Samplers where you can automate the start point over MIDI

is this a thing? Why isn’t it a thing? I feel like i’m going to have to work out how to make one at this rate!

in fairness, maybe it’s an insane use case, but I would really like a device that will just play back stereo stems (say four?) and let me play them via MIDI, whilst automating their start point.
I suspect it’s a bit much to ask of a teensy or i’d have a go…

(idea being: stem some parts for a live show, and have them react to Digitakt pattern mutes on a step by step basis.)

thinking about it, the humble Microgranny does it!.. not seen anything else though?

I would have to check the MIDI implementation but if you can control the ‘Slice’ parameter or play slices via MIDI then the Octatrack can do this.

If you’re looking for granular control of the start point of sample playback then you would either get a resolution of 127 start points or need a NRPN to get the level of granularity that would be usable.

Old E-mu samplers were definitely able to route velocity to sample start…

Digitakt should do it.
what about Model:Samples?
Volca Sample (ok, not a sampler)
Sample Drum and other modular bits.

I think plenty of samplers can do it.

Like @trackerjack said, M:S will allow midi automation of sample start on CC19 (but it is mono samples)

Dirtywave M8 will let you assign CCs to any slider (including sample start) and can play up to 8 stereo samples simultaneously


model:samples is mono…
Volca Sample mono, and not enough memory…
Digitakt definitely does, but Mono… and that’s what I want to trigger the stems with…

Octatrack is massive overkill, although I would like the excuse to get one one day, so… ha!

ooo, really! I suspect not enough RAM but worth looking into, thanks.

Otherwise, I basically think I want something no-one else needs, so I may have to work out how to build it! Not sure if modern MPCs might do…

Not really, looking to be able to play on-beat “slices” of a specific length sample I guess. Like… if you have a 16 beat loop on the Digitakt, and play it as one sample then the mutes won’t turn it off until the next trig comes. So instead I’d make the trigs 1/16th long, and put one on each step with a different start point - meaning you can mute on a trig by trig basis AND play the loop through.

if you see what I mean.

ooo. M8 huh. expensive solution, but would be perfect.

Adapted from the DT manual:

Tune 16 1 0
Play mode 17 1 1
Bit reduction 18 1 2
Sample slot 19 1 3
Start 20 1 4
Length 21 1 5
Loop position 22 1 6
Sample level 23 1 7


If you can’t afford the hardware, you could also get a Teensy microcontroller (like $35), load M8 “Headless,” and run off a computer/rpi/etc.

(You can also set slices, which will assign slice to pitch)

I actually have… but then I feel like I might as well just use ableton to trigger the stems (which maybe I should, it’s just nice not to have a laptop on a stage.)

definitely wondering about the possibility of just building this with teensy now…

You can control the sample start point on the Novation Circuit Rhythm. It’s a little wonkier than controlling sample start on the Digitakt but not by much. It also has a slice mode in case you just want to make samples slices instead.

I’ve found my Circuit Rhythm to be a good little buddy to my Digitakt. But it has the same kinds of limitations. Limited sample time - 220 seconds total per pack, with a maximum sample length of 30 seconds. Mono tracks, so no polyphony. And mono samples.

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This is a pretty common feature … “sample start modulation”

It’s on most samplers released after, like, 1989. Exceptions include the classic Roland S-series samplers.

The old Akai S-612 even had a physical slider that let you control it. But, I think, like mentioned above, Model:Samples has a knob for it, right?

Even more powerful than controlling it directly via CC is: being able to route to it via internal modulation, so Velocity or LFO (for example) can affect Sample Start. E-mus and Ensoniqs were great in this regard. Octatrack is a lot of fun with this too.

Some allow you to change the Loop Start … “Loop Start Modulation” instead or in addition to the Sample Start. Because the Sample Start Modulation would only take effect when the sample is triggered, whereas the Loop Start can change while the sample is playing.


Didn’t seem to feature on my s3000xl or the MPC500.

Seems like maybe Akai hardwired it to velocity according to this:

(Tbh i don’t really want to carry an s3000xl to gigs anyway)

You can design a sampler in pure data and run it on a pi or norns or something like that.

This sounds like a good call, going to try and work this out I reckon - such a limited but exact thing I want to do that it probably does make most sense to just make something.