Logic Pro X 10.5’s new Quick Sampler completely changes the way users interact with the audio and creative resources around them. It perfectly accommodates a popular instant sampling workflow where producers pull sounds from anywhere — recorded off a phone, stolen off the internet, clipped from Apple’s library, etc — and then loop, chop, pitch, and program them into interesting musical ideas. Software sampling certainly isn’t new by any means, nor is it to Logic Pro X, but this technique of quick and immediate sound recycling has now been laced throughout the LPX 10.5 production environment and has a dedicated home with Quick Sampler. Apple’s new instant sampling plug-in reinvents the best of what’s already on offer in the marketplace, makes intelligent use of its world-class audio pitch/timing manipulation technology, and wraps it all up in an incredibly intuitive package.
What is Quick Sampler?
A trimmed down version of Logic Pro X’s new Sampler — the long awaited software sampler to finally replace Logic Pro X’s previous generation EXS 24 — Quick Sampler brings the most important elements of LPX’s next-gen sampler tech into a streamlined software instrument plug-in. It can run like any other software instrument, carrying its very own set of sample-based instrument presets via Apple’s usual included collection of instrument settings, as well as being fully integrated throughout Logic Pro X. QS can power individual drum and melodic hits as part of larger Drum Machine Designer drum kits, used in Live Loops like any other software instrument, and more.
Quick Sampler might be Sampler’s little brother (or its hard and fast, fraternal twin that lives life on the edge), but it is actually quite powerful and involved once you really dig in. There are several different flavors of sampling, each with contextual creative/personal preference controls, as well as a built-in synthesis sound shaping engine, familiar to any EXS 24 user, for fine-tuning or straight-up mangling your samples.
Accessing Quick Sampler:
However, actually getting started with Quick Sampler, like with most Apple products, is simple and intuitive. As we mentioned earlier, Quick Sampler can be inserted into the instrument slot on Software Instrument tracks to be used like any other software instrument in your library, found as part of/and used within the Drum Machine Designer plug-in, and in other ways, but the easiest we have found thus far is with a simple drag and drop:
And more importantly, from anywhere. You can drag and drop audio clips directly on to the Quick Sampler interface to create an immediate sampler instrument in seconds. That includes from the Loop Browser in Logic Pro X, directly from the Finder on your computer (including all of the iPhone audio files accessible there), or even an audio region already sitting on the timeline in your Logic Pro X project. This instant sampling ability is as incredibly powerful as it is convenient. The drag and drop to track header technique we outlined in our previous Logic Pro X 10.5 coverage is not to be overlooked here either. It actually eliminates the need to even bring up the Quick Sampler interface, effectively allowing you to literally create a Quick Sampler instrument out of thin air, with nothing but a single drag and drop.
Quick Sampler settings and parameters:
Let’s take a look at some of the most important elements of Quick Sampler when first getting started. It’s important to note here; the real power of Quick Sampler is the fact that you really shouldn’t need to understand all that much about its interface or really even any of the parameters it offers to get going. For the most part you can just drop your desired audio clip on it and get to making noise. But there will be times, especially as you start to peel off some of the layers here, where a basic understanding of the sample modes and the options they offer will be very helpful.
Original vs. Optimized
With some incredibly powerful Flex Time and automatic pitch analysis working in the background, when creating a Quick Sampler instrument you now have the choice between two options: Original or Optimized. This doesn’t slow the sampling process down either. Both options pop-up as floating drop points on the interface or the track header when dragging your sample in. For the sake of getting started, in most cases the automatic tuning, loudness control, loop point analysis, and silence editing the Optimized option is the way to go. However, some OG EXS 24 users might prefer the old-school method which retains the sample’s original tuning, loudness, looping, and length. While there is certainly room for experimentation with both methods — Flex Time adjustments, etc. are available in both cases — most users looking for the quick and fast instant sampling their Ableton buddies have been bragging about for years will likely prefer the Optimized route.
Quick Sampler modes:
Once you have dropped your sample on to Quick Sampler, you can flip back and forth between one of three sampling modes at any time, as well as a Recorder option (more on that below). You can think of these in a more creative sense than the Optimized situation above. They effectively alter the way Quick Sampler treats your samples from a performance standpoint.
Do you want a short vocal clip pitched across your keyboard so you can play melodies with it? Sample random 808s you found in Logic Pro X? Trigger a one-shot audio file with MIDI notes? Slice up a drum loop or a vocal phrase into little pieces and play them with your MIDI controller?
Here’s a brief rundown of each and when they might be of use to you:
Classic is a solid choice for when you want to pitch an audio clip across your keyboard and then program melodies and new musical parts with it. The sample playback stops when you let go of the key.
One Shot is great for when you just want to trigger an audio file and have it play all the way through its duration when you strike a key. This mode can also pitch the sample across your keyboard.
Slice, as the name suggests, will slice up your audio clip into pieces so you can rearrange it or implement it into a larger kit. A drum loop, for example, will automatically get sliced up in this mode with each transient or hit of the loop being placed in successive order across your keyboard.
You’ll also see a fourth mode known as Recorder right beside the other three. This mode is for actually recording your own sample into Quick Sampler as opposed to dragging an already created audio file in. Clicking on this option will bring up a sort of mini recording window, not unlike what we find when recording into Live Loops cells, where we can do just that. You can record directly from your microphone (or anything connected to your Logic Pro X system) directly into Quick Sampler, effectively removing a series of steps for producers that would previously have to record their own samples elsewhere and then create sampler instruments out of them after the fact.
Quick Sampler Interface Basics:
The Quick Sampler interface is essentially split into two sections. The upper section houses all of the sampler related functions mentioned above (and contextual options for each) as well as the waveform display. This is where you can alter the start and end points of your samples, transform them into Drum Machine Designer instruments, adjust the slices of your loop, and much more. In most cases, after selecting one of the three main sampling modes of choice, Quick Sampler tends to just make the “right” choice in my experience, but making some simple adjustments with your mouse is about as easy as you would expect.
The lower section houses the synthesis sound shaping controls and modulation matrix. Explaining everything involved here is really part of a larger understanding of how synthesis works, but when getting started it is good to understand that this is where we can customize the tones, volume, filter settings, and overall pitch of our newly created sampler instruments. You’ll definitely want to explore the filter section and that Drive circuit though.
Quick Sampler mode settings bar:
While there’s a lot to look at here when first getting going, beyond the sample modes and experimenting with the synthesis controls, it is important to pay some attention to the contextual sampler analysis and play back parameters. The thin horizontal sampler settings bar sat directly between the upper and lower section of the interface (outlined in red above) houses some wonderfully creative and powerful parameters. The parameters in this bar are contextual and will change to some degree based on which of the 4 sampler modes you have selected (Classic, One Shot, Slice, or Recorder). You can reverse playback, lock sample triggers to just the back or white keys, and even adjust the Flex timing:
Flex Mode: Apple’s Flex timing technology is full implemented in Quick Sampler and is accessible via the sampler settings bar. Quick sampler will automatically pitch and tune your sample when using the Optimized method, but you can engage Flex mode to have it played back at its original speed for all note pitches as well. Subsequently engaging the Follow Tempo button directly beside it will have the sample play back at your project’s master tempo setting at all pitches. All that is to say, just to the right of the Follow Tempo button you’ll find a very interesting Flex Speed pop-up menu. Here we can get creative by dividing or multiplying (slowing down or speeding up) the sample’s playback speed in time with our song’s tempo.
The Quick Sampler Action or shortcut menu housed in the top tight corner of the interface features a series of contextual settings and options depending on what sampler mode you’re using. One particular option usually tied to the Slice sampling mode to pay attention to is the Create Drum machine Designer Track function. This feature will automatically create a new Drum Machine Designer track and instrument in your session using the content you currently have loaded up in Quick Sampler. This effectively makes it possible to implement your Quick Sampler instruments into single elements of a larger DMD kit.
While you can not open the Sampler instruments you have saved in Quick Sampler, it will work the other way around for when you’re ready to convert your Quick Sampler instrument into something more substantial. You can directly replace Quick Sampler with a Sampler on an instrument channel strip instrument slot with all of the current QS content automatically transferred over.
That should be a good starting point for anyone looking to just get going without being inundated with the deeper level parameters. We will be looking at some more advanced techniques and the synthesis-based features in the future as we get a chance to put QS to work in various recording projects. In the meantime, you can browse through some of our other LPX 10.5 features below and be sure to let us know in the comments what you think of the new Quick Sampler.
More on Logic Pro X 10.5:
- Getting started with Apple’s new Live Loops
- Exploring LPX’s new fully-integrated Drum Synth
- Instant sampling, Alchemy, grid controllers, more
- Apple unleashes massive new update for Logic Pro X
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