If you’ve read our guide to the most important hardware samplers in history you’ll know that just 20 years ago you still had to pay an awful lot of money to get access to a relatively small amount of sampling power.
Things have changed now, though: today’s software samplers do everything that their hardware forebears were capable of and much, much more - you might even be lucky enough to have one included in your DAW. Others, though, have to be purchased separately, so we’ve rounded up what we think are the nine best software samplers in the world today so you can decide where your money is best spent (or whether you actually need to spend any more money at all).
First up, a sampler that definitely harks back to the past: 112dB’s Morgana.
Morgana is a slightly different proposition to the other samplers on this list - in fact, at first glance you might wonder why anyone would bother with it. Its factory patches aren’t anything to write home about and its editing/processing options are nowhere near as comprehensive as some of its rivals, so what’s the attraction?
The answer is its sound: Morgana emulates the circuitry of old-school hardware samplers, which were known for delivering gritty, lo-fi results. Even today, this rough ’n’ ready tone remains popular; Morgana gives it to you but also sports an interface that makes the whole editing process far less painless. It won’t be for everyone, but if you want to go back to what samplers were originally about, Morgana will take you there.