HARDWARE REVIEW: PRO SOUND DESIGNER by Frank Lemmen
After thinking hard about what I would buy next, I decided to buy
a sound sampler recently. For those people who haven't the
faintest idea what I am talking about: A sound sampler is a
hardware device with which you can 'sample' sounds - i.e.
digitally recording sounds. It turns out that, if you turn the
volume on and off in a particular way with a particular speed,
this causes sounds to be made. If you have sampled sound, the
data file contains a lot of volume settings - that's all.
Sampling is not only known in the world of (home) computing - it
is also used for the hit single "Respectable" from Mel & Kim for
example. The effects that you hear in that song were created on a
very expensive sampler from AKAI - the S-900. Things with such a
high quality are not possible on "Pro Sound Designer", but the
quality comes very close sometimes!
Sampling uses a lot of computers memory, and can therefore only
work properly on computers with large memory sizes - like the ST.
The larger the computer's memory, the longer the sample you
record can be.
The sound samplers are devided into classes. There is e.g. the 4-
bit sampler (poor quality), the 8 bit sampler (normal quality -
this is the class to which the "Pro Sound Designer" belongs) and
the 16 bit samplers (HIFI quality). But the actual quality you
get is not only defined by the number of bits that are sampled at
one time - it is also defined by the speed (in KHz) on which you
sample; even a 16 bit sampler, when set to record on a speed as
low as 8 KHz, displays very bad quality. A good sampler can
sample sounds at a rate of 40 KHz. The HIFI-standard is 44.4 KHz;
only the very expensive samplers can perform this (like AKAI S-
900 or the ADAP sound rack).
Once a sound (or maybe even a complete piece of music) is located
in computer memory, you can use a program to edit this - e.g.
change the play speed, play backwards, play several intervals
several times (mixing), etc. If you are satisfied, you save the
results to disk.
But, let's get to the "Pro Sound Designer" in special - that's
why we're here for, isn't it?
"Pro Sound Designer" is a sampler form the soft-and hardware
company Eidersoft. As I already told you, this sampler uses 8 bit
sampling techniques, and it comes with a 24 page manual, the
actual hardware and a disk with the "PSD" software (the main
program, a sampled example and some source code to include the
sound into your own programs). The power supply is a 9 Volt PP3
battery, but it's also possible to use an adaptor (which I happen
After you have opened the package, first thing you'll see is a
naked print. After you have written to Eidersoft (envelope is
included), your "PSD" will be registered and you will get a case
for your print with a sticker (Richard was really fond of this
sticker - he collects stickers - but I didn't give it away
because it fitted much more nicely on my "PSD" than in his
sticker album). This case fits around the print, but before you
can do this, you must first drill a hole in the print to get the
The "PSD" software is very beatifully programmed and very
userfriendly. The program works with icons and makes extensive
use of the mouse. If you have connected the sound sampler to your
HIFI or cassette player through the 3,5 inch cinch plug from the
"PSD" to a normal plug in your headphone connector on the HIFI,
you will see a constant scope of the incoming waveform (very
nicely programmed indeed). On this display you can adjust the
waveform to create a good sample.
On each side of the screen there is a counter display. With this
you can change the record-and play speed. After you have pushed
the record button, the sampler starts sampling. If you push a key
while it is sampling, it will stop. After sampling a sound, you
will see the sample graphically displayed onto the bottom side of
the screen; now you can start editing it by copying parts of it,
etc. A nice option is the transparent copy. With this option, you
can create 'echo' effects (very nice programming here as well).
You can zoom in or out if you want to play pieces of your music,
Other nice options are: Auto play (with this option you can set a
peak level if this level is reached the computer starts playing
the sample) and auto record (same as above, but this time for
The HIFI option only works if you have an upgrade kit (which I
don't have yet). If you have one, the computer plays the sample
through the HIFI output instead of through the monitor speaker
using the internal ST soundchip (the quality is better). If I
order one in the near future I will let you know about my
"PSD" also included a full internal soundchip editor. This part
of the program does not use the sampler at all - you can just
create sounds on your ST's soundchip. These can afterwards be
saved to disk, and used in your program through Xbios 32
The software and hardware are very good an very well programmed.
The actual quality gained by the "PSD" software is not really
good, so I can recommend everyone to buy the G-Data program "AS
Sound Sampler", which creates stunning quality on the very same
hardware using a less userfriendly environment. I sincerely hope
Eidersoft will develop some new playback routines in due course.
It can be done!
The manual is good. The service from Eidersoft, in spite of what
some people say, is actually working nicely. The program only
works on a color monitor, but Eidersoft is currently developing a
monochrome version of the "PSD" software as well.
Last but not least, the price: £57.44. The upgrade kit costs
Please note the new address of Eidersoft:
Eidersoft Software LTD.
Unit 4 Stannets, Laindon North Trade Centre
Basildon, Essex, SS15 6DJ
If you have any questions about sound sampling or MIDI, please do
not hesitate to contact me (but do not forget to enclose return
stamps or IRCs):
Adriaen brouwerstraat 19
5702 XB Helmond
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.