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Zoom Sampletrak ST-224
The Zoom Sampletrak ST-224... the poor man's MPC... the last of the 90's samplers... and there's a good chance you've never heard about it.
The Sampletrak is an extremely underrated sampling machine (or dare I say studio) released in 1999 that never found its way to the mainstream spotlight like the the Akais, Korgs, Yamahas, and Ensoniqs did in the 90's. It features real-time sample-mangling options that other more-expensive samplers of its era could only dream of. This along with other features such as the ability to assign the same sample to multiple pads with independent settings, an internal multi-effects unit, and resampling capabilities in 3 different sample rates, make the Sampletrak a legendary instrument.
Another awesome highlight of this machine is its portability and workflow. It is extremely practical because it's so small compared to rack samplers and even most table-top samplers and it is extremely easy to experiment with by using a pitch-wheel-type of control and a couple of knobs.
The different sample rates allow you color your samples creatively although I wouldn't say this machine is as versatile as an MPC60 or EMU SP1200 in terms of grittiness and lo-fi mojo. It definitely has its own character and does color the sound noticeably, so If you use it wisely you will be pleasantly surprised.
Check out http://sampletrak.lefora.com/ for pieces created with the Sampletrak, the forums have undergone plenty of redesigns and modifications so I'm not sure how active the community currently is, but that was the go-to spot for all Sampletrak-related activity. Find on on Ebay for little over $80 and you'll never regret it. I still have mine!