Q: What is Sampling?
A: In the music world, sampling typically means recording actual musical instrument sounds as individual tones, and then playing them on a keyboard as if you were playing a piano. These individual tones are called "samples" and they can be stored on a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, or hard disk.
Q: What is a Sampler?
A: A sampler is a type of musical instrument that allows you to record and play samples. Most samplers are software plug-ins such as Kontakt, but they can also take the form of hardware modules or keyboards. The difference between using a sampler and using audio tracks in a sequencer or digital audio workstation (DAW) is that a sampler is a musical instrument, usually played with a musical keyboard controller or drum machine, that can play sounds at different pitches, just like a piano or an organ. Again, samplers can be either dedicated hardware boxes or software that integrates with your computer music system.
Q: Why would I use a Sampler?
A: Samplers are a great way to add natural instrument sounds to your music such as orchestral strings, acoustic guitars, even drum kits and vocals. Just load the sound you want into the sampler and play away!
DJs, dance producers and composers may use them to add drum loops or wild sound fx to a remix, or completely build a remix from scratch.
Q: Can you use Samplers for anything else?
A: This is the beauty of samplers. They are as flexible as your imagination, allowing you to record anything that sounds good to you and turn it into something musical and inspiring.
Q: Who uses Samplers?
A: Just about every song you hear on the radio, every film score, every club mix was created in part with a sampler. Composers, sound designers, DJs, record producers, live musicians and studio musicians use samplers in their daily work.
Q: Where do I get all of these different sounds for my Sampler?
A: This is where companies like ILIO come in. We have thousands upon thousands of samples in our catalog that come on CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or Audio CD that you simply load into your hardware or software sampler and play.
Q: What’s the difference between a Sampler and a Virtual Instrument?
A: There are a lot of similarities between Samplers and Virtual Instruments. Both of them are usually plug-ins used inside a sequencer or DAW such as Logic, Cubase, or Pro Tools. And both can come with a wide variety of sounds. The thing that distinguishes Samplers from Virtual Instruments is that a Sampler is mainly used for loading and editing recorded sounds from an immense variety of possible sources. Many Samplers have advanced editing parameters that allow the most technically proficient sound designers to create libraries for them. A Sampler is generic, in that its sonic character depends entirely on what the user loads into it. Virtual Instruments, on the other hand, are designed for specific musical applications, tailored for a certain genre, or class of instrument. Read more about Virtual Instruments on its own FAQ page.
Q: What's the difference between a Sampler and a Hardware Synthesizer?
A: Synthesizers typically come with a "stock" set of sounds from the factory. These sounds may actually be made up of samples, but they are usually lower in sound quality and are "frozen" in the Synthesizer's memory. Samplers, on the other hand, have flexible memory, allowing you to keep swapping different sampled sounds in and out at will. Software samplers are even easier, because you can store as many sounds as your hard drive can hold and simply keep adding to your collection.
To change a sound on a synthesizer, you program the synthesizer's settings using its on-board buttons and knobs. To change a sound on a sampler, you simply load new samples off a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or hard disk.
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