What started as a music experiment in the 60s has become a foundation of modern music. Since its inception decades ago, sampling has grown in style and method, yet, if you listen to the radio, many of the beats you hear are thanks to this technique. Everyone from Rhianna to Kanye West to Drake relies on sampled music in order to create their most beloved songs. If you want to start producing like your heroes, you’ll want to know more about the equipment you’ll need.
The first samplers had to physically loop vinyl records and tapes in order to create their repetitive sounds. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then. As technology improved, so did samplers’ talents until it was a popular addition to disco and 80s new wave. Now a cornerstone of hip hop, rap, indie rock, and electronic music, you’ll be hard pressed to find a popular musician who doesn’t employ the art of sampling at least once.
If you’re just beginning, you’ll have a huge list of questions about where and how to start. You’ll learn that your career as a sampler relies on your digital audio workstation. As a foundation of your unique sound, you’ll need to build a system you know how to navigate. Some producers fall in love with every single piece of hardware, and they’re willing to add frivolous pieces to pad out their workspace as long as they have the money. (And sometimes when they don’t!) Others rely on only a few essential pieces to produce the sound they want.Either way, you’ll want to make informed hardware decisions. Many brand names will pop up: Akai, Novation, Alesis, Native Instruments. The question now is which one is the best.
When it comes to basic pieces, there’s nothing like the newest Native Instruments keyboards. Even if you don’t know it by name, you know it by sound. A favourite of Drake – or, to be precise a favourite of his producer, Noah ‘40’ Shebib — it’s responsible for the signature sound of the Toronto artist, as well as Action Bronson, Beyonce, and Lil Wayne, to name a few. Shebib breaks down his use of native instruments keyboards in a popular YouTube video, emphasizing the importance of the Native Instrument Mashine in his studio set-up.
Sporting a variety of hardware and software instruments, Native Instruments most likely has what you are looking for. Their Maschine line completely revolutionized the workflow of many well-known producers. In addition, their MIDI keyboards are the most cost effective in the business. While they may not necessarily be the cheapest, they’re certainly the best for their price — which, when it comes to music today, sound quality matters. Many online music stores have a huge selection of these instruments and more, so you’re only ever a click away from the best equipment.
If music production is your dream, and if you want to sound like Drake, you should definitely start building your signature studio space. You would be offer to an amazing start by shopping for Native Instruments keyboards, synths, and other products. With the right equipment under your hands, you can perfect your game and become a sampling wizard.