Music Tech Magazine


Drums and rhythmic loops are a big part of sampling but things are different when it comes to sampling pitched instruments. Early samplers lacked the memory to capture sustained sounds in full – a single piano note allowed to decay naturally could be 20 seconds or more in length, which is far too much for most vintage samplers to handle. However, once past the initial harmonic-rich attack transient, the sustain and decay phases of most instruments consists of a stable, repeating waveform that slowly decreases in amplitude and brightness. This can be simulated in a sampler by creating a loop that starts after the initial transients have calmed down, and that cycles across a short section of the decaying sound for as long as the sample is triggered. The sampled instrument can then synthesise the instrument’s natural decay and release phases using amplitude and filter envelopes.

Setting up this

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