For quite some time now, the world needed a nice workflow-oriented freeware sampler to substitute the legendary Shortcircuit 1 by Vember Audio (the plugin is no longer supported and doesn’t work on 64-bit systems). Thankfully, One Small Clue delivered the perfect substitute, and then some!
Originally priced at $29 and re-released as a freeware instrument in September this year, Grace is hands-down the best freeware sampler at the moment, for completing everyday sampling tasks. It won’t substitute a feature-packed workhorse sampler like Native Instruments Kontakt or MOTU Mach 5, but it is the virtual instrument to use if you want to quickly map some samples to you MIDI keyboard and start making music in a matter of minutes. TX81x and sforzando are still excellent choices for more complicated sampling tasks, however Grace is the one that we’re now using as our go-to sampler in almost every new project.
Simplicity and ease of use are not the only things that Grace has to offer, though. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find a brilliant modulation section, paired up with a nice sounding set of resonant filters and some basic, but still very useful effects. The modulation section is Grace’s second biggest strength, sporting a pair of ADSR envelopes, two syncable LFOs, two surprisingly versatile step sequencers and a handy pair of XY pads which can be used to control multiple parameters simultaneously. The demo video linked below shows how easy it is to make some totally insane arpeggios using Grace’s built-in step sequencers.
Last but not least, Grace is delivered with a useful collection of factory patches created by none other than Waveshaper, a talented sound designer who’s drum machine sample packs are frequently featured in our Soundware News section. Oh and by the way, we liked Grace so much that we released some additional free sounds for it ourselves. These can be downloaded in our in-depth review which you can read below.