The Best Sampler for Live Performance in 2019
If you are looking for the best sampler for live performance, then you are in the right place.
Hardware Samplers are fun to use and can be used extensively in all genres of music.
Using a sampler during a live performance is going to make your work so much easier while allowing you the opportunity to have fun.
If you are a solo artist, an acoustic singer or songwriter who loves to take his work around and perform live, then you know that you definitely need a sampler.
For example, take the likes of popular musician and songwriter Jack Garratt.
He used samplers along with a lot of different musical instruments while carving out a niche for himself that made him extremely popular and famous.
A sampler is a great addition to you list of musical equipment
It helps you trigger specific sounds easily and also play pre recorded loops and drum beats bringing you music to life with a new dimension.
But making a choice for good samplers can really be a big problem
Not to worry…
In this article we will be looking at the top 5 best hardware sampler for live performance, things you need to consider before you make a choice and how to ensure that you get the best from your recent purchase.
If you are in a hurry, then here is our trusted Editor’s choice to help you make an informed choice quickly.
What is a musical sampler and what is it used for?
If you are new to sampling and are wondering what the fuss is all about, then allow me to educate you a little.
Simply put a musical sampler or a sampler keyboard is an electronic or digital music device (much like a synthesizer) which produces sounds by using sound recordings or samples from real instruments and samples.
The major difference between a musical sampler and a synthesizer is that a synthesizer produces sounds using filters and oscillators whereby a samples does so using pre recorded sounds.
Samplers have been used extensively by a lot of music industry experts and is well used in the dance and funk genre of music.
It is usually controlled by using an attached music keyboard or external Midi controller
So each note or message received by the sampler accesses a particular sample.
This helps in easily tweaking and coming up with the specific sounds that you want.
Also most of the sounds are usually stored in the digital memory which makes it very easy to retrieve and use.
Once you sample a song, this sample can then pitch shifted and tweaked to produce different musical scales and chords.
What to look for in a sampler for live performance
1. Does it have polyphonic capabilities?
What this simply means is that you want to make sure that your sampler has the ability to play more than one note at a time.
This is very useful when you consider the fact that you can easily and quickly record as many notes as possible.
Most samplers manufactured recently have this polyphonic capability built which makes it very easy for you to choose.
2. Is it multitimbral?
What this means is that does it have the ability to play back different sounds simultaneously?
This is very useful when you are sampling different sounds and you want to combine them into a whole unit.
So make sure you get something that can effectively do this without you having to get an extra gear.
3. What is the size of the memory?
This is something very important that you want to consider.
When sampling, you audio files are all stores in the internal memory of your sampler.
As such you want something that has a lot space to hold your files.
A sampler with enough memory will save you the stress of always moving your files after each recording.
You definitely want something that is of high quality and lasts for a long time.
Since you will not be buying these every week or even every month, you need them to last long.
A good sampler can cost a small fortune but in the end, it is the durability that matters.
Think in terms of good casing, cables and all round portability.
Our Best Sampler for Live Performance Reviewed
1. Akai Professional MPX8
The Akai MPX8 is one of the best samplers in the market today that works really well when using it for live performance.
It has 8 velocity sensitive and pressure sensitive pads that makes it easy to capture every sounds as your sample
It has two balanced ¼ inch outputs that allows you to easily connect to any studio equipment for recording and monitoring of your audio signal.
It has USB midi plus standard Midi inputs and outputs for quickly hooking up an extra midi device to it.
It comes with extra effects such as tune, reverb and delay which adds some spice to your recordings.
It has polyphonic and multi timbral capabilities which makes it an excellent choice for use.
It is very durable and portable
It has a drag and drop sample kit editor that works for both Mac and PC and comes with additional Akai Pro Loop library.
1. It has a large memory and supports a lot of different memory cards
2. It is very simple and easy to use
3. It is very durable and portable; ideal for live performance
1. It might not work for people needing very long play times
2. Korg Volca Sample Playback Rhythm Machine
Made by the well known brand in musical equipments, the Korg Volca Sample Machine is one good sampler for live performance.
It has a unique swing function which generates grooves and a reverse function which helps you play your samples backwards.
This can be fun and useful when you want to add a new touch or dimension to your sample
It has a motion sequencer which allows you to easily and quickly record up to 11 parameters at the same time
With the active step and step/jump functions you can easily insert and remove steps while sampling.
It’s analog isolator is useful for providing powerful and great sounding possibilities.
This is one sampler that allows you to sample, edit and sequence up to 100 samples in real time making it ideal for live performances.
1. It is very versatile and can be used for a wide range of applications
2. It is very portable and durable
3. It has an on-board speaker which makes it very easy to record and playback
1. The snare sound is not very popular and it has a limited sound bank
3. Roland SPD-SX Sampling Percussion Pad
This is one of the higher priced samplers that works wonders for live performances.
It has a unique pad sampling concept that takes your sampling skills to a whole new level.
It comes with 2GB of internal memory giving you the space to sample and record all your sounds
It has 9 velocity sensitive pads that easily picks up the slightest touch as you record
It has two external dual trigger inputs for easy sampling
Its multi pd sampling technology makes capturing and assignment of audio data very easy and stress free.
It has three units of onboard multi effects, two real time control knobs and four dedicated effect buttons which makes adding some extra spice a breeze.
It has very bright and colorful LEDs which makes it very easy to see and adjust your settings while working.
This is one sampler that delivers exceptional performance when used especially for live performance.
1. It is very versatile and works very well
2. It is a great and quality product with well built designs
3. It very portable
1. There are not enough samples online
4. Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK2
This is probably the best hardware sampler in the market today.
It allows you to easily browse, load, tweak, sample and sequence your sounds with ease.
It also allows you to sample and sequence all your external hardware and equipment without any extra gear.
It has brightly coloured pads which allow you to assign colors to your sounds, groups, patterns and scenes easily.
It has touch and pressure sensitive pads which respond to even the slightest touch
It’s pads have time stretch and pitch shift capability which helps in giving you sounds more spice
It comes loaded with over 8GB of sound library to get you sampling and recording quickly
It has polyphonic capability with over 64 polyphonic voice sounds to choose from
It has a fast top of the line audio engine that saves resources and makes your job faster and so much fun.
It has more than 20 pro quality audio effects to get your recording in no time.
1. It has some of the best sounds in the market today
2. The workflow is very easy and intuitive
3. It is ideal for looping and chopping beats
1. It can be a pain to install and register
5. Pioneer DJ TSP-16 Professional Sampler
For those who don’t mind shelling some top bucks on a professional sampler for live performance, then you should totally get this.
It has a 16 step sequencer which allows you to create over 200 patterns in no time.
It has a 7 inch full color touch screen which gives you detailed information on your audio setting as you go.
It has touch and pressure sensitive pads that makes your sampling fun
It comes with 8GB of internal memory and real time processing which makes your job so much fun.
It has analog filters which helps to add some extra fuzz to your sounds
1. It has very responsive and accurate pads
2. It has nice sounding preamps
3. It has a spectacular sound quality
1. It is very expensive
How to make songs using a sampler
Making songs using a sampler is a pretty straight forward process.
There are some steps which you need to be aware of as you proceed.
Here is a YouTube video showing you what to do