The term sampling was originally coined in the 1970s to coincide with the release of the Fairlight CMI Sampler.
The technique gained enough popularity to convince Akai to release the first analog sampling unit in 1988, making sampling much more accessible to the general public.
Since then, Sampling has remained a crucial part of many producers and composers’ toolkits and can be heard in various modern music styles like Hip-Hop, Pop, and EDM.
Overview: Ableton Simpler
Simpler is an Ableton Live instrument that lets you import, manipulate, and then trigger a piece of audio using your keyboard or midi controller.
Simpler’s user interface is split up into two main tabs:
The Sample window in Simpler can perform all the primary edits to your imported sample.
Users can drag and drop their samples into this window for editing. Samples can be edited and warped in three modes:
Classic – This mode is Simpler’s default warping setting and is polyphonic, so it’s best used for creating something harmonic or melodic. The classic mode includes full ADSR controls to adjust how the sample’s playback behaves once it’s triggered.
One-Shot – Most producers use this mode to play their samples like a drum hit, and is commonly used with more percussive elements. In slice mode, a sample will only play for as long as you hold down the corresponding note.
Slice – This mode is most commonly used over drum breaks or complex arrangements. Slice lets users cut up specific areas of a single piece of audio which can then be played back chromatically.
The Controls window in Simpler opens up an extended set of controls for the Device’s Filter, LFO and Envelope. The Filter offers all the essential filter types and can work at 12 or 24dB slopes.
Simpler’s envelopes include Amplitude, Filter Frequency, and Pitch Modulations, all of which can be independently adjusted to change your sample’s dynamic response.
Simple also offers users a single LFO which can be used to alter the character of your sample. The LFO includes a handful of waveform options and can either be tempo-synced or set to run free.
Simpler is available in all versions of Ableton, including Lite, Intro, Standard, and Suite.
Overview: Ableton Sampler
Sampler can be considered an expanded version of Simpler, with added features and functions for more-in depth sound shaping options.
Sampler’s primary difference to Simpler is that it is a multisampling instrument – allowing users to manipulate and then trigger several different audio files at one time using a keyboard or midi controller.
The functions on the Sampler interface have been categorized into the following tabs:
The Zone panel is used to tweak and assign all your imported samples across a piano roll for use on a midi-controller.
Samples can be edited and mapped according to three ranges: Key, Velocity, and Sample Select Editors.
You can use the Zone window to assign samples to their appropriate note on a keyboard for playing in real time.
The Sample window is used to edit various playback elements and parameters of your Sample. Users can drag and drop samples directly into this section for immediate editing.
You can then assign the root key, volume, loop length, and start and end points.
Users have greater access to pitch controls through the Polarity settings and determine how they wish to map their sample over their keyboard using the Scale and Root controls.