Samplers are a very important part of the production process because they allow you to play and manipulate any recorded sound. You could record a bird chirping, a door slamming, a hand-drum performance, one guitar chord, or a single note on a flute to play in a sampler. Once the sound is in the sampler, it can be tuned, truncated, reversed, looped, layered, filtered, and shaped using different types of envelopes. Depending on the sampler, you may even be able to apply effects such as bit-reduction and distortion.

When samplers were bulky hardware units, they were divided into two categories: those that could record and play back samples, and those that were dedicated playback units. Most of today’s software samplers are all playback devices because they can only read standard audio files that were recorded by other programs (such as Pro Tools, Audacity, or even Windows Sound Recorder). As a result, any device or software program that can play standard audio files is now referred to as simply a sampler.

Reason features four devices that qualify as samplers: Redrum, Dr. REX, NN-XT, and NN-19. In this lesson, we’ll cover Redrum as a sampler.