7 Best Samplers of 2024

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Looking for a great hardware sampler? You've come to the right corner of the Internet!

A great sampler can totally revolutionize your music-making workflow.

We cover great devices for DJs, beat makers, and more below.

Check out the buyer's guide near the end to learn what to look for in a quality sampler.

Our top pick is the Akai MPC ONE PLUS which offers top-tier performance and flexibility.

Let's sort some samplers!

Best Samplers

1. Best Overall – Akai Professional MPC One Plus Standalone Sampler and Sequencer

Akai Professional MPC One Plus Standalone Sampler and Sequencer


  • Number of Pads: 16
  • Storage Options: 16GB internal and SD Card Slot
  • Sampling Options: Mono/Stereo sample recording via inputs
  • Inputs and Outputs: 4 x 1/8" (CV/Gate), MIDI (In/Out), USB, Headphone Jack (1 x 1/8"), 4 x 1/4" (stereo in and out), and Bluetooth

This is it. This is our champion sampler.

Kanye West, the Chainsmokers, and many more adore Akai's MPC line. Not to mention its legendary status as the device of choice put to use by none other than JDILLA of Slum Village fame.

JDILLA's own MPC was actually put on display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, making it the only entry on this list to make it into a Smithsonian exhibit.

The MPC ONE PLUS is a hardware sampler that effectively sets the bar for grooveboxes and sequencing machines the world over. Intuitive controls, a streamlined menu, and a mountain of synthetic effects only add to its glory.

MPC stands for "music production center," and the One Plus lives up to that title. It goes well beyond mere sampling to revolutionize your entire music-making workflow.

Believe it or not, this machine allows you to handle everything from mashing sounds and recording vocals to mixing channels and generating WAV files without even touching a laptop.

But, of course, this makes for a very powerful, standalone sampler too. You can not only sample via this device's physical inputs but over WiFi and Bluetooth as well.

Once you've captured the sounds you want, you can trim them, layer on effects, and trigger them with velocity-sensitive drum pads to craft a killer sequence or two. Built-in synths make it possible to put new sounds together procedurally, giving you DAW-level power in one place.

Those who have acquired this machine praise its build quality (especially the touchscreen) and the wealth of native instruments it has available.

There's also the option for functional USB MIDI sync with class-compliant MIDI controllers. You can plug controllers right into your MPC via USB and use them as you would with a computer-based DAW. You can also use the MPC itself as a MIDI controller in your DAW.

Anyone looking for a sampler that can do it all will find no fault with this Akai music production center.

2. Best Budget Sampler – Novation Circuit Rhythm Groovebox and Standalone Sampler

Novation Circuit Rhythm Groovebox and Standalone Sampler


  • Number of Pads: 32
  • Storage Options: microSD Card Slot
  • Sampling Options: Stereo sample recording (128 sample slots, 32 seconds per slot), Beat Match, and Fixed Length Recording
  • Inputs and Outputs: 4 x 1/4" TS (stereo in/out), 1 x 1/8", 1 x 1/8" TRS (sync) MIDI, and USB

If you like Pretty Lights (both the producer and the sensory stimuli), then you just might like the Circuit Rhythm groovebox by Novation.

Armed with vividly lit, velocity-sensitive pads, avid finger drummers will be twiddling on this thing's mini disco deck with reckless abandon. The Circuit offers effects out of the wazoo and full stereo sampling capabilities to give you ample control over every tone you trigger.

On the sequencing front, this sampler performs admirably. Pattern chains can reach as many as 256 individual steps. You can lace together up to 12 sounds simultaneously and record a total of 32 8-bar sessions before you run out of memory.

The Circuit actually has a built-in speaker for use in desperate situations, but you're better off plugging in external monitors or headphones to hear anything in detail.

This is a much simpler hardware sampler than the Akai above, but it offers true portability by way of a built-in battery. People seem to be pleased with the Circuit's sidechain and reverb effects too, so brostep aficionados will probably have a blast with it.

You can bring samples in by recording them directly or leverage the microSD port to put your sound library to work. Better yet, you can hook up more devices via MIDI and USB to explore a bit more while building your beats.

3. Best for MIDI Sampling – Polyend Play Audio and MIDI Sampler, Sequencer, and Groovebox

Polyend Play Audio and MIDI Sampler, Sequencer, and Groovebox


  • Number of Pads: 128 (sequencer pads) and 32 (function pads)
  • Storage Options: microSD Card Slot (16GB card included)
  • Sampling Options: Playback, WAV, 16-bit/44.1kHz, mono, 6 minutes per project
  • Inputs and Outputs: USB, 2 x 1/8" TRS Type B (in, out) MIDI, and 1 x 1/8"

Learning to use all of the features this overwhelmingly powerful sampler offers is akin to gathering infinity stones while typing on a rainbow.

There are over a hundred touch-sensitive pads to work with here, which can be a bit intimidating. But, the learning curve leads to musical Valhalla.

In short, this thing is nuts. Its feature set is unhinged, and it can command an army of connected synths like a groovy Genghis Khan. Bring samples by the bucketload, and it will bury you in granular control over them all.

This is the nearest you can get to Ableton Live controls transformed into physical buttons. We can confirm with a fair deal of confidence that you'll be hard-pressed to find more features stuffed into a single sampler than the Play has packed into itself.

The only drawback here is the lack of direct audio sample recording functionality. You'll need to actually capture samples elsewhere and load them onto this device to play with custom sounds.

However, MIDI sampling is what truly makes this instrument shine. If you have MIDI synths sitting around, then this may end up being your new favorite workhorse, as there are a whopping 8 channels to work with.

The MIDI sampling magic that the Play offers makes it an incredible live instrument to leverage onstage. You can queue up improvisations with super intuitive randomization modes and advanced sequencing control.

Plus, there are multiple play modes made to help mangle (one of the presets is literally called "Mangle") your music however you like.

The Play's performance mode is maddening in its scope, granting you godlike powers over every sequencer track's MIDI data and playback parameters in a dazzling RGB display.

Built-in sidechaining settings can help get all of your tracks ducking and grappling with each other, too, lending that refined feel few would expect from a live and totally off-the-cuff performance.

Synth wizards should ditch their crystal balls for this vision of the future.

4. Best High-End Sampler – Elektron Analog RYTM MKII 8-voice Analog Drum Computer and Sampler

Elektron Analog RYTM MKII 8-voice Analog Drum Computer and Sampler


  • Number of Pads: 12 (performance pads) and 16 (trigger pads)
  • Storage Options: 1GB Sample Storage (+Drive)
  • Sampling Options: 127 x Samples per Project, Sample Playback
  • Inputs and Outputs: 14 x 1/4" (2 main outs, 8 track outs, 4 in)

Everybody loves this thing, from Thom Yorke to Aphex Twin.

This is the RYTM's second iteration, and it is the first version that can capture samples natively in addition to serving as an incredibly flexible sequencing instrument.

This is definitely one of the higher-priced hardware samplers you're likely to come across in the wild (over $1800), but it does its best to live up to its lofty cost with high-quality components and immense attention to detail.

The 12 touch pads stand out as particularly impressive given their responsiveness to not only velocity but after-touch and pressure too.

You can go from triggering different sounds on each pad to playing individual sounds chromatically with considerable fluidity. And that fluidity is no accident... This machine is harboring six separate physical circuits to route sound from the pads in real time!

Owners of the RYTM really seem to like the breadth of features it has, but the price tag is often mentioned as a drawback.

This machine does offer eight stereo audio tracks, though, and can sample with the best of them via its balanced inputs.

If you're looking to spend big bucks for a big bang, then the RYTM makes for a proven winner both on stage and in the studio.

5. Best for DJs – Pioneer DJ DJS-1000 Standalone DJ Sampler

Pioneer DJ DJS-1000 Standalone DJ Sampler


  • Number of Pads: 16
  • Storage Options: USB
  • Sampling Options: Yes (via inputs)
  • Inputs and Outputs: 4 x 1/4" (2 in and 2 out), RJ45 Link, 1 Dual RCA Stereo, USB

Pioneer's DJS-1000 isn't just a sampler; you can throw beats together on it with ease and apply effects with it, too, among many other things. As a drum machine, it holds its own. As a sampler, it's built for speed and convenience.

With the DJS-1000, you can glue freestyle musings in place with custom quantization or plot out notes on the dedicated sequencer buttons just below the drum pads. No matter what your workflow is, it's clear the DJS-1000 was produced with your productivity in mind.

Scale samples chromatically across your pads and extend patterns from one bar to four as you see fit. None of the standard sequencing goodies discerning DJs have come to expect from their samplers are left out.

This machine is a true powerhouse. It's also designed to satisfy working DJs who need faders more than they need air. All of the prime controls you need to blend things on stage are built-in and begging to be abused.

Besides playback of sample tracks and sequencing, those with one of these in their kit seem very satisfied by its ability to connect to the rest of their live performance gear via MIDI for custom control.

As far as hardware samplers go, this one is arguably the best for DJs - especially those with a soft spot for Pioneer machines. Both the CDJ-2000NXS2 player and DJM-900NXS2 mixer are designed to pair perfectly with this device using MIDI clock synchronization.

If you're looking to assemble the ultimate DJ booth setup, then this is the right sampler to take home.

6. Best for Ableton Live Fanatics – Korg Electribe Sampler

Korg Electribe Sampler


  • Number of Pads: 16 (trigger pads) and 1 (X/Y touchpad)
  • Storage Options: SD and SDHC Cards
  • Sampling Options: Yes (270 seconds, up to 499 samples)
  • Inputs and Outputs: USB, MIDI (adapter cable), 2 x 1/4" (out), and 4 x 1/8" (1 audio in, 1 sync in, 1 sync out, 1 headphone out)

There are technically two color-coded versions of this device. One is a pure synth with a wealth of native instruments, while the other (red) one is an actual sampler for chopping up sounds and mashing them together.

You can layer tones on top of each other to the tune of 24 simultaneous sounds with the Electribe sampler, and you'll find storage space available for as many as 250 4-bar patterns.

The XY pad is a real treat here as it allows you to intuitively manipulate effects in real-time. Plus, inputs can be routed through the Electribe with ease, making this a great addition to a budget studio workflow.

Electribe owners warn of an audible whine in the outputs of this device compared to other hardware samplers, but they seem to agree that Ableton project exports show no sign of any sound degradation.

Most point to the motion-controllable effects as a huge win for their creativity, enabling more expressive approaches than might otherwise be achievable.

The Electribe sampler comes with 999 sample slots and just under five minutes of total sampling time. You can use these to build patterns directly on the device, sync things up with other Korg instruments via dedicated sync ports, or coat them in layers of effects instead.

Plus, this surprisingly flexible instrument is also portable. You can power it with AA batteries instead of the wall adapter while on the go.

7. Best for Studio Use – Roland SP-404MKII Linear Wave Sampler (Version 3)

Roland SP-404MKII Linear Wave Sampler (Version 3)


  • Number of Pads: 17
  • Storage Options: 16GB internal storage, SD Card
  • Sampling Options: 16-bit/48kHz, 16 minutes max (stereo), 25-second Skip Back Sampling
  • Inputs and Outputs: 2 x 1/8" Type A (In, Out) MIDI, USB, 6 x 1/4" (3 in / 2 TRS out / 1 headphones out), and 1 x 1/8" headphones out.

Appreciated by the likes of MF Doom and Grimes, the SP-404 MKII by Roland or, simply, the "404" is a classic among portable music samplers.

Decidedly old school in aesthetic, this is the kind of sampler lo-fi lovers will, well, love. It looks a lot like a musical calculator - an 80's 80s-era idea of the future that feels super retro now that we're actually living in the future.

The 404 is jam-packed with effects that the enterprising artist on a budget can easily appreciate, especially considering the fact that instruments like electric guitars and keyboards can be routed through it as though it were a pedal.

Everyone who buys 404 points out its minimalist appeal and old-school vibe. Its portability is also considered a standout feature for those looking to leverage inspiration whenever (and wherever) it strikes.

The MKII version builds on the original's legacy with everything from convenience features (dual headphone outs for easy collaboration) to more modern editing functionality (graphical waveform manipulation) without overdoing it.

The effects the 404 has onboard are reputed to be second to none, and a carefully crafted resampling workflow allows for new samples to be produced by layering effects on old ones.

DJ mode is pretty lit, allowing you to smoothly mix and match pairs of samples as though they were spinning on physical turntables. Boost or lower the tempo with a tap, fade in, fade out, and do it all without losing that signature fluidity that physical hardware so readily provides.

The 404 has so many features that it's hard to believe they all fit into such an unassuming form factor. Plus, stranded artists need not despair; this bad boy can run on batteries too.

Best Samplers Buyer's Guide

Buying a sampler for the first time is terribly confusing for newcomers to the niche. But, really, there aren't too many things you need to take into account to find a device that will work for you.

Specifically, the number of pads, storage options, sampling options, inputs, and outputs that a device offers should give you a good idea of whether or not it can do what you need it to.

Number of Pads

This factor is definitely a subjective one. After all, only you can decide how many pads, knobs, and controls you're comfortable with handling on a single device. However, it's important to consider what your intended purpose for the sampler actually is before you buy.

If you want to put on a live performance with ease, then a sampler with over a hundred pads might prove to be a bit unwieldy on stage. On the other hand, too few pads can make it all too easy to overlook certain creative possibilities as you're spicing up a track.

If you're dexterous enough to handle more demanding finger work, then the Polyend Play could be worth tackling. For a more forgiving finger drumming interface, something like the Akai MPC ONE PLUS could be your best bet.

Storage Options

Whether you capture sounds directly on your sampler or prefer to load them up on a flash drive, it is essential that you consider which storage options are essential to your workflow and choose devices that accommodate them.

Many of the samplers covered in this article feature USB ports, but not all of them can handle SD cards or sample audio played over Bluetooth.

If you want to be able to store samples on a specific type of device and connect it for use with your sampler, see to it that the sampler itself supports the device you have in mind.

Inputs and Outputs

Similar to the point made above, you should ensure your sampler supports the kinds of connections you intend to use.

Whether you just want to capture sounds in high quality or you're interested in linking MIDI devices together too, you should choose a device that has the necessary inputs and outputs to power your workflow.

In the case of MIDI, in particular, there are multiple connectors to choose from, and some devices offer more than one. The original DIN connectors with five pins are still somewhat common inclusions, but newer devices have embraced both USB and TRS to the same ends.

Sampling Options

The actual sampling options a sampler offers are clearly a critical detail worth considering before placing a purchase. Way back in the day, the first samplers leveraged tape-based recording techniques with their inherent limitations, but now, high-tech alternatives abound.

There are even software samplers designed to simplify a completely computer-based workflow. But modern hardware samplers often have them beat. Being able to record sounds directly via inputs your instruments actually use is just one of many powers they possess.

In the case of the Akai Professional MPC One Plus, wireless sampling is on the table via Bluetooth and WiFi.

MIDI samplers make capturing note data from improvised arrangements on additional connected hardware easier than ever, and samplers that support longer recordings can literally power a PC-free studio setup.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the key features of a sampler?

The primary purpose of a sampler is right in the name - sampling. Sampling sounds involve more than merely capturing them, though. Being able to do meaningful work with recorded samples is essential for any sampler to be taken seriously.

How do I choose a sampler?

To choose a sampler, it is wise to first consider the type of audio work you intend to do with it. If you want to make beats without much fuss, then something like an MPC is probably ideal. However, DJs may need dedicated live performance features (like a specific audio output) to get their money's worth.

Similarly, studio uses for samplers can range from capturing and slicing up vocals to layering effects on guitar licks. If you know what you need, then the marketing jargon and immense feature sets of so many samplers will be a lot less confusing to navigate.

Why use sampler instead of synth?

A sampler may contain a number of built-in synths, but synths do not offer any sampling functionality. With a sampler, you can pull sounds from all over the place into your projects and then combine them in creative ways, often alongside synths.

Who makes decent sampler?

There are loads of samplers out on the market for you to choose from, and they all have their own strengths worth taking into account. Roland, Pioneer, Akai, and many more produce solid equipment at reasonable prices. See the picks above to learn a bit more about them.

Is a sampler analog or digital?

Samplers can be both analog and digital. In the case of sampling software, they are entirely digital. However, physical samplers may leverage both analog and digital techniques depending on the way you use them.

If you load up audio from a flash drive for sampling, then your sampler should support digital processing. If you're looking to record live sounds for sampling, then analog connections will be necessary even though the signal itself may be entirely digital.

To Sum Things Up

Bad samplers break beats. Great samplers break boundaries.

Choosing the right sampler to invest in can completely change the way you approach music production. The tips and picks covered in this article should help you do just that.

For legendary value, you can't beat the Akai MPC ONE PLUS. It has all kinds of sampling capabilities and is a true PC-free solution to modern music making. If you're looking for something more suited to live performances, then you'll find all of the functionality you could want in the Pioneer DJS-1000.

While you're exploring, make sure to browse through our selection of the best beat machines for beginners.

Unleash Your Musical Potential with the Best Synth VSTs! Dive into a world of cutting-edge sounds and limitless creativity.

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