Sound Sampler: Simplified Guide

A Sound Sampler Lets you record different sounds, which you can then play back based on how the instrument is configured on the sampler.


Sound Sampler ModuleKeyboards and Synthesizers today give you hundreds of sounds to work with, and also give you the control to tweak the various sound parameters.

What if you want to record some external sound and use it in your recordings? Is it possible to do it?

Yes… A sampler can do that!

Sound Samplers – Characteristics

A sampler has the following characteristics.

Sound Wave Sampler

Polyphonic Capabilities – Most samplers are able to play multiple notes at the same time.

Multi-timbral – A sound sampler can play back different sounds at the same time.

Quick Access – The sound samples are usually stored in RAM, hence can be quickly accessed when needed.

Can be Tweaked – The samples can be modified in different ways, since they are associated with a set of synthesis parameters.

Sampler Sounds – How Does it Work?

A sampler is similar to a synthesizer, except for the fact that it does not generating sounds from scratch.

A sampler starts with multiple recordings of different sounds (AKA samples) added by the user. The samples can then be played back depending on how the instrument is configured.

Note – A sampler is usually controlled from an external music keyboard, or from an external MIDI source.

Here’s a video on how to make Sounds with an Ableton Sampler:

What are Keymaps & Keyzones?

While configuring the samples on a sampler, multiple sound samples are usually arranged across the musical range, and are assigned to a group of notes.

If you enable keyboard tracking, then the samples are shifted in pitch by appropriate amounts.

Each group of notes to which a single sample has been assigned is called a Keyzone. The resultant set of key-zones is called a Keymap.

To use the sound samples in a sampler, you will need to connect the sampler to an external music keyboard.

The note values that are fed from the external keyboard access the samples in the sampler. When a note value is input to the sampler, it looks at the value, and plays back the sample associated with that note.

Checkout the best hardware samplers here…

Final Thoughts

When it comes to electronic/computer music, its important that you learn the basics of sound (modulation, various parameters etc) so that you can get more creative with the sound sampler. Modulation means manipulating a sound wave, and the various parameters would be things such as pitch, amplitude, and so on.

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