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Samplers & Drum Machines

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Matt Gooch

on 24 February 2013

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Transcript of Samplers & Drum Machines

A2 Music Tech Samplers Samplers & Sampling AKAI MPC2000 What they are and how they work A sampler is an electronic musical instrument similar in some respects to a synthesiser but, instead of generating sounds, it uses recordings (or "Samples") of sounds that are loaded or recorded into it by the user and then played back by means of the sampler program itself, a keyboard, sequencer or other triggering device. Because these samples are now usually stored in digital memory the information can be quickly accessed. A single sample may often be pitch-shifted to produce musical scales and chords.

A sample is a digitised sound used as a musical sound source in a sampler or additive synthesiser.

Prior to computer memory-based samplers, musicians used tape replay keyboards, which store recordings on analogue tape. When a key is pressed the tape head contacts the tape and plays a sound (eg. Mellotron) Key terms Sample rate: The number of times an A/D converter samples the incoming waveform each second. Drum Machines Roland TR-909 What is a drum machine? A drum machine is an electronic musical instrument designed to imitate the sound of drums or other percussion instruments. How do they work? Drum machines have stored drum samples that can be triggered using the pads on the main unit.

There are often many styles of drum kits contained on a drum machine that the user can call upon.

Though features vary from model to model, many modern drum machines can also produce unique sounds, and allow the user to compose unique drum beats that couldn't necessarily be performed live. Samplers/ Sampling Bit Rate: The resolution at which samples are taken Sequencer: Device for recording and replaying MIDI data, usually in a multi-track format, allowing complex compositions to be built up a part at a time. History of Samplers The first commercially available sampling synthesiser was the Computer Music Melodian by Henry Mendell (1976), while the first polyphonic digital sampling synthesiser was the Australian-produced Fairlight CMI, first available in 1979. The E-MU SP-1200 percussion sampler progressed Hip-Hop away from the drum machine sound upon its release in August 1987, ushering in the sample-based sound of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Akai pioneered many processing techniques, such as crossfade looping and "time stretch" to shorten or lengthen samples without affecting pitch and vice versa. During the 1980s hybrid synthesisers began to utilize short samples (such as the attack phase of an instrument) along with digital synthesis to create more realistic imitations of instruments than had previously been possible. Examples are Korg M1, Korg 01/W and the later Korg Triton and Korg Trinity series, Yamaha's SY series and the Kawai K series of instruments. Limiting factors at the time were the cost of physical memory (RAM) and the limitations of external data storage devices, and this approach made best use of the tiny amount of memory available to the design engineers. The modern-day music workstation usually uses sampling, whether simple playback or complex editing that matches all but the most advanced dedicated samplers, and also includes features such as a sequencer. Samplers, together with traditional Foley artists, are the mainstay of modern sound effects production. Using digital techniques various effects can be pitch-shifted and otherwise altered in ways that would have required many hours when done with tape. Uses of sampling in music In music, 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. Sampling was originally developed by experimental musicians working with musique concrete and electro-acoustic music, who play physically manipulated tape loops or vinyl records on a phonograph. In the late 1960's, the use of tape loop sampling influenced the development of minimalist music and the production of the psychedelic rock and jazz fusion. In the 1970s, DJs who experimented with manipulating vinyl on two turntables gave birth to hip hop music, the first popular music genre based originally around the art of sampling. The widespread use of sampling in popular music increased with the rise of electronic music and disco in the mid 1970s to early 1980s, the development of electronic dance music and industrial music in the 1980s, and the worldwide influence of hip hop since the 1980s on genres ranging from contemporary R&B to indie rock. Since that time sampling is often done with a sampler, originally a piece of hardware, but today, more commonly a computer program. Useful video on samplers History of Drums Machines 1959 1972 1980 1980 Modern Day Whurlitzer made the first publically available drum machine, "The Sideman"

Drummers everywhere were outraged, despite it's primitive sound quality - it was 'stealing their jobs'. Birth of the Roland TR77. Followed by the TR33 and TR55. The Linn LM-1 Drum Computer was the first programmable drum machine to use digital samples of live drums. The 1980's saw the birth and extensive use of the Roland Tr-808 and TR-909. Nowadays drum machines are commonplace within DAWs. eg. Ultrabeat in Logic A useful blog with more details of key developments: http://meaningfulthings.org/post/4927582354/a-brief-history-of-drum-machines-part-i-1959-1983
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