Multi-samplers need good sounds to be useful, and while the new Ableton Sampler looks like it’ll have the same drag-and-drop integration with Live as Simpler does, Live users are sure to want multi-sampled content in the new Sampler. So it comes as little surprise that Ableton is partnering with huge soundware house SONiVOX (formerly known as Sonic Implants) to provide sampled content for the Sampler and for Live 6.

The good news is, there will be a free expansion pack included with the boxed release of Live 6. Updated: As a couple of readers noted, the adjusted pricing structure means you’ll have to pay a little more to get the new sounds. If you’re upgrading from Live 5, you’ll pay US$219 for the boxed version versus $119 for the download version. In fact, if you think you want the sounds, you should just get the boxed upgrade, because if you wait the instruments alone will cost you $119 on top of your existing upgrade price, adding another $20 to the deal. If you don’t care about the sounds, though, you can save your pennies. Beyond that, I expect we’ll see other sound packs that require Sampler or are fee-only.

I rarely copy and paste from press releases, but Dave Hill from Ableton has sent some specifics for Sampler that I don’t see explictly laid out in one place on the Ableton site yet. If you’re curious about all the details, read on.

From Ableton:

Each instance of Sampler can host any number of sample zones. Key and velocity ranges as well as crossfades can be defined using a graphical editor. Numerous playback and looping options can also be set up for each zone. Sampler helps with mapping and also helps find appropriate loop points.

Most importantly, Sampler integrates perfectly with Live. Its GUI will be instantly familiar to users accustomed to Live’s look and feel. Its short loading times and efficient handling of large-volume libraries provide the sensation of a light-weight yet powerful engine.

As with any Ableton instrument, users can modulate Sampler’s controls with clip envelopes, stack Samplers, attach effects and save projects including all samples used by Sampler to send to a colleague for collaboration.

Format Friendly: Sampler avoids RAM shortages and loading-wait times by employing Live’s disk preloading technology. Sampler also gracefully imports common sample formats, including AKAI S1000, S3000, GigaStudio, EXS, SoundFont and (non-encrypted) Kontakt. Sampler can also access and edit Ableton’s own Essential Instrument Collection shipping with each boxed version of Live 6.

Unique Processing and Modulation

  1. Modulation. A dedicated oscillator can modulate samples by frequency or amplitude, enabling selective harmonic or disharmonic enrichment of the original timbres.
  2. Morphing. Every voice is processed with a â€Å“morphableâ€Â? multimode filter and polyphonic saturation stage. Each aspect of the original sample, including sample start and loop position as well as loop length, can be polyphonically modulated.
  3. And More Modulation. Three LFOs, five multimode envelopes and various MIDI inputs serve as modulation sources. The ability to modulate not only post processing but also the sample playback characteristics extends the instrument’s functionality in the direction of wavetable and granular synthesis.

Operator confused a lot of people, because it had a lot of competition from other FM and analog subtractive synth plug-ins. I happen to be one of the people who likes using it, but I understand where those criticisms came from. But Sampler is different: there’s not a single, simple, easy-to-use sample engine that can easily load this many formats seamlessly. If Ableton’s pulled that off, they might attract new people to the Live platform. And even if not, I’m anxious to try out some of these wavetable, granular, and filter morphing features for sound design.

Anyway, little point talking about it now: we’ll know for sure when the beta ships, since Sampler will be available for download with it.

Ableton Sampler [Official Site]