IK Multimedia SampleTron Review

We are so spoiled today with technology. We have amazing DAW’s, effects, and amazing sampling libraries from companies like IK Multimedia that help you do anything you can think of! Well I have been digging into Sampletron and to be honest I have never played anything like it before. I mean lofi sounding strings, choirs and flutes that sound so bad they sound amazingly good!

Before we had digital samplers, digital pianos, workstations and all the computer software there were the real instruments. If you wanted to write a song you had to have a real piano, choir and orchestras! Then there was analog recording, you could finally record sound! You could even play it back when ever you wanted! Add effects? Sure! You can even slow the tape down or speed it up for weird sounding effects! It was both a gift and a curse really looking back before digital people were going for clean and now that we have clean we want dirty. Ridiculous really but SampleTron is the best of both worlds bringing old technology to a new medium plus some extras! This isn’t just a re released VHS on DVD re released on Blue Ray then streamed online from your NetFlix account, not at all! This is what people have grown to love plus the SampleTank engine which makes for a amazing duo!

So again before digital there was analog right? Well before the Motif, Triton and Fantom there were Chamberlins and Mellotrons. They, much like today’s workstations, had a wide range (well at least for that day and age) of sounds recorded to tape reels on each key. When you pressed a key it played the tape of which ever samples were on the tape. They took sounds like strings, flutes, brass, choirs and made them sound beautiful with analog tape! At the time of their release people were very impressed by being able to play many sounds from one keyboard like instrument. Now because all these sounds were recorded and played on tape, and being how tape can wear out and be affected by things like temperature, humidity and even abuse these were very expensive and very fragile. Because of this these are very hard to find or fix and much harder to get one in working order! It is these types of vintage sampler/playback devices made famous by The Beatles, Yes, Genesis, Kanye West and Beck that have become known as “trons”

Now some of you are thinking “Why do I care about old sounds when I have the newest hottest keyboard/VSTi/Software out with tons of fresh sounds!”. Well these sounds are unique in that they sound amazing. Kinda like throwing on a old LP and playing the sounds you hear there.

[annoying TV personality voice] “But, but, but, but wait! There is more!” [annoying TV personality voice/]

In SampleTron you get the greatest sample library that you can’t really get in real life (Being that they are so hard to find in any type of order and parts are hard to find.) but you also get some extras that will really make people wish they had SampleTron instead of the real thing! With these tapes, once it was finished playing the sound stopped. That’s it, sorry I have to rewind and then you can hit the key again and it will sound again. Well much like in Miroslav Philharmonik you have the choice of going the looped route and have a infinite note or have it just like the old days and let the tape run its course. Now being that tape was the main medium used here there were at times noise issues like wow and flutter. Another great feature here in SampleTron is the ability to add or take away noise! Now being that this comes in the great SampleTank engine you also get great synth engines; Stretch, Pitch shift/Time stretch and resampling. All of which really come in handy with some of the Powerhouse and Rhythm Mate models being that instead of the usual strings and such these come with percussion and drum loops! You get amazing lofi sounding drums AND you can match them to any tempo you can stretch too! So for old timers and purists…be jealous, very jealous because we are just getting started.

In comes the beginning of the digital age. Remember? CD’s in the 80’s? What about 8 bit samplers in the early 80’s? Well in SampleTron you get the end and the beginning of a era. You have your basic tape based playback and then you have your Optigan, Talentmaker and Vako Orchestron which used analog optical discs. Even in the Powerhouse which used 8 track tapes for its sample playback medium, but in SampleTron you get 3 welcomed and fitting instruments. The 360 Systems Digital Tron, (An 8 bit digital sampler originally created to replace the analog based trons) Roland VP-330, (early Vocoder) and finally the Stylophone. (Simple electric organ.) Everything about this collection oozes retro lofi that people try and achieve by mangling today’s instruments. SampleTron is the best sounding and easiest way to go!

Most purists will hate the idea of their favorite Tron being sold as a sample library, but if they’re smart they will jump in on this. You can complain about it all you want but IK Multimedia has a reputation of taking great stuff that was and even is and making it something new fresh and make you instantly fall in love with it! SampleTron is no exception from IK Multimedia’s great line up! From the great loops to the amazing retro strings and flutes you will find a spot for SampleTron in your music!

IK Multimedia SampleTron

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