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My Fave 5: Software Samplers

Greetings from the lab, anyone that knows me knows how much i love samplers and this week I'll be digging into a selection of my favorite 5 sample playback tools on my computer. There are definitley others I can think of (Battery, Giest, MPC Software) but these are the tried and true and work the best for my workflow. Here they are:

1. Native Instruments Kontakt

The King of the soft samplers! Kontakt is no doubt the most advanced sampler on the planet and I am still amazed by the libraries that are produced. Whether I use it to map out my own multisamples or simple one shots, the ease of use if second to none. Compaines like Output and ProjectSam push this one to its limits and beyond. Though i still haveint 100% gotten used to the way version 6's interface functions, it still has the same overall look and feel of the vaunted Version 5.

2. Serato Sample

I love this sampler. It's an easy way for me to get mpc style chops in my productions. The Serato "warping" algorithm is second to none with its crazy pitching range. Making it easy to turn my samples into anything I'd like. I love the fact that each chop can be pitched and time-stretched separately as well as together. Also, the resonant filter can be automated which is awesome. My last feature is the ability to put a chop on any key or pad you want as well as being able to trigger single chops from multiple keys or pads. This a great thing for those that perform or finger drum on the fly. Being able to put things wherever you like.

3. NI Maschine‘s Sampler

This is my favorite drumsampler and sound design tool. The built in sampler of Maschine can be a plugin all by itself. It has the the ability to chop non destructively, pitch up and down, time stretch (although not realtime) and a host of other things. I also love the ability to select a sound and being able to move up and down the keybaord and automatically pitch the sample to your liking without having to change any parameter. The Ensoniq ASR 10 (hardware rack samplers do this too) is the only other production sampler I can think of that does this with so much ease. And unlike the some other "samplers" on this list, you can actully record sound into this one to manipulate.

4. Ableton Drum Rack

The Drum Rack is a great tool and us Ableton users are very lucky this one is built in. The ability to treat each drum rack slot as a seperate entity was mind boggling to me and is still to this day. Each one having the ability to be manipulated as if it is its own sampler with ADSR controls, transpose, fade, filters and much more. Then to top it off the mixer section further empowers the user to create complex routing or add efects to each slot and not affect the over all device. Mapping and macro routing are awesome. Definitely my favorite tool inside of Ableton.

5. Reason NNXT

Last but not least is the first soft sampler I ever used and dare i say "mastered". The one and only NNXT. I have many years using this one to create synth patches or drum kits out of one shot samples. The ability to sample right into it came much later and is a welcome addition. The ADSR and filter controls front center are always great. I always loved the fact that the samples had to be shortened or edited by a number percentage rather than a waveform readout; it made me have to hone in a little more and listen closer to figure out my beginning, end, and loop points. Still powerful and very useable to this day.


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