Is using samples ‘cheating?’
In this article, Maxx from Audeobox journeyed to our world to discuss why using samples isn’t ‘cheating,’ and four different ways producers can use them to spark their creativity and achieve unique sounds.
Stuck in the Audeobox world, Maxx is on a mission to create the best sounds on Earth. With the Audeobox as his guide, Maxx is constantly up to something, with each new pack creating another adventure for him to embark on.
Maxx: Samples are cheating? Nah, my dude. Let’s discuss.
Sampling has been around for ages—almost as long as those leftovers in your fridge (it’s time to throw those out, for real). For some reason—ahem, egos and pride—sampling and using loops get a bad rep. Haters will say it’s cheating and that you’re not a ‘real musician’ if you use samples.
But samples are tools, period. Other industries and professions use tools, right? Or is it alright if I book your next surgery with the doctor who only uses his hands?
Example: Multi-platinum producer Fyre produced the recent viral hit, “Conceited” by Flo Milli, using solely Audeobox sounds.
Long story short, there are tons of creative ways to use samples. Long story longer? Stick around and I’ll introduce you to four types of sample-using producers.
1. The straight shooter
Ah yes, the straight shooter. We know them and we love them, because pretty much all producers—from beginners to industry pros—can relate to them.
This producer uses samples ‘straight out of the box,’ so to speak. Sometimes, a loop is just perfect as-is—it just needs to be filled in. Is that a crime? Hell no. We can’t all be Mozart, but that shouldn’t stop you from creating.
…And here’s how the straight shooter might apply this sound in the context of a full production:
You know what I love about the straight shooter? Everything. They’re a real gem—a programming, puzzle-building gem.
2. The manipulator
The manipulator probably has more plugins than Drake has number-one hits, and uses them to reverse, flip, chop, and stretch samples. The result? A brand-spanking-new sound, loop, or one-shot that’s 100% unique.
Is it always good? Nah, but experiments don’t always work out (bet you didn’t know that bubble wrap was supposed to be wallpaper—for real, Google it). My point is, sometimes you have to mess around, experiment, and fail in order to get to that lightbulb moment. The manipulator isn’t afraid of failing—or is at least in therapy to work through it.
Example: Below, Audeobox’s chief A&R guy, Skimmy, manipulates samples using Xfer Records’ LFOTool.
3. The butcher
The butcher probably shouldn’t be trusted with a real knife, but virtually slices and dices samples into juicy little one-shots, or even into brand-new loops. It takes a certain level of skill and creativity to be able to do what the Audeobox team likes to call ‘elite sample chopping’—repurposing a sound into an entirely new composition. Yeah, you have to possess some seriously wicked ears on that noggin to do it well.
Example: Check out some elite sample chopping in action, facilitated by Cableguys’ ShaperBox 2.
4. The tracer
The tracer uses the vibe of a sample to lock in on an emotion, but cuts the sample from the final product faster than your ex cut you out of their life, despite you giving them everything they ever asked for (whatever).
The end result is a whole new piece of art. It takes an incredible amount of thought and creativity to hear the potential space around the sample, which makes this type of producer one of the most impressive and understated.
Example: See the tracer work their magic, using Xfer Records’ Serum to replace loops that were used for inspiration.
If using samples is wrong, I don’t want to be right
A little louder for the people in the back? My pleasure: Samples. Are. Tools. Period. Quit any limiting beliefs—you’re only stifling your own creativity, and that’s a real shame.
Audeobox samples are 100% ready for you to chop, manipulate, trace, or use as-is. Feel free to use them—you have my permission.
Be sure to share your Rage creations with @audeobox on Instagram and TikTok—we love to hear what you’re creating.
Incorporate samples from Audeobox into your own productions with the Rage sample pack:
August 9, 2022