4. Software Samplers

The hardware sampler was a vital part of the studio for around twenty years, allowing the use of acoustic instrument sounds, loops, hits and snatched performances in music production. An entire industry emerged to create specialist ‘sample CDs’, covering everything from saxophones to dripping taps, and break-beats to breaking glass. But in the space of a couple of years, the hardware samplers of key players Emu and Akai all but disappeared. Software samplers arrived which take advantage of the masses of RAM and acres of hard disk space found in modern computers. They are light years ahead of their hardware counterparts in terms of sample size, instrumental realism and complexity, visual editing, and integration with recording software. Entire orchestras have been sampled with multiple levels of velocity, microphone positions and performance techniques. Software samplers are to play these sorts of instruments only because of their access to the huge resources found in today’s computers.

GigaSampler was the first software sampler to really spell doom for hardware. It shipped with a 1Gb sampled piano instrument, which was more realistic in feel and sound than any other sampled piano available at the time. Although initially rather unwieldy and unstable, the software’s evolution to ‘GigaStudio’ has seen it replace racks of hardware samplers, and spawn a handful of worthy and interesting competitors. GigaStudio was unique in that it required specific drivers and hardware outside of the comfortable plug-in architecture of host programs such as Cubase, which made it more complicated, but also unconstrained, lending itself to being run on a standalone computer, with sequencing and other duties handled by a separate machine. Meanwhile, competitors such as Native Instrument’s Kontakt and Steinberg’s Halion have pushed the plug-in format and shown how usability can win out over sheer instrument size. Emu have also recently rejoined the show as part of Creative Labs, and have produced a range of professional music soundcards that are shipped with the EmulatorX software sampler which is a direct descendant of the company’s hardware samplers. Akai live on too – they’ve survived in hardware thanks to the live performance, hip hop and DJ markets - their MPC range of samplers features pads and built-in sequencers for an altogether different beat-making experience.

Native Instruments Maschine

Nowadays, all the major software samplers come with gigabytes of sample library, some of them containing the most amazingly sampled orchestral sounds. It’s now possible to produce a very convincing orchestral performance with sample libraries like the massive Vienna Symphonic Library, and EastWest’s ‘Symphonic Orchestra’.

Your Contacts

Best rated products

  1. Toontrack EZ Drummer 2

    Toon­track EZ Drummer 2

    In stock
    129 €
    139 €
  2. Toontrack EZ Drummer 2

    Toon­track EZ Drummer 2

    Download license
    131 €
    139 €
  3. Image-Line FL Studio Producer Edition

    Image-Line FL Studio Pro­ducer Edi­tion

    In stock
    199 €
  4. Native Instruments Maschine MK3 Black

    Native Instru­ments Maschine MK3 Black

    In stock
    522 €
    599 €
  5. Steinberg Ultimate Cubase Recording Pack

    Stein­berg Ulti­mate Cubase Recording Pack

    In stock
    799 €
    998,41 €
  6. Image-Line Fl Studio Signature Bundle

    Image-Line Fl Studio Sig­na­ture Bundle

    In stock
    289 €
  7. Arturia Spark LE

    Arturia Spark LE

    In stock
    168 €
    249 €
  8. Synthogy Ivory II American Concert D

    Syn­thogy Ivory II Amer­ican Con­cert D

    In stock within 1-2 weeks
    111 €
    159 €
  9. Arturia MiniLab MKII

    Arturia MiniLab MKII

    In stock
    99 €
    109 €
  10. Native Instruments Maschine Jam

    Native Instru­ments Maschine Jam

    In stock
    269 €
    299 €
  11. Synthogy Ivory II Grand Piano

    Syn­thogy Ivory II Grand Piano

    In stock
    242 €
    275 €
  12. Slate Digital Trigger Platinum 2

    Slate Digital Trigger Plat­inum 2

    Download license
    127 €
  13. Applied Acoustics Systems Ultra Analog Session

    Applied Acous­tics Sys­tems Ultra Analog Ses­sion

    In stock
    49 €
  14. Toontrack EZ Drummer 2 EZX Bundle

    Toon­track EZ Drummer 2 EZX Bundle

    Download license
    199 €
    249 €
  15. Garritan Personal Orchestra 5

    Gar­ritan Per­sonal Orchestra 5

    In stock
    182 €

Top Brands

  • IK Multimedia
  • Krotos Audio
  • Ample Sound
  • Project Sam
  • VSL
  • Presonus
  • Arturia
  • Magix
  • EastWest
  • Image-Line
  • XLN Audio
  • Shapingwaves

Most popular products

  1. Steinberg Cubase Pro 10

    Stein­berg Cubase Pro 10

    In stock
    515 €
    579 €
  2. Arturia V-Collection 7

    Arturia V-Col­lec­tion 7

    In stock
    375 €
    499 €
  3. Arturia MiniLab MKII Deep Black

    Arturia MiniLab MKII Deep Black

    In stock
    95 €
    103,13 €
  4. Steinberg Nuendo 10

    Stein­berg Nuendo 10

    In stock
    855 €
  5. Steinberg Absolute 4

    Stein­berg Abso­lute 4

    In stock
    459 €
    498,61 €
  6. Toontrack EZX Metal!

    Toon­track EZX Metal!

    In stock
    35 €
    63 €
  7. Steinberg Cubase Elements 10

    Stein­berg Cubase Ele­ments 10

    In stock
    91 €
    99,99 €
  8. Native Instruments Maschine MK3 Black

    Native Instru­ments Maschine MK3 Black

    In stock
    522 €
    599 €
  9. IK Multimedia Miroslav Philharmonik 2

    IK Mul­ti­media Miroslav Phil­har­monik 2

    In stock
    295 €
    594,99 €
  10. Arturia MiniLab MKII

    Arturia MiniLab MKII

    In stock
    99 €
    109 €
  11. Magix Samplitude Pro X4 Suite

    Magix Samplitude Pro X4 Suite

    In stock
    589 €
  12. Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK3

    Native Instru­ments Maschine Mikro MK3

    In stock
    222 €
    249 €
  13. Toontrack EZX Reggae

    Toon­track EZX Reggae

    In stock
    35 €
    63 €
  14. Toontrack EZX Latin Percussion

    Toon­track EZX Latin Per­cus­sion

    In stock
    35 €
    63 €
  15. PG Music BiaB 2019 Pro PC German

    PG Music BiaB 2019 Pro PC German

    In stock
    129 €