Every now and then, even old timers get hit with gear lust. And, that’s exactly what happened the first time I saw the new Electribe Sampler from Korg. With its matte black, smooth, almost rubbery exterior, and the evil, pulsing lights that illuminate the hidden power within, it’s a dangerous little machine to introduce into any rig. In this review, I’m going to fill you in on how well the Electribe Sampler is doing in my particular rig.
Out of the Box...
There was more than a little excitement within me as I began cracking into the inner mechanics of the Electribe Sampler. From the start, I couldn’t help but marvel at not only a seemingly well-put-together device, but at such a well-rounded sampler, capable of being a mercurial workhorse that can blend into the studio, and even seamlessly into Ableton Live. In a sense, I was excited about buying into a drum machine with sampling capabilities that could be integrated into many different modes of my life. It can even act as a MIDI controller! So, I guess I saw it as not only a new tool, but also a lifestyle upgrade.
The power on of the Electribe Sampler is much like you’d expect: a lot of bling. But, it’s not over the top, leaving you blind and confused. It’s just enough, if you know what I mean.
The pads feel incredible, as well as the built-in Kaoss pad, which, surprisingly, can lead down a rabbit hole of fun, while still sounding session worthy. No small feat! Especially from the more rhythmically challenged. Also worthy of mention: the backlit knobs are smooth as silk, and solid as a rock.
Performing My Life Away....
One of the features that really got me, before the unit arrived was, in addition to MIDI In and Out, the Electribe Sampler has CV Sync In and Out. And, without any additional setup, this already works. Plug and play!
So, even in my earliest jam sessions, I found myself already bringing friends in. And, it was while jamming with volca beats and bass that I got a taste for how easy it is to program not only rhythmic patterns, but melodic patterns as well. Because the Electribe Sampler has audio inputs (hey, remember it’s a sampler!), you can remix what your volca is doing, even while you jam out. Or, you should be able to, right?
This was my first frustration, right here: no real-time sampling during sequence playback. I was hoping to be able to resample in real time, as well as to sample and audition what is coming into the input, in real time. Sadly, this is currently not possible. However, one hopes that a future update will include such a feature.
However, the Ableton Live Import/Export feature did make up for this. Having the ability to export one, or multiple patterns, to a memory card, as an Ableton Live set is awesome! It’s quite nice to be able to work away from the computer, and then have what I did on the go come up, Ableton-ready (yes, it does take batteries)... Well, it’s bringing about some really fun new workflows for me.
While the Electribe Sampler doesn’t do everything I wanted, it still does quite a bit, and then some. And, there are always update possibilities from a company that has a history of providing cool updates. Regardless of what may come, right now, the Electribe Sampler is awesome, and is a great boon for both the beginner, and seasoned veteran. Oh, and did I mention it’s even got LEDs underneath it? Bling, bling!
Price: $499 USD
Pros: A powerful sampling sequencer, with cool export options. A ton of cool presets. The powerful Step Jump mode from the volca series. CV Ins and Outs, MIDI Ins and Outs, and much more!
Cons: No real-time sample audition. No ability to sample in real time. No ability to real-time resample. Remember to save samples to memory card before powering off.