A Rookie’s Guide to Sampling Vinyl (Without Expensive Gear)


The world of vinyl sampling has been around for a while now, offering producers unique sounds that traditional digital music software just can’t quite capture.

While this method often comes with expensive hardware like record players and mixers, not everyone needs to invest in fancy gear to get started.

In this ultimate beginner’s guide, we will explore how to sample vinyl using your existing setup – and without spending a lot of money.

We will discuss the different methods for digitizing samples, editing them in digital audio workstations, as well as exporting them elsewhere. So get your turntables spinning and let’s start sampling!

What does it mean to sample vinyl?

Sampling vinyl is a great way to get classic, unique sounds for your music production.

It involves using turntables to play records and then capturing the sound from the needle as it moves along the grooves of the record.

Sampling vinyl is a rewarding process which can help you create something entirely new with existing sounds.

How do you sample vinyl?

The first step of sampling vinyl is gathering all the necessary materials. You will need a turntable, an audio interface, a DAW, and a vinyl record. Connect your turntable to your audio interface, enable audio recording in your DAW, and play the record as it captures the audio.

Once you’ve finished capturing your sample, simply export it as an audio file so that you can use it in any DAW or music production software of your choice. With a little practice and patience, sampling vinyl can be a fun and creative way to make unique music with classic sounds.

Why producers sample vinyl

Sampling vinyl is a great way to add classic and unique sounds to your music production. It’s a rewarding process which allows you to create something entirely new with existing sounds.

There are many benefits of sampling vinyl, including the ability to capture a range of sound sources, such as scratching, drum breaks and bass lines.

Additionally, sampling vinyl can help you maintain the original integrity of the sound source, as opposed to digital recordings which may suffer from compression or other forms of audio degradation.

Sampling vinyl is also an inexpensive way of producing music without having to buy expensive instruments or software. All you need is a turntable, an audio interface and a DAW; this makes it ideal for bargain-hunting crate diggers and DJs.

Finally, sampling vinyl can be a fun and creative way to make unique music with classic sounds. With a little practice and patience, you can create something truly special.

Equipment Needed for Sampling Vinyl

To get started with sampling vinyl, there are a few key pieces of equipment that you’ll need. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Audio Interface

An audio interface is a must-have for any serious vinyl sampler. It connects your turntable and mixer to your computer, allowing you to easily record, edit and mix your samples.

Audio interfaces can range from simple devices that plug into your laptop or desktop to more complex models with multiple inputs and outputs. When selecting an audio interface, it’s important to consider the sample rate and bit depth you need for your project as well as the type of connection it has.

Additionally, be sure to check the specifications of your software to make sure it’s compatible with the interface you’ve chosen. With a good audio interface, you’ll be able to capture everything from subtle nuances of classic records to hard-hitting drum loops.

Record Player

Whether you’re using your turntable to sample beats or just to enjoy classic records, it’s essential that you buy one that suits your needs.

Look for features like adjustable speed control, adjustable tone arm height, and adjustable anti-skating weight. Be sure that the record player you use is compatible with your audio interface as well; this will allow you to easily connect your turntable and mixer to your computer and record samples with ease.

With the right setup, you can create unique sounds that capture the essence of classic vinyl records.

Phono Preamp (Optional)

A phono preamp amplifies the signal from your turntable to the level that most audio interfaces require. Without one, you may not be able to record your samples accurately.

When shopping for a phono preamp, look for features like adjustable gain and adjustable RIAA equalization curves – these will help ensure that your recordings sound as good as possible. Some higher-end models also feature selectable input impedance and capacitance, allowing you to customize the sound of each particular sample you create.

Investing in a quality phono preamp is a great way to get the most out of sampling vinyl records.

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

If you’re serious about sampling vinyl records, a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is a must-have. A DAW allows you to record, edit and mix your samples with ease.

With its editing capabilities, you can adjust the pitch, speed and other parameters of your samples – giving you complete control over the way they sound. You can also add effects like reverb or delay for a more polished sound.

Plus, by using a DAW as part of your setup, you won’t have to worry about using any additional hardware – just plug in your turntable, hook up your audio interface and start sampling. With the right DAW and some practice, you’ll soon be creating amazing music from your vinyl recordings.

Steps to Sample Vinyl

Now that you’ve gathered all the required materials, let’s take a look at the steps to sample vinyl records.

Step 1: Set Up Equipment

Before you begin, make sure the turntable is set up properly and that it is connected to your phono preamp and/or audio interface. This helps to amplify the signal from your turntable before it reaches your DAW.

Make sure all cables are securely connected, and then adjust the gain on the preamp to match your turntable’s output level. Now you’re ready to start recording.

Step 2: Prepare Vinyl Record

Before you start spinning, clean your vinyl with a dedicated record brush or a soft cloth. This removes any dust and dirt that could interfere with the playback.

Once you’ve given it a good brush, make sure to place the needle on the outer edge of the record, never directly onto a song. This ensures that you don’t accidentally skip or damage your record as you sample it.

Take some time to familiarize yourself with the grooves and how they work; this will help you get better results when sampling and recording your vinyl collection.

Step 3: Sample Vinyl

Now that you’ve prepared your vinyl record, it’s time to start sampling.

Start by cueing up your track and adjusting the volume to an appropriate level. Make sure you don’t crank it too high or you could damage your speakers!

Once the needle is in the groove, hit play and start recording. You can use a dedicated hardware sampler or use software on your computer.

When sampling, make sure to keep an eye out for any unwanted noise that might appear on the record, such as pops or clicks. These can be removed during post-production but it’s always better to avoid them in the first place. When you’re done recording, save your samples to your device.

Step 4: Edit Sample

Now that you’ve sampled your vinyl, it’s time to edit your samples.

Start by importing your samples into the software program of your choice. Here you can trim out any unwanted noise or silence from the beginning and end of each sample as well as adjust the volume levels.

You can also add effects such as EQ, compression, reverb and delay to further enhance your sound.

Step 5: Export Sample

Now that your samples are edited, it’s time to export them.

Exporting your samples will save them in a format that’s compatible with other music software programs or audio players. To export, simply go to the File menu of your chosen software program and select “Export.”

Here you can choose the file type you want to save your samples as (usually .wav or .aiff). Once you have chosen the file type, give your sample a name, choose where you want to save it on your computer, and hit “Export.”

Congratulations – you have now successfully sampled vinyl!

Wrapping Up

With just a few simple steps, you can easily start exploring the wide array of music and sounds that can be found on old vinyl records.

Even if you’re on a limited budget, you can still get the most from your record collection with a few key pieces of equipment.

With this guide and a bit of practice, you too can create unique sounds and rhythms from your favorite records.

So don’t be afraid to get out there and start experimenting.

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