Which is better? In the hip hop production game, samples play a HUGE part of how a track is put together and most of the time whether or not the track is a hit or miss. But are hip hop producers better off using sample kits or vinyl to find their sounds? It's basically a matter of pure preference and also if you're just making music or if you're in a hurry to bang out a quick beat. Both forms have their advantages, let's take a look at them. Sample Kits For those that are not familiar with this form, a sample kit is just that; a kit with samples in it. It could come from a CD, disk, or a zip file on your computer. They've been insanely popular for a number of years now because of its simplicity and ease of use. Looking for a horn? Click - it's right there. Snare? Just look in the Snare folder and you're good to go. Advantages: Easy to use Quickly find whatever sound you need Great for any DAW Vinyl Ah yes, vinyl. For all the purists out there, this is surely the way to go. What's great about vinyl is that it's perfect for hip hop in that it has a thick, warm sound, hiss and crackle if that's what you're looking for, and it makes scratching a sample easy since it's already on the turntable. Advantages: Great for DJ's/Producers The sound is perfect for hip hop You'll always find a hidden gem The Debate It's almost like a software vs. hardware thing where producers will argue with each other forever just to prove which one is better. The fact is, they both are equally good and both have their uses. Sample Kits are great to use because you can find any sound you need very quickly without having to sift through tons of vinyl just hoping you'll find that particular sound. I've used both kits and vinyl and I guess for me it just depends on what mood I'm in. A disadvantage for vinyl is that you have to have a turntable and some sort of mixer if you plan on sampling a record into your DAW. However, nothing beats going through stacks of records until you find that one hidden gem that no one else has (or at least you're hoping that's the case). With a sample kit, you know for sure that there's many other producers out there that are probably using the same kits that you are, so right there that's a disadvantage to you, because who wants someone else to release a song that sounds similar to their own? Make Your Own One of the great things about sample kits is that you can simply make your own! Why not take the samples you find from vinyl and make your own personal kits, that way you can just grab those quick samples from your kits when you need them? This way you're using the best of both worlds, you can even set aside some time to do just that. Take a day to go through your vinyl, pull out some samples and make them into a kit that you can use another day when you're ready to make a beat. Conclusion As I've mentioned, this is simply a matter of preference. Want to make a quick beat? Grab a sample kit and get started. Want to explore and possibly find a hidden gem? Dust off the vinyl, it's all up to you. What's your opinion?