The future of music

10 Best Samplers

December 29, 2023
best samplers

Many producers use their DAWs to arrange and process audio – after all, that seems more convenient. 

However, hardware samplers went through a lot of changes lately, and they are not as big and inconvenient as they used to be.

That said, getting a good sampler will undoubtedly enrich your music production process and help you explore new sounds and options.

In today’s post, we’ll show you the best samplers in the market right now. 

We’ll introduce you to professional samplers as well as budget-friendly options for beginners.

Let’s dive in!

1. Korg Volca Sample 2 – Best for easy sampling

Korg Volca Sample 2 - Best for easy sampling

Without a doubt, Korg Volca Sample 2 is one of the best samplers you can find.

It provides easy sampling, and it’s an excellent choice for beginners as well as more experienced producers.

It’s also very fun, providing amazing source sounds and a bunch of handy tools.

The effects include Digital Reverb and analog isolator (bass and treble), which will give your track some extra appeal. 

There’s a USB port for direct sampling and 8MB sample memory (130 seconds), and that’s more than many other options. 

Moreover, the Volca Sample 2 offers good sequencing options, with 10 parts, 16 steps, 16 patterns.

In other words, this popular sampler will provide you with everything you need to turn your vision into reality.

It’s fun and easy to use, and on top of that, it’s reasonably priced. 

2. Teenage Engineering PO-33 K.O! – Best for lo-fi sampling

Teenage Engineering PO-33 K.O! - Best for lo-fi sampling

If you’re looking for a fun, simple sampler, you should also check out Teenage Engineering PO-33 K.O!

It has a total of 40 seconds of recording memory, 16 sample channels, and sequencing options.

It comes with a wide selection of sounds, and they have that unique lo-fi quality.

Therefore, this is an ideal device for lo-fi sampling.

But one of the best things about this sampler is its size – it’s small and compact, so it’s easily portable.

It’s also quite affordable, so it’s a good option for anyone on a budget.

Either way, Teenage Engineer PO-33 K.O! is popular among music makers for a good reason – it’s a perfect blend of simplicity, unique quality, and affordability.

3. Elektron Model:Samples – Best for sequencing

Elektron Model:Samples - Best for sequencing

This amazing sampling device has a sound engine that uses high-quality digital samples.

It’s a 64-step Elektron sequencer with parameter automation and 64 MB sample memory.

Elektron Model:Samples come with useful effects such as filter, delay, and reverb, and it has powerful sequencing options.

It’s very easy to use, but it also offers a lot of tools that attract more experienced producers and those who want to explore various sonic options.

This is a more expensive device, but if you want to invest in your music and upgrade your home studio, the Model:Samples is worthy of consideration.

One thing is for sure – if its specifications and features meet your needs, it won’t let you down. 

4. Korg Electribe Sampler – Best for fast sampling

Korg Electribe Sampler - Best for fast sampling

The Electribe Sampler is another top-quality sampler manufactured by Korg.

It offers a fast and intuitive way of making beats, and it’s generally an excellent mid-price option.

There’s a variety of input interfaces optimized for inputting rhythm, bass, or melody, which allows you to create sequences in a very quick way.

It has an excellent memory of up to 499 samples/270 seconds.

And it allows you to export WAVs and Ableton project files.

Moreover, the Electribe Sampler is very easy to use, and it’s ideal for home studios as well as live shows.

All things considered, if you’re looking for a quality mid-range sampler with a variety of options, Korg Electribe Sampler is an excellent choice.

5. AKAI MPC Live 2 – Best for music production 

AKAI MPC Live 2 - Best for music production 

AKAI MPC Live 2 is one of the most popular samplers out there.

The MPC Live 2 provides full DAW-style MIDI and audio sequencing, and it can be used with or without a computer.

That said, if you’re looking for a sampler that you can use without a laptop, this might be the perfect solution.

It’s rather pricey compared to some other options, but considering its value, it’s certainly worth checking out.

MPC Live 2 is very convenient, offering eight CV/Gate outputs as well as WiFi and Bluetooth. 

And you can rely on good volume and stereo image.

All in all, if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for music production, this might be a perfect option for you. 

6. Roland SPD-SX – Best for live performances

Roland SPD-SX - Best for live performances

Roland SPD-SX is a good sample for drummers and producers. 

It provides 20 sample channels, 4GB memory, and great built-in effects such as 2x kit effect slot, 1x master effect slot, and EQ.

There’s no sequencer, but there are 9 performance pads for triggering.

The SPD-SX also has a larger display than its predecessor, the SPD-S, and it offers a nice and easy sampling based on responsive pads and intuitive menus. 

Some of the controls include power, volume for master, phones, click level, start/stop button for the click, and the ‘all sound off’ button.

And if you intend to use it for a live performance, there’s a ‘pad check’ which mutes all sound apart from through the headphones. 

7. Native Instruments Maschine+ – Best standalone sampler

Native Instruments Maschine+ - Best standalone sampler

The Maschine by Native Instruments is a standalone groovebox and sampler for production and performance.

When it comes to sequencing, it offers 64 Scenes per Project, 64 Patterns (hardware), and Unlimited Patterns (software).

Apart from the classic groovebox workflow, you’ll get a dedicated package of 18 synths and sampled instruments, 37 effects, and 8 Expansions – and all of that is accessible in standalone mode. 

In essence, this is an intuitive live sequencer, a  groovebox, and a performance synthesizer all in one.

It’s a fantastic tool for making music, and that’s why it’s worth the money. 

8. Polyend Tracker 

Polyend Tracker

If you’re looking for a fun and well-designed hardware sampler for making music, you should check out Polyend Tracker.

This eye-catching sampler can record up to two minutes of 16-bit/44.1kHz samples with built-in Radio, mic, and line inputs.

The sampler also allows you to edit with ease, and it’s great for creating complete tunes thanks to its step-like sequencer.

Now, patterns are arranged across eight tracks (laid out from left to right), and steps are arranged on the screen vertically, with each step containing four kinds of info: note, instrument, FX 1, and FX 2.

All of this may take some time to get used to, but once you figure out how everything works, you’ll have an amazing tool for sampling that will provide you with a smooth, creative workflow. 

9. Elektron Digitakt – Best for versatility 

Elektron Digitakt - Best for versatility

Elektron Digitakt is another great option for sampling.

It’s an eight-track beat-making machine with a top-notch digital sound engine.

It has a powerful sequencer, and it provides versatile multimode and base-width filters.

There’s also a Song Mode, which allows you to create, edit, and play compositions made up of your patterns.

You can also extend beyond the limits of the 64-step sequencer and Create entire set lists in a single song.

And its bright OLED display will provide all the visual information you need to unleash your creativity.

All things considered, when it comes to innovations and versatility, Elektron Digitakt is hard to beat.

10. 1010music Blackbox – Best compact sampling studio

1010music Blackbox - Best compact sampling studio

1010music Blackbox is a compact sampling studio that offers great value.

It has a touchscreen interface and it’s very compact, which makes it ideal for producers who travel a lot.

It’s great for recording, editing, performing, and sequencing, and you can do it all within a rather small unit.

You can combine loops with different tempos using built-in BPM synchronization and beat slicing.

In fact, you can easily make entire songs – audio samples are recorded directly onto a microSD card, and you can easily record larger pieces of audio. 

Plus, this all-in-one sampler works well with modular systems.

It’s all you need to make your music production process easier and more flexible. 

What Is Sampling?

In music, sampling is the use of a pre-existing piece of audio in a new recording. 

This could refer to anything from drum beats and guitar riffs to vocals.

Some producers even take an entire track and manipulate it and mix it into their own piece of music.

Sampling can be incredibly fun and creative, and it allows producers to create something completely new based on the songs and melodies that sound familiar.

But a sample can be anything that can be recorded, as long as you repurpose it into something new.

This is a good way to unleash your creativity, regardless of your style and genre.

And with a reliable hardware sampler, the opportunities are endless.

Do You Really Need a Sampler?

In a way, samplers revolutionized the way people approach making music.

Samplers basically allow you to load in any audio recording you want and manipulate it in a way that you see fit.

It’s an incredibly useful tool that can help you explore new ways of creating and recording.

However, the permission to use a sample can be a bit complicated as well as expensive and time-consuming.

And that’s why you should opt for royalty-free samples – for instance, samples from services such as Splice or Loopmasters can be used without permission.

You can also contact the original artist for permission.

Luckily, with the rise in popularity of sampling, the legal aspect of it also became easier to deal with.

music studio

Either way, getting a sampler would make your music-making journey more creative and exciting.

And since there are so many great options to choose from, you can opt for a sampler that fits your goals, style, and budget. 

How to Choose the Right Sampler 

Choosing a sampler that meets your needs is essential.

That said, think about your priorities and preferences, and make sure you take your time to explore your options.

We hope our list of the best samplers helped you in your search – we reviewed beginner-friendly samplers as well as more professional samplers that are popular among professional producers

In any case, each sampler has its own features and possibilities.

Some samplers are more tactile, and others offer a clear visual representation of the waveform.

Also, some samplers offer full-blown sequencing, and others provide a variety of effects.

Connectivity is another thing you should factor in – most modern samplers offer MIDI over USB.

Most of them also have the ability to transfer audio from laptops and smartphones, which is very useful.

Best Samplers – Final Thoughts 

If you want to add more versatility and flexibility to your music production process, you should consider getting a sampler.

All the best samplers will provide you with excellent tools and a smooth, creative workflow.

And since they can be used for a variety of tasks, we’re sure you’ll find them very useful.

In some cases, you can even create entire tracks in one box.

It all depends on your priorities and preferences – and we hope our reviews of the top samplers in the market helped you figure out what you need. 

You may also like: Best Music Production Software

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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