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Sampling has come a long way since the early days of Akai hardware. Nowadays, there are plenty of high-quality sampler VST plugins on the market that can help you stretch, chop, re-pitch, and mangle samples to create complex and out-of-this-world music.
Though samples gained popularity in the hip-hop world, today you'll find samples in various genres including EDM, pop, hip-hop, alternative, and more. The sampler has become a major instrument in the arsenals of modern music producers.
Serato Sample comes from one of the most celebrated pieces of DJ software on the market. Sample was Serato's first dip into the plugin realm, and this sampler VST is one of the most innovative, forward-thinking VSTs that we have seen in years. It's incredibly powerful with a wide range of editing features and sample management modules, enabling you to chop, snip, and transpose samples in any way you please. Plus, we can't go without mentioning the top-of-the-line time-stretching algorithm that Serato Sample uses.
The sampling engine can be set up to chop 16 samples, which you can either choose manually or allow the software to choose itself. With built-in samples and pads, you can layer and blend your samples to give them more depth.
Lastly, the plugin makes it very easy to find samples, which is great for creating a more efficient workflow. Even if you have several gigabytes of sample libraries, you can find what you're looking for in a pinch.
It's quite fitting that this creative sampler VST has such an eccentric name, as it is certainly one of the most unique plugin options on the market today. You'll find an infinite amount of power in this plugin with plenty of beat variations in one easy-to-use interface.
Overall, Rhythmiq provides you with a unique and exciting way to perform with your drum samples, as well as a top-notch suite of functions, perfect for those who are in need of a bit more creative processing.
In the world of software samplers, TAL Sampler is somewhat of a legend. For how long it's been around, it's not surprising how large the legion of followers this thing has is. The difference between this plugin and other software sample player plugins, which take pride in making sure the sound production is pristine and of the highest quality, TAL adds a little bit of grit and distinct character to every piece of audio that passes through it. It's very much like using an old hardware sampler.
Like other samplers on this list, you get access to a few multi-mode oscillating filters and plenty of music mangling capabilities. What really sets TAL apart from other samplers, however, is the output section. You can choose from a wide range of top-of-the-line digital-analog converters, recreating the characteristic elements of old-school analog circuitry that was only found in hardware.
If you've ever used old hardware samplers, then you might be familiar with the gritty and edgy attitude that they had. This was all thanks to the circuitry limitations hardware builders had back in the day. It can be quite challenging for software developers to recreate this in their software samplers, which is why you don't often hear it. However, TAL did an excellent job incorporating this bit of analog goodness.
Reason Studios released Mimic as one of its built-in sampler VST instruments. The cool thing is that you can use this plugin no matter what DAW you use. It's so easy to make it part of your workflow. Plus, beyond acting as one of the best samplers around, this plugin comes with many other effects, utilities, and synths.
For starters, you can use it to play melodies and chords, thanks to the fact that it's a pitch-based sampler. To preserve the timing of each of your samples as you change the pitch, you can choose from one of the many pitch-shifting algorithms.
Secondly, you can use this to chop up your sample into multiple slices so you can trigger new ideas on the fly. You'll find a handy sensitivity knob built into the sampler, which helps it find the transients of your loops and samples.
Phalanx is a high-quality sampler VST with a wide range of loop mangling and drum sampling features. One of the best things about Phalanx is that you can make magic with just about any source material you have, mangling sounds beyond recognition to make something completely new.
Phalanx is more like Geist from FXpansion or Battery from Native Instruments than Native Instruments Kontakt. While it's a synth and drum sampler, the features in this sampler plugin are more geared toward the realm of beatmakers. However, it does just about anything you could want it to do.
When you open up Phalanx, you'll get access to 16 sample pads, which you can route to 16 outputs in the plugin. Each of the pads can hold two samples, allowing you to have up to 32 sounds in just one "kit." There's also a polyphonic section that you can max out to 256 notes, so you'll never have to worry about one sample triggering another.
The samples in the library can be shaped in numerous ways, from low-pass and high-pass filtering to pitch controls and beyond. However, one of my personal favorite effects is the sample rate and bit-crushing effect.
Though Phalanx is an extremely powerful sampler VST, it is surprisingly easy to use. With a very intuitive workflow design and an extensive modulation matrix, you can get any result you have in your head in a matter of minutes. Plus, there are many sound design capabilities that are very robust, allowing for a high degree of creative sampling.
Overall, Phalanx is a top-notch drum sampler that is pretty much capable of anything you want it to do. Whether you already use a drum sampler or not, we highly recommend checking out Phalanx's sound-manipulating capabilities.
Kontakt from Native Instruments might be one of the most popular software sampler options for hobbyists and professionals alike. This is because Kontakt has well over a thousand libraries with various instruments that you can add to your collection. When it comes to complex scripting, multi-timbral arrangements, and sampling, it's a truly incredible plugin.
It's important to note that Kontakt Player 6 isn't your typical sampler. The user interface is very complex, though, with plenty of routing options, keyboard mapping, and more, you can basically create your very own instrument VST with ease.
Polygon 2 is a sound design-centric sampler that is very useful for people who make experimental electronic music. Compare it to most sampler VSTs, and you won't find many similarities, as it takes a very unconventional approach, encouraging users to think outside the box.
There are so many ways to add motion and life to your samples, including the three effects processors, the two multimode filters, the four variable-slope modulation envelopes, and the eight LFOs. You can use the modulation matrix to control the global parameters within Polygon. With a very precise degree of control, you can easily create rhythmic and evolving sounds with ease.
One thing we really love about the Polygon Sampler VST is the sub-oscillator, which you can use to enhance the low frequencies in your loops or samples. Essentially, this sub-oscillator module allows you to add a fifth voice, which you can output in a sine wave or square wave.
Drop-X Sampler from BeatSkillz might be one of the best drag and drop sampler VSTs out there today, with an impressive amount of power and flexibility. By simply dropping your samples into the window, you can quickly map them across your keyboard. You can add up to three layers of samples and auto-map them by pitch, speeding up your workflow.
Drop-X Sampler comes with ten sound banks, including drums, percussion instruments, synths, basses, vocals, and much more. All you need to craft full-on compositions can be found at your fingertips. Of course, what really counts is what you're able to do with all of the sample content given to you.
Though it might not be a traditional sampler, the built-in modulation sequencer and dual sample scanners make this a wonderful choice for anyone who wants a unique plugin for sound design. In my eyes, Cataract is best for people who work in electronic music production, as it helps you create a wide assortment of textures and sounds, perfect for experiments in sound design.
You can use the morphing capabilities and generative parameters with the modulation and sample scanning feature to suss out some pretty incredible patterns. Whether you're looking to create a full-fledged glitch fest or some soft, delicate rhythms, Cataract can get the job done.
Each of the two sample scanners has two sample slots, two LFOs, and a multi-mode filter. You'll also find a unique modulation matrix, five MIDI-triggered save states, and four percentage-based randomizers. With the multi-mode delay unit and the three-band EQ, you can take your tone-shaping possibilities even further.
DirectWave Sampler from Image-Line might just be one of the most versatile sampler plugins on the market today. No matter what format you use with your samples, including WAV, AKP, SF2, NKI, REX, GIG, EXS24, and more, DirectWave Sampler will work for you.
Momentum from Big Fish comes with plenty of powerful tools that make sound-shaping an absolute breeze, making it one of the best free sampler VST plugins around. The user interface was very well-thought-out for a free sampler VST, giving you tons of intuitive controls and a library that is easily accessible.
This wonderful free virtual instrument allows you to take your samples and loops to the next level. There are plenty of great sound sculpting tools that provide you with tons of control over your sound.
The slicing effects and looping technology are nothing short of modern, helping you create and produce cutting-edge tracks with ease. In terms of the standout built-in features, you'll find 18 slice effects, a stutter delay, a reverse button, and a pitch-shifting module. The stretching algorithm is also pretty high-quality, allowing you to change the speed of your samples without many artifacts. 2b1af7f3a8