Sampler Evolution
By Francis Preve
Tue, 1 Jun 2010
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1963

MellotronMELLOTRON MK.I

Using analog tape, it and the Chamberlin were the first keyboards to play recorded sounds of real instruments.

 

 

 

 

1976

DEC_PDP8COMPUTER MUSIC MELODIAN

Based on a DEC PDP-8 computer, it had then-unheard-of 12-bit/22kHz resolution.

 

 

 

 

1979

Fairlight_kateBushFAIRLIGHT CMI

First sampling workstation. Created signature sounds for Kate Bush (shown), Thomas Dolby, and many others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1981

emulatorE-MU EMULATOR

First “affordable” ($8,000) sampler you could easily throw on a keyboard stand.

 

 

1984

Linn9000LINN 9000

First integrated drum machine/ sequencer/sampler. Ancestor of Akai MPC series.

 

 

 

1985

Ensoniq_MirageENSONIQ MIRAGE

First actually affordable (approx. $1,500) sampler for the weekendgigging masses.

 

 

 

 

1986

Akai_S900AKAI S900

First affordable, mass-produced sampler to up audio resolution to 12 bits.

 

 

 

1987

emu_sp1200E-MU SP1200

Its crunchy, grimy sound and oddball swing/shuffle propelled countless rap tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

1988

Akai_MPC60AKAI MPC60

Designed by Roger Linn. Arguably the single most important beatbox after the Roland TR-808.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1989

unityds1BITHEADZ UNITY DS-1

First soft sampler to offer many of the features of today’s plug-ins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1998

gigasamplerNEMESYS GIGASAMPLER

First soft sampler to stream samples directly from hard disk.

 

 

 

 

 

2001

ableton_live_v1ABLETON LIVE

First clip-oriented soft sampler you could truly play like an instrument.

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