Sampler Track -vs- Audio Track

Continuing my noob exploration of the right zone Media tab, I notice that if I drag and drop a file onto a track in the upper zone it makes an audio track, but if I drag and drop the SAME file onto the lower zone it makes a sampler track. (see image below). What are the differences between those two outcomes? When would someone use or prefer one over the other?

It looks like the sampler track has more control or alteration possibilities, but is there any disadvantage to that? Is there any reason to not use a sample track by default in case I decide I want to alter something about it later?

Thanks in advance.


These are totally different track types.

If you use the Sampler Track, you are creating a new pitched instrument from the sample.

If you use the Audio Track, you are using the sample, cutting it, editing it. But you don’t create an instrument out of it.

If you use the Sampler Track, you are creating a new pitched instrument from the sample.

I don’t understand… To me the thing that plays the sample is the instrument. If a sampler track makes an instrument, why wouldn’t it be an Instrument Track?

The Steinberg documentations says:

The sampler track feature allows you to chromatically play back any audio from your audio sample library via MIDI. You can create and edit new sounds based on specific samples, and integrate them into an existing project.
The sampler track feature includes:
• The Sampler Control section in the lower zone of the Project window. Here you can load and edit audio samples, choose between different playback modes, or transfer samples to Steinberg VST instruments.
• A sampler track in your project that allows you to control the playback of the sample that is loaded in Sampler Control via MIDI.

You can use audio tracks for recording and playing back audio events and audio parts. Each audio track has a corresponding

…so it seems to me they are just two different ways of playing a sample, but the sampler track has a richer set of features. So is there any DISdvantage to always dropping sample files from the Media tab onto the lower zone incase you might need the richer feature set at some point? Does Steinberg discuss this distinction anywhere?

If you want to use the sample as an instrument use the sampler.

If you want to use a series of samples you use an audio track.

Bar 1: phone ring sample
Bar 2: footstep sample
Bar 3: copy of footstep sample
Bar 8: Phone being picked up sample


It is very easy to just drag and drop those samples that you want to use as “oneshots” and create a sequence of them, on just one audio track. Or not, it is an option.

The same would apply for any sample that you didn’t want control over their pitch.

1 Like


Sampler Track is in fact an “Instrument track”, which is using the built-in Instrument (sampler). While using an Instrument track, you can decide which instrument do you want to use.

In the Sampler Track, you have to trigger the loaded sample by sending MIDI Note. If you send the Root Key MIDI Note, you hear the original sample. If you trigger other key, you hear pitched sample.

With the Audio Track, the sample is triggered from the Project window (timeline).

The toolset is different. In the Sampler Track, you have much more tools for creating an instrument. At the other hand, when using Audio Track, you can use Direct Offline Processes.

1 Like