4 Digital Tools Every Sampling Producer Needs in Their Arsenal

+ Ryan Lott (of Son Lux) teaches how to build custom virtual instruments for sound design and scoring in Designing Sample-Based Instruments.

The modern sampling producer has so many tools available to them. It can almost be overwhelming knowing how to choose which ones will best suit your music production needs.

But, there are a few essentials that can help ensure you’re ready with instant inspiration, your samples are cleared of royalty complications, and that your ears are in tune with the keys and tempos of your sounds.

So let’s take a look at four amazing sampling tools, what they offer, and why you should have them as part of your production arsenal. And the best part is, all of these are partner brands with Soundfly — which means that as a Soundfly subscriber, you get access to exclusive offers for each of these digital tools (in addition to all of our artist-led courses, our daily active community, and discounts on custom mentorship sessions).

Learn more about Soundfly’s all-access subscription here and sign up!

Splice

Obviously the number one thing every sampling producer needs is… sample tracks, and a lot of them! Splice offers a huge library of royalty-free sample tracks, with literally millions of samples available to choose from, created by some of the top sound designers in the industry.

And Splice is so much more than just another sound sample library. They also offer a range of audio plugins to use in your favorite DAW. All of their plugins offer a free trial and then can be rented on an as-needed basis, keeping your production costs to a minimum while allowing you full control to develop the sound you’re aiming for.

Three of the most helpful plugins they offer for sampling producers are:

  • Bridge: a sample “testing” plug-in which lets you quickly try out samples from their library from within your mix, allowing you to easily find just the right fit for your sound.
  • Beatmaker: a streamlined drum sequencer that lets you pull samples from their library and create your own beat sequences and loops on the fly.
  • Astra: a fully adjustable polysynth specifically designed to allow maximum creativity in your production, adapting sample sounds into unique works of art.

In addition to sound samples and creative tools, Splice offers an array of tutorial options to help you use their tools more efficiently and effectively. And they also provide an option to automatically back up your work in the cloud to access at any time and any location, even by other artists with whom you wish to collaborate.

TrackLib

Using unique custom-designed royalty-free sound samples is always an excellent way to develop a sample-based sonic production. But it’s also nice to be able to sample existing sound recordings with interesting or well-known aspects that you simply must have in your production. That’s when you should turn to TrackLib for help.

TrackLib has an extensive, and ever-expanding, collection of existing recordings that you can draw from and use as needed within your productions. One flat-rate fee gives you access to the tracks to utilize in whatever way best suits your needs. You focus on the sound production, they take care of the permissions and royalties.

It’s the fastest way to properly sample existing works with the peace of mind that the artists who created the original work will get their fair share for their creation.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “How to Add a Nostalgic Touch to Your Lo-Fi Music.”

deCoda

Even if you have the samples you need and the tools to work with them, there’s still so much more depth to be explored! Enter deCoda by zplane: an amazing tool for analyzing the intricate details of any song.

Are you using a sample from an existing recording? deCoda can provide you with the tempo, key, and even the chords used in the melody of that song. Trying to hear a particular part in a song that you would like to mimic in your own production? deCoda can isolate different pieces from within a track to help you hear only those aspects you want to focus on.

And it can do so much more! You can let deCoda analyze a complete song showing you exactly how it is arranged and providing you with a MIDI track that you can use to develop your own variations from whichever parts you’re wanting to reproduce. And you can use it to change tempo without altering the pitch, or change key without altering the speed of the song. This is the tool to use for deep dives into sampling like never before.

SoundGym

So now you have your samples, you have plugins to work with them in your DAW, and you have a tool that allows you amazingly detailed analysis of any aspect of existing recordings. The only thing missing is your own personal development and ear training. But not to worry, SoundGym is here to help.

Just like any skill, audio production is something that requires training and development over time. Practicing using tools can certainly help you learn to use those tools faster and more accurately, but to truly get the most out of them you need to also train and develop your ears so that you know exactly what you’re hearing and how to take it to the final sound that you want to hear.

In the same way that going to a gym to work out muscles in your legs can help you accomplish a physical task with greater ease, SoundGym offers training and workouts to help improve your ears’ ability to recognize sounds and know what different types of adjustments to those sounds will accomplish. And, like many athletic training sites, SoundGym has gamified your training with levels and friendly competitions where everyone pushes each other to reach higher than they thought possible.

Of course there are many other digital tools available to assist the aspiring sampling producer, but using these four will offer everything you need to produce your tracks in an amazingly efficient and effective manner, allowing you to focus more fully on all the countless streams of creativity available in your sound production work.

To access our deals from these partner brands, as well as all of Soundfly’s online music courses, just sign up for a monthly or annual subscription and follow the link to join our Slack channel, where you’ll find info on everything we’ve got to offer.

Ready for even more?

Check out Soundfly’s variety of courses on songwriting, mixing, beat making, recording, composing, and more, led by artists like KimbraCom TruiseJlinKiefer, The Pocket Queen, and RJD2: From Samples to Songs.

Elijah Fox at the piano

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