Samplers record sound clips from musical instruments and convert them into digital format for transfer and editing. They work much like synthesizers, except that they use existing sounds instead of producing them from scratch. Sounds are usually obtained from digital instruments, such as MIDI keyboards and drum machines, and altered with synthesizer controls. Most samplers are polyphonic and multitimbral, which means that they can play multiple sounds and notes at the same time.
Types of Samplers
Kinds of Samplers include the following:
Hardware samplers map out sounds on a separate hardware box connected to a computer or MIDI source. They can also obtain clips from hard drives, CDs, and sometimes older formats like cassettes and vinyl records. Newer models have SCSI connectors for external hard drives and come with bundled audio editing software. Software samplers
Software samplers, also called soft samplers, are computer programs that map out sound clips onto external controllers or MIDI keyboards. The interface usually includes a virtual keyboard, synthesizer drag buttons, and information screens displaying track lengths, sound layers, and visualizations. They often come with a library of preset sounds that can be used with user-programmed clips. There are also CD libraries or online databases offering pre-recorded sounds.
Choosing Samplers (Buying tips)
Channels: Choose a sampler with several MIDI channels to connect to more audio sources. This allows faster recording for multilayer samples, or when sampling from different instruments. Look for one that accepts both digital and analog sources, with a converter function for analog clips.
Sound card support: Make sure your sampler is supported by your computer's sound card. High-end sound cards will recognize most samplers, but if you have an older sound card, check your sampler's system requirements to make sure they are compatible. Look for a sampler with upgradable driver software to configure the device to your sound card specifications.