Music production has improved over the years and can only get better thanks to technological advancement. Back then, it was difficult to produce a string or piano sound using a keyboard because of the storage limitation of computers when the total sizes of hard drives were in megabytes. However, as technology got better, we got ROMplers that changed the whole scape when it comes to synthesizers. Interestingly, many years after its invention, ROMplers still possess this shroud of mystery as many do not know what they are. As a result, we have taken our time to write this article to explain what a ROMpler is. Where a ROMpler plugin can be used? We also give you a brief history of this device and much more.
What is a ROMpler?
The word “ROMpler” is gotten from the combination of two words which are “Read-Only Memory” (ROM) and “Sampler”.You can click here to learn more about ROM.
A ROMpler, therefore, is a sampler that can produce several sounds and voices by making use of samples that have been stored in the device’s internal memory. It has samples of simple analog waveforms, drums, and acoustic instruments.
As the kilobytes count, they are then compressed using certain nonlinear techniques that are advanced which helps in optimizing the memory intake, which in turn allows one to manipulate the sample in such a way that can’t be done with a regular audio file.
ROMplers may offer certain effects selection. Also, they may have arpeggiators and are usually designed with a piano-like interface.
The popular use of this device can be said to have occurred during the 1980s. This was as a result of the cheaper price of memory which gave people additional storage for sampling.
The popularity of these devices during that period was so much that to date, the most sold keyboard in history is the KORG M1, the first manufactured ROMpler. And the most sought presets to date are that of another ROMpler, the Roland D-50 since music greats such as the king of pop Michael Jackson made use of them.
Despite their popularity then, due to further technological advancement, their usage in studios has declined. Nevertheless, these plugins are still great when used during live performances since they have certain features which we discuss later on.
When Can ROMpler Plugins be used?
The following are instances when you can use these plugins…
1. Classic Authentic Sound
These plugins are perfect when you are trying to reproduce a classic authentic sound. It is used to get the exact original sound even though there might be a slight difference. The reason for the difference is attributed to timbre. Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbre to learn more about timbre.
Also, some presets are great for creating that vintage classic feeling in the ears of your listeners.
2. Faster Workflow
The user interfaces of most of these plugins are designed to be fast-paced. Hence, you don’t need to switch any key or anything like that to get your desired sound.
While it offers you a faster workflow, note that you might not get a perfect sound like the one you would get if you used an orchestral sampler or an analog synth. Nevertheless, the sound will still be good enough and will suffice.
3. Live Performance
As we mentioned earlier, ROMplers are perfect for live performances thanks to their compact user interface. Therefore, it offers a wide range of splitting options and layering.
Furthermore, the samples can be easily manipulated compared to regular samplers. Hence, you can easily alter the sound at a moment’s notice.
Is learning to use ROMpler Plugins Difficult?
Compared to other plugins, ROMplers are very easy to learn. All you need to do isselect the desired sound you intend to use and then play alongside. These plugins usually depend on how well you know how to play the keyboard.
They are great as a tool for song composition as they are the only type of plugin that allows one to change from a classic gospel organ to drum sound with just some clicks.
The ease of use is so simplified that a kid can learn how to use it because of its user-friendly interface. This is why they are sometimes used as a fun or educative tool for kids to aid them to understandthe workings of regular synthesis better.
If you are looking for the best rompler plugins, we recommend the SpectrasonicsOmnisphere 2, IK Multimedia Sample Tank 4, and the Arturia Analog Lab 4.
ROMplers are a great tool for music production. And they will still be relevant for some years to come. As far as people still need to produce classic vintage sounds, these plugins will always be called upon to deliver the goods.