Continue reading part 2 of “Making music with samples: a complete guide” to explore the way to use samples in your tracks.
How to use samples in your track
Having access to a library of royalty-free samples opens up creative opportunities to experiment with interesting textures and flavors.
An instrumental track might benefit from a chopped and screwedvocal take.
In case your drum track sounds thin, sample replacement may help to fatten up your drum loop.
Discovering that perfect kick sample can make your tracks thump.
Sometimes a track needs an ambient SFX sample floating in the background to add a layer of depth.
Listen to your arrangement and try to hear what the track is missing. Be artistic!
And to get away from sounding like everyone else listen to what your track needs and blend the samples in properly.
Follow the key signature
Always try to match the key of the sample to the key of the track you are working on.
To make it easy sample libraries often tag the key in the name of the sample and there are key finding tools that may help too.
Pay attention to the mix
You’ve found the sample that your track wants and you’re comfortable with how it fits into the arrangement.
Now it’s time to fit the sample nicely into your mix.
Make sure your samples are prepared properly to make your mix process easier.
In case you’re stuck there are a few sample processing techniques that may help if something in your mix isn’t working.
The way to sample in your DAW
Now that you’ve found a sample and you’re 100% sure you have the right to legally use it, it’s time to get into your DAW.
You may be wondering about the way to create a sample in your DAW.
Sampling workflows are generally the same between DAWs.
Often it’s as easy as dragging and dropping the snippet of audio into your track timeline.
With a little bit of cutting and chopping you can make your sample work on your track.
Most DAWs come stock with a sampling tool. However, in case you don’t like the one your DAW came with there are many nice sampler VST plugins that you can try.
The most difficult part is ensuring the key and tempo of your sample matches your track and fits nicely. It takes time and practice to get good at this.
To get you started here are many recommendations on getting started sampling in some popular DAWs.
How to Sample in Ableton
Ableton’s entire workflow is based on sampling. Any audio clip you use in Ableton can be treated as a sample with its Warp feature.
Ableton allows you to adjust the timing of a track with warp markers that you can slice a track up by clicking into it.
Once your warp markers are set, all you have to do is right-click on the track you tagged and slice the track into a new MIDI track.
You may also use Ableton’s dedicated sampler plugins to do your sampling.
Simpler is Live’s most straightforward sampling tool. It only loads a single sample at a time, but don’t let that fool you. It’s a super creative tool for you to slice and playback samples.
Sampler is Ableton’s full-featured sampler plugin. Sampler is suitable for everything from basic sampling tasks to realistically simulating acoustic instruments
However you prefer to work, Ableton Live has powerful workflows to integrate samples.
How to Sample in FL Studio
To sample in FL Studio, begin by dropping the track you need to sample straight into a track.
Find the section of the track you need to sample and open up the Edison tool under your first empty FX slot.
Click to the Record button to record the sample into Edison. Once you have the sample recorded you may edit and trim down the clip into to the exact sample you need.
Click the drag icon and drag the sample to where it needs to go.
Compatible locations to drop a sample include any track channels, Fruity Slicer, DirectWave, or the Playlist.
You may also need to adjust the EQ, speed, and pitch of the sample based on the context of the track after dropping it into the track.
The way to Sample in Logic
The most common strategy to start sampling in Logic is by chopping up your samples and using them directly in your DAW timeline.
However, if you wish to map your samples to a MIDI controller or keyboard you’ll get more management by importing your samples into Alchemy or EXS 24.
Right-click the track you need to sample, choose Slice at Transient Markers, and Logic will automatically cut up the track.
Highlight the chopped samples you need to play and choose Convert to New Audio Files and save the samples to a new audio file.
Once you’ve created the audio file open Alchemy, choose the advanced tab, click on Source A, and select import audio.
If you want to play one sample pitched up and down on a MIDI keyboard, choose the sample you want from that folder and click import with the mapping set to “pitch”.
In case you choose to play a group of samples mapped to a MIDI controller choose the samples you need and import them with the mapping set to “drums”.
Alternatively, you can right-click on a sliced track and choose convert to a new sampler to import directly into EXS24.
How to Sample in Cubase Elements
Sampling in Cubase is best done within its Sampler Control track.
The Sample Control track comes with its sample library known as Kaleidoscope, however, you may also use any audio file from your hard drive.
Simply drag and drop any sample from the sample library into the sampler control track and Cubase will automatically map the sample to your MIDI keyboard.
The Sampler Control track gives many options for adding effects and modifying any sample you use.
Read more on the 10 best DAW apps in the world today.
And how to make a beat from scratch in your DAW.
Get inspired and begin your sampling journey
Sampling one of the most enjoyable parts of music production nowadays. It changes the way you listen to music and can expand your music taste.
Who doesn’t love the idea of discovering a gem and making it into something unique and new?
There are tons of ways to learn and get inspiration. Take a look at Rhythm Roulette on Mass Appeal in case you want to see the masters at work.
Now that you know how to find good samples and use them in your DAW. The best method to get better is to practice using them in your tracks.
So get back to your work, good luck, and don’t break the law!