Electronic music producers have long used sampling in the studio, with the practice dating back to some of the early years of house and techno. While there are some contentious issues related to sampling (notably copyright matters) that are still being debated, there has been a growing number of less contentious options made available in recent years that allow for sampling without concern.
Some services such as Beatport, Juno, Irrupt, Sample Magic and Loopmasters provide licensed samples for a fee. But if you are on a limited budget, don’t worry, there are also many great, royalty-free samples that are available for free, ranging from promotional freebies by online services to homemade files from artists and synth enthusiasts.
Fact Magazine recently compiled 21 noteworthy free sample packs that you can find available on the web. Encompassing a variety of genres from house to hip-hop, we hope these sample packs prove useful in your next studio session:
Danny Wolfers aka Legowelt’s biggest pack of samples covers the Yamaha family of FM synths, including the DX7 (used on many tracks such as A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’) and the DX100 used by Detroit techno producers like Derrick May and Robert Hood. This is the perfect sample pack if you’d like to add some ‘80s vibe.
Another sample pack from Danny Wolfers’ studio, this one samples from the Korg Mono/Poly synth, providing every sound imaginable from “juicy big basses” to “futuristic synthetic drums” and even “metaphysical atmospheres”.
This sample pack is indeed “mega”, as it contains every beat from each of the 150 drum machines. From the “more famous” machines like Roland’s TR-808 to the not-so-well-known like BME’s Rattlesnake, the variety is simply astounding. It’s mapped for NI’s Kontakt but even if you don’t have one, you can take the individual sample files and use them however you like.
BPB’s Nintendo Game Boy pack offers those classic, crunchy, 8-bit drums. Normally, they’re used by chipboard artists but you can do so much more. Add some distortion or compression to beef them up or put them into a sampler and it can add texture it in any music you make from techno to ambient music.
This one is dubbed as one of the best packs that can be found in Wavy’s portal of free user-created sample packs. Beached offers a small but useful selection of dub techno-style synth sounds that’ll also work in ambient productions.
This huge drum sample pack from The Pro Audio Files covers everything from primitive synth rhythms to acoustic drum loops. It also offers a number of unique one-shot samples that add character to any Ableton Live drum kit.
Eurorack manufacturer QuBit Electronix offers a great and massive pack of one-shots, loops and stems that you can utilize. One of those included in the pack is an unusual selection from Converse’s giant Rubber Tracks library. By itself it a huge resource of royalty-free samples so it’s worth checking out.
This pack of synth samples from Minimal Wave legend Das gives your music some vintage analog grit that ranges from ambient loops to lo-fi kicks.
If you just need a basic sample pack for making big room dance tracks, this free collection from online store Irrupt has all you need to get started. Included are 33 bassline loops, 60 melodic loops, 51 drum loops and 22 vocal hooks, a solid selection that is worth to have.
Don Buchla’s cult Music Easel synth is prized by open-minded musicians, but it’s not easy to get a hold of one. Fortunately, this collection of abstract, alien drum sounds serves as a perfect alternative.
TĀLĀ gave away her own personal pack of samples she used to produce to make the popular 10 minute track for FACT TV’s Against The Clock. You can expect some bold kicks, Thai drums, sitar riffs and a “Serbia shaker” as featured in the track
SampleRadar’s exhaustive collection of free samples is basically a database of sounds you’d get on music production magazine cover CDs. This is also a rarity as it features a collection of royalty-free vocals that lets you chop and pitch any way you want it.
Detroit veteran artist Mike Huckaby (not to be confused with the politician) gave away this sample pack via Groove magazine in 2012. This contains live percussion and synths that were recorded with his Waldorf Wave synthesizer, as well as samples from the classic Korg Triton.
RE:VIVE specializes in collecting sample packs of openly licensed archival material. This is a very unique set and is a must-have as it features field recordings and performances across the globe. Sample some Madagascar, Tahitian pop sourced from old 78s, Swiss Alpine music or even Chinese accordion marches as well.
Samplephonics mainly offers paid samples, but it also has plenty of free content to download, like this Abstract Percussion pack. This pack is one of the most unusual, as it features a set of obscure percussions. This makes it the ideal pack to craft your own fourth world music.
Another great pack from the BPB site, this is a collection of 8-bit synth sounds from the Commodore 64 computer. If you are trying to make a retro video game soundtrack or just add texture to a hip-hop beat, this provides a great addition to your track.
Filter Dread’s hybrid of jungle, rave, grime, and ambient music has made him one of the UK underground’s most unpredictable artists. As such, this pack is as eclectic as it gets with all the oddball drums, synths and zapping effects it offers. As such, this helps provide an unpredictable, otherworldly vibe to your track.
If you just want a pack of drum breaks to make some jungle beat, this pack is an ideal solution. At the very least, it provides a bit of variety to your beat.
If you’re looking to create a build-up from the sound of a space shuttle taking off or just need something really loud for a noise track, NASA’s sound archive has what you need. The various beeps and radio sounds are great for creating some ambience as well.
Orchestral samples are generally very expensive, but the UK’s highly regarded Philharmonia Orchestra has a vast royalty-free database for download at its website. It is a full-fledged range of orchestra samples, covering everything from the French horn to the Thai gong.
Jazz records is a longtime staple in music sampling. The good news is that this SampleRadar pack lets you avoid the possible copyright trouble. It has live bass, electric piano and dusty drums that will work in deep house and hip-hop beats too.
H/T: Fact Magazine
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