Exploring the Sounds of Digidesign’s Sample Cell Library

I’m on a quest to find instruments and samples used in video games. If you found this article, you’re probably on that same quest too. 

One specific sample pack was frequently used in Nintendo 64 games — the Digidesign Sample Cell II Factory Library.

The Samplecell II box being held by Mario

What is the Sample Cell II Factory Library?

Sample Cell II was a computer hardware expansion and software sampler that released in the early ‘90s by Digidesign. While it let users import .WAV files from other sources, they could also use the included CD-ROM filled with the other sounds. This “factory library” contained hundreds of audio samples users could use to create music and sound effects.

Can You Still Get the Sample Cell Audio Library?

There’s no official way to get the old Sample Cell sounds today. Digidesign eventually rebranded as Avid and retired the Sample Cell line of products.

To my knowledge, they’ve never recycled the sounds into newer products. So at this point, this sample library is considered abandonware.

However, you can download an archived version of the Sample Cell Factory Library from the Internet Archive.

Digidesign Sample Cell Factory Library (Archive)

An old sample library from the '90s containing hundreds of recorded instrument samples. These sounds were widely used in Nintendo 64 games like Super Mario 64.

Check Archive.org
This product is considered abandonware and may not be cleared for commercial use.

What Games Used the Sample Cell Factory Library?

Koji Kondo and other Nintendo composers made good use of Sample Cell sounds throughout the N64 era. But most famously, they featured heavily in the Super Mario 64 soundtrack. Here’s a partial list of games with Sample Cell sounds:

The sounds didn’t appear as frequently after the Nintendo 64. Some of them were reused in games like Super Mario Sunshine, Pikmin, Zelda: Twilight Princess, and even Wii Sports. But as time went on, composers often used more modern samples.

You can find a more comprehensive list of samples thanks to research from the VGM community.

Learn About Other Classic Sample Libraries

If you want to explore more samples from classic video games, check out these other overviews: