A type of audio synthesis that employs sampled sounds or instruments as the basis for its sounds. Sample-based synthesis should not be confused with wavetable synthesis. An advantage of this approach is the relatively modest processing power required (compared to physical modeling or other types of synthesis), since the tonal characteristics of each instrument are “built in” to the samples.
Early samplers were severely limited by the expense of memory, and therefore utilized the shortest samples possible, augmenting their length by looping and achieving pitch changes via “stretching” one sample across several notes. Later samplers offered much more memory and storage capability, allowing sound designers to employ multisamples to provide more realistic changes in dynamics and timbre.
A number of manufacturers offer sample-based synthesizers under a variety of names. Korg’s HI (Hyper-Integrated), Yamaha’s AWM (Advanced Wave Memory), and others differ mainly in the number and types of filters and modulation sources that can be applied to the samples. Software instruments such as TASCAM GigaStudio and Native Instruments Kontakt also provide a wide range of sample-editing features.