Sampler Heaven: Conserve the Sound

One of our favorite daily musical resources come in the form of “jason hirschhorn’s @MusicREDEF” email. Here’s today’s update which included this nugget for perhaps our Ableton production students…

Here’s a library of man-made sounds, from long-gone typewriters, clocks, blenders, etc., that might serve a similar, if unnatural, source of inspiration. Samplers, start your engines…”

»Conserve the sound« is an online museum for vanishing and endangered sounds. The sound of a dial telephone, a walkman, a analog typewriter, a pay phone, a 56k modem, a nuclear power plant or even a cell phone keypad are partially already gone or are about to disappear from our daily life.

DYK You Can Make Music From Any Sound? Reserve your free tour:

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Legowelt Releases Free Smackos Amiga 909 Drum Machine

Legowelt Drum Machine
Eclectic Dutch producer, and #MakeItNew Alumnus, Legowelt recently released a free drum machine for Ableton Live, based on samples from his old Amiga 909 sample floppy disk. In addition to sampling his old floppy disk, Legowelt included some hand-crafted goodies in the form of some included FX.

Introducing brand new technologies such as FLOCCULENCE, AMIGAnizer
and SKOOLY SPACE to give u a fresh spectaculair 909 experience u never had before!!!

Using and learning from the tools of producers like Legowelt is a good way to get inside their heads, and figure out their secrets. Just recently we also showed you the PX18 sequencer from Monolake, a tool they programmed for themselves back in 1995, and which became a major inspiration for the layout of Ableton live. The PX18 is also available as a free download, and is a good insight into the mind of two other techno and house veterans.

You can download the Smackos Amiga 909 from Legowelt’s website, as well as a ton of synthesizer and drum machine sample packs, and a clap generator synth for Ableton with parameters to control the “sogginess”, “wallop”, and “funk spicyness” of your clap. Look below for an audio sample of the new Drum Machine, and a video of Legowelt in the studio with Fact Magazine.

Want to learn more about producing with Ableton Live? Or even take it to the next level and produce live on hardware synths? Make sure to check out our music production and synthesis courses! Contact us for more info, or to schedule a free tour of the studio!

How to Creatively Use Samples


We all love turntables & CDJs. Yet, there is also a community of controllerists within our DJ community. Some DJs, who didn’t have turntables available to them through friends or family, or that aren’t fortunate enough to afford technics or CDJs, often find themselves learning how to DJ with controllers. These all-in-one alternatives to the full set up we are used to seeing from DJs are often frowned upon to club owners or other DJs. However, there are a lot of benefits to using a controller. One of the main benefits is the very easy use of samples.

Controllerism is an art in itself. People don’t legitimize controllers because they usually provide the SYNC button. However, taking full advantage of a controller an require a lot of practice and skill. Controllers or sample mixers can be very useful when performing live because it can definitely set you apart from other DJs.

Live remixing, producing, and performing can be extremely creative and stimulating.

For an example, check out this video of DJ BrainDead performing on a Pioneer DDJ-SX controller:

Before breaking down various sample tricks, be sure to understand that a performance like this requires A LOT of preparation…

It is important to note how many “pre-produced” samples DJ BrainDead used. A lot of the time, for performance purposes, DJs will pre set their sample pads with specific sounds or samples for complex remixing.

Extracting, tightening, and really understanding each sample requires a ton of practice. When it is time to perform, the samples are literally at your fingertips to manipulate.


Sample Tricks:

1. Drumming – Different synths and drums can be mapped on to the sampling pads (kick, snare, synth sound), and can be used to to live production. Understanding where each sample is assigned, a DJ could have a track on channel 1 and provide other drum patterns and synths on channel 2 to compliment and completely make the track their own.

2. Stabbing & Filtering  – This trick can be used for transitions. Repeating a sample while using the low pass filter can be a creative and useful way to seamlessly transition songs or to even start a set, like BrainDead does in the video.

3. Setting a whole loop on a single sample pad – It can be useful to put a full length or loop onto a sample pad to play while you prepare or even play other tracks. If you only have two channels, the sample pad could act as a third, giving DJs much more room for creativity and possibility.

4. Using sample to create a keyboard – A DJ is able to set different notes for each sample pad to allow them to play their samples, or “juggle”. Referring back to the video, the DJ assigns the sample pads with different notes from Coldplay’s “Clocks” piano riff. He think plays the different notes with another track playing and creates a mashup right infant of our very eyes.

5. Vocal loops – Assigning sample pads with vocal loops can make for live remixing and mashups. A long intro to an EDM track can be complimented with vocal samples to keep it from being boring or lagging.

It can also make mashing up genres pretty easy as well.

If you assign short phrases to your sample pads, with practice, you can make almost any vocal loop match with any beat, regardless of BPM.


In addition, samples can be very useful in battle mode. In the highly regarded Red Bull Thre3style DJ Championships, samples are used heavily in order to customize sets. Check out DJ Twist‘s set below:

Samples are always a great way to spice up a mix or hype up a crowd, but don’t limit yourself! Use your samples to legitimize yourself as a performer and set yourself apart from other DJs.

We can show you how to do all of this and more inside of our lab in Central Square. Looking to schedule a tour? Mouse over and click this.

Sampling in Electronic Music

What technique do you see across the electronic music spectrum? It’s the same technique that can make or break a beat or song, and the same one that’s caused countless legal issues. Sampling is a staple in the industry, and DJTechTools has rounded up a list of their favorites.

Nightcrawlers – Push The Feeling On

This commonly sampled song, might even be a sample itself. Two years earlier, Robin S released “Show Me Love,” which sounds oddly similar.

Heard in:

Chicago – Street Player

Heard in:

James Brown – Funky Drummer

This track has been used in countless hip-hop songs for a drum break. Drum breaks are a big reason that producers decide to sample. Funny enough, between this song, The Winstons’ Amen, Brother, and Lyn Collins’ Think About It, you cover most of the drum break samples you’ll hear.

Daft Punk is famous for their sampling skills. Check out this Youtube video that compares the original tunes to the sampled versions in their album Discovery:

Also included in the list were Marshall Jefferson’s Move Your Body and Can You Feel It by Fingers Inc.  Go here if you want to read the full article.

You can learn to microsample tomorrow for free!