The previous two blogs looked at the history of sampling as well as the music sampling technology, today we are going to dig a bit deeper into the practical side of software sampling by exploring music sampling techniques. Before we do, here is a reminder of what music sampling is:
“Sampling is the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece.”
Daw Timeline Sampling
Placing audio onto an audio track of your DAW is technically a way to sample music. Once placed onto an audio track you can take sections of the existing music to use within your own song. From here you can apply a range of different processing techniques often associated with traditional samplers - looping, time stretch etc.
Below are the basic steps you need to take to import audio onto an audio channel within Ableton, how to cut out a section of the song and how to manipulate the sample you have taken - pitching up 10 semi tones in this example.
Step 1) Placing an audio file onto the timeline
Step 2) Cutting/sampling a section of the song to use
Step 3) Altering the sampled material, pitching up in this example
Dedicated software sampler
Often DAWs will come with dedicated software samplers that look and work in the same way as their hardware counter parts.
Within Logic Pro X there is a software sampler called the ESX24 which allows you to load samples into it for altering or using whichever way you see fit.
Below are some images showing you the process of how to load individual samples, a 808 drum kit in this instance, into the the ESX24 sampler. This is a similar process to loading samples into the memory of a hardware sampler and allows the loaded audio files to be altered by the samplers other features.
Step 1) Load samples into the ESX24 by clicking edit in the top right of the sampler and dropping your audio samples into the window that loads
Step 2) Select your preferred method to arrange the samples when importing
Step 3) Make sure that the samples correspond to the keys you would like, changing the pitch where necessary
Step 4) Make any other desired adjustments to the samples once they are loaded into the ESX24 (loop start, reverse etc)
Features on outside of sampler
Once you have loaded the samples into the ESX24 and mapped them out to your desired key ranges that correspond to you midi keyboard (or computer keyboard if you are using this to trigger midi) you can now take advantage of using the main features of the Sampler such as; Pitch, filtering, volume, routing, LFO’s and envelopes.
Image of the ESX24's main features
Above are the two main methods in which you would likely sample music. There are of course other ways to do this, with lots of different software programs out there that are dedicated to sampling. Another one I occasionally use thats worth a mention, is called Audio Hijack, it allows you to record from any sound source associated with your computer, a useful tool if you want to sample of the fly without using downloaded music but rather recording live from your computer.
It’s important to find out which method of sampling suits your individual work flow, by experimenting with different methods. As a little thank you for reading, below is a downloadable link to the classic Roland 808 drum kit used in this blog, enjoy!