Sampling and Audio Production


Authored by David Doms


Course Code: OLMSC-260

Next Semester Starts
June 26, 2023

Level 2

Level 2

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


The development of sampling technology has spurred vast changes in the way music is created, produced, and performed. This course begins by taking you through the basics of the sampler's parts and functions, and looks at some of the different ways this versatile tool can be used. 

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Particular focus will be given to Reason's NN-XT sampler to examine more in-depth principles associated with sampling, including programming single and multi-sample programs, digital signal processing, and extending the sampler program using synthesis—techniques that are used extensively in dance music, hip-hop, and many other musical genres. In addition to the NN-XT, you will work with the other sample players in Reason, including the NN-19, Redrum, and Dr. Rex. You'll also learn to create unique instruments and sounds, including some made from your own recorded audio, and use them effectively—a benefit for all producers and engineers, as well as performing musicians. By the end of the course, you will be able to create fully functional sampler programs with your own source material, as well as prepare an audio project based entirely on the use of sampling and samplers. And, you'll get an educational discount on Reason.

To be successful in this course, you should have good computer skills, know how to configure your computer for sound, and have a MIDI keyboard.

See our Student Deals page after enrolling for exclusive discount offers on a Reason+ Subscription.

Course Objectives

At the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Examine the principles and techniques associated with sampling and samplers, including recording, editing, and programming
  • Create fully functional sampler programs with their own source material
  • Create an audio project based on the use of sampling and samplers
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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Lesson 1: What is a Sampler?

  • The Model of a Basic Sampling System
  • Hardware Samplers
  • Soft-Samplers
  • What Makes for a Good Sampler?
  • Assignment: Research Hardware and Soft-Samplers
  • Samplers and Sample Rates
  • Exercise: Listen and Analyze
  • Bit Depth
  • Loading and Storing Samples
  • Workshop: RAM Calculation
  • Exercise: Load and Play the Reason Samplers
  • Quiz

Lesson 2: Sampler Operation Basics

  • Elements of a Sample Program/Loading and Saving Files
  • Sample Libraries
  • Exercise: Samples Research
  • Saving Samples and Programs to Disk
  • Program Elements
  • Exercise: Program Elements
  • File Management
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Editing and Saving an NN-XT Patch

Lesson 3: Samplers and Editing

  • Audio Editors
  • Destructive and Non-Destructive Editing
  • Exercise: Use the Zoom in Function to Make an Edit
  • Setting Play Back Points
  • Exercise: Edit Play Back Points
  • Looping
  • Assignment: Loop Samples
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Building the Class Library Part 1

Lesson 4: Programming Single- And Multi- Sample Programs

  • Creating Your Own Sampler Instruments for Use in Audio Production
  • Creating a Single-Sample Program
  • Exercise: Make a Program
  • Workshop: NN-19 Parameter Quiz
  • Multi -Sample Programs
  • Exercise: Creating Layered Programs
  • Velocity
  • Exercise: Program a Multi-Sample Program
  • Assignment: Putting it Together

Lesson 5: Extending the Program

  • Tuning Offsets
  • Assignment: Make a Percussion Instrument Using Offset Tunings
  • Exercise: Create a Chorus Effects Using Offset Tunings
  • BPM Adjustments Using Classic Pitch Shifting
  • Asynchronous Loops and Multi Layer Sounds
  • Groups
  • Exercise: Adjusting Group Settings
  • Triggering Modes
  • Exercise: Reverse and Alternating Playback Options
  • Discussion: Analyzing an NN-XT Patch

Lesson 6: Extending the Sampler Program through Synthesis

  • Subtractive Synthesis
  • Properties of Sound
  • Signal Flow
  • Oscillators/ Source Sample
  • Exercise: Listen and Analyze
  • Filters
  • Amplifiers
  • Envelope Generators
  • LFOs
  • Exercise: Use the Filter
  • Exercise: Using LFOs
  • Assigning External Modulation Sources to The NN-XT
  • Exercise: Modulating the Amount of LFO 1
  • Exercise: Velocity as a Modulation Source
  • Assignment: Create Your Own Patches

Lesson 7: Planning Your Project

  • Project Parameters
  • Planning Your Instruments
  • Describe Your Sample Project
  • Establishing a Tempo
  • Exercise: Calculating the Tempo for a Loop
  • Rex Files
  • Assignment: Loading and Playing Rex Files: Dr. Rex Loop Player
  • The Redrum
  • Assignment: Create a Redrum Kit for Your Project
  • Loading and Playing Recycle Files in the NN-XT
  • Exercise: Recycle and the NN-XT
  • Assignment: Building Your Instruments: Part 2

Lesson 8: Digital Signal Processing (DSP)

  • File Based Processing
  • Normalize
  • Exercise: Practice Normalizing
  • Exercise: Noise Removal
  • Time Stretch/Compression
  • Exercise: Time and Expansion
  • Pitch Shifting with Time Correction
  • Exercise: Pitch Shifting with Time Correction
  • Fade In/Fade Out and Trim
  • Exercise: Time Warping
  • Assignment: Expanding Your Library

Lesson 9: Recording and Editing Your Own Samples

  • Recording Sounds into Audacity
  • Choosing Sound Sources to Record
  • Exercise: Recording External Sound Sources with Audacity
  • Exercise: Mixing in Audacity
  • Using the Real Time Audio Effects Processors in Reason
  • Exercise: Serial Processing
  • Assignment: Transform Your Own Samples
  • Assignment: Sample Round Robin

Lesson 10: Exploring Extended Features of the NN-XT

  • Using NN-XT Crossfading Feature
  • Exercise: Setting Up Crossfades on the NN-XT
  • Using NN-XT ALT Feature
  • Assignment: Applying ALT Parameter to Zones in an NN-XT Program
  • Assignment: Crossfading between Samples Using an External Controller

Lesson 11: Real-Time Control and Mix Down

  • Work Flow Part 1
  • Discussion: Work Flow Report
  • Using the Separate Outputs of NN-XT
  • Automation
  • Work Flow Part 2
  • Exercise: Mapping External Hardware Controllers
  • Editing Performance Controller Automation Data in Reason
  • Editing Track Parameter Automation Data in Reason
  • Assignment: Applying Mix Automation to Your Final Project

Lesson 12: Project Review and Wrap Up

  • Assignment: Writing Your Report
  • Assignment: Posting Your Project Files
  • Discussion: Final Project
  • What Did You Learn About the Sampling Process?
  • Discussion: Sampling Process


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Completion of Music Production Fundamentals, or equivalent knowledge and/or experience. Sound Design for the Electronic Musician is recommended.

Required Textbook(s)

  • None required

Software Requirements

  • Reason+/Reason 12
  • Audacity (free)
  • Optional: While Reason is required and may be used as a standalone DAW for this course, you may also choose to use Reason Rack as a plug-in in one of the following DAWs for the final project:
    • Logic Pro
    • Ableton Live
    • Pro Tools
    • Cubase

Hardware Requirements

  • MIDI keyboard controller

After enrolling, please check the Getting Started section of your course for potential deals on required materials. Our Student Deals page also features several discounts you can take advantage of as a current student. Please contact for any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


David Doms

Author & Instructor

David Doms, Associate Professor in the Music Synthesis Department at Berklee College of Music, has a long history of teaching MIDI and music synthesis. At Berklee, he teaches "Advanced Digital Sampling," "Advanced MIDI Systems," and "MIDI systems," and before coming to Berklee, he spent ten years at the New England Institute of Art teaching music synthesis and MIDI.

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He has composed and produced TV and radio commercials for regional and national broadcast, corporate video, and film, including music for NBC, Fox TV, Xerox, and Gillette. He is a published songwriter with Warner-Chappell and DSM. As a producer, musician, and songwriter, his work has appeared on numerous releases, including Down Avenue (RCA), Robin Lane, Charles Pettigrew (formerly of Charles and Eddie), Laurie Geltman, and Ivan DePrume. His current project, Dreamtime9, is a combination of fuel-injected jazz/blues-based songs, integrated with ambient laptop and spoken word. David holds a Bachelor of Music from Boston University. He performs regularly in the Boston area and is working on a new release with Dreamtime9. Read Less


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