Abstract Sampling ?s

So couple questions for the more experimental samplers out there:

1.) Do you pitch your results to C before you use them? I could see pitching while within a project to the track, but when you’re mucking about outside of anything…I’m thinking of doing this for the sake of consistency. If you do, do you pitch there at the moment or use software later on?

2.) Inspired by this Check Out These Birds Richard Devine Posted On Instagram

Im wondering if people have resources they like for the crazier sounds of life.

NASA has good stuff up and the BBCs recent data dump is great. Just so much to sift through. Any resources that “edit”?

Thanks yall!

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  1. I wish I was that organised, it makes sense and if you can stick to it do it, after a while you won’t regret having everything organised

  2. That bird is crazy. Sample anywhere and everywhere, get a field recorder, nature channels, whale song, Mongolian throat singing, hook up a tv to record and flick through channels. I find actually digging for samples to be the most tedious part of sampling, the only time it’s really enjoyable is crate digging and sampling vinyl. It adds a fun element to it rather than endlessly scouring internet archives of sounds. If you don’t fancy e-digging then it’s probably best to find ways you can continually record. Route YouTube/Spotify into a sampler/daw and just jump around.

Also it helps to always be listening, when you’re watching TV in your downtime note down anything interesting. Quotes, how far in, episode or interesting animal noises from documentaries and stuff


Hehe… so I run my life based on the concept that “D and A go together.”

So when I’m checking tones or sound designing I tend to use D. Recently I’ve been doing some sampling specifically for octatrack use, and I have been trying to start at C…

But in general I’m not too worried about a samples pitch- I tend to build off of a central concept or sound, so everything else can get tweaked to tune well with the Most Important Sound.

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instead of building or using sample libraries I try to be in the moment and sample into my Digitakt whatever speaks to me right now


Anyone ever tried sticking samples rather than full tracks in Mixed in Key for this kind of thing?

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Because there is so much online & it’s easy to get any sound possible (& other reasons), I only sample from vinyl, sometimes cassettes & cd’s. I also make my own sounds/found sounds, record instruments (xylophone, kid toys, thump piano, shakers, ect) guitar, field recordings. It’s more challenging & I’m proud of my music because of it. When I first started sampling for about a year, I sampled rhythm roulette style, would grab something at random sample the first song I hear, chop it to oblivion & make a beat. I made some shitty music for awhile, but learned so much about sounds & how to shape & chop them. Gets pretty abstract that’s for sure.

I understand I guess why you would want to pitch everything to C, but I don’t kno. Seems like limiting yourself…I know you can pitch it to whatever you want later, but if you get used to everything in C, it’s easy to just leave it & miss out on other ideas. A lot of sounds can be amazing in different pitches/keys, but not so amazing in other pitches/keys…

Almost sounds like you like things really organized & in a box…but want to break out of that box, which is why you’re asking about abstract sampling.

& maybe I don’t completely understand what you mean by abstract… I even googled the definition…hehe…it’s what I thought it was… existing in thought, but not physical… what do you mean by abstract when it comes to sampling? Taking a sound & turning it into something else? Sampling & chopping things differently? Creating a song that tells a story? If you like those birds…buy a handheld recorder, go outside & be amazed by all the beautiful sounds you can capture. Dump them in your sampler & play. Then feel the delight. I learned doing things myself is so much more powerful & satisfying…plus what you learn from it is amazing


Saw this the other day and found it pretty inspiring


In regards to pitching things to C I think they were referring to more one shot noises, synth stabs etc. it makes it much easier to play melodies with multiple noises when you spread them across a sampler like chromatic trigs in OT or 16 levels on MPCs. It can definitely be super useful for arranging later but that’s not to say you should retune every sample to middle C :ecstatic: it’s less relevant if you’re working with chopping samples musical phrases from vinyl but I’d say it’s good practice if you’re regularly collecting samples from your synth patches

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i try to avoid digital pitching after sampling/recording as much as possible. before recording i don´t tune to C but to any (semi)note that hits the standard western tuning.

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Aaaahh, yea, that totally makes sense…
& I can see how it would be useful when sampling, I mean, for example if everything is the same key, really useful for layering & creating melodies with chops from different sources, like 1 melody, but every note is a different sound, from a different source. Could make some crazy melodies…
I like this thread, it’s got me thinking…

It’s easy to form habits & get stuck in doing the same things. & it seems to get worse the more I know…I experiment less…so I try my best to experiment every time I create. To not get stuck in repetitive habits (of course certain things just work, but still good to try something new)

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I need to learn how to hear more and get into the habit of having a sampler handy.
Any suggestions for a good mic and app to pair with an iPhone? Something small to keep always is pocket of a jacket

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I believe that in order for chromatic mode to work “properly” on elektron machines the sample needs to be pitched to C so I tend to try to keep my samples in C when possible. Even sampling a chord in C seems to work out mostly for applying to chromatic mode. I slip in some Cmin here and there.

As for abstract sources lately I’ve been really interested in contact mics and electromagnet pickups as sound sources and ways to process sounds.

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I’m sure there’s probably a fancy name for this phenomenon but I don’t know it. I feel exactly the same way. I listen to old tracks I made ages ago and think hmm what made me go about it like that. I can usually pull off whatever I was trying to do better now but I wouldn’t even start to take those directions, know what I mean? I think it’s cause the lack of understanding brings a lack of inhibitions and makes you more experimental to begin with, but when you learn how to do more things your brain sets it as the default route like it’s the “right” thing to do


Perfect way to describe it!
& I don’t mean to go off topic but it’s 1 of the reasons I like using different set ups. At first I thought I wanted 1 big set up, but I realized mixing things up & using different pieces of gear allowed me to be more experimental.
Almost feels like getting a new piece of gear…
I used nothing but my 404sx/vinyl/A.Heat for the past 2 months & played with my Mpc last night(& A.Heat, I use it on everything, love that thing) & I missed it, I had so much fun & it made me inspired to try different things out, putting the Mpc thru the rounds.

Abstract - I think of found sounds, like both videos posted above… There’s so many sounds, even walking thru leaves, kick a wall, snap, laugh, record it all. Turn it into kicks & snares & hi hats & vinyl crackle & melodies.

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…i don’t see any need to sample sounds correctly referred to fixed tunings…
but i know the need of reference tuning per track, end of the day…so whatever i do, i get me some harmony reference with a synth bassline, a single synth sound or one sample that sticks with a fixed tuning…evrything else gets free willy tuning til it makes harmonic and sonic sense with that reference…
to me, the only way to stay harmonically open and “correctly” at the same time…

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Good stuff y’all.

The beauty of this is that you would then be able to start manipulating / recording immediately with apps as opposed to recording on say a field recorder, loading it up and getting it to the iPad. It seems like a dream setup but I’m not convinced of it completely yet. When I’m ready to replace my H4n I’ll see where the equipment is.

Yes yes yes and yes. I really meant as opposed to playing back samples and / or field recordings straight, throwing them into Ableton / OT / iPad / modular whatever, tearing them apart and putting them back together again into something entirely different.

That is it exactly: sounds I’ve made that would do well as musical content - melody, harmony, tuned drums ect. If I were to throw an untuned one-shot into my OT to use for a track with an already rich music sense then finding how to fit it as a new melody would require that I either basically play it in a different key or use OT resources to pitch it. Both anathema.

I’ve gotten pretty decent having my field recorder with me when I go somewhere new, recording music I hear and taking notes on movies or lectures or whatever to sample later. However I don’t have access to say a Lyrebird or the LHC.

Precisely. Which is why I’m so interested in sampling like this. It’s impossible not to be creative using them. They lead to such wild surprises: you could have gotten something you like out of one part of the sample only to have it suddenly turn into something totally other. Constant surprises.

Here are some threads going already, if anyone is interested, though more databases than individual sounds:

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Yeah, I don’t think I have ever left a field recording as is without messing with it. I just think of field recordings in music as a perfect example of abstract sampling.

I tend to tune things down, no matter what the sound is. I just prefer darker sounds, also tuning slows the sound down, which brings out a lot of the textures in the sound. Recently I took a kick with a tambourine hit on it (I know, not a field recording) & slowed it down as far as the mpc allowed & when I hit the pad over & over it sounded like clanging chains, it had a really cool & spooky sound to it. So I used it as a “drone” type sound in the background of the beat.

When listening to field recordings, I’ll listen to the sounds & if anything reminds me of something, like could be used for a kick, snare, hihat, melody, I mess with it to bring that quality out more. Sounds that might not fit in a certain category, but I like something about it, I just play with, add different effects, mangle it, just experiment until I know where I want to go with it. A lot of happy accidents…a lot of…bad accidents too, but that’s a part of experimenting.

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Not on my Digitakt, but in Ableton I’ve been having lots of fun resampling from effects sends. You can make some pretty cool complementary sounds from delays and reverbs with resonator, sidechain auto filter, and sidechain gate.

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I think if you start pitching everything to C you’ll miss out on some wonderful accidental juxtapositions that makes sampling beautiful and interesting.