The 10 Best Sampler VSTs for Music Producers

There are as many ways to use samples are there are producers.

Working with samples can be as simple as dragging and dropping them onto your DAW timeline.

But many producers prefer the workflow of dedicated sampler plugins.

Sampler VSTs have a lot in common with hardware samplers—but they’re much more powerful and flexible.

In this article I’ll break down the best software sampler plugins for creative sampling techniques.

1. Native Instruments Kontakt 6

Native Instruments Kontakt is the biggest name in software samplers.

Konkat is an incredibly deep and powerful sampler plugin with a huge library of third party banks and sample sets available.

Kontakt can handle every task you’ll ever need your sampler to do, but it’s uniquely suited to realistic imitations of acoustic instruments.

It’s the go-to sampler of sound designers and film composers. Entire orchestras can be simulated convincingly with Kontakt.

These deep sampling capabilities combined with the extensive third party content make Kontakt a top sampler choice.

Deep sampling capabilities combined with the extensive third party content make Kontakt a top sampler choice.

2. Logic EXS24 mkII

Logic’s built in sampler plugin is the powerful EXS24, now on version mkII.

EXS24 is another capable modern sampler well suited to loading hyperrealistic multi-GB sample libraries of orchestral instruments.

EXS24 it’s equally at home on loops, phrases and single samples. It provides the powerful envelope, filtering and velocity triggering options you’d expect from a modern, full-featured sampler.

3. MOTU Machfive 3

MOTU Machfive 3 is another impressive sampler plugin from a respected manufacturer.

Machfive contains unique features such as a variety of noise oscillator styles and a dedicated synth engine with FM and wavetable modules.

MOTU offers a range of sampled instrument libraries that let you emulate studio staples like grand piano and orchestral percussion.

4. TAL Sampler

TAL Sampler is an excellent affordable sampler that brings back the fast and fun workflow of retro hardware samplers.

Its analog modeled synthesis section includes a self-oscillating filter and flexible modulation matrix for subtractive tone shaping.

TAL Sampler can only has four independent layers, but sometimes limitations are good.

TAL Sampler only has four independent layers, but sometimes limitations are good.

TAL Sampler features a unique DAC modelling engine that can emulate the sonic qualities of several vintage samplers.

These crunchy and lo-fi yet satisfying sampling modes set TAL Sampler apart.

5. Arturia CMI V

Arturia CMI V is a plugin recreation of the legendary Fairlight CMI.

The Fairlight casts a huge shadow over the history of sampling. In fact, the term “sampling” itself was coined to describe one of the functions of the CMI.

When it first debuted the CMI came with a price tag of around $300,000 USD—and it’s sampling capabilities were primitive by today’s standards.

Nonetheless, artists like Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock embraced its futuristic sound and helped popularize the concept of sampling.


Arturia’s lovingly crafted plugin version gives you all the distinctive vibe of the Fairlight sampler without the price tag.

The unique sound and workflow of the CMI is an inspiring sampling tool.

The unique sound and workflow of the CMI is an inspiring sampling tool.

6. Ableton Simpler

Sometimes the best solution to a problem is to make it…simpler.

Ableton’s built-in Simpler plugin comes standard with all versions of Live.

Simpler is straightforward and creative yet deep and powerful. When it comes to manipulating single sounds, Simpler is one of the most immediate tools available.

With every parameter accessible from a single Live-sized panel, Simpler gives you direct access to the controls that matter most.

Simpler can only load one sample at a time, but that’s more than enough given how flexible and creative this tool is.

7. Steinberg HALion

Steinberg’s HALion was one of the first advanced DAW samplers on the market.

It’s another powerful sound design tool capable of highly precise sonic sculpting and realistic emulation of acoustic instruments.

HALion also features a well-developed library of sampled instruments including vintage style synths, world instruments, and convincing pianos.

Since it’s been a favourite for so long, HALion has an active user community to help you get the most out of its powerful features.

8. Ableton Sampler

Ableton Sampler is Simpler’s big brother and Ableton’s flagship sampling plugin.

Where Simpler is designed to keep things quick and easy, Sampler dives into the nitty gritty with advanced sound manipulation features and the ability to load multi-sampled libraries.

But Sampler doesn’t completely abandon the straightforward approach of Simpler.

Despite its advanced capabilities you’ll still find all the playability and ease of use that Ableton is famous for in Sampler.

9. discoDSP Bliss

discoDSP Bliss is a simple but powerful sampler with some extremely creative features.

Bliss can automatically create sampled instruments from patches on any VST instrument.

That’s a pretty useful feature if you’re working with CPU-hungry synth plugins that bog down your sessions.

Ableton’s built-in Simpler plugin comes standard with all versions of Live.

But that’s not all Bliss has to offer. In addition to its highly customizable envelopes, filters and LFOs it features a built-in wave editor for making powerful sample- level adjustments to your source material.

10. Air Music Technology Structure 2

Air Music Technology Structure 2 is a full-featured modern sampler plugin with lots to offer.

Structure 2 comes bundled with a giant library of sounds to get started using right away. Plus, it supports every major format available for third party sample sets.

Its advanced sample editor gives you granular control over every parameter.

So many samplers so little time

Sampling and samples are a revolutionary technology. Dedicated sampler plugins like the ones on this list extend the sonic possibilities of your samples.

Try one of these sampler plugins the next time you’re looking for a creative tool to work with your samples.

The post The 10 Best Sampler VSTs for Music Producers appeared first on LANDR Blog.

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