About Products and Platforms
Web Site Policy
For specific details, also see the Products page.
What's the difference between Sample Wrench Classic and Sample Wrench 24/96?
First, Classic is more affordable ($99 vs. $149). It stores audio data internally with 16 bit (CD quality) resolution. Many functions and effects use 24 or more bit resolution during processing, but the result is always rounded back to 16 bits. 24/96 stores audio data using 32 bit floating point values. This yields 24 bit resolution with over 190 dB dynamic range for the highest possible audio quality. This does demand more from the computer. 24/96 requires a Pentium or higher CPU while Classic can run even on an old 486! 24/96 sound samples will require twice as much RAM and hard disk space as well. 24/96 will also take advantage of high resolution audio cards for record and playback, although one is not required. In sum, 24/96 is for folks who want the highest possible audio quality. Classic is for those on a more modest budget, or who are happy with CD quality precision.
What's the difference between Sample Wrench and Sample Wrench XE?
XE is the affordable editor for anyone. It costs about half of what Sample Wrench does. For that, you still get great effects with real-time preview, presets, and adjustable parameters. You still get Wrench's highly accurate and flexible graphing capabilities. You still get support for a wide range of file formats and MIDI/SMDI samplers. You still get integrated on-line help. What do you get when you upgrade to the full Sample Wrench system? Well, you get a bunch more effects and functions (like Pitch Shift, Time Compression, Resynthesis, Spectral Warp, FM, Parametric EQ, dedicated Loop Window, Flange, Level Compressor, the Interactive Keyboard Window, etc.) You get the ability to open up to 99 editors instead of one. You get the really neat Multi-Clip clipboard- you can create an unlimited number of sound clips and trade them freely among all of the open editors. You get functions and effects which can be aborted mid-stream, and progress bars.You get a bunch of ways of defining edit areas. You get tons of conveniences like floating toolbars, waveform view memories, automatic startup configurations, directory control, etc. And to top it off, you get the Visual Basic compatible script/macro language. You can do all kinds of things with this, from automating repetitive taks to creating your own custom DSP functions. Need to translate an entire directory of sounds from one format to another? Want to create your own user interface for an existing effect? Need to string together a complex chain of effects for several different sounds? You can do them all! We even include example scripts that show you exactly how!
I'm having some trouble with Sample Wrench's on-line help system.
There are two issues which sometimes arise in this area. First, Windows might not be able to find the Wrench.hlp file. If this error pops up you can direct Windows to it manually. It is located in Sample Wrench's Program folder. For example, if you did a standard install of Sample Wrench Classic, the location will be C:\Program Files\dissidents\Sample Wrench Classic\Program. The second issue revolves around the more recent versions of Windows such as 7. For whatever reason, Microsoft decided not to include the help system application which they used on many prior versions of Windows. Not a problem though; you can download this application (WinHlp32.exe) from microsoft.com.
Must I use Sample Wrench only with MIDI samplers?
Absolutely not! Sample Wrench works great with your computer's audio. You don't have to have a MIDI sampler to enjoy its editing and analysis prowess!
Do your products support SMDI?
Yep. Both Sample Wrench and SXVirtual can communicate via SMDI (SCSI Musical Data Interchange) for a 50 to 100 fold speed improvement over MIDI. Besides a SMDI sampler, you need a SCSI card in your computer. On the Windows side, the card must be ASPI compliant (ASPI was developed by Adaptec and is supported by most cards). For the Amiga version, this card must be compliant with the SCSI device standard developed by Commodore (ie, A2091 compatible).
Which samplers do you support?
There are two sample transfer standards: SDS (Sample Dump Standard) for MIDI, and SMDI (SCSI Musical Data Interchange) for SCSI. SMDI is about 50 to 100 times faster than SDS. Most second-generation and later vintage samplers support either SDS or SMDI. Sample Wrench supports SDS in both 12 and 16 bit modes, and SMDI. Many older 8 or 12 bit samplers use proprietary protocols. Sample Wrench supports some of these.
Warning: Some MIDI interfaces do not support the long System Exclusive (SYSEX) messages that are required in order to transfer sound samples between the sampler and computer. Please check your MIDI interface owner's manual to make sure that it supports SYSEX. Also, MIDI sample dumps are rather slow as they are limited by the speed of MIDI itself. To transfer a few seconds of sound to a vintage sampler may require a few minutes.
A word of caution about SMDI; just because a sampler has a SCSI port doesn't mean that it supports SMDI. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer. To take advantage of SMDI, your computer's SCSI controller must be ASPI compliant if you're running Windows (most are these days). On the Amiga, the controller must be scsi.device compliant. Finally, many samplers have had operating system updates over the years to correct bugs. Without these updates a given sampler may not transfer data properly. If you have any questions about a specific sampler, contact us. Please note that we do not offer technical support for the samplers themselves, or software updates for them. For that, see the manufacturer.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that samplers are somewhat of a "retro" device these days and are not generally manufactured anymore, we are no longer developing or expanding support for them. All MIDI and SCSI based sample transfer is offered "as is".
Below is a list of older SDS and SMDI samplers. It is not an exhaustive list. Not all of these samplers have been verified by dissidents as adhering to the SDS/SMDI standards, but are advertised by the manufacturer as such. At the bottom is a list of proprietary samplers that are supported by Sample Wrench.
Where/when/why did dissidents begin?
dissidents began in 1985 as an audio consultancy in Utica, NY. As time went along, it became apparent that many folks could use some of the products which were developed for in-house use. Our first commercial product was SpeakerSim, released for the Amiga in 1988. This was followed in 1989 with the release of Sample Wrench, also on the Amiga. Other products followed. In 1995, it was decided to also support the 32 bit Windows platforms (95 and NT). Our first product release for Windows 95 was Sample Wrench (then at version 4.0).
Why did dissidents decide on developing music and audio software?
We believe you should do things that you enjoy, especially if you're good at them. There is no sense in creating and marketing products which you don't believe in or have no personal interest in.
Why not? This is not a normal company in the ordinary sense of the word. dissidents has never been afraid to do certain, shall we say, un-business-like things for the sake of humor (like putting cartoons in a software manual), interest, or ethical consideration. Also, we do not subscribe to the standard operating procedure of many businesses, which we feel is better described as rabid capitalist trickery.
Are you still supporting the Amiga?
While there is no active development of Amiga titles, we are offering current Amiga titles as very affordable shareware.
What is your update/upgrade policy?
We try to keep this as simple and as inexpensive as possible. For the latest on pricing see the Order page or contact us.
Do you rely on hardware dongles or "software key disks"?
No. We do not wish to inconvenience legitimate users in an attempt to thwart software thieves. We have other means of dealing with parasites.
How widely distributed is your neat stuff?
Our neat stuff can be found all over the USA and Canada, as well as most European countries, Australia, Japan and elsewhere. To the best of our knowledge, however, it has never found its way outside the confines of Earth's gravity.
What's the deal with the little "d" in "dissidents"?
Actually, there are two little d's in dissidents.
Is the doggie real happy or is his butt actually on fire?
It is our fervent wish that all good doggies be very happy and wag their tails accordingly. This is not to say that if a doggie were to park its posterior near a considerable heat source, all portions of its hind quarters would be free of combustion, or artifacts thereof.
Our site policy is very simple. This site exists so that interested folk can find out more about us and the neat stuff we make. Further, it exists so that users of our neat stuff can find out about the latest updates, download freebies, or get technical support. It is not designed as some bizarre cyber art-deco palace or marketing data-mining tool, and we avoid rabid capitalist trickery. We want it to be fast and easy to use. Thus, this site doesn't require a bunch of plug-ins. It's also cookie-free and ad-free. We don't share your registration info with other developers or companies unless you specifically request that we do so. We've tried to make it look nice no matter what browser you're using, and we've also avoided huge JPEG and GIF files which can really bog down surfing. Finally, there are no background sounds or MIDI files playing for similar reasons. That's it. Nice. Simple. Efficient. OK, so it's not sexy, but is sexy really a word you want to use in describing your relationship with a computer anyway?