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Should You Consider a Sampler or Synthesizer When Choosing a Piano Keyboard Online

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Should You Consider a Sampler or Synthesizer When Choosing a
Midi Piano Keyboard

by Dan Maynard


How can you buy a midi piano keyboard online and select the best features — a sampler or synthesizer that meets your needs? 

mouse playing keyboard You begin by making a list of only the functions you will use to make sure your keyboard meets all your needs and to ensure that you are not paying for features you will never use. 

One of the questions to ask yourself could be whether you need a synthesizer or a sampler or perhaps neither. Understanding the difference between the two, and some of their advantages might make your decision easier. The technology today makes both very affordable. 

The sound produced by a synthesizer is made by oscillators which produce electrical fluctuations. 

  • The faster the oscillator fluctuates the higher the pitch of the sound. 

  • The output of an oscillator is called a waveform, and the more intricate the shape of the waveform the more harmonics will be present in the sound you hear. 

  • The sound produced by the oscillators is static with no change in tone or harmonic content. 

  • To produce these changes requires sound modifiers such as filters, envelope generators and amplifiers. 

Samplers work in a very different way, by digitally recording actual sounds. 

  • These sounds retain their harmonic variations, such as becoming fuller and louder or softer and quieter. 

  • With a sampler you are not limited to the waveforms made available in a synthesizer by the manufacturer, but can record any sound and play it back in a realistic manner. 

  • Once you have recorded a sound in a sampler you can transpose it, speed it up or slow it down, play it in either direction, or make it play in a continuous loop. 

  • The sound can be processed using similar electronic gadgets as those found in a synthesizer. 

On this basis, a sampler would seem to be the clear choice as it is capable of reproducing more realistic sounds than a synthesizer. However, there must be some advantages to a synthesizer or everybody would be using samplers. 

It is true that a sampler is superior for producing realistic acoustic
sounds, however, if your goal is to create exceptional non-imitative sounds, most synthesizers outshine samplers every time. A synthesizer also requires less sample memory and storage capacity which makes it more practical to integrate into a keyboard. Money that you save on memory can be spent on upgrading other features. 
hippy man sitting cross legged chanting

Another advantage of synthesizers is that their sounds load up very quickly, being stored in ROM or RAM memory, whilst sampled sounds usually need to be stored in external storage and take a long time to upload. 

Ultimately whether you need a synth or a sampler depends what you will be using your keyboard for. If you want to reproduce authentic acoustic sounds then it is worth getting a
sampler, however if you want unique electronic sounds a synthesizer will meet your needs. 



About the author: Dan Maynard is a pianist, marketer and writer. He has a passion for playing the piano and learning about the latest models of digital pianos. You can visit his web site at


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