Monday, July 11, 2005

Samplitude FAQ

Samplitude is a most incredible multitrack audio editor. It is not as widely adopted as ProTools, nor as popular as Cakewalk, Nuendo, or Cubase. However, it is the best, which counts for something. So here is a FAQ for those wresting with its complexities.

A lot of the power is down to the "object-oriented" editing, in which each track may contain many sound objects, each one of which can be seperately effected. As a trained audio engineer I also appreciate the high audio quality this software provides. Tracks mixed in it just sound better, and I'm not the only one to think so.

The product sells for about a grand (dollars or euro, depending on where you are). I was lucky to find an older version in Toronto for a fraction of this. Still, I am thinking of upgrading to the most recent release. The company has an interesting software rental plan that distributes the price out in monthly amounts, which is pretty cool.

In any case, some time ago I put together a FAQ, mostly for my own benefit. Samplitude has a plethora of options but sometimes the documentation is inadequate.

Some of these items may be out of date based on a newer software version. I would be grateful of corrections or additions. I truly hope this will help the community.

Q: How do I move a track up and down in the VIP window?

Hold the shift key and click on the track number. The pointer turns into a hand so you can slide the track up or down in position.

Q: What is the safest way to clean up a VIP by removing all unused files?

Use "File -- Save complete VIP in..." and check the option to save only used samples. You can then audition this VIP to ensure it contains all the parts you need, and delete the original folder.

Q: When right-clicking on a track you can Minimize Track, Maximize Track, or Minimize None. But how do I put that track back to the normal size from a Maximized or Minimized state.

Currently you cannot.

Q: How can I select the complete VIP as a range?

Tap A.

Q: How can I quickly get to the beginning or end of the VIP?

Use the Home and End keys.

Q: How can I select between two markers?

Click on the first marker; shift-click on the second marker.

Q: How can I flip a range to the right or left of the cursor position?

Use Shift + Ctrl + Cursor keys.

Q: How can I easily copy an object?

Hold down Ctrl while clicking on the object. You can immediately drag the copy to a new location.

Q: How can I prevent accidental changes to objects?

"Object -- Lock Objects" allows you to define what locking means. You can quickly lock an object by clicking on the key icon on its waveform.

Q: How can I quickly divide an object into two objects?

Position the cursor where you want to divide the object and tap the T key, which is the same as the menu option "Object -- Split Objects". If a range is selected within the object, the object is separated on the range borders, resulting in three objects. If the Auto Crossfade mode is active, a smooth crossfade will be created at the separation points.

Q: How can I save zoom levels or window setups?

There are four Zoom buttons in the lower left-hand corner of the VIP. Use Shift + Click to store a zoom level and Click to recall one.

Likewise the Setup buttons can be used to save and restore complete window configuration sets. This includes the scroll position of the window and the Mute/Solo track assignments.

Q: In the Mixer how can I return a knob to its default or neutral setting?

Double-click to toggle between the altered and default settings.

Q: In the Mixer how can I incrementally change a knobs settings?

Click on the left or right outer limits of the knob.

Q: How can I normalize an object?

With the object selected, tap N.

Q: How can I normalize the output level to 0 dB?

Play back a selection and click "Normalization" on the Master bus section in the Mixer.

Q: How can I mix an entire song to a WAV or MP3?

Click "Mixdown" in the Master bus section of the Mixer.

Q: How can I mix an entire song in real time?

Click "Output to File On" in the Master bus section of the Mixer. As you play back the VIP it will be recorded with all realtime actions tracked as you hear them.

Q: In the Mixer how can I access the options on a control?

Right-Click the control.

Q: How can I perform a long processing action while still working on something else?

The truly cool thing is that you can have more than one copy of Samplitude running at a time! However, ensure that you first disable "Check Space key for playback stop also in background" in "Program Settings -- Program" options. Otherwise the space key will affect all instances.

Q: How can I easily change the Recording/Playback options?

Right-Click the record control in the Transport Window, or tap R from the VIP.

Q: How can I stop playback at the current cursor position?

Playback can be started and stopped with the Spacebar, but this returns the play cursor to the original position. Use 0 from the numeric keypad to stop at the current playback position.

Q: How can I route the output of a track to a submix or AUX bus above it?

You cannot but this is not a practical limitation. Submix or AUX buses must be below all tracks that are routing to them.

Q: How can I record on more than one track at a time?

Be sure that each track has a different record device selected, than toggle them all on to Rec.

Q: I have extra blank space after my objects. How do I delete this area?

Select the excess range across all tracks, then delete with ripple, which is performed using Ctrl + Del.

Q: How do I prevent zooming out past the range of my song?

Choose "Lock VIP size against ZoomOut" in "View Options".

Q: How do I rename an existing wave in a VIP?

Select the object, right click, and choose "Wave Editing" (or select this from the menu). Then, choose "File -- Rename Project" and choose a new name.

Q: How do I lock CD track markers to objects?

Switch on "Link Objects All Tracks" from the toolbar. This is also called "Time Link All Tracks".

Q: How do I edit a song against a tempo, snapping an object to this time?

Choose "View -- Snap and Grid Setup". Type in the required BPM and choose "Bar Snap On". Ensure "View -- Snap To Grid" and "View -- Show Grid" are on.

Switch mouse modes to "Pitch Shift/Time Stretch" mode. Select the object and use the handles to stretch to the left or right.

Q: How can I determine the tempo of a VIP?

Select the range and choose "View -- Snap and Grid Setup". In The selected range is beats enter the correct number of beats. Click on "Get BPM From Range".

Q: How do I correct the tuning on a part of an object?

Switch mouse modes to "Pitch Shift/Time Stretch" mode. Select the object, paint a range around the bad notes, and hit T to cut this into its own object. Loop playback the part and then adjust up and down by ear using the object handle.

Q: How do I save multiple takes while recording, and choose between them afterwards?

I have had difficulty getting this to work, but here goes...

1. Select your PunchIn and Punch Out points
2. Select a range that encompasses both these points
3. Use Punch in Record.

When you are done, the VIP will display the last take. Right click the object and choose Take Manager to see all takes, with the red "O" being the current. Choose Statistic to open a new VIP of all takes so you can easily choose between them.

Q: How do I move an object, along with all following objects, without changing the spaces between them.

Hold the K key while you select an object. Then you can move it to the right and all objects on its right and the markers will follow.

Q: How do I replace a wave file being used in a VIP?

1. Close the VIP.
2. Delete the WAV and all related files (eg: hdp, h0).
3. Replace with your new wave file.
4. Open this WAV in Samplitude to create new supplementary files
5. Close this VIP.
6. Open your original VIP.

Q: How do I get Samplitude to recognise my VST plugins?

A VST adapter comes with Samplitude and is also available as a separate download on their web site. Running this app from your start menu will find all VSTs and make them available in Samplitude. Remember to redo this after installing a new VST.

A simpler way for specific plugins is to simply drag the correct DLL file into an open Samplitude window.

Q: How do I prevent reverb tails from being cut off after the end of an object?

Under "Program Settings -- Program options" there is a setting "Maximum Reverb time for Objects without fadeouts". Make sure this is long enough.

This article was first posted on the web sometime before April 2003. It is presented here as part of my Retro series.

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6 comments:

burli said...

Hi there! Thanx for this superb FAQ, I found some tips that I did not know before...I also think that Samplitude is very underrated, it is very intuitive and delivers an excellent audio quality. There is one question which I hope you might be able to answer: I have recorded a song with metronome but when I try to save this via Mixdown I won't hear the metronome click. Do you know if there is a way to save the song as a WAVE including the metronome click (so that a drummer can play along to this)? Hope you can help me - thank you in advance! :)

Cheers,
Richard

psknak said...

Thanks for the tips. I have one question. I had an older version of Samplitude and it worked fine. Then I upgraded and have a problem when recording. Whenever I record track 1 and go to record track 2, Track 1 gets recorded with track 2. Can't figure out why this happens. The signal from the previously recorded track seems to be routed in from somewhere. Any help with that?

robin said...

@psknak: Sorry, but that it not something I've encountered. Then again maybe asking on the Samplitude forum would help?

Anonymous said...

I have been using Samplitude 6.0 for 6 years and all the sudden when I record a track, all other tracks not muted are recorded onto the track I'm recording. This just started happening out of nowhere. Anyone have any ideas what to do? Thanks

Levi said...

Great FAQ! I have Samplitude 6.o and am having a hard time figuring out how to get rid of space before the tracks begin. I can move them to the beginning, but I can't seem to move the project as a whole. All of the tracks move to the beginning without keeping their position relative to the project. Hope that makes sense... thanks!

Adco said...

i have Music Studio 14. I just recorded a 5 minute song using 7 analog tracks. When I play back there are sections with very bad noise that blasts out all other audio. Besides that, everything is good. What am I doing wrong?

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