Samplers are as popular as ever, and the older ones are mostly turning into collectors’ items. Producers will swear by the sound of their vintage samplers. It’s a heavily debated topic, and ultimately comes down to preference and taste, but there is no denying that each of these samplers have their own unique sound. Some of the most popular include the Emu SP-1200 and SP-12 Turbo, the Ensoniq ASR-10 and EPS 16, the Akai MPC60, MPC3000, and s950, and there are many more. There are even VST plugins like BitCrusher that emulate the sound of a lower bitrate sampler.

Grit Wars is an attempt to give you a much better idea between the differences of these samplers. We’ve put together three kits:

  • Drums, to show the effect of each sampler on kicks, hats, snares and breakbeats.
  • Loops, various samples with everything from keyboards and drums to vocals.
  • Misc, basically just another set of sounds to demonstrate the effects of the sampler.

This kit is sent through each sampler by and some of our users, and then recorded again for comparison.  Right now these are all supplied in. zip files, however there will be a much easier flash interface very soon!  Enough backstory, as this page will be updated again when the new Grit Wars player is done, on to the samples!

Akai MPC2000XL

The MPC2000XL has been said to “muddy” samples, and leave them sounding a little dead.  This is actually the original source for the samples, so if you want to process the kits on your own equipment to send back, please use this set of kits!

MPC2000XL Drums, MPC2000XL Loops, MPC2000XL Misc Samples

Akai s950

Still in use today by the legendary DJ Premier, the s950 is a fairly simple to use rack-mount sampler, which is probably one of the cheapest options for that 12-bit crunch.

s950 Drums, s950 Loops, s950 Misc Samples

Emu SP-1200

Probably the most popular of all 12-bit samplers, the Emu SP-1200 is legendary for it’s grit and unique distortion, which almost sounds like ring modulation.

SP-1200 Drums, SP-1200 Loops, SP-1200 Misc Samples


This is a software-based digital audio effect that emulates the sound of a 12-bit sampler.

BitCrusher Drums, BitCrusher Loops, BitCrusher Misc Samples

More coming soon (along with some graphics)