Convert Audio To MIDI For FREE With Samplab

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Samplab is a free VST plugin (AU available for macOS) that makes your loops and samples stand out from the crowd. It analyzes the audio, converts it to MIDI, and lets you rearrange the notes.

Whether you use Loopcloud, Splice, sample packs (Slate Digital makes awesome packs), or anything similar, finding the right loop/sample is just the first step. The better it is, the more chance other people feel the same way.

So, the second step is figuring out how to make it completely distinguishable from what anyone else might do with it. It’s nothing new; as music-makers, we are used to chopping and adding effects to samples in order to be different.

But most people have probably walked away from a great sample/loop because it’s too common at least once.

Samplab offers a different approach to making your samples/loops unique. It takes your harmonic audio sample and turns it into MIDI. Once you have MIDI notes, you’re free to edit pitch, note length, tempo, and so on till you’re happy.

When you drop your audio into the Samplab plugin, it sends it to the Samplab server for processing. During this step, you’ll need to be connected to the internet but can work offline once the MIDI result is received.

At this point, the plugin becomes a virtual instrument that will play back the MIDI notes and any changes you make.

Before you make any changes, the MIDI sequence should sound just like the audio track. It will be interesting to test Samplab with more complex audio and see how authentic the sound remains when you make more severe changes to the MIDI. So far, Samplab seems to be very accurate in creating the right notes and playing back the correct sound.

Functions like Flex Pitch in Logic Pro X also allow us to create MIDI events from audio tracks. The difference is that it’s rarely as accurate and doesn’t playback in the same sound.

Samplab cuts out some tedious work like manually adjusting some MIDI notes that are slightly off. It definitely provides a much faster, easier way to work, and I really like that!

The obvious benefit of using Samplab is that you have more editing options when you don’t want the chopped sound. It’s not just about changing the key either (we can do that in Output’s Arcade); it’s about dropping in chord substitutions and changing the feel.

As I said, I do want to push Samplab more and see how the results stack up, but I like it. I think it’s a very cool idea that could prove to be very useful.

Download: Samplab (VST/AU plugin format for Windows & macOS)

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About Author

James is a musician and writer from Scotland. An avid synth fan, sound designer, and coffee drinker. Sometimes found wandering around Europe with an MPC in hand.

7 Comments

  1. Drag and drop not working for Studio One. It says “Drag and Drop” to the instrument track, which doesn’t work. And while you are dragging, it says hit Alt-Tab twice, and THEN drag and drop, which does not work either…and is just weird.

    Also, just FYI, it will not process longer than a 10 second sample and the low cpu/mono options are the only ones available (the high quality/stereo options are said to be on the way).

  2. Works flawlessly in FL Studio.The very first sample I converted was the inspiration for a new composition. Very excited about the possibilities this software presents. It’s an excellent compositional and inspirational tool.

  3. Drag and drop does not work in Logic 10.4.8 either. Also not more than 10 seconds allowed and only mono output.
    Well – this is a nice offer at first sight but I’m pretty sure the users are not more than beta testers. The next step will be an expensive subscription module or a plugin to purchase.
    Nevertheless the output I got is pretty impressive.

    • Call me stupid and lazy, but “not having the ability to name chords and keys immediately after hearing it” is not equal to “mentally and physically unable to make music”. Playing instruments can help you know how a particular chord and/or note sounds like, sure, but each instruments has a different way to play, with many aren’t able to play chords normally as you do on the keyboard/piano roll (with guitars having an entirely different chord voicing system and many like strings and brass instruments can only play 2-3 notes at the same time with special techniques). And coming from me who learned 5 different instruments and can’t play any single one properly yet still have 500 fans on Soundcloud (not really a good measure, I know, but I don’t post my music anywhere else) I’d say that in this modern age where many software are available for free and many hardware are available for cheap, making good music is easier than ever.

      P/S: i do not care if you were being sarcastic with your comment or not, i just want to state my points in case anyone else is thinking the same as you

      P/s/s: for good measure i am not undermining the effort it takes to make good music in the recent times

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