You are here

The Sampling Handbook

I’ve been dabbling in creating my own sample-based instruments in Kontakt over the last few years — one day, I’ll perhaps share my experiences of editing, organising and scripting in these pages! In the meantime, if you’re new to sampling, then you might consider acquiring a copy of Emmett Cooke’s and Marcus Huyskens’ eBook, The Sampling Handbook: A Step By Step Guide To Creating Custom Sample Libraries.

The Sampling Handbook (eBook review)This 144-page PDF book is available in a few different packages — the Solo Edition, reviewed here, which comprises this book alone; the Developer Bundle, in which the PDF book is joined by an audiobook version, a 55-page beginners’ guide to Kontakt scripting, an interview with a well-respected Kontakt script expert, and further information on setting up a sample-instrument business; and finally, a Premium Bundle adds a number of extras, including unedited samples to practice with, a series of 15 video tutorials, and a web/e-commerce guide.

The main PDF book, which is the only part of the bundles I’ve had access to so far, holds your hand through your first forays into instrument sampling, and covers ground ranging from basic advice about microphone and instrument choice, through session planning and DAW project organisation, to editing. A lot of it, particularly in the early stages of the book, is common sense that’s been tailored to make it accessible to someone wanting to sample instruments, and a little lightweight in some respects (for instance, there’s no mention of polar pattern when discussing mic choice!). But as the book moves on to consider the specifics of sampling projects, whether it be keeping the performer relaxed in what’s inevitably going to feel like a strange recording session, the naming of tracks in your DAW, the management of multi-velocity round-robin recordings, or the type of fades used when editing, it starts to dispense more and more useful nuggets of information that are evidently underpinned by experience.

The final chapter forms the entire second half of the book, and is dedicated to ‘Programming For Kontakt’. As you’ll have guessed by my description of the other ‘bundles’, this particular book doesn’t go so far as to take you through Kontakt’s KSP scripting (something you will want to learn eventually, assuming you’re serious about getting great results) but it does explain how to find your way around Kontakt’s rather fiddly and intimidating GUI, and provides you with all the information you need to make basic instruments and to perform simple customisations.

There are precious few texts on this subject, and it has to be said that the Kontakt manual isn’t very accessible, so it’s really useful to have so much information and experience marshalled into a well-structured book like this. You’ll probably soon outgrow it, but it has to be said that if I’d read this before I started my ‘dabbling’ it might have saved me several days (perhaps even weeks) of Googling and watching YouTube tutorials of questionable quality in the hope of finding the information I sought — all of which makes it well worth the asking price. I shall be interested to check out the other elements in the bundles, and it’s worth mentioning that you can upgrade to these if you start with the Solo Edition.

Solo Edition €39; Developer Bundle €129; Premium Bundle €199.

Solo Edition €39; Developer Bundle €129; Premium Bundle €199.