SampleLord is a Windows-only sample player that runs both standalone and as a VST plug-in. Unlike some other players, it's not a particularly deep instrument, as it's instead based on the premise that many users aren't so interested in page after page of esoteric programming options.
SampleLord imports not just WAV and AIFF files but also Kontakt, HALion, Emulator X, GigaStudio and SF2 instruments (we found that SFZ files work too). The software does its best to ensure that specific parameters are translated - GigaStudio's Keyswitching is supported, for example, as is its disk streaming. You can also save imported files out as SampleLord instruments. Up to 16 different instruments can be loaded up at any given time, and those instruments can respond on up to 16 different MIDI channels. It's easy to create thick, layered sounds by assigning multiple instruments to the same MIDI channel.
Once you have your sounds loaded up, the truth is that there isn't a hell of a lot that you can do with 'em. You do get basic five-stage volume and filter envelopes, though, and you can transpose and detune the playback. Also onboard are a basic low-pass filter and a simple LFO for adding a bit of vibrato. Finally, you can adjust your looped sample's crossfade amount to smooth out any clicking loop points. Other than the facility to adjust the pitchbend range, there's not a lot more to tell here. You could argue that this is a good thing, but we'd have liked a portamento/glide function at least.
Ultimately, our view is that SampleLord feels unfinished. What it does, it does well, but adjustable parameters are alarmingly few in number, and there are some glaring omissions. We were aghast to discover that no user keymapping is available, meaning you can't build your own instruments from individual waves.
Another problem that arises from there being so few bells and whistles is that many essential sound-shaping tools are bypassed when you import patches. For example, if you load a Kontakt patch with a band-pass filter, the filter is simply ignored.
Thankfully, keymapping, multimode filters and more are all scheduled to be added in the future. We can only review what's put in front of us, though and, as things stand, SampleLord is decidedly limited. At €90, it doesn't cost much, but it doesn't yet offer enough flexibility to justify even that low price tag.
Imports lots of formats. Supports Keyswitching. Easy to use. Support for disk streaming.
No keymapping in this first version. Many common parameters are ignored on importing. How about a portamento function?
We like the idea of a simple, easy-to-use sample player, but SampleLord is currently too inflexible to compete with its rivals. In short, it needs more features.
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.
Microsoft Windows 2000 Microsoft Windows 98 Microsoft Windows ME Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Microsoft Windows XP
Processor Type Required
Ram Required (MB)