t want to go for Kontakt (No idea why Wersi say it cannot be used live (Particularly if you use Komplete Kontrol) as it’s designed for just this with Midi Controller Keyboards) then try Steinberg’s Halion Sonic VST (Which replaced their Hypersonic VST which itself used the same sound engine as what OAS/OAX is based on) as it may be more friendly for you.
          You could also get Cubase Elements which comes with a stripped down version of Halion Sonic and would also allow you to create and edit styles and Midi files. (Something that has not yet been built in to OAX even though OAS had both)
          NOTE: The sample loader on OAX is really designed for OAS users (Who were miffed that Wersi did not include it at the outset) to use all there STS and Akai samples that they have acquired, rather than new sounds from scratch. (STS & Akai really is an antique format)

          Reply
    • 05/17/2020 at 07:02
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      Jim – Curious if you have tried any samples yet?

      Reply
  • 05/09/2020 at 19:37
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    Hey Folks,

    I find this a fascinating discussion. We are 50/50 on the various options, and there are a couple of choices. For us, the best option is to run Kontakt, and/or Komplete Kontrol on our Mac (or a PC). We record whatever we want in that environment, export to WAV or MP3, and then import that to our Sonic and play along.

    In our opinion, that allows us to take advantage of the best of both worlds.
    Yep – OAX allows you to use VST’s. Let’s just say that it is not for the faint of heart. 🙂

    Yes, it can be done, but there’s a TON of config/setup to make it all work. I suspect most owners will not be interested in all of that overhead?

    The other option is to import samples into OAX. Assuming you have samples to work with AND all the needed software to convert from sample format “A” to “B”, certainly an option.

    Having said that – Many folks have very strong thoughts on using “backing tracks.” We have two comments on that:

    All of the “backing-tracks” that we use are 100% recorded by us… so we did play “ALL” of the parts that you hear.

    Should you choose to purchase backing tracks from site “xxx.” We have no issue with that. After all, this is all just about having fun and simply making music – Right?

    Reply
  • 05/09/2020 at 05:57
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    Hi Curt, can you please tell me how I convert wav to sf2 for
    Ketron and what I need to d it. Many thanks Dave

    Reply
    • 05/09/2020 at 11:50
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      Hi Dave,

      I am currently looking at going the other way – SF2 to .sts, which has accompanying .wav files.

      I am looking at some software called Translator from Chicken Systems Inc and also Extreme Sample Converter – both of which appear to support both fo4mats as import and export.

      The guys at Chicken Systems have offered to do a test convert for me, so will be using the .SF2 sample that Curt sent me to see how it turns out compared to the same converted sample that Curt sent as a .sts as the baseline.

      Translator is £150+ and Extreme is €48 – so may try and do the same test with both and compare the results.

      I have also heard back from Wersi ref my suggestion of them incorporating the free Kontakt player into OAX as a supported configuration, but it is a non-starter.

      Thanks
      Mark

      Reply
  • 05/09/2020 at 03:31
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    I did the following experiences:
    1) With Kontakt you are limited to 128 sounds which you have to load at startup. Every sound must be loaded 16 times into every midi channel so that you can use it in OAX at any of the 16 sounds. I solved this problem by creating 1 bank with my sounds and loaded this bank into every 16 midi channels in kontakt. It worked but took some time to load at startup and because of the limitation and the fact to load each sound more than once, I finally uninstalled Kontakt (see 3.)
    2.) I have some VST’s base on the physical modelling technic. These VST’s use nearly no loading time und less memory. If you use VST’s with sampled sounds you have the disadvantage, the the sounds must be loaded when they are first used. This is the reason why I do not use such VST’s. If you will use sounds within your presets I always had problems so far to assign the correct volume to the VST. Unfortunately sometimes it works and sometimes not. Maby it depends on the VST you use. I reported this problem already to wersi but so far, I had no feedback. If you carefully choose your VST so that you are sure all necessary parameters are supported from the VST to route to OAX the world of VST could be a big benefit.
    3.) Since we have the opportunity to import sounds this is my favorit way to use. All sounds which i used from kontakt you can convert to sts format and import. Thats why I do not use kontakt anymore. Because these sounds are integrated best (volume pedal, dynamic curves …) this is my favorit way to use other sounds.

    Reply
    • 05/09/2020 at 04:56
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      HI Peter
      You are both correct and incorrect and it can be confusing, however VSTs go way beyond anything you can do with the on-board sound engine.
      1. All the sounds are not loaded at start-up as Kontakt uses disk streaming so only the first part of the sound is loaded, the rest of the sound being loaded when the key is pressed, (With modern PCIe SSDs it will not take much extra time to load at start-up. (Not sure what speed Wersi has fitted in OAX)
      2. You can set-up Kontakt to not duplicate sounds which also saves on memory. (However the more memory you have them more flexible it is)
      3. The 128 is the MIDI limitation (VSTs are nothing more than software versions of hardware modules) however you can have more than 1 instance of Kontakt loaded at time, so not really a problem. (Plus in the real world it is unlikely you will be using all 16 voices on a single VST so having all 16 loaded channels loaded is overkill)
      4. Most important thing with VSTs is to read the manual that is supplied with them and take your time. (There are also plenty of tutorials on YouTube)
      5. Did you try using Komplete Kontrol with Kontakt as it is more flexible?
      Biggest downside for me is that Wersi completely ruined OAX with the V2.00 update, removing virtually everything that a Wersi is all about. (You can only get the Wersi sound from a Bohm these days)
      Stay safe and have fun.

      Reply
      • 05/09/2020 at 09:20
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        Hi Bill,
        Relating your answers.
        2.) I’m not sure, when creating 1 bank and assigning the same bank to 16 midi channels, if the sounds are loaded 16 times. Whre do you configure not to duplicate the sounds ?
        3.) How do you configure more than 1 instance in OAX ?
        The reason why i load the same bank to every midi channel is that i can load a kontakt sound to any of the 16 sounds in OAX. OAX takes for a new sound any of a free midi channel.
        5.) I have Komplete Kontrol but didn’t try
        It would be interesting for me (us) how to configure kontakt and how to configure and use the VST’s in OAX. Maybe you can make a video with some explanations.

        Reply
        • 05/09/2020 at 10:16
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          1. Go into settings and setup the purge function to minimise the resources used by Kontakt.
          2. Just keep loading in the number of instances that you need as OAX will assign 128 sound slots and your choice of Midi Channels (Choose the number of channels you need when you load in the VST) independently. I.E. If you load in 3 instances you will have access up to 384 sounds and 48 Midi channels. (Don’t forget to save the configuration once you have set everything up) NOTE: OAX uses the lowest available channel number available when assigning channels, however I have noticed in earlier versions that the first number used (If available) is 1, 5, 9 for upper, lower & pedal, not sure if the later versions do the same. (Point to note, if you save your setting and voices as a Multi, the same multi can be loaded into the other instances of Kontakt to get started)
          3. As I said, since the V2.00 update I no longer consider OAX to be suitable for my use, (To be honest I would no longer touch it with a 60’ barge pole) so will be sticking with my OAS instrument and computer. (It’s a pity as I was looking forward to upgrading to OAX before V2.00 came out)

          Reply
          • 05/09/2020 at 18:47
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            Hey Bill,

            A little off-topic but would love to hear more about why you are so anti-OAX past the V2.x release? Is that a topic worth creating a new post for so you can weigh in and share your thoughts?

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