ROM and Sampler
A term ROMpler comes from a slang term given to sound modules that feature stock presets based on samples stored in ROM. They generally, lack in-depth synthesis technology and sampling capabilities. The term is a conjunction of the terms ROM and Sampler. In the early 1990s, ROMplers became quite popular due to the proliferation of the E-MU Proteus series sound modules. Also, other efforts by competing manufacturers. Lending quick access to relatively high-quality sounds and voices meant that composers and songwriters did not have to be synth programmers or sampling wizards as well as musicians to achieve their musical goals.
The History of Rompler
In the 1990`s they first came in the form of hardware and one of the most popular of them was above mentioned E-MU Proteus. Simply put, romplers are the ROM based sample players. Many hardware synths and samplers are romplers. Despite the implication that the samples in ROMplers can`t be changed some synths and modules allow you to buy new ROM cards to plug in in specialized slots on the system. These cards provide additional samples for the system. Additionally, they contain program information to make this samples available as a patch. The same sample set can be used by many different patches. The term ROMpler is sometimes referred to software sample players that use a fixed collection of waveforms.
In recent times, the term ROMpler most often describes sample-based software instruments such as VSTis. These do not have the ability to record new samples; instead, samples are replayed from computer RAM after they are loaded from disk. Some of the Popular examples of software romplers are reFX Nexus and IK Multimedia Sampletank. In this context, a software instrument can only be considered a rompler if it restricts the user to certain bundled sounds, without allowing them to load their own samples.
Hardware synthesizers that use a sampled waveform are not ROMplers. They are PCM-based synthesizers because the sampled waveform is not such that would be used or captured with a sampler. A PCM waveform is usually only made of a single full cycle of the wave and would, therefore, be a fraction of a second in length whereas a sampler or rompler would usually play samples of a much larger size of at least several cycles long such as a recorded drum hit or piano note.
The ROMplers are very much used for live use. They offer as many sounds as you want, lots of great sampled instruments and more than decent synth sounds ready to go in one keyboard.