Question about triggering samples live...

eric_eric_ Frets: 2
So there are four of us in my band. Keyboard/vocals, percussion/vocals, guitar, and bass. On some of our recorded tracks there are additional instrument lines e.g. banjo or synth. These are normally quiet brief lines maybe lasting a couple of seconds at most. We want to incorporate these lines into our live performances so are looking at a way to trigger them. We are hesitant to go down the road of bringing a laptop to our live gigs (mainly because it seems more likely for something to go wrong - although maybe this is misguided) so we began looking into hardware-based alternatives and came across the Roland SPD-SX sampling pad. This makes sense for us because the person best equipped in any given song to trigger these is most likely going to be the person on percussion.

Our main concern is ensuring that we play at the right tempo so that the samples are in time when triggered. The only solution to this that I can think of is using a click matched to the original samples. Is there any other potential solution to this? Also, is there any other alternative to the Roland SPD-SX that you would recommend? Appreciate any other info/tips on using samples like this live. Thanks in advance!
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Comments

  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 13558
    I wanted to do exactly this and bought a Digitech JamMan Stereo, which whilst also being a looper pedal, allows for samples to be triggered.  It also has tap-tempo, which allows you to specify the tempo of the sample before you trigger it, and, with an external foot switch, you can change tempo during playback of the sample.

    That’s the theory.  The reality is a little different in my experience.  I quickly abandoned the idea of trying to change the tempo on the fly as whilst I could get the tempo very close after triggering, it proved impossible to get the position of the playback to match the song.  i.e. the sample would end up at the right speed but half a bar out etc.

    If you have a drummer who is happy to play to a click then you’re sorted.  I haven’t met one yet who is though.

    That leaves you with either samples that are not synced, such as some effects; applause, crowd noise, long synth pads that don’t change etc, OR - and I haven’t tried this yet, triggering shorter tempo-based samples and tap-tempoing the current drummer’s speed into it a couple of bars before triggering.  In theory, the sample ought to be at a close enough tempo and, if you trigger it bang on, in sync with the song.  It’s a bit of a gamble though.  As I say, I haven’t tried it yet, and to be truthful, I’m not very confident.  It would definitely work for short sound effects etc, but in my case I was trying to use it to play complete rhythm parts while I did solos as I’m the only guitarist and that hasn’t worked out.

    Hope this helps a bit, even if it’s probably not what you want to hear.
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 1403
    Our drummer has the Roland SPD-SX... incredibly good... we have to play to a click sometimes if it’s a more involved sample but he either uses iem’s to listen to the click or keeps in time with a light on the sampler that flashes to tempo...

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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 13558
    You found the ONE?!  The Keanu Reeves of drummers?!!  The one who is happy to play to a click AND can sync with a flashing light?!!

    Morpheus told me The Oracle had foreseen his coming.  I didn't believe it until now.

    You are blessed to know The One.  The rest of us have to put up with "A click?... in my ears?  Fuck off!".
    Birds are meant to fly free...  Open every cage you see.

    https://www.peta.org/about-peta/why-peta/caged-birds/
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 18870
    SPD-SX is the way to go.
    I am the juice of four limes.
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  • BeexterBeexter Frets: 302
    I've used a Boss RC3 to store and trigger the odd sample and it works well for my basic needs. 
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