Best samplers 2023: 16 top picks for every use and price

Hardware sampling is officially back. As the power of music software rapidly advanced throughout the ‘00s and ‘10s, hardware samplers began to fall out of fashion as producers favoured the flexibility of the DAW. Times change, though, and many music-makers ultimately missed the satisfyingly tactile approach of using a hardware machine to splice, arrange and process audio. Hardware samplers have never been more powerful than they are today, and digitally recording and manipulating audio is no longer the domain of software only. That’s why today, we’re taking a look at the best samplers.

Back in the ‘90s, hardware samplers were big, clunky rackmount units that needed to be hooked up to plenty of other gear to fit into a producer’s workflow. These days, the best samplers have become massively powerful creative tools that can be used for a variety of tasks by everyone from gigging musicians to EDM producers. Sampling workstations can even be used to create entire pieces of music without a computer. Funnily enough, this means we’ve gone full-circle: from basic rack samplers that complemented computers, to desktop computers running software samplers, right back to standalone powerhouse samplers that do everything out of the box without a DAW in sight!