Wrote this on Gearslutz… so far, no comments, but it’s important knowledge.

Why do so many sampling/sampler plugins not allow adjusting the start & end points from a MIDI controller? Why do so many of them only allow this function to be done by mouse? I understand that mouse can be a little faster sometimes but in general, it isn’t as fast or as fun as hitting a pad (last-hit or commonly known as the “focused” sample), turning a knob (MPC-style), and adjusting your “chops” especially when it comes to sample-based hip-hop beatmaking. Further, a mouse is often used with the right hand, and a lot of finger-drummers and hip-hop producers are right-handed and do most of their beatmaking with their right hand… or making a chop while the right hand is hitting the pad on their controller or hardware, thus leaving the left hand free to do something, but again…. if the mouse is designed for right-handed use…. why not the ability to turn a knob or encoder with the left hand? It’s just faster, more fun.

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Plugins and software that have this feature implemented:

Maschine (standalone and as a plugin). I’ve owned and used Maschine for 11 years… still one of the fastest ways to chop, MPC-style.

Poise (by One Small Clue / Shannon Oram). Windows-only, but Shannon allowed for the sample start/end and zoom in/out and scroll left/right, via midi-learn, since 2009. Although he abandoned the plugin in 2018, it’s still basically the best thing of its kind, and nothing can touch it. If it were available for Mac as well, it would have really dominated basically everything.

Ableton Live 10, only with Push 1 or Push 2 (or any device that has an Ableton MIDI Remote Script and a script that supports Device Mode). You can edit the start/end points and loop start/end points from the Push 1 or Push 2 hardware and any other hardware that has an Ableton MIDI Remote Script (such as the SL MKIII by Novation, or the Launchkey Mini MK3, when they’re in Device Mode). Re: the Loop start/end, that’s always been able to be midi-learned, since version 7, I believe. Which is nice, but the actual start/end flags were only able to be controlled from hardware, starting with Push 1, and Ableton 9.6). Took Ableton over 15 years to implement this fully? Why?!

I didn’t think Push 1 could chop samples from hardware, but I was pleased to find this video tonight.. start at 4:00 (he says you can’t edit the sample, but you CAN with Push 1). At 4:18, you can see the Sample Start and End on the screen, and the Loop Start and End (sweet.)

Reaper’s ReaSamplomatic5000 (Rs5k). It can be done, using Reaper’s built-in Learn function that is available in the Param section of every plugin FX window. It’s not ideal, and it’s not a global (focused sample) mapping. The MPL Rs5k Sample Manager is useful and you can edit the start/end points, but additional scripts and configuration is needed, and there’s a decent amount of lag when editing the chops of the focused sample. And further, you have to click the mouse on the pad you want to edit. You can’t just hit the keyboard or midi pad controller, and then edit.

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Plugins and software where the functionality has not been implemented:

FL Studio / FPC. You need to have Edison open, to chop your audio, and then hit an icon to drag the chopped audio into FPC, and if you need to make further changes, you can’t. You have to go back to Edison and do it all over again.

Native Instruments Battery 1, 2, 3 or 4. You can do midi-learn and automation stuff for everything, except the start and end points.

Serato Sample. Fast and cool, but mouse-only.

New Sonic Arts Nuance and Vice. You can’t map the start/end points.

Sitala (free Ableton Simpler-style plugin). You can do a lot of cool stuff, but you can’t adjust the start/end points from hardware.

Xfer Nerve. No can do.

FXpansion Guru. Can’t do it.

FXPansion Geist1. Can’t do it.

FXPansion Geist2. CAN, but only the sample offset, so you don’t see in the waveform exactly where the chopping starts and ends… you only hear it, and you have to make sure that “Focused” is selected in the Mapping window.

Akai MPC 2.5 or above (plugin or standalone). You can map/learn a ton of stuff. But not the sample start/end points.

TAL Sampler. You can map nearly every single thing in the plugin. Except the sample start/end points. You can’t even map the loop start/end.

Grace by One Small Clue. Same guy as Poise. You can’t map the sample start/end.

Rob Papen Punch. I don’t think you can (correct me if I’m wrong).

Ritmix by Soundbridge. Tons of potential, and very Poise-like (almost)… but, you can’t do it.

BPM by MOTU. I know this is oldschool and hella overpriced. But I don’t think you can with this one, either.

Steinberg Groove Agent. Maybe? I’m not sure yet…

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I know I left a lot of them out. But I wanted to list the most popular ones.

I don’t know why the hell this super-important function is so blatantly ignored by most developers! I would say when it comes to sample-chopping, editing the start point at least (from a knob/encoder/rotary), is a lot more useful than say, editing the LFO filter sweep with the same knob. If you’ve ever been a fan of sample-based hip-hop.. you don’t hear random effects tweaked by knobs in the beat. You hear samples being triggered from pads, often unaffected… maybe filtered out and EQ’d but that’s about it. And those triggered samples have been chopped, with starting and ending points of the original sample.

The MPC became popular because of how easy it was to chop sample start/end points from the jogwheel or q-link knobs.

Here we are, over 30 years later (January 16th, 2020), and only a small handful of plugins and software have this functionality? Why so few?

It just blows my mind.

Please comment with your thoughts below!

And here’s Dubspot chopping samples manually with an older version of Maschine, 8 years ago (start at 4:33):

This video is from 2011, although Maschine’s been able to do it since it was first released in 2009.

This essential functionality (midi-controllable or learnable start/end points) needs to be in EVERY sampler or sample player plugin or software. Period. No question.

 

 

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