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Causes of sample data corruption in samplers

Here’s one that seems to resurface from time to time.

“When I try to load samples into my (substitute any hardware sampler here) they sometimes play back with static. What would cause this?”

Static” is a symptom of corrupted sample data (incorrect 1’s and 0’s in the wrong place). There are dozens of things that can cause this type of sample corruption.

Our own Daniel Fisher, Director of Soundware Engineering, provides a partial list of causes.

  1. A problem with the sample memory – bad SIMMs.
  2. Incompatible Sample SIMMs.
  3. Improperly seated Sample SIMMs.
  4. Bad SCSI Cable.
  5. Improper SCSI Termination.
  6. SCSI Chain too long.
  7. Too many devices on SCSI chain (causes instability).
  8. Incompatible CD-ROM Drive (they don’t all work with all samplers).
  9. Scratched or defective CD-ROM disc.
  10. Bad floppy disk, or disk with corrupted files.
  11. Bad floppy drive.
  12. Memory contents may get corrupted for any number of reasons. Try a hard or soft reset. Sometimes corrupted data can get saved to disk (hard disk or floppy), and then every time it’s loaded the same problem occurs.
  13. You’re using the digital output of your sampler to bring the audio into another digital device, but that device is not synced to the sampler’s word clock.

And here are a couple of other ones that are unique to Kurzweil.

  1. Too many Samples loaded into Kurzweil (Once Samples start piling up at ID#999 that’s it, the only thing left is corruption).
  2. If unit is a K2500 and has KDFX, it could be that it needs the correct PAL Chip. Contact service center.
  3. Incorrect Voltage Setting (3v or 5v) for SIMMs (Kurzweil K2600 only).

The list could go on from here, but these are the most common problems we see. While this list isn’t intentionally in any order we do find that bad/incompatible memory or SCSI problems are by far the most common causes of problems. If you’ve tried a hard reset and are still having problems try to strip the system down by removing extraneous drives and stuff from the SCSI chain. Swap SCSI cables around and try with and without termination. Also, if you can remove “some” of the RAM memory from your machine, but still leave enough to load some sample data this may help reveal RAM related problems.

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