Home > Griffin Avid > Creative Applications for the KORG microSAMPLER

Creative Applications for the KORG microSAMPLER

Creative Applications for the KORG microSAMPLER
-Words by Griffin Avid

Usually when I think of getting another piece for my studio, I ask myself what role it will play and what will it add to my sound. I think about it will affect my productivity and what problems it might solve. It’s no different than a coach who’s considering adding another player to his team. Chemistry leads to a proper mix and a faster workflow. The microSAMPLER is very fast on its feet with just about every possible editing choice a key press away. Once you engage the Shift Key you are now accessing 36 different menu options by pressing the key below it. Add to that the beloved KORG system of using LEDs as visual indicators to let you know where you are and what is currently active and you have a very fast machine for sample manipulation. But it’s 2010.

Right now I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. I want to add the sampling dimension back into my music, but sampling is often eliminated as a creative option for many of the commercial opportunities I’ve come across. Although the microSAMPLER is very comfortable with looped material and live manipulation, I’ve been considering the creative applications that will broaden my palette with samples and remove many concerns surrounding sample clearance.

Bang for the Bank
My first thought is to move beyond loops and use the microSAMPLER as a ROMpler. That is to load the 8 banks of 36 sounds with one-shot material that I can play up and down the keyboard. You probably have a very nice collection of leads and single bass tones, but it’s a little tedious to trawl through folders and floppies. I’ve been using the Soft Editor to create my own user bank of Bass notes and switching from Sample to Keyboard mode. This turns the microSAMPLER into a Bad-ass-Bass-Machine.

Working Perks
Percs are another issue. If you’ve been using a 61 note keyboard and chosen any of the drum kits, you’ve noticed the plethora of bells, chips, whistles and well, stuff you never really would use on a track. Those extra sounds are supposed to add ear candy to your rhythm track and provide a small measure of variation besides doubling up the snare or adding a few shakers. You can build your own library of percussive bits or begin to listen for interesting bits of sound to use as percs. For mid-tempo music, a well placed perc can relieve the gap between drum hits and freshen up a drum pattern that feels a little too sparse. For up-tempo tracks, a perc makes a satisfyingly surprising substitute for a drum part.

VOX Box
Vox and vocal snippets are always appreciated, but you can never bring yourself to use them since everyone that owns your module has those same “Get up” and “Oh Baby!” samples. It’s time to put the sampler to use and capture lots of little pieces to make your own voice samples. You can go as micro as word for word and string together your own original phrases. With Kaoss style effects on board, it won’t take long to go vox crazy and add new elements to your productions.

He’s the Rapper
The microSAMPLER ships with a generous offering of beat-box samples. I know. It’s the right idea, but not the right material. Imagine pulling in parts of the rappers verse and scrambling them with the numerous sampling systems. Gating his verse and playing it back stuttered one bar behind his flow- pitch-shifting beyond Chopped and Screwed or Autotune by being a little creative with your timing, play direction and effects. Enough said.

Catch and Release
ReSampling for sampling’s sake. I was never a big fan of reSampling patterns in my song to make new variations or to build up layers of recordings. It always felt too permanent and rigid. Although the microSAMPLER has this ability too, there are a few creative ways this old technique can be used to freshen up a track. Experiment with sampling the Entire Track, adding effects, mangling it, pitch it around and drop it back seamlessly into the overall composition. I’ve been doing this as a straight sample of my DAW and layering it under the main track as a bridge. It also makes for a great intro and outro when the FX is left very wet.

Win if you can, Lose if you must, but always Loop.
Even with copyright free loops (like a Big Fish Audio construction kit) you can change the sample start and end points and use many of the onboard effects to sculpt something completely different than what you started with. A chord can be chopped and pitch-shifted down into an evolving tone. A horn stab can be washed in delay and turned into a pad or rising texture. Okay so I guess loops are back on the menu�in a way.

microSAMPLER Summarized
When I first got my hands on the microSAMPLER, I used it as a portable beat machine and pieced together compositions made from loops and little snippets of samples. Eventually it became my Drum and Bass machine as I started building banks of Drum hits and one-shot bass samples. Using the Soft Editor, I created banks that were Electronic, Break Beat or Acoustic in tone. The microSAMPLER was never pitches a s workstation or even a workhorse, but I find its role in my studio ever expanding as my list of creative uses grows. I’m not sure what sounds will be loaded into my microSAMPLER next, but I’m sure whatever they are or wherever they came from, they will be adding new dimensions into my production. Happy sampling.

You can find more heavy sounds at the home of Griffin Avid at http://www.StudioAVX.com and don’t’ forget to read the Griffin Avid’s Corner in every issue of Producer’s Edge Digital Magazine.


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