[linux-audio-user] Beginner sampler questions

tim hall tech at glastonburymusic.org.uk
Wed Mar 24 11:27:50 EST 2004

On Wednesday 24 March 2004 3:24 pm, Chris Metzler wrote:
> One of the things I've recently learned about is samplers.  As I
> understand it at this point (and I'm hoping someone will set me
> straight if I'm wrong), a sampler accomplishes basically the same
> thing as a wavetable synth -- it uses sound samples to generate
> tones, doing frequency shifting and interpolation as necessary.
> And as I understand it, the main difference between a sampler and
> a wavetable synth is the lack of constraints on the samples used
> -- with a sampler, anything at all could be a perfectly good
> sample, including samples of almost arbitrary duration (and thus
> size).

Yes and no. I've not used samplers much as such. The difference is that a 
synth that uses samples uses relatively short bursts of sound, mostly the 
attack portion, that the ear uses to differentiate instruments and various 
loop portions, the difference is made up with synthesised sound.
This kind of thing exists in soundfonts, usable by fluidsynth and editable 
with smurf/swami (in theory)

> One of the most obvious uses I can see for a sampler would be to
> use it to provide instrumentation that the user doesn't know how
> to play.  For instance, if I wanted to record myself on guitar
> with a piano accompaniment, I could use a sequencer to write the
> piano line and generate it through a sampler.  But that brings my
> first question -- if you don't own/play the instruments in question,
> where do you get the samples?  I've done a lot of web searching,
> and found tons of drum loops and bass lines that are two measures
> long and so forth, but don't find much in the way of e.g. individual
> notes on basses.


> And I wonder about how people use the extended samples I find.
> It seems kinda constraining, to be stuck with a melody/harmony
> line given to you by whatever someone sampled.  Of course, there
> are tons and tons of samples available; but then, in order to
> express the music you're hearing in your head, you're gonna be
> spending hours and hours trying to find samples that work.

It's a time consuming business to make them from scratch, yes.

Sorry for rather brief answer.

tim hall

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