Back in the 90’s when we had the Ensoniq EPS 16 Plus sampler, building a beat was no 15 minute process. Truth be told, with all the technology available and producers boasting that they can make a beat in 5 minutes, I still take days, weeks, months and sometimes even years to finish a track. But back when you had samplers like the Ensoniq EPS16, ASR 10, AKAI S900 and the ever so popular MPC 2000, sampling and beat making was no cakewalk. You had to know your machine intimately to really get “balls deep” into beat making.
Today sampling in your DAW of choice is not that complicated, whether you’re using ReCycle to chop samples then import them into Reason’s DR. Rex or NNXT or Ableton’s Sampler, the process has been simplified greatly. Truncating is no longer entering a command with numbers and tweaking in increments to get the perfect chop, all you have to do now is drag, drop, click and a few keystrokes and you’re well on your way to creating that masterpiece. Not to mention, back in the day we had no sample library to get drums from, we had to scour our vinyl collection to find that perfect kick, drum and snare which was only to be found on a recording where the drummer had a solo. Yeah we couldn’t wait for Clyde Stubblefield or Max Roach to get their chance to shine on that particular recording so we could go to work and chop up breaks.
Nowadays you can find free sample packs for download or purchase that can furnish you with all the drums you could ever need. There is merit to that, as it takes a huge chunk of time out of the beat making process that involved curating vinyl collections and acquiring samples but in my opinion, that part of the process helped in nurturing a deep appreciation for the music and musicians from whom you were borrowing talent to re-purpose. It also came with a burden of responsibility, (well at least for me) that you should not take a mad sample and do nonsense with it. I still have that same approach to sampling when producing a track and I also try to not do loop based sampling, i.e. just finding a sample and looping it. I try my best to get more creative with a nice sample, chop it, rearrange it. Change the key etc. Not saying that there’s anything wrong with loop based sampling though, sometimes you just find the perfect loop and you just have to use it as is.
We’ve definitely come a long way with regards to sampling technology and I really love Ableton’s Sampler, in my opinion its the best sampler i’ve worked with in any DAW. Here’s a clip of me in the studio working with Ableton, sampling from the ION Profile USB Turntable.
Share some of your sample based beats in the comments section!