When you have a DAW to use at home, it can be lots of fun to experiment with your audio and mastering techniques.
One option that many home musicians use with their recording software involves samples and loops.
Since VCV Rack is a standalone-only choice, you don’t receive the integrated sampling in the software like you would with Garageband, Logic, and similar products.
That doesn’t mean you can’t add those sounds to your mix. It just requires some extra effort on your end to find the best sample players that work with VCV Rack.
Does VCV Rack Have Any Good Sample Players?
VCV Rack is a free Eurorack simulator that works for most major operating systems and platforms. It’s a complete mastering platform that includes LFO-1, MIDI-CV, VCO-1, VIZ, Scope, and more. With virtual cables and sample players, users can produce accurate mapping.
VCV Rack is an open-source download that gives you a Eurorack-emulating DAW that works for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It serves as a standalone option that lets you experiment with these audio concepts without much risk.
You receive a massive rack with the download, along with several modules that let you populate the audio you prefer. Although most of them are also free, some of them do require a modest investment to get the results you want.
The coding is also available with VCV Rack if you want to jump into the deep end for something more customizable. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you want, which is why it is such a great piece of software to consider.
Although it is standalone-only, you can integrate it with several different environments. The best option is Ableton through the Ableton Link, but you can use it with any DAW when the correct internal audio router gets used.
If you’ve ever wanted to explore Eurorack concepts, this open-source software sounds fantastic. You’ll love experimenting with it!
What Are the Best Sample Players for VCV Rack?
1. cf Player
With cf Player, you have a sample player that comes straight from the VCV Rack library. It’s built to produce the best playback possible with the open-source software.
Accessing this sample player’s benefits is relatively simple. All you need to do is follow these steps to have a successful outcome.
- Download VCV Rack and complete the installation procedures.
- Register for your VCV account.
- Log in using the Library menu.
- Subscribe to the plugin, relaunch Rack, and then click the Update All option underneath the Library heading.
- Restart Rack with the new modules included with the final patch.
When you download this module, you’ll have access to the source code. There’s also a user manual to access for it, making it much easier to maximize the benefits right away for your sampling work.
2. Bidoo OUAIve
OUAIve is another option that comes straight from the VCV Rack library. It’s simplified compared to some other downloads, making it easier for beginners to take advantage of the benefits of sampling with their work.
Here is what you can expect when opting for this sample player with VCV Rack.
|TRIG Mode:||The sample start position CV gets controlled by the POS. Play gets triggered by the TRIG CV, while the rate is controlled from x0.5 to x10 with no time stretching. That makes it similar to the speed changes experienced on vinyl.|
|GATE Mode:||This feature provides free control on the play head by CV on the POS, with it opened by the GATE CV.|
|SLICE Mode:||You get up to 128 CV slices with this option, with forward, backward, and repeat modes. It’s CV controlled, including with the play rate, but the POS can override them when necessary.|
When your goal is to add more drums into your final mix, this sampler delivers the best results for your at-home work. Although the options for working with live sounds are somewhat limited, you’ll have patches and synths that can give you some positive outcomes.
There’s a free and paid version to consider for VCV Rack. You’ll receive a collection of sound and VCO generators, including square, cosine, kick, hats, and the triple oscillator. The latter choice offers amplitude modulation techniques that can give you lots of flexibility to consider when developing your unique sound.
It’s available through the official VCV Plugin Manager or autodafe.net.
If you use this sampler with VCV Rack, it’ll give you more options for your drums and beats. It provides a wonderful gate sequencer that creates magic for your DAW work. You’ll find that Aepelzen is compact, easy to use, and loads multiple samples that are CV-selected or manually chosen.
The equalizers with this download are modeled after Hexmix, with the frequency response of the overall EQ delivering unclipped output.
Its structure, especially with the drum sampler, is to develop directories with similar sounds and sliced loops to make your integration work manageable. You can also access a gate sequencer and pattern merging.
This freeware delivers the most comprehensive solution for sampler management. You have access to over 140 modules with this plugin, ranging from HiVerb Reverb to a Jooper 8 channel. Although this option takes more time to learn, you’ll find that the flexibility is worth the overall investment.
It’s an excellent choice for anyone who wants the full-service experience through a digital format. You’ll get close to in-person mastering at the studio with this software, which means your MIDI and recording equipment might require an upgrade.
Music Sampling: Should I or Should I Not Use Sampling?
Let’s say you’ve written a song that feels like it’s one of the best you’ve ever created. The melody and lyrics are flowing like a raging river, but you feel like something is missing.
A few days later, you’re driving to pick up your kid from soccer practice when a song from the 1960s comes on the radio. You hear a trumpet riff in the background and realize that sweet sound is what needs to be in your audio mix.
If you cut that piece from the song, which is a sample, the final master can have the results you want. The only problem is that you need to get permission to use it.
Without clearance, any unauthorized sampling from other musicians can put you at risk for litigation if you publish the work for public consumption.
It might be tempting to say that you’ve changed the music enough in the sample so that clearance isn’t needed to publish the work.
Getting permission isn’t always easy. If you need to contact an independent artist to obtain sample clearance, your process could be lengthy.
That’s why the best choices are for samples that already have commercial licensing or are in the public domain. You don’t need permission for items that aren’t copyright protected.
Steps to Follow for Obtaining Sample Permission
The first step you need to take when using samples that aren’t part of the public domain or under usage licensing is to find the copyright owner.
If you sample music from a recording, you typically need two clearances to use the work in your song.
- The copyright owner of the song, which is usually a publisher, holds one set of rights for the music you want to use.
- The master recordings have a separate copyright, and the record company usually holds that option.
When you only get one of the two copyrights, you won’t have permission to proceed. It’s usually easier to start with the publisher or to hire someone to obtain the clearance for you.
◼️ How to Find the Music Publisher
The easiest way to find a music publisher is to work with today’s performing rights organizations. The two most common ones are BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers).
If you find a sample that you want from a Canadian musician, you’ll need to contact SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada).
BMI offers a searchable database that makes it relatively simple to find most source songs for the samples you want to use.
Once you’ve found the copyright owners, you can contact them to ask if they’ll grant clearance for the source music you want.
Independent musicians might give you permission. You’ll discover that most publishers have a policy not to let people use samples.
◼️ Offer Some Cash for Clearance
Most unsigned artists (and some independent ones) can often avoid the problem of permissions and clearance by offering upfront payments for the right to use specific sounds.
When you can show people that you are willing to write a check, they’re more inclined to start working with you in this industry.
◼️ Have a Plan B
The fact remains that most sample requests get rejected, even if money is involved in that conversation. That means your best option is to take the DAW and recreate the audio you want to include with your composition.
Although legality questions are always possible, master recording infringement occurs with a direct copy. Imitations are not typically something that is pursuable.
You can also turn to bands, publishers, labels, and other artists who are happy to clear samples consistently. Tommy Boy Records is an excellent place to start with this option.
As a final choice, you can contact companies like Songtrust who manage artist rights. They’ll ask you to pay a fee or royalties to get the correct license for samples so that your music can become what you envisioned it.
In Conclusion: Does VCV Rack Have Any Good Sample Players?
I know that Eurorack concepts are taking over the home recording and mastering industry, but I’m more of an old-school musician. I like using virtual sounds, aggregators, and bass samples to add depth and variety to my music.
It’s more fun for me to create dubstep mixes and other electronic music by using adjusted samples for unique sounds. You can produce something custom while adding real instrument play in just minutes using that technique.
When I use VCV Rack, my preference is to have cf Player working to help me with playing samples. It’s less complicated than the other options out there right now, allowing for a faster developmental process when I need that playback option.
Although I’m not a fan of the way the playback speed changes when you alter the engine sample rate,