Sampler screen

1. Sampler

1.1 Workflow

The sampler's purpose is to create custom instruments or kits from existing audio files or from audio recordings. A few usage examples:

  • Sample another iOS app that supports AudioCopy: record a few notes in the other app, AudioCopy them and AudioPaste them into the sampler.
  • Create a kit consisting of vocal samples or noises that you record directly in the sampler with a microphone. Your sounds can be triggered with the drum pads.
  • Sample your guitar or bass by recording a few notes with an audio interface for iOS (e.g. Apogee Jam or iRig) or a microphone.
  • If you already have audio files or an instrument or a kit, you can transfer them into Music Studio and import them into the sampler. Many websites offer royalty-free samples. WAV, MP3, OGG, M4A and ZIP files can be directly opened from Safari or Mail with Music Studio.

Follow these steps to create an instrument:

  1. Tap the user folder in the Instruments screen.
  2. Tap the + Button at the end of the list.
  3. Enter a name and select the instrument or the kit icon, then tap OK.
  4. Select a key which you want to assign a sample to. You can of course always move the sample to another key later.
    For kits it is recommended to start at C2 and fill the keys upwards without gaps.
    For instruments, it is vital that the key matches the sample's pitch. If you are going to record a high D, select D5 for example. If you are going to import an audio file that plays a low F, select F1 or F2.
  5. Tap import or record to add a sample.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for every sample that you want to add.
  7. When you are finished adding the samples, tap the Auto Ranges button.
  8. To test your instrument, switch to the Keyboard screen.
  9. To edit a sample in the wave editor, double tap it.
  10. Tap the Done button to exit the sampler and return to the instrument list.

Consider these guidelines to decide the number of samples to add to an instrument:

  • In theory you could only add 1 sample for the whole instrument. However, the sound quality suffers when you play a key that is far away from the base key on the keyboard. Depending on the instrument it is recommended to use a minimum of 1 sample every 2 octaves, or up to 3 samples per octave.
  • Consider the size of your samples. Smaller instruments load faster. Big instruments may not be loadable at all on older devices. You can see your instrument's size by selecting it in the Instruments folder in the Projects screen.
  • It is good practice to keep your instrument's size under 15mb. Adding samples, several seconds in length, for every single key is definitely too much. For a kit consisting of very short samples, having 5 octaves full of (60) samples is okay.
  • Keep in mind that a mono sample only takes up half the space of a stereo sample of the same length. Always cut your samples to the minimum length required.

1.2 Sharing instruments

All of your instruments are stored as .instr files in the Instruments folder. There are several options of sharing instruments with other users:

  • Select the instrument in the Projects screen, tap Share, select Dropbox or Email. It is recommended to enable the “Reduce the file size (zip)” checkbox to reduce the amount of uploaded data.
  • Or use iTunes File Sharing to save the whole Instruments folder to your computer.
  • Or use the WiFi server to access the Instruments folder in a browser on another device in the same WiFi network. If it's another iOS device, you can open instrument files with Music Studio directly from within Safari.

To open an instrument file that you received via Email, tap and hold the attachment's icon in the Mail app and select “open with Music Studio”. If another user shared an instrument with you by giving you access to his Dropbox folder, install the Dropbox app and tap the share button to open the .zip or .instr file with Music Studio.

1.3 Sample list

The sample list is a vertical keyboard, where every row represents a key that you can assign a sample to. Every sample has the following parameters:

  • Base key
    This is the row that you tapped before importing or recording the sample. When the base key is played on the keyboard, the sample is played with its original pitch. The base key can be moved by tapping and sliding the move icon vertically.
  • Key range
    The key range defines the range of the keyboard where the sample is triggered. It can be modified by moving the key range buttons vertically. The key range is indicated by the colored area in the right section of the sample list and is written in the sample's row. It is recommended to use the Auto Ranges button to automatically set all the key ranges. For kits, the key ranges are not important unless you deliberately want to pitch a sample. Key ranges of two samples can overlap.
    Let's take for example a sample that has C3 as the base key and a key range from G2 to F#3. When a key within this range, but other than the base key is played on the keyboard, the sample's pitch is changed. In theory you could only add 1 sample for the whole instrument. However, the sound quality suffers when you play a key that is far away from the base key on the keyboard.
  • Volume
    Adjust every sample's volume with the volume bar so that all samples have the same volume relative to each other. If the range of the volume bar is insufficient, double tap the sample and use the wave editor to modify the volume.
  • Loop range
    See the section Looping samples.

1.3.1 Import button

Double tap an empty row in the sample list or tap the import button to bring up the importing popup. It allows you to select an audio file from the Audio folder or to AudioPaste a sample that was AudioCopied with another app. This popup window is identical to the one in the wave editor, the only difference being that the iPod library option is not available in the sampler.

1.3.2 Record button

Tap an empty row in the sample list and tap the record button to bring up the recording popup, which is identical to the one in the wave editor. The recorded audio file will be placed in the Audio folder (as a backup) where it will remain unchanged even if you edit it in the sampler or remove it from the instrument.

1.3.3 Edit button

Double tap an existing sample or tap the edit button to enter the wave editor. When you are done editing the sample, tap the Sampler tab again and your edits will be applied to the sample in the instrument.

Note: If you imported an audio file from the Audio folder as a sample, the original file will not be modified.

1.3.4 Delete button

Select a sample in the sample list and tap the delete button to delete it from the instrument.

Note: If you imported an audio file from the Audio folder as a sample, the original file will be left in place.

1.3.5 Settings button

Tap the settings button to bring up a popup window where you can edit the instrument's name and icon. The icon also defines the instrument's type: chromatic instrument (e.g. a piano) or kit (e.g. a jazz drum kit or a set of vocal samples). The type determines if the chord pads (chromatic instrument) or the drum pads (kit) are displayed in the keyboard screen's pad mode.

1.3.6 Auto Ranges button

Adjusting all your sample's key ranges properly can be time consuming. The auto ranges button does the work for you by automatically setting every sample's key range. For example, if one sample has the base key C3 and the other G3, the middle of the space between samples is between D#3 and E3. The auto ranges button will set the first sample's upper range to D#3 and the second sample's lower range to E3.

1.3.7 Looping samples

Tap the loop button in the wave editor to toggle the loop markers which define the range of the sample to be looped. A short crossfade is automatically applied when a looped sample is played, to avoid crackling noises and ensure a smooth transition from the loop-out to the loop-in point.