The best samplers for hip-hop allow you to customize beats and sounds easy, and it is an essential tool for creating modern music. The samplers produce high-quality sounds that are suitable in a number of situations, and if you are into making hip-hop music, they are an absolute necessity.
In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the best-reviewed samplers you can find in today’s market. We did a bit of research and came up with some powerhouse names with the positive feedback we would like to share with you.
We listed these products according to their performances, prices, and ratings, so there will be something for everyone. We have a lot of topics and products to cover, so without any delay, let us get right into it.
List of Best Samplers for Hip-Hop
1. AKAI Professional MPD218
MPD218 is by far the best sampler that you will find, especially when you realize how many useful features it possesses and how low the price tag it comes with is. It is entirely different from its predecessor, the MPD, and in so many ways ahead of it.
This unit is slim, has thick rubber pads, it is backlit, and is very small, light, and convenient in various ways. Aesthetics-wise, MPD218 has a sleek all-black body with red pads and backlights that looks absolutely stunning and visually appealing. It is very well-built, and the pads are very large and convenient.
To launch a sound on this unit, you only need to tap the right pad, and how you will use it is entirely up to you. Thanks to three separate banks, you can store up to 48 sounds and clips on MPD218. The pads are very responsive and very easy to use. Moreover, it is an affordable unit, so give it is well worth giving it a fair chance as it proved to be the best on our list with the price/quality ratio in mind.
2. Novation Launchpad Mini [MK3] — Portable MIDI 64-Pad
Coming from the Novation store, this sampler is a highly popular product on today’s market due to its cool features, low price, and great performance. Right out of the box, it is incredibly compact and visually resembles a scaled-down Launchpad X. It has a rubberized base that contributes to the product’s overall stability.
As far as connectivity goes, you can use a USB C socket and a Kensington MiniSaver security slot. Since this product is USB powered and there is no low-power mode like on its predecessor Mini Mk 2, older iPad users will require the latest Apple Camera Connection Kit, which incorporates pass-through power.
One of the cool features that come with this product is a programmer mode which is useful for those who want to control the pad colors remotely via MIDI. Mk3 also includes RGB color matching pads, so you will get an accurate representation of what you see in your Live Session. There is a lot that this product can offer, so check it out when you get a chance.
3. Alesis SR-18
The Alesis SR-18 is a sampler that took multiple useful features from its classic predecessor, SR 16, which came out back in 1991 and took them to the next level. This beat machine can hold up to 580 pre-set sounds, and what really stands out about it is its bass and synth sounds.
It is a highly versatile sampler, and its sounds vary from dirty to very smooth and are very easy to play with the 12 velocity-sensitive touchpads. The layout of the pads is very convenient and, in some ways, seems more practical than ones on certain Akai models since they are more spread around and easier to play.
Alesis SR-18 has ¼-inch jack connectivity, and it is really easy to use chain editing functions on it. You also get A and B variations and fills, as well as the ability to tap to set a tempo that can be easily triggered live on the console or by using foot pedals to keep your hands free for mics and other instruments. It is a very cool sampler that is well worth checking out.
4. Roland Rhythm Composer TR-08 Sampler and Composer
Rolan Rhythm TR-08 is one of the top-notch options on today’s market; that is slightly more expensive than your average sampler, but it comes with numerous cool features that absolutely justify the price. It is an analog sampler that is preferred by countless composers, producers, and live performers alike.
When it comes to connectivity, TR-08 is a real powerhouse since it comes with up to 10 separate outputs for the audio, so there are plenty of options you can go for. Although, at first sight, this machine might look outdated, it is constructed to last for a very long time through heavy use.
So if you want the experience of TR-08’s predecessor, 808 but do not want to pay five thousand dollars on a secondhand unit, this sampler is as close as you can get. It is a reliable, versatile, and easy-to-use unit that grows in value each and every day with its old-school features that have been improved on over the years.
5. Akai Professional MPC One – Drum Machine, Sampler & MIDI Controller
In case you do not mind breaking the bank and spending a bit more money in order to get a very powerful sampler, the MPC One might be precisely what you need. This beat machine is rich in a wide range of quality sounds and samples that will help you make innovative and ground-breaking music.
The MPC One has a multi-touch display that enables you to control almost every aspect of the machine and get creative when making your music. In addition, it comes with its own software that is very easy to use and is compatible with both PC and Mac.
There is a wide range of connectivity options available, including two input lines for recording, two outputs for headphones, and CV/GATE for modular control. It is a truly powerful beat machine, and although it comes for a bit higher price than your average sampler, it is rich in cool features that completely justify the cost.
6. Roland TR-6S
The TR-6S is a beat machine that might be familiar to users that previously handled TR-8S, which is a modern version of the TR-808 and TR-909. It is a six-channel sampler that boasts a classic TR step sequencer with volume faders for each voice. You get a number of advanced functions, including sub-steps, flam, step-loop, motion recording, and many more.
This amazing beat machine features built-in effects, which you can apply to various other instruments as it functions as a USB audio and MIDI interface. You can power it with either four AA batteries or by the USB bus. With its rich library of presets, the possibilities with this fine unit are truly limitless.
What is really cool about this product is that it is built to be played live. You can confidently bring this unit to your gigs and provide top-notch sound for the crowd. It is a great buy, and although it breaks the bank a bit, it is definitely worth every single penny you invest in it.
7. Korg, 16-Key Synthesizer (VOLCABEATS)
In case you are new in beat-making waters or just tight on the budget but want to get a functional and well-made sampler that will serve your purposes and won’t cost a fortune, the Korg Volcabeats might be the right choice for you. It is a great entry-level beat machine that will cover everything that beginners require and then some.
There is a total of 16 assignable keys, and even though this machine only has ten sounds, which seems like a small number compared to other machines, the sounds are adjustable, and you can make a huge variety of tones and get creative in so many ways.
All of this means that the machine has a slight learning curve, but this is why it is suitable for beginners, as it will teach them to get creative. However, once mastered, this sampler is extremely versatile and provides high-end options for an affordable price.
8. PreSonus ATOM MIDI
Atom is a compact sampler designed to serve its users in numerous purposes and is a great unit for beat production. It features a basic one-octave keyboard configuration and can also control numerous DAW options with PreSonus’ own Studio One Artist.
This unit comes with a Quick Start Guide and a USB cable. What really keeps you focused on this product are its navigation buttons since it is not trying to be a comprehensive DAW controller. Instead, you have just enough to keep your hands off the mouse while putting together multiple tracks of beats and patterns.
The Atom is a little powerhouse of pad-oriented control. It creates an easy workflow and is very practical for a wide variety of uses. The guide that comes with it is comprehensive and will get you going in no time. What is even more impressive is the fact that it comes for 175 USD, which is a very nice price for so many cool features and possibilities.
9. IK Multimedia UNO Drum Sampler
Coming from the IK Multimedia store, this product is the company’s first foray into the world of analog gear and is a hybrid analog/sample playback machine with impressive sound and a range of cool features. Its six true analog kick, snare clap, and hi-hat sounds are on point and are authentically warm and rich.
You get a choice of 54 PCM sounds lifted from the product’s diverse library, and there are also 100 preset kits that will allow you to explore and experiment. This product features 100-pattern memory and some nice little additions like the Stutter and Roll buttons that will help you polish your patterns.
The Uno Drum is a fantastic product for standalone recording, live performing, or just having some fun with your friends in the basement. It is a well-made sampler that is sturdy, reliable, and designed to serve its users for years to come.
10. Donner MIDI Pad Beat Maker with 16 Beat Pads, 2 Assignable Fader & Knobs
This sampler is a product from the Donner shop, and it is made to serve your purposes for a very long time due to its sturdy construction and various features. It is also very thin, light, and compact, so it is easy to carry around whether it is on a live gig or rehearsal in your basement.
This device connects via a USB C port on the back and includes USB C to A cable and USB A to C adapter, so you are covered for whatever you want to plug it into. It will also work with iPhone using a C-to-lighting adapter you would have to purchase separately.
The manual that comes with the product is pretty basic and does not tell you a whole lot, while the downloadable configuration editor comes with its own manual. Overall it is a very well-built sampler that works great, and it is suitable for both professionals and beginners alike.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing Samplers for Hip-Hop
There are plenty of important features to consider before purchasing a sampler for hip-hop, so do not be hasty and weigh the pros and cons of each product. These samplers are significant investments, so it is important to get everything right and choose the product that will serve you for a long time.
We have put together a brief list of guidelines to follow when purchasing such a product in order to help you get the best value for your money.
It is important to take some time and listen to each sampler you plan to buy, as it will paint you a better picture of what it can deliver. Check out the YouTube videos and seek the second opinions from other buyers and experts, and you will get a better understanding of whether or not the sampler is the right pick for you.
Some people do not want just a straight-up analog sampler or beat machine and want to integrate it with your production setup. It can be anything from hardware control of a digital audio workstation, using sounds from a VST plugin, or playing back MIDI through the sampler and outputting it to a PA system. Some machines will offer you more compatibility than others, so choose accordingly.
Since musicians travel a lot and often need to carry their setup with them, it is important that the sampler you are buying is portable and light so that you can move it hassle-free. If you need to travel a lot, opt for a sampler that is lightweight, thin, and convenient for transportation.
If you plan to use the sampler to perform live on stage, you need to have a user-friendly interface and easy performance workflow. Fiddling with too many menu options can affect your performance and cause you unnecessary issues. It is also wise to purchase the sampler with decent-sized pads to navigate and perform with rather than picking the one with tricky buttons.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What sampler does produce the most realistic sounding?
Most machines of this type produce sample beat sounds, and they are mostly electronic, so the realism does not really come into the picture. However, the quality of sound does, and you should mainly focus on it when making this purchase.
2. What samplers for hip-hop do professionals use?
Pros use a wide variety of different samplers or beat machines. However, one of the most popular among them is the Akai MPC. It is a small and discreet machine, and it has been a catalyst for numerous successful productions.
3. Which sampler for hip-hop is best for beginners and easiest to use?
There are numerous great samplers that are suitable for beginners, and some of them are on our list. The Korg Volcabeats is likely the easiest to use due to its simple layout and straightforward design that is easy to maneuver by untrained hands.
4. What is the difference between a beat machine and a sampler?
Drum machines include preinstalled drum and percussion sounds with a built-in sequencer. Samplers, on the other hand, enable you to record and modify your own sounds and can also include an onboard sequencer. There are also machines that will get all of the above in one unit.
5. What are the advantages of samplers for hip-hop performers?
Since samplers allow music to be made out of any sound recorded by the user, they grant hip-hop performers a chance to get creative in various ways and make unique and ground-breaking music.
Hip-hop is a genre that allows lots of creativity and freedom and can also be a great entry point for anyone that wants to become a producer in the future. Samplers are just the right tool to make this transition and will get you introduced to the basics of music production.
This concludes our list of the best samplers for hip-hop, and we hope that you have found your favorite among them. In case you still cannot decide which one will suit you best, we recommend you to revisit our list and seek second opinions and customer reviews as they will paint you a better picture of which product will be the best for your needs.
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