Meet Snapbeat, a lo-fi sampler so simple it has just 11 buttons

When less is more.

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Snapbeat lofi sampler

Image: Snapbeat

Looking to enter the world of lo-fi sampling? Here’s a tiny piece of instrument that could get you started.

Dubbed Snapbeat, this cute-looking retro-styled device allows you to sample in real-time via a 3.5mm audio input by pressing any of the keys. The unit features a simple numerical display, a control knob and eight independent sound channels that can play sound at the same time, though multiple keys input is not vaild. Only one pad can trigger its sound at once.

Users can also extract a specific part of their sampled sound such as a single drum shot just by specifying start and end address. Headphones and active speakers can be connected via headphone out and analog LINE OUT, and the unit uses a USB type C connector on the board for power supply (not included).

As creator Hiro Akihabara explains, the sounds on Snapbeat “are true Lo-fi”. The device uses a Nuvoton ISD1700 voice recorder chip commonly found in sound and voice toys. The chip records analog sound directly, without analog to digital conversion, which means that “although the sampling frequency bandwidth is narrow, the sound is smooth and live.”

Fans of customisation can even DIY their own SnapBeat case using a 3D printer as the hardware is completely open source. The keys on the unit are also compatible with popular Cherry MX keyboard switches so you can easily swap them out.

As of now, Snapbeat is available as a pre-soldered board kit at $140 or in its fully assembled form at $180 for early adopters. Prices for the device will rise to $160 after 25 August for the former and $200 after 31 August for the latter.

Check out the Snapbeat in action below.

Learn more at Snapbeat.


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