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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Aug-18 > SAMPLER TRACKS in Cubase 9.5

SAMPLER TRACKS in Cubase 9.5

Cubase’s Sampler Tracks can handle only a single sample and give basic control, but as Adam Crute discovers, that’s what makes them so useful…


Upon its 1985 release, the Ensoniq Mirage sampler massively undercut the price of the then competition – chiefly the E-mu Emulator, the Fairlight CMI and the Synclavier. Despite being a less powerful system than these established competitors, the Mirage’s comparative affordability – $1,500 as opposed to between $25,000 and $200,000 for a Synclavier II, for example – brought digital sampling within reach of a much larger number of producers and musicians, and in so doing laid the groundwork for the explosion of electronic music through the 90s and beyond.

Whilst this affordability may explain the initial appeal and success of the Mirage, it doesn’t explain why an instrument that’s almost laughably primitive by modern standards can nevertheless evoke a wistful, misty-eyed admiration to this day. To explain this we need consider just one word: Immediacy.

Because, you see, the Mirage’s real party trick was the ease and rapidity with which it allowed you to record and synthesise a sound, and end up with a usable and characterful result. This ability was unique at the time, and remains elusive even now – arguably more so since the advent of powerful, but complex software samplers. Until, that is, Steinberg added Sampler Tracks to Cubase.


Sampler Tracks are in many ways similar to Instrument Tracks in that the track records MIDI data but outputs audio. However, rather than a user-selectable plug-in, Sampler Tracks generate their audio by feeding the track’s MIDI data through a simplified, HALion-based, sampler engine.

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About MusicTech

In response to the ever-growing world of sound design, we highlight many of the best tools of the trade to equip you to experiment yourself, step-by-step guides to various processes, plus interviews with those whose careers have been built in the world of professional sound design. Elsewhere, we speak to former Stereophonics drummer Javier Weyler, whose company Breaking Waves facilitate the sonic needs of filmmakers in innovative, creative ways. We also talk to mix engineer Giles Barrett about his boat-based studio and head inside Nottingham's newly-opened Mount Street Studios. Along with our usual range of in-depth reviews we see our tutorial section expand once more as we welcome a brand new Reason series. We hope you enjoy the issue!