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Best Samplers For Beginners

Best Samplers For Beginners

A sample of some great gear…

If you’ve decided to try your hand at producing your own beats and recording your own music using samplers, you’ve undoubtedly been faced with the difficult decision of where to start. There are thousands of different samplers and controllers out there to choose from. However, choosing the right one for your needs is going to be the tricky part. Where do I start? How many buttons do I need? Is there really a need for that many buttons? Why has this sampler got different buttons to that one? Stuff like that…I get it.

Well, before you go into button overload, we’ve compiled a quick list of different samplers ideal for the beginner. There’s no need to jump in at the deep end and go for a higher-end model – you don’t buy a Harley Davidson before you learn to ride your push bike! So we’re going to look at some of the lower cost options that are beginner friendly but can also be gigged and used professionally.

Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK2

Image of a compact sampler

Native instruments specialise in making user-friendly samplers that can be used in a live setting or for learning the ropes when it comes to creating beats. It’s packed with 6GB of sounds, which include a huge variety of drum kits, basses, synths and acoustic instruments. It also comes packaged with the 2.x Maschine update, opening up a whole new world of sounds. If that isn’t enough you also get Komplete Elements which includes 1,000 sounds selected from Komplete 9 and Komplete 9 Ultimate. That’s a huge array of sounds to go through all packaged neatly in an easy to use controller. The iMaschine app works perfectly with your iPad or iPhone for getting ideas down on the go. As such, the connectivity capabilities are excellent when it comes to learning more about sampling. The Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK2 is a highly portable option that is a good contender for best product, never mind beginner product.

Akai MPC Live Recorder and Player

Image of a digital instrument controller

OK, so we’re pushing the budget here but this is a machine that can see you from beginner to pro, thanks to its award winning technology. The MPC Live empowers users to make music anywhere. Taking the best of the existing MPC line-up and adding bluetooth connectivity, a re-chargeable battery and 16GB of onboard storage, you can now create and perform killer tracks wherever it suits you. It comes complete with the powerful yet easy to use MPC 2.0 software that delivers powerful 128-track DAW capability with a total of 25GB worth of virtual instruments and audio data! The MPC will have you set for sampling life!

Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad

Image of a sampler with drum triggers

If you’re keen on introducing samples into your live set up, whether as a DJ, drummer or vocalist, you’ll need something easy to use and totally responsive to allow seamless integration. Sampling and triggering is demystified with the SPD-SX, which, for beginners is obviously the perfect scenario. You can store up to 3 hours of cd quality audio with the 2GB internal memory, hit one shot samples, loops or complete tracks. It’s a hardy Roland product, so you know it’s not going to let you down. Plus, it’s loaded with plenty of tools to get you started. If you’re after something that you can use straight away – this is another good option.

Korg Volca Sample

Image of a compact sampler

Korg excel at creating products that not only work well, but that are also extremely fun to play with. After all, if it’s not fun, what’s the point in playing at all? The Volca Sample takes a range of technology found in much more expensive samplers. Then combines the best parts to create the ultimate compact sampling tool. Thanks to the 100 pre-loaded samples and the addition of a built-in speaker, the Volca Sample lets you make a grove anywhere, anytime!

When it comes to choosing your sampler, choose the one with the right capabilities for your needs. It’s going to be you using it live or in the studio so pick the one that you feel comfortable working with. Equally, try out as many as you can before you take the plunge. It’s a learning curve so enjoy the ride!

About The Author

Rob Mather

Rob Mather is a multi-instrumentalist and DJ from Huddersfield, England. Rob enjoys an active career as a performer and writer of many styles of music. Rob is also heavily engaged in providing sound and lighting support for live music events and theatre productions. Rob works within the web team at Dawsons Music, where he relays his passion for music by producing great content for the Dawsons site.