Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Why Is Samplitude Not Better Known?

I seem to be writing a lot about Samplitude at the moment. But if it's so great, why has almost no-one heard of it?

1. Likely the most important reason is that it has never had good promotion or distribution. The current distributor seems keen on changing this, but I don't really see a difference. This is a chicken-and-egg problem for many companies. They cannot afford a big promotions budget so they never sell the product to get their next budget... and so on. Samplitude has relied on word-of-mouth.

2. It is expensive when you look at the list price. Of course there are ways around this. I got lucky and found a copy of a older version very cheap in Toronto. But even if you don't bargain hunt, the "SAM for rent" programme allows purchase for between 20 and 40 euro a month. That's an attractive scheme for most people.

3. It has some interface oddities that one has to learn. This is the very fact that makes the application more powerful once you do learn them.

4. There are sometimes too many different ways to accomplish the same task, and lots of options to configure. A good example is all of the mouse modes. You only need two of them, but the rest are there for backwards compatibility, cluttering up the interface.

5. MIDI support has only recently been decent. This really killed the product for many people who looked at it over the years. In version 6, for example, the MIDI was in no way up to snuff with Cakewalk, Cubase, Logic, etc. What made it worse was that there was an attitude from customer support suggesting Samplitude was an audio product not a MIDI product. So it seemed like it would never be able to compete in this arena. Considering how easy it is to implement MIDI features (compared to good audio features) this was a mistake, IMO. It especially seems so now that MIDI support is good-to-excellent. (Or so they tell me; I need to upgrade.)

6. Being a German product there is a language barrier that extended to the interface (a tiny bit) and the manual (a lot). Samplitude deserves better documentation. In a small way I'm trying to remedy that on this site.

This article was extended from a posting on KvR.

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