We have hundreds of different types of tools on the market to help you create music, sound processing and final mastering. Unfortunately, not all of them will meet our expectations, especially when it comes to the free ones, and among the paid ones there are also those of little use. So finding a really good plugin and also a free one is not such an easy task. You have to spend many hours downloading various plugins, testing them before we find the really useful one. One of the most used tools in music is the sampler. These are extensive devices, so finding a free and functional tool is not easy. The only exception here is Shortcircuit, which is unfortunately only available for the PC platform. This samlpler reads wave-wave RIFF (.wav) files (8/16/24/32-bit and 32-bit, mono / stereo at any sampling rate) and partially supports akai and soundfont formats.
The operation of this device is extremely simple and even intuitive. The files are loaded to the sampler by dragging them to the interface window or directly onto the virtual keyboard. Each sample is converted into the so-called zone. The waveform for the selected zone and all its settings will be displayed on the right side of the tool. Each zone can be freely edited independently of each other or we can group them together and then the entire selected group will be subject to editing. The basic parameters of the zone include: mapping, sensitivity to the force of a keyboard stroke, dynamic range, midi channel, pitch and pitch bender operating range. Our sampler is equipped with two blocks of filters and effects, as well as a module that allows you to direct the sound to one of the eight virtual outputs. The filter section is very extensive and gives great opportunities to edit our sound. Then we have modulators consisting of two envelopes, as well as three generators. The heart of the sampler is the modulation matrix, which allows you to combine modulators and midi controllers with many parameters of zones, filters and effects. The modulation range and direction can be set in percentages or decibels.
All operations on the file are performed on one central window, which gives transparency, quick access to individual functions and at the same time greatly facilitates the work. Detailed voice settings can be found in the voice mode section. As I mentioned, we can convert the samples into a group. For this purpose, we create a group and transfer selected samples to it. Through the group, we can control the operation of filters and envelopes. We have two additional Effect Blocks available that allow us to apply a common effect to our samples. The advantages of our sampler undoubtedly include the fact that files containing note names are automatically mapped on the keyboard. We also have the option of saving individual channels, groups or multi sets.
Summing up our tool with full responsibility, it can be said that it is a real, functional sampler, the operation of which is very simple and characterized by uncompromising sound quality. Currently, among the free VST samplers, it even deserves to be called number one despite the fact that it is not one of the newest samplers. Hardly any free one has such possibilities as even 16 outputs on which up to 256 voices can be played. Each voice has two filter slots (includes multiple filtering algorithms), a three-phase LFO, and two AHDSR envelopes. You can also apply group effects to it. Of course, it all depends on the individual preferences and expectations of each user, but if you cannot afford a paid plug at the moment, this device will certainly be perfect for your home studio, because it is sufficient for amateur applications. On the other hand, the prices of good paid plugs start from several hundred zlotys upwards, so even for testing and comparing it is worth to see the sampler.
Free? Simpler is not free, it comes bundled with Ableton – which makes it expensive – Ableton itself costs around 500 euros …