The Best Samplers to Buy in 2023Buying Guide

Just as software-based samplers have advanced over the last decade, so too has hardware sampler tech. Back in the old days, samplers were very expensive and very limited in what they could do—but now samplers are accessible and powerful no matter your budget, from tiny stand-alone units to high-end studio centerpieces.

With so many alternatives, how do you pick which hardware sampler is ideal for you? There are a lot of new hardware samplers to pick from, from low-cost entry level samplers to feature-packed production machines. And while some are only suitable for splicing loops, others are far better at live performance.

Which is which? And which is right for you? Let's take a look at some of the best available options that are available right now.

  • Akai MPC Live II Standalone Sampler / Sequencer

    The legendary MPC workflow with all the modern bells and whistles. MPC Live 2 is one of the ultimate portable samplers—a virtual studio in a box—that is also great for live performance. This model features a built-in speaker and a longer-lasting battery than its predecessor. CV and Gate outputs have also been added to connect with modular Eurorack systems and other CV gear.

  • Native Instruments Maschine Plus

    The Maschine computer-software-and-controller combo is so popular of that Native Instruments put it all in on one standalone device. The Maschine+ includes everything you'd want from the famous program—and you can sample directly into the machine without a computer. Then, when you do want to integrate a computer, the Machine+ is both a controller and a recording interface.

  • Roland SP-404MkII

    The fully redesigned 404 includes everything producers loved about the original sampler, but adds a ton of modern upgrades: auto-cutting, an envelope, pitch and tempo control, velocity-sensitive pads, an editing screen, multiple effects per pad, 16GB storage, and more. Not only is it a fantastic live performance sampler but all its new features put it on par with most mid-budget standalone samplers.

  • Elektron Model:Samples Groovebox

    Model:Samples is an entry-level version of Elektron's Digitakt, with a few unique distinction, such as the fact that it has only one knob for each operation and also velocity sensitive pads. You can't use it to sample directly, but you can load up samples via Elektron's Transfer software. If you like the idea but want to expand, consider the Digitakt or Octatrack.

  • Novation Circuit Rhythm Groovebox

    The Circuit Rhythm is the newest member of the Circuit family, and it's a sampler rather than a groovebox. Auto-slicing allows you to chop, mangle, and recombine your samples without the need for a visual display screen. The Rhythm also includes an amazing sequencer with note-mutation capabilities, which you can use to randomize and remix sample triggers. The cost is also reasonable, especially if you're getting it as your first sampler.

  • Korg Volca Sample 2 Digital Sample Sequencer

    The updated Korg Volca Sample 2 sampler and sequencer is a refined version of the original generation, improving on what made it great while adding more features. Don't be fooled by its size; it's a tiny workhorse like all Volcas. The Volca Sample 2 now has USB capability, allowing you to easily communicate between your DAW and the device. You can simply connect a keyboard, pad controller, or sequencer to it and use it as a sample player.

  • 1010 Music Blackbox Desktop Compact Sampling Studio

    In terms of features, the Blackbox sampler is a standalone product that has a full touchscreen user interface and works well with modular systems. Ableton-style launching allows users to record loops, launch loops, and stems. You may also chop, arrange, and sequence your samples, plus add synths, meaning you're able to construct entire songs using this ultra-compact sampler.

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

Oops, looks like you forgot something. Please check the fields highlighted in red.