When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
PLacidBasilisk
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When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by PLacidBasilisk » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:12 pm

Browsing these forums, I've noticed a lot of people seem to use sampler or Kontakt/Absynth etc for all their tracks with samples on them. For me this is a busy way of working requiring a lot more thought and tweaking. My approach is usually just to lay the samples down on the timeline of an audio track.

But I feel like I might not realised exactly how useful a sampler might be. So what are the reasons people run things through samplers as opposed to just cutting up samples and laying down the audio?

willdahbe
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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by willdahbe » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:24 pm

I usually use a sampler when i need to do heavy envelope processing. From there maybe bounce it to audio in arrange mode and start chopping and whatever else.

luddy
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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by luddy » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:07 am

I have the impression that a lot of the best producers do it your way (samples right on the timeline).

One reason to use a sampler is that you get rudimentary control over the sample without any editing. With a short release time, you can control the length of the same using the note duration. Velocity can control how loud it is and other parameters (filter envelope for example). You can repitch the sample in a primitive way using the tuning stuff in the sampler. You can edit the whole drum loop in a single piano roll. It's a convenience really.

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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by Anubis » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:41 am

You should do both. It depends on what sound you're after. Sometimes I'll find an inspiring sample(file) and drop it in then mangle from there. Other times the sound is part of the suite of sounds contained in the specific sampler I'm using, e.g.-Kontakt, SampleTank, StylusRMX, etc.
Then there's the situation where you want to build a groove using a "rompler" where you need to change parameters on-the-fly to get to where you wanna be (Stylus, Limelite, etc.). I'll usually route the output to an armed audio track and capture the craziness that midi alone may not. Then tweak to taste from there.
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oddstep
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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by oddstep » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:00 pm

using a controller to play samples allows me to stay in performance mode for longer, also, like grappdura says, theres a benefit to the note length and velocity influencing sample playback. Once the track has been turned into an audio file i tend to get into timeline based micro editing.

Saxer
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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by Saxer » Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:07 pm

i don´t paste events somewhere, i play them. playing is the essence of music for me.
after playing i edit, loop or copy musical parts, but not single events.
how should i do that without sampler?

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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by luddy » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:43 am

Saxer wrote: how should i do that without sampler?
drum set + microphones
:D

-Luddy

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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by Angstrom » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:35 am

I lay everything down on the timeline and cut it up there.
I'd like to say "cut it up, if required", but hell - it's always required. I still play bass and guitar like a schoolchild.

It's quite rare that I'll take a bar of something melodic and put it all in a sampler ... that seems one step removed from me. I just like having everything to hand, right there on the timeline is the closest it gets to me. To just draw an envelope and cut out the bum notes in a simple way, Lego music-making that's how I love to do it.

If I have an idea to get down I don't want the distractions of digging through menus and numbered slices at that point.
Last edited by Angstrom on Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tarekith
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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by Tarekith » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:41 am

I never use samplers either these days, easier to just slice and dice right there in the Arrange view. There's definitely some cool tricks you can do with Sampler that can't be done this way, but I can never be bothered to spend the time prepping everything to do that. :)

PLacidBasilisk
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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by PLacidBasilisk » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:15 am

It's interesting to note that a lot of experienced and talented folks shun samplers. Every once and a while I vow to spend a good few days with a sampler in the hope that it's hidden benefits will be revealed but I never find find them. What should I be looking for?

@ Tarekith: What kind of cool tricks are you talking about, beyond envelope editing?

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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by tlennon » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:14 am

Along with working on a timeline, I use a sampler to get a certain performance. Sort of trying things out for timing and working out rhythmic ideas. The most common are stuttering vocals and playing just certain parts of a combination of beats. It also allows me to use a controller to modify the start/end, tuning, formant, grain size, and the like all while I'm performing.
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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by Dr. Fluffenstein » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:09 am

I like to use a sampler to get an idea going for drum parts since it's easy to swap samples to see what works and what doesn't. Then I either bounce it to separate audio clips or manually drag the samples into the arrangement. Basically you get the best of both world, smooth creative workflow with a sampler followed by technical tweaking in the arrange view.

And for anyone who lays it down straight, and is annoyed by the fact that it's impossible to select more than one sample at a time, please join in on this feature request rant so that the Ableton team will be more likely to notice it: http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=144187

subunit23
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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by subunit23 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:25 am

PLacidBasilisk wrote:It's interesting to note that a lot of experienced and talented folks shun samplers. Every once and a while I vow to spend a good few days with a sampler in the hope that it's hidden benefits will be revealed but I never find find them. What should I be looking for?
Sample manipulation on the timeline is great for chopping things up as mention above + plenty of other things, but, at least for me, using Sampler is more about manipulating an audio file into something completely new. Even after 3 years of using sampler all the time, i still find new tricks or new combinations. i really like the fm modulation of long samples while playing with the modulator's enveloppe in loop mode. a good starting point is to watch those two videos (if you haven't seen them already) and take things from there :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7Wityxkkjs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0Rk0nKWo2Y

Tarekith
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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by Tarekith » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:59 pm

PLacidBasilisk wrote:@ Tarekith: What kind of cool tricks are you talking about, beyond envelope editing?
Things like using the multimode filter, or crossfading between samples.

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Re: When to use a sampler & when to lay it down straight

Post by The Carpet Cleaner » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:41 pm

there is no right and wrong, just different way to achieve something. if you're doing 20 tracks in a month, hopefully you will not do the same exact production every time.
So one time you listen to a sample or something that you made, and you're happy with it and dont touch it.
Sometimes you might feel ready for a bit of sound designing and just load Sampler and tweak the sound. And sometime you wana play like a kid with its LEGO and load evrything into the timeline and cut and paste directly micromanaging... and there is tons of more option and that's great.

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