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Author Topic: DigiDesign SampleCell II ISA (1995)  (Read 3429 times)

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Offline chrisNova777

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DigiDesign SampleCell II ISA (1995)
« on: April 10, 2015, 01:09:42 AM »
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995_articles/nov95/samplecell2.html
https://web.archive.org/web/20150606091352/http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995_articles/nov95/samplecell2.html

Expandable, 16-bit, 32-voice Sample Playback Card for Windows / PC compatible Computers
Quote
• 32 dynamically allocated voices.
• 16-bit stereo or mono, 44.1kHz samples.
• 8 analogue line outputs.
• Supports 8, 16, 24 or 32Mb of sample memory.
• Dynamic digital filtering.
• 50 multi-sample instruments and 10 single-sample instruments.
• Extensive performance control facilities in the instrument programs.
• Windows-based editing control software.
• MIDI device driver for integration into a Windows-based sequencing system.
• Supports Windows WAV files.
• Compatible with Digidesign's Session-8 software.
• Bundled with two CD-ROMs of high quality instrument samples.



Quote


HARD FACTS

SampleCell II PC is a fairly impressive piece of sample technology, offering 32-note polyphony and up to 32 megabytes of sample memory (RAM) all crammed onto a full-length, 16-bit ISA card. This RAM -- which needs to be 4Mb Apple Macintosh-type 30-pin SIMMs (Single In-line Memory Module) -- needs to be loaded onto the card before it is installed in the PC. One important point for users of DX2, DX4 and Pentium PCs is that these models usually have a fan fitted to the processor chip. Since the processor is usually situated underneath where the expansion cards overhang the motherboard, this fan can reduce the number of full length slots available in the PC. So, before you consider buying a SampleCell II (or any full-length card), it'd be a good idea to check that you have a free 16-bit slot that doesn't foul the processor fan, by taking the top off your PC and looking inside.

The SampleCell II card comes without any RAM, which means that you have to buy some SIMMs separately before you can use the card. Digidesign will not supply the RAM, claiming that they are not in the business of selling memory, and that you can probably buy the SIMMs on the open market at a lower price than they could ever hope to achieve. This last point is probably true, but I find the whole business rather curious, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it seems strange that Digidesign are content to sell a product that will not work out of the box, requiring (possibly non-technically minded) users to install delicate electronic components into the card. It is interesting to note that Digidesign UK were not keen to let me install the RAM myself, rather insisting on sending someone to pick up the card, so that their technical staff could install the RAM and deliver the card back to me. If Digidesign don't trust me -- a fairly technical bear -- to install the RAM, what chance does someone have who has no technical background?

Also, the insistence on the use of Macintosh RAM means that even experienced PC users are immediately in deep water when it comes to finding suppliers of such RAM. When I was checking prices, the simple question 'What kind of Mac memory is required?' left me more or less stumped. This may leave hardened Mac users rolling in the aisles with laughter, but I would have reservations about trusting the salesperson to get it right, especially as they are unlikely to know much (if anything) about the SampleCell card. I would have thought the SampleCell designers could have allowed the use of PC SIMMs; after all, the Turtle Beach Tropez card can take a variety of SIMMs types, even a mixture of capacities. This may seem to be a fairly trivial concern, but most hardware problems occur during the installation and increasing the complication factor is not a recipe for happy customers. I would have thought that Digidesign could at least have provided the option of purchasing their card with the minimum memory configuration pre-installed. I wonder what the reaction would be if Akai or Roland released a sample playback module with no memory?
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 08:24:11 PM by chrisNova777 »

Offline chrisNova777

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Re: DigiDesign SampleCell II ISA (1995)
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2019, 10:50:16 PM »