Sampler Evolution - KeyboardMag

Sampler Evolution

Using analog tape, it and the Chamberlin were the first keyboards to play recorded sounds of real instruments.
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1963

MELLOTRON MK.I

Mellotron

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

1976

COMPUTER MUSIC MELODIAN

DEC_PDP8

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

1979

FAIRLIGHT CMI

Fairlight_kateBush

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

1981

E-MU EMULATOR

emulator

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

1984

LINN 9000

Linn9000

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

1985

ENSONIQ MIRAGE

Ensoniq_Mirage

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

1986

AKAI S900

Akai_S900

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

1987

E-MU SP1200

emu_sp1200

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

1988

AKAI MPC60

Akai_MPC60

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

1989

BITHEADZ UNITY DS-1

unityds1

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

1998

NEMESYS GIGASAMPLER

gigasampler

First soft sampler to stream samples directly from hard disk.

2001

ABLETON LIVE

ableton_live_v1

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