So, chances are you already have a sampler, drum rompler, or some other VST tool that allows you to work with your samples to make beats (or maybe you just import them all into your DAW). And you might even have a bit of a sample library building up already.
But it’s hard to find all-purpose sample packs, and there can easily be gaps in your library. You might need more high-quality sounds. You might need some lo-fi sounds. Maybe you could benefit from some sounds that cater to a specific genre, be it hip-hop or EDM. It could be that you need more variety.
In this guide, we look at several sample pack collections that’ll give you access to a ton more sounds, and help you enhance your beat-making efforts. Here they are.
Symbolyc One S1 Sample Pack By Cymatics.fm
The Symbolyc One S1 sample pack is an artist series hip-hop collection. Symbolyc One being one of the most iconic hip-hop producers, you know that you’re getting access to some quality sounds, which have been used on songs by the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake, and many others.
If modern hip-hop is your jam, then no hesitation is required – this is what you’ve been looking for, and you should download it immediately.
Whether you need trippy drum sounds, huge kick drums, unforgettable loops, or snappy hi-hats (perfect for trap beats), you’ve met your match.
Have a listen to some samples and grab this sample pack at your earliest convenience.
Cobra Hip Hop Sample Pack
The Cobra Hip Hop sample pack contains sounds that make your beats stand out – that ever elusive X factor that can take your tracks to the next level.
Cobra doesn’t just come with drum sounds though – it includes flute and guitar recordings, melody loops, drum loops, drum one shots, MIDI and more. The guitars and flutes were recorded by professional session players just in case there was any concern you’d be getting a “second rate” bundle.
The MIDI section is organized into three categories – Hihat MIDI, Melodic MIDI, and Essential Chord MIDI – so you can easily access and create chord progression and unique hi-hat patterns.
The melody and drum loops were also created by experienced writers and producers.
So, altogether, you’ve got yourself a dope collection that’s sure to give you a run for your money. If you’re looking for some inspiration, get this.
This sample pack works with MPC, Maschine, Logic, FL Studio, Reason, and Ableton.
Odyssey EDM Sample Pack By Cymatics.fm
We will be looking at a ton of hip-hop sample packs throughout this guide (because that is mostly what is available), but here’s a nice change of pace in the form of the Odyssey EDM sample pack.
In preceding years, EDM has invaded just about every genre available, proving its appeal and staying power repeatedly.
All the sounds included in the Odyssey EDM sample pack have been expertly crafted. Included are 300+ royalty free samples, all in a convenient WAV format.
From moody riffs to vocal chops to unforgettable upbeat progressions, you can find all the EDM staples and favorites within Odyssey.
Eternity Vintage Collection By Cymatics.fm
In creating Eternity Vintage Collection, Cymatics.fm sought to get to the bottom of forgotten techniques in the best analog hip-hop and electronic recordings.
This collection strives to recreate and duplicate the raw, soulful, timeless sounds of albums like Illmatic, The Infamous, and Enter the Wu-Tang.
What Cymatics discovered is that artists relied more on analog mediums over digital ones because of the little imperfections inherent, which can impart a unique sound signature.
This means things like different frequency responses, frequency dependent saturations, high frequency compression, asperity noise, hiss, wow, flutter, and more.
To create the Eternity collection, Cymatics purchased a bunch of vintage recording gear, from four track cassette recorders to reel to reel tape machines. Once their tracks were recorded, they ran all of them through their tape chain.
Eternity gives you access to all those phenomenal, lost sounds you’ve heard before, but just didn’t know how to duplicate.
Old Town Hip Hop Sample Pack By Cymatics.fm
Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” inspired this Cymatics hip-hop sample pack. The collection captures the convergence of country and modern trap drums, with a series of drum loops, hi-hat loops, 808s, drum one shots, and a great deal more.
But if the beats and drum sounds just aren’t enough, this sample pack also comes with country-inspired melody loops that work well even in a hip-hop soundscape.
Also included are several MIDI files that allow you to craft your own melodies, as well as FX samples.
If you’ve ever wanted to explore the connection between country and hip-hop, there’s Old Town Hip Hop sample pack.
Humble Hip Hop Sample Pack By Cymatics.fm
The Humble Hip Hop sample pack was inspired by Grammy award winner Kendrick Lamar, who’s been known to reinvent his sound from one album to the next.
This collection includes vintage boom-bap, jazz fusion, modern trap styles, and more. Also included are a wide variety of melody loops, drum loops, and one shots.
When you’re looking to make your beats more unique, and you need a bit of inspiration, you’ll want Humble at your disposal.
808 Mob – Hip Hop Sample Pack
The 808 Mob Hip Hop sample pack was inspired by the 808 Mafia team. It includes a collection of drums, melody loops, 808s, MIDI files, Serum presets, as well as FX and Foley sounds (alarms, sirens, and others).
For every hip-hop producer that wants to create trap beats in the style of 808, this is must-have.
And as you would expect, there are some big, dramatic, over-compressed samples to make your beats sound heavy, as well as a variety of other signature sounds. Give it a try.
9God – Hip Hop Sample Pack
Ever wanted to emulate Drake’s sound?
9God Hip Hop sample pack includes a collection of 100+ samples, loops, MIDI, and Serum presets, which all capture Drake’s signature hits.
Cymatics studied Drake’s biggest hits in creating this collection, which includes drum one shots, drum loops, melody loops, and other highly usable samples.
The MIDI files and Serum presets are especially helpful in reverse engineering Drake’s best hooks. This is an excellent tool for every hip-hop producer looking to create unforgettable hits.
Astro Hip Hop Sample Pack
The Astro Hip Hop sample pack was inspired by Travis Scott’s Astroworld, which rocketed to the top of the charts in the US with hundreds of millions of streams.
Cymatics dug deep into the Astroworld and replicated its feel with a ton of beats. Astro includes 85 samples and loops that not only sound great, but also teach you the production techniques behind Travis Scott’s biggest hits.
The collection comes with melody loops, drum loops, and drum one shots.
Lo-Fi music has had a bit a resurgence in recent years be it on YouTube channels (like Chilled Cow or Chillhop Music), or Spotify playlists (like Lofi Beats).
This collection gives you access to all the essential tools you need to create your own lo-fi tacks. It includes drum loops as well as drum one shots that you can use to create a foundation for your beat or instrumental.
Melody loops and MIDI files are also included, so you can customize the notes and chords.
How Many Drum Sample Packs Do I Need?
With all these shiny, free offers on display, it can be hard to decide which to download. And for others, it’s more going to be a matter of “I’m going to download all of these sample packs right away,” and wade their way through sample overload in the coming weeks or months.
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer here. You could bookmark these for later, pick and choose which ones you want, or download all of them at once.
Although, if you are the procrastinating or waiting type, you’re probably better off downloading the sample packs you want now instead of waiting. You never know when some of the above might be discontinued or become paid products.
Anyway, in general, I do think that the modern producer can never have too many high-quality drum samples and sounds.
You might find yourself creating your own from time to time, because let’s face it, the sound you’re looking to create may not exist, and it can be quite satisfying to stumble on new, signature sounds you can call your own.
That said, beat-making and production tends to be a fast-paced world these days, and if you’re busy with an endless stream of clients, you can’t necessarily be expected to cook something up from scratch every single time.
Samples can offer an excellent starting point for all your productions. You’ll probably have clients come in the studio and scream “that’s fire!” the moment you play some of your samples, at which point, the direction of the track could already be decided.
You can also use samples to “sketch out” the structure of a song before you replace the samples with your own creations. Or you could mix and match both approaches.
The bottom line is that you never know what you might need, and when you might need it. Even if you’re making your own music and submitting it to sync libraries, chances are you will need to be able to create a wide array of beats to satisfy different tastes.
Samples are used on virtually every style of music these days, and while this is not a requirement by any means, having creative tools at your fingertips means the ability to be inspired when you’re experiencing creative blocks, and getting quickly to the starting line with projects that demand fast execution.
I don’t know exactly how many sample packs you need. What I do know is that having more options never hurt anyone, and you only stand to benefit from an extensive library you can draw from.
Can I Use The Sample Packs Other Than For Their Intended Purpose?
Let’s say you want to take advantage of the above sample packs for something other than hip-hop beats or EDM tracks. Maybe you want to create hybrid rock-electronic tracks, or maybe you want to see what a jazz ensemble would sound like with trap beats. Could one use the above sample packs as a starting point?
And the answer is yes.
Most if not all the above sample packs come with MIDI files, which means you can customize some of the chord or melody loops to your own liking. And there aren’t many modern producers that start with a blank canvas these days. They typically do take advantage of these kinds of tools.
What’s important to keep in mind is the end goal. What are you trying to achieve?
Remember that various production techniques were employed to create the samples in the first place. And that makes them perfect for their intended purpose. Whether they work with other musical elements that wouldn’t typically belong is kind of another matter.
That said, I’m all for experimentation. And while music has certain rules, you’d be hard pressed to find one that hasn’t at one time been broken. This doesn’t mean every rule that’s been broken should have been broken, but this is naturally where a lot of innovation and inspiration tends to arise.
I can’t calculate the extent to which you might be inspired by the types of beats and tracks you end up creating by mixing and matching genres, working with a mix of inorganic and organic instruments, or using production techniques that most wouldn’t even imagine trying.
So, experiment away, and see what you come up with. You could end up creating your trademark sound in the process.
Top Free Drum Sample Packs, Final Thoughts
I find it’s easy to fall into certain ruts while making beats. After you’ve worked on a few, you can almost get it all down to a science (apply compression to the drums, mix the vocals to the center, put a limiter on the bus, etc.).
Sample libraries can inspire you to look at your production processes from a new perspective. In doing so, you learn new ways of processing your tracks.
Of course, you can use sample libraries as is, but the benefits you get from downloading and using them might be further reaching than first meets the eye. So, even if you’re a purist, and insist making your beats from scratch, it might be worth experimenting with the tools available to discover new production techniques and approaches.
If you've found this useful, you may also like my post on free drum VSTs.