I just want to be 100% sure about sampling a synth

Hey all, so, I really want to sample my Access Virus b but I want to be sure I am not doing it illegally.
I know i can’t sample pre-sets but If I start with the synths ‘init’ sound, so a basic saw wave and I say create a pad or a lead myself using the synths lfo’s and filters, then that is ok to sample as I created that sound.

Is that right?

Ok, looks like I can’t as it is not a true analogue synth.


This is NOT legal advice. Amateur logic and fun thoughts:

Is it a musical instrument? If so, surely you can record and reproduce it as you wish, including selling recordings of it.

A piano/violin/guitar… these are musical instruments.

Abbey Road by the Beatles, is not a musical instrument, so I can’t sample/reproduce that in the same way at all. But instruments, whether made of wood or electronics… their whole purpose is to be played, including being recorded…

The test will be, record and release an album of short tracks like “C-2”, “C#2”, “D-2”, …played on your instrument. Such “compositions” probably can’t be protected like other compositions, as they only have one note, so you can’t really claim somebody else’s album with “C#2” played on another instrument is ripping you off.

But that’s not important. Question is, can the instrument manufacturer come after you in some way? That would be shocking.

(If you have a hardware instrument. If an instrument is software, who knows what rights you signed away by clicking install/agree…And whether that agreement was reasonable…)

(I think this is what you mean when you say, can you sample a synth…)

Foreword – I’m not writing this to be a butt, I want to protect anyone who isn’t super familiar with how this works and is more curious about the subject. Feel free to continue discourse and I would love to talk

With synthesizers that territory becomes a lot more grey, many digital synthesizers use copyrighted audio samples that are used as waveforms / wavetables (thus the generating tone and timbre) and therefore belong to the company who creates and sells the instrument.

It’s one thing with an old analog moog where the sawtooth oscillator is going to produce a unique and slightly different sound every time - its just produced with electrical components - and therefore its virtually impossible to make any sort of claim of ownership. But with many more modern and digital synths, its not electrically generated but electronically (digital not analog) generated – in a repeatable and consistent and copyrightable fashion.

Its sort of like how when you purchase a spitfire library, those sounds are your instrument to play with. Compose and write commercial songs with them, maybe play live, or just dabble around. But you can’t just sample those spitfire libraries and start selling them, that would be illegal as the original recordings which they have provided are specifically not for redistribution. Christian and team worked hard to make those samples for someone to make music with, not to rip off and resell without permission.

The synth world usually works the exact same way, a digital synth manufacturer works hard on getting the specific audio files for waveforms that they want, and bundle that within for the user to be able to create music with, even that which can be sold. And even though sometimes you can sell presets for those synths, usually you can’t just use those samples and resell or just give away.

A fantastic example of this is the Roland D50. It’s one of the most iconic sounding synths of all time up there with the Yamaha DX7, yet since it not only generates synthesized tones but also uses copyrighted audio clips, there are virtually no plugin recreations nor kontakt libraries of the thing out there (Except for an official one made by Roland, and an UVI clone called DS90s). Not that there haven’t been attempts, but Roland has either sued or requested cease and desist from many redistributing their material. And they have reason to, it is their work and they are still profiting from it. A lesson learned either way.

Right - I can enjoy this as a thought experiment, BUT I don’t have the legal defense fund to test it!

Curious how much is copyrightable in the sound of a single note or waveform, and presuming we are sampling, meaning recording in a fairly traditional way - not extracting data from the ROMs directly…

The engineers on a synth may have worked very hard.
That violin maker/luthier worked hard. Both built on the work of those who went before them.

I don’t want to decide who worked hardest, and say the sound of one of their works can be re-recorded and sold, and one can’t.

OK, the original question was “can I sample”, and didn’t go as far as “can I re-distribute or re-sell the sample” probably a crucial step!

Well the synth I wanted to sample is a ‘simulated analogue’ synth so that means it is not true analogue. If it was, the waveform is created by the electronics of the synth whereas my synth, the waveform is a sample itself so that is where the copyright is.
That means I would be sampling a sample not an electronic pulse or sound.