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klbyrne

Sample Pads/samplers ..what to get?

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I'm not a DJ but a musician in a new duo set up where we need a sample pad/sampler/something where we can load a backing track ( consisting of bass, drums, extra synth and harmony vocals) of each song per pad for a set and also have the option of manipulating it (the whole track) with things like reverb to add ambience in instrumentals parts, or maybe play things on extra pads if it's not too complicated. 

Need something foolproof-ish (I have a baseline knowledge of music tech and sound engineering but I have two weeks to learn it/set it up and need to sing as well), that isn't likely to stuff up on stage. It will only be used in a live setting. 

We would use a laptop or something but I think the audience likes to see a bit of gear when so many instruments are obviously not being played, and some control (particularly in the future when I know how to use it better) would be a good option. 

I was thinking Ableton Push, but I think it does too much for what I need. A friend was telling me about his Roland Drum sample pad, but I don't want to stand at the front with a drumstick.  Any suggestions on what I should get? 

Thanks for reading, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Ableton Push is quite good as you can get a copy of Ableton Live with it. You'll also need a DAC (sound card) to output to your mixer. It's extremely customisable and it's quite easy to map the knobs to different fx. As for the stability of it, that is mostly dependant on how well you have  the computer set up. There are also other good MIDI controllers, but the push is rated quite highly as it's made by Ableton, and they also make the software, so the integration is great. Third party controllers require a bit of work to get them set up exactly how you want.

The Native Instruments Maschine is another alternative for a midi controller with pads. Like the push, NI make the software as well as the hardware, so you get good integration. I have one, but I personally think it's better in the studio than live. Plenty of people use it live though.

 

There are standalone hardware options, but you won't get all the FX, features, and flexibility that you want in 1 bit of hardware. Unless you have an existing mixer with FX that you could route through.

 

Perhaps a good starting point would be to download a trial of ableton, and work on setting up a sample session of what your live set could look like, then just do some triggering/manipulation with the keyboard and mouse? Then you can decide if you like the software before you invest. 

 

Where do you live? Store DJ have a few stores around the country and have all this stuff setup to play around with, and the staff are generally pretty good.

 

Disclaimer: I use ableton and even though i own a Maschine, I'm biased toward the push for it's simplicity

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Ableton made the push 2, akai made the first push. As far as quality goes they're both pretty good but the push 2 offers up a whole host of more functions and easier navigation with the screens, a bit like maschine studio. 

It comes down with what you're planning to achieve really. You can trigger samples using ableton assisted by a push or launch pad, or you can do the same thing with an mpc without the need of a computer. If you're looking to use effects (and you're using ableton already) I would suggest getting a launch pad and a novation launch control to utilise the knobs when controlling the parameters of the effects. This is probably the simplest option to begin with. Otherwise you can achieve the same thing using traktor. It might come across as a bit "dumbed down" compared to what live can do but it's an under-utilised tool and linked with maschine it can be quite powerful 

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Yes the SP404SX is a hardware device, so it works by having the samples on SD card and no laptop required. However it's quite a small unit with not many pads to try and arrange a whole set on. There's 12 pads x 8 banks = 96 pads, but you need to remember what each pad does.

If you were using 6 pads per track and arranged all the elements in the same way for each track, it could work. I prefer something with a bit more visual feedback though, especially when it's controlling such a large amount of the audio for your set

 

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ive used an akai mpd (midi controller) and an mpc (sampler/ sequencer)

for pad based equipment, akai is top notch.

i guess the only thing is mpc's can be expensive. but if you are not using for production you could go for the baby mpc 500.

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