Omni Sampler expands Alpha Sampler simple drag-and-drop concept to a familiar
16-pad drum machine grid sampler with easily switchable “grids,” allowing up to 128 simultaneously loaded samples. Better still, Omni Sampler features independent pitch, filter, and envelope settings for each pad location.
Omni Sampler is included with Mixcraft 7 (Standard Edition) and Mixcraft Pro Studio. It’s not included with Mixcraft Home Studio, but it’s a good reason to upgrade!
Omni Sampler can have up to 128 simultaneously loaded samples, with 16 sample pads viewable at any time. The matrix grid on the left allows quick selection of which 16 sample pads are currently viewable in the 4x4 pad grid. The currently selected 4x4 pad grid is represented in the pad bank selector either by yellow squares indicating pads with samples currently loaded, or gray pads indicating visible pads with no sample currently loaded. To change which pads are currently visible in the 4x4 pad grid, click within the pad bank selector. Keep in mind that sample pads always have
a one-to-one relationship with MIDI notes, and the MIDI note number of each pad is fixed, starting at C-1 for the top left pad, going up to G9 for the bottom right pad.
If you’d like to play the same sample on separate pads, simply re-load the sample at a different pad location. Be aware that Mixcraft 7 automatically saves sounds loaded into Omni Sampler into the current song project folder, so you don’t need to worry about sounds getting “lost” if you move or archive the project folder.
Pad locations can be selected for loading or deleting samples, or sound editing by clicking on them. Empty or occupied pad locations will highlight in light gray when selected. Multiple pads may be selected by clicking on them while holding the CONTROL key, or by clicking and dragging a rectangle over the desired pads. (Be sure to initially click either outside the grid area or on one of the lines dividing the grid, not an actual pad.) You can even select pads by dragging a rectangle over sections of the pad bank selector on the left.
There are a couple of ways to load sounds in Omni Sampler:
Method 1: Select the destination pad in the 4x4 sample grid by clicking on it. The pad will turn gray. Press the “Load Sound” button in the Sample Display window. This opens a standard dialog box which can be navigated to any sound. Select the sound, then press the Open button to load.
Method 2: Drag and drop any audio clip from Mixcraft’s clip Library (click the Library tab at the bottom of the Track View Window to select and preview clips) or from the Track View window directly to a pad in the 4x4 grid.
Method 3: Drag and drop any audio clip from Windows File Explorer to a pad in the 4x4 grid.
Audio clips dragged in from the Track View window will retain their start and end points as set in the Track View window, allowing easy editing of the sample’s start and end points. This is handy if you’d like to use just a portion of one of Mixcraft’s included loops or sound effects - first, drag the clip to an open audio track in the Track View window, adjust the start and end points, then drag the clip into Omni Sampler.
Samples loaded into Omni Sampler are velocity-sensitive. In other words, play the keyboard softly and samples will play quietly. Conversely, playing hard will cause samples to play loudly.
Omni Sampler’s performance controls include Pitch, Filter, Envelope, and Output settings and are set separately for each pad individually (it’s easy to remember because “pad specific” controls have a gray background).
Fine Tune. Allows adjustment of the sample’s pitch + or - 100 cents. You can quickly restore the Fine Tune control to zero by double-clicking the knob.
Rubber. This is a fun and unique feature especially suited to drum loops or snippets of entire mixes. When set to the middle position, the Rubber effect is off. Turning the knob to the left of center will make the sample begin at a high speed and pitch then slow down as it plays. Turning the Rubber knob to the right of center position has the
opposite effect: samples will start at a low pitch and get faster (and higher) as they play.
Transpose. Changes the pitch of samples in half-step increments with a maximum range of two octaves, up or down. Click the up/down arrows to move pitch in half-step increments, or click on the number to directly type a number value (add a “-” before the number for downward transposition). After entering a number value, click again.
Omni Sampler’s filter is a modeled classic low pass filter.
Cutoff. Sets the lowpass frequency of the filter. In other words, all frequencies beneath the cutoff knob setting are allowed to pass through, but frequencies above it are blocked.
Resonance. Emphasizes frequencies close to the cutoff frequency. The higher the setting of the Resonance knob, the greater the emphasis, resulting in the the familiar “ringing” and (when the cutoff is modulated as described below), “wah-wah” sounds.
This is a simple attack/release envelope generator affecting the sample’s volume.
Attack. Regulates the onset of a sound; at zero, the sound begins immediately, as the attack setting is increased, the sound takes longer to reach maximum volume.
Release. Affects the volume of the sample after the key is released. Set at zero, the sample will stop as soon as the key is released. As the release setting is increased, the sample fades away gradually. Higher settings increase the length of time.
The OUTPUT section contains a big stereo level meter. Like any meter, you’ll want to make sure this isn’t slamming into the red, otherwise you’ll get nasty digital clipping.
Volume. Adjusts level of each pad individually, letting you obtain an optimum mix. Its middle setting represents unity; Omni Sampler won’t add or subtract gain, but turning the master volume up make quiet samples louder, and dialing back will prevent super loud samples from distorting, which can be helpful when the filter’s resonance control is cranked up.
You’ll notice a few extra buttons beneath the Sample Display window as well. Like the other performance parameters, these are individually settable for each sample pad.
Makes the sample indefinitely loop back to its beginning if a key is held longer than the entire duration of the sample.
Plays the sample backward in case you’re doing a cover of Paul Revere.
Processes samples down to an 8 kHz sample rate and eight-bit word depth for a crunchy, aggressive sound similar to classic vintage 8–bit hardware samplers and drum machines.
The master section’s controls affect all pads simultaneously – these controls have a yellow background.
The Global button makes the Performance Controls (Pitch, Filter, Envelope, Output, Loop, Reverse, and Lo-Fi) affect all currently loaded sounds simultaneously. This is handy when multiple loops or drum sounds are playing and you want to modify everything at once (such as a filter sweep on everything). Global mode is toggled on and off by clicking the button; when global mode is active, the Performance Controls background turns yellow. When Global mode is switched off, the background returns to gray and the Performance Controls become independently settable for individual pad locations.
If you’ve already set Performance Control parameters for individual pads prior to engaging Global mode, the settings for that parameter will remain until that parameter is adjusted at which point it will affect all pads equally. For example, let’s say filter cutoff is set to differing amounts for multiple pads, then the Global is engaged. The individual filter cutoff settings for each pad will remain until the cutoff knob is adjusted. At that point, all pads will jump to the current setting. Keep in mind that this becomes the “current” knob position – changed knob positions won’t return to their old values if the Global button is disengaged.
The Modulation section consists of a low-frequency oscillator (LFO) capable of controlling Omni Sampler’s pitch or filter cutoff frequency, resulting in vibrato, wah wah effects, and more. One good way to think of a modulation LFO is as a “third hand” to automatically turn controls up and down. Modulation amount is controlled using your keyboard controller’s mod wheel (or any other physical controller set to transmit MIDI controller #1).
Speed. Adjusts the rate of the LFO.
Filter and Pitch Buttons. These buttons select the modulation destination. Pressing Filter causes the LFO to modulate the cutoff frequency of the filter. Pressing Pitch causes the LFO to modulate the pitch. Both can be selected simultaneously.
Triangle/Square Wave Switch. Toggle between triangle and square LFO waves. The triangle waveform cycles up and down in a smooth and uniform fashion, making it
a good choice for subtle vibrato or, at extreme settings, swooping sirens or extreme wah effects (when modulating the filter). The square waveform jumps back and forth abruptly, good for sirens with alternating pitch, or when used with the TEMPO SYNC switch, “synchro-sonic” type rhythmic effects.
Tempo Sync. When the the Tempo Sync button is on, the LFO rate is synced to the tempo of the current project and, now, the speed knob snaps to musically relevant values, making the LFO modulate in lock-step with the beat. The synced note values range from a whole note to sixteenth-notes.
Master Volume. Adjusts the volume level of all samples at once. Its middle setting represents unity. The digital meter indicates relative level; for optimum gain, set it so that it stays strongly in the green and doesn’t go into the red often.
MIDI. Though it’s not located in the yellow master section, you’ll see a MIDI light to the left of the Sample Display window. This indicates incoming MIDI data, and can be helpful in those inevitable, “why the heck isn’t this making any noise?” situations.
You can play and record with Omni Sampler by simply playing pads or keys on your MIDI controller. Each sample pad also has three buttons across the top:
This is a handy way to preview a pad’s current sample. It will play the sample as long as it’s held (or until the sample runs out).
M (Mute) Button
This toggles muting for the selected pad. It’s handy if you’ve sequenced a lot MIDI elements and would like to temporarily remove a sample.
S (Solo) Button
Opposite of muting above; it toggles all other pads off when pressed. Multiple pads can be soloed as well. If you’re having a “why won’t this thing make any noise?!?” moment, make sure none of the solo buttons are pressed.
Move a sample pad. To move a sample from one pad to another, simply click and drag it.
Duplicating a sample pad. To duplicate a sample to a different pad right-click and choose Duplicate Selected. A copy of the sample will appear at the next available pad. You can also copy to another pad by option-dragging the selected sample pad.
Renaming a sample pad
Deleting a sample pad. To delete a sample, highlight a pad, right-click and choose Delete Selected, then click Yes at the next dialog box. Don’t worry, this won’t actually erase the sample from your hard drive, it just removes it from the Omni Sampler pad location.