Digital sampling has not only changed how music is recorded and performed, it has literally changed how the world operates. At this point in time (2021) most of the world’s population carries around digital samplers (contained in every smart phone) in their pockets and use them daily. Digital sampling is less than fifty years old and yet it has had such a deep impact.
The first samplers, like the Synclavier and the Fairlight CMI were incredibly expensive and in the late 70’s and early 80’s were used in universities and by the most successful pop artist/producers like Herbie Hancock, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Quincy Jones. By the mid-80’s, samplers like the E-mu Emulator II had become far cheaper and therefore more accessible. By the late 80’s/early 90’s sampling had become so powerful and so much cheaper that these machines were used heavily by more underground producers in hip hop and electronic dance music and fueled the creation and development of whole styles. The dominant samplers of the time – the E-mu SP 1200 and the Akai MPC60 made a profound mark on the music of the 1990’s. Pro Tools, which was released in 1990, essentially was the first software to turn a personal computer into a sampler and after 2000, most sampling has been done on laptops.
In these videos we’ll learn the basics of Ableton Live’s Sampler Instrument which is one of the three samplers in the program. (Simpler and Impulse are also samplers). We’ll also learn microsampling – the basis of synthesis with samplers.