Featured Serato Audio Research Sample by Tommy Zai
Disclaimer: I nearly jumped out of my computer chair about 2/3 through the Breaking News video about this plugin: Serato Launches Serato Sample DAW Plugin - DJ TechTools. Let’s see if the blurb is merely hype or the real deal!
Serato Sample is an audio manipulation plugin that enables users to sample tracks from their libraries for use in their DAW. It incorporates cool features from their DJ program (hot cue point architecture, key-detection, BPM shifting, etc) into a more universally accessible sample plugin that includes their Pitch 'n Time algorithm.
WHO IS THIS FOR?
Is this for a DJ or a producer? Browsing through the Serato website (www.serato.com) would lead one to believe they mostly serve DJs, but they also provide ProTools and Logic users with their award-winning Pitch ‘n Time software. As a company, they clearly have two markets, but this is aimed at producers who are looking for a fast workflow.
FAST, FUN, and EFFECTIVE!
For years, DJs have enjoyed creatively spinning and mixing on the fly. They work fast; they have fun. Comparatively, most producers have worked step-by-step in a linear fashion to grind out songs. Music production can be arduous at times. Many look to satisfy the right side of their noodle by searching for a more creative, freer workflow. DAWs like Abelton Live and Bitwig provide an inspirational DJ/Producer crossover production environment that satisfy many, but for those who desire more fun and freedom and/or produce in other workstations — Serato Sample comes to the rescue! It injects a big dose of DJ joy into music production. I asked the team at Serato what inspired them to create Sample. They quickly and enthusiastically responded, “We noticed people using Serato DJ as part of their production tool kit. Messing around in DJ software is fun and fast, but it's hard to recreate some of those ideas in the studio. We wanted to create something that could give producers some of that fun, fast workflow.”
Where do I find this plugin in Logic?
Easy to Load an Audio File.
Key Shift Pad
Enables users to quickly duplicate a single pad across all 16 Cues, at different key increments, for creative, melodic performance possibilities. This is achieved by selecting the desired Cue and then pressing the Autoset button. The key selected for that Cue pad will then become the root value, and each subsequent pad will increase by single or double increments ranging from -12 to +12.
Enables users to locate a part to chop-up that they may not have identified manually.
Enables users to quickly and easily separate a beat into individual drums.
Enables users to load a random song, shift the master key to match their current session, and then click. This will often select surprising parts of the song, which inspire a newfound direction for the project. Thanks to Pitch ‘n Time, those samples can then be manipulated to fit in vivo.
Enables toggle between Mono and Poly modes to play multiple cues simultaneously. Trigger Cue points with monophonic playback like Serato DJ and/or use polyphonic playback to play chords and drum patterns.
Enables playback of a single Cue over the full keyboard range with each key additionally applying a relative shift of pitch to the Cue.
• Inviting Interface
• Fun, fast, visual workflow
• Samples load instantly
• Nice set of basic, responsive tools
• Triggers pads and keyboard mapping for convenient triggering.
• Flexible — manual slicing or auto via Random feature
• Sample manipulation controls – allowing quick adjustment of volume, filter, attack/release, key shifting, and BPM/time stretching via Pitch ‘n Time! WHOA!!!
• Key detection
• Waveform scrubbing and needle drop in realtime
• Color-coded waveforms that correspond to the track’s audio spectrum:
---------->Red = Lo freqs
---------->Blue = Hi freqs
---------->Green = Mid freqs
• Individual cue-point manipulation
• Cue Point style controls that allow you to set and trigger colored pads – mapped out to keys on the keyboard for quick triggering
• A one-click Auto-set algorithm that searches your track to find 16 of “the best samples to work with”
• Half/double option for pad Time Stretch and track BPM
• It’s convenient and simple to grab the WAV file and drag it where you want it to go, and there are also short-cut commands; yet, I think the transport could additionally benefit from traditional tape machine controls, i.e., rewind, fast-forward, re-set to zero, etc.
• Scalable GUI?
• Live looping a la Ableton?
• Looping function a la Traktor?
PITCH ‘N TIME vs. SAMPLE
Pitch ‘n Time is a high quality time-stretching and pitch-shifting plugin that allows changes in the original length of a piece of audio to be changed without affecting the quality of the overall performance. It also allows the fundamental key of the audio to be changed up or down in pitch (or transposed) without compromising quality, definition or intelligibility. Pitch ‘n Time Pro allows users to choose between Mode A, B and V (vocal) and is designed for offline processing of audio for precise pitch and timing manipulation. Sample is designed for fast, in vivo beat-making. It helps users quickly find, chop, key shift and time stretch audio samples. Sample uses one algorithm — Mode A from PnT Pro. This is the same algorithm used in Pitch ‘n Time LE. With Sample, the time stretching quality is all there, but the way in which the software operates is quite different and has a much different application. Both delicious — one an apple, the other an orange. Pitch ‘n Time and Sample share one super algorithm and overlaps a few features, but Sample is NOT an inexpensive replacement for Pitch ‘n Time. Ratz! I was also hoping to get PnT on the cheap, but in the process I discovered a super groovy sample manipulation software. ;-)
So, is this for a DJ or a producer? It can serve both and just about anyone else working with audio samples — songwriters, musicians, film & game scorers, etc. Serato has successfully developed a fun, visual way of working with samples that puts their award-winning Pitch 'n Time algorithm to excellent use. I consider this software a MUST HAVE for the following three reasons:
1. What it does.
2. How well it does it.
Sample will undoubtedly have universal appeal among musical people of all kinds in every genre. It’s extremely easy to use and extremely effective. There are many other reasons to dig this software.* I believe Sample lives up to the hype — it’s the real deal! It’s not perfect, but for a version 1.0 it’s pretty close! Updates should iron-out any wrinkles. I stand by my before mentioned claim — Serato Sample is a MUST HAVE! Bravo, Serato. I’m proud to be a registered user, and for the price I don’t think I’ll be alone! But don’t just take my word for it. They offer a free 30-day trial:*https://serato.com/sample/
Note: For more info and learning, check out the Sample Tutorials page: https://serato.com/sample/tutorials
*Admittedly, I’m not the best at figuring out notes and keys from found samples. In the past, I relied on my guitarist for that! Sample will do key detection PLUS shift it via Pitch 'n Time. These features are enough for me to justify the purchase.