16 September 2008

Please provide a fresh sample

I remember when the science behind instrument sampling was still in its relative infancy, though not as far back as people like Rick Wakeman and their mellotrons. The birth of digital sampling was a massive leap from the tape based systems like the Chamberlin and the Mellotron, but it seemed to take a while for the technology to develop. It seems that one of the barriers to the creation of ultra-realistic samples has been storage space. The sounds produced by analogue instruments are extremely rich and variable. This richness and variability is what makes them sound authentic, but it also makes the resulting sound files 'large' in terms of data storage. Large used to mean slow, but now that mass storage is cheap and quick, it looks like instrument sampling might finally have been sorted out.

Maybe this will mean that digital 'pipe organs' will start to sound a bit more convincing. Let's hope so.


  1. Not at all, they were great! But, like analogue synths, they didn't sound very convincing as imitators. I think their value was/is in the unique sounds they can create.