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Thread: Looking to pick up a hardware sampler, advice needed!

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    Looking to pick up a hardware sampler, advice needed!

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    Hey all,

    I'm currently looking to buy a hardware (or semi-hardware, as I'll explain) sampler of some sort and need a bit of advice from you guys who own/have experience with my options.

    Firstly, I know you can do all sampling, chopping, stretching etc inside Logic, which is what I currently do, but it's a long-winded process that kinda kills the creativity for me, and I would much prefer a 'hands-on' method.

    The three I'm looking at are: The SP404SX, an MPC, or a Maschine.

    What I'm looking for is something that can sample quickly and easily from a source (turntable, guitar amp etc), chop on the device, and then map it to pads. I also want a simple way of sending/recording the audio (doesn't need to be MIDI) into my DAW for adding further stuff and/or mixing. At least 50% of my workflow will still be in the software so I'm not looking for an 'all-in-one' groovebox.

    I won't lie, I discovered the SP through artists like Flying Lotus, TokiMonsta et al who seem to use it to great effect. I produce beats influenced primarily by those kinda artists so that's what got me interested in it. I love the idea of grabbing a sample, chopping it up, making a beat, crushing it up with effects and then resampling it onto one pad. However, it doesn't have a proper screen, no velocity, and I'm not sure if it has time-stretch. It also doesn't seem as popular as the other two choices.

    The MPC1K is obviously awesome, but it's slightly over budget unless it's really gonna benefit me in a certain way. The thing that concerns me with the MPC is that it's designed as an all-in-one unit and I don't need that necessarily.

    Finally, the Maschine. It looks amazing, we all know the pro's and con's, but I'm kinda on the fence. The workflow looks incredible, the sample chopping looks appealing but the two biggest issues I have is firstly, you can't sample straight from the source (IE no direct in), and I can't help but think it is really just a glorified MIDI controller... granted a very good one with a great workflow.

    I do love the idea of going 100% hardware like the MPC or SP, I want it to be more of an 'instrument' than a controller which is why I'm leaning towards those rather than the Maschine.

    However, I'd love to hear some advice with the above wall of text in mind!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Personally I love mpcs and ensoniq samplers especially the EPS/ASR series. The workflow on software is likely going to be better than any piece of hardware out there imo. If you want a mpc though the 1k may work again depends on how you work. For me I'd take an "older" mpc or a 2500 (the 1k is about 10 years old now and the 2kxl is about 12).

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    Thanks Xabiton.

    Those Ensoniq samplers look cool and the EPS can be had for a decent price on eBay it seems, but like the MPC, I think it's just overkill for what I want. I literally just want something I can stick samples on, chop them up and mash them around, resample etc, and then track anything out into Logic.

    I'm pretty much set on an SP404SX I think, sure it's basic in comparison to the MPC's but that's all I need, it looks like a lot of fun to mess with as well.

    Price is the biggest factor here though. I was looking at the EDU version of Maschine which is about 400 here in the UK but I'm only gonna be a student for a couple months longer and since you're not permitted to resell or upgrade the EDU version, it would be silly to go for it. Regardless of all that, whilst Maschine looks like it's got some very awesome functionality, it is still a controller and that's not what I want. I'm looking for more of an 'instrument' than a 'tool'. The MPC1K is 500, and even on eBay the newer ones (black ones, not the blue ones) are going for 375-425.

    I can get the SP for just under 300, and it seems to be the ideal choice I think.
    Last edited by ColorVolume; 11-28-2011 at 07:56 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xabiton View Post
    Personally I love mpcs and ensoniq samplers especially the EPS/ASR series. The workflow on software is likely going to be better than any piece of hardware out there imo. If you want a mpc though the 1k may work again depends on how you work. For me I'd take an "older" mpc or a 2500 (the 1k is about 10 years old now and the 2kxl is about 12).
    i agree. i work with both the Akai MPC 2000 and ASRX, its perfect for sampling and doing drums. Its really hands on which i love.
    Last edited by LaDonnaComer; 11-29-2011 at 07:45 PM.
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