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Where to find killer drum samples
26th July, 2023

Where To Find Killer Drum Samples

Drums, and drum samples for DJs, form the backbone of many a mix or production. However, finding high-quality drum samples can be confusing for some and overwhelming for others. Where can you find free drum samples that are killer in more ways than one?

In this blog, we’ll help you understand everything you need to know about drum samples and point you in the right direction to find your very own.


Drum Samples: The Basics

The term drum samples is used to refer to individual recordings or synthesised tracks of drums or other percussion instruments.

A sample should capture the essence of the particular drum hit being recorded so that DJs and musicians can use them in their tracks, songs, remixes and even live performances. When you’re creating the rhythm and energy for your DJ track, drum samples can be critically important. Plus, depending on the genre, drums can be a foundational element, for example, hip-hop, techno and house, among others.

Acoustic drum samples, as a subcategory, are recorded snippets of real drum audio. This is in contrast to drum samples produced using software or virtual instruments. 

The Importance of Quality in Drum Samples

All drum samples used in your tracks should be of as high a quality as possible. The level of quality can make a world of difference. They can elevate your tracks to professional standards or degrade the entire listening experience. 

Drums, being the foundational audio element that they are, can make or break the character and impact of your beats. For high-quality drum samples to be effective, they need to have clarity, well-balanced frequencies and a real punch to them. Whether or not you use acoustic drum samples, all your audio needs to sound realistic and appropriate for the genre and style they’re being used for.

Settling for average or low-quality samples can, at best, prevent your track from having the necessary impact and impression on listeners and, at worst, create a dull sound and poor recording. 


How to Find Killer Drum Samples

So, where do you find these seemingly elusive high-quality drum samples?

  • Where to Find Drum Samples Online
  • Online Sample Libraries and Marketplaces
  • Drum Sample Packs from Producers and Labels
  • Free Drum Samples Available Online
  • Drum Machines and Vintage Drum Samples
  • Independent Sampling and Recording


1. Online Sample Libraries and Marketplaces

There are a variety of online libraries and marketplaces where you can access drum samples that are recorded professionally, curated and presented for purchase or use. 

Websites like Splice, Loopmasters and Sample Magic are good places to start because they all offer search filters so you can refine your treasure hunt until you find the nugget of gold that suits your genre, style and needs.



2. Drum Sample Packs from Producers and Labels

Fortunately, there are quite a few drum sample packs available courtesy of renowned record labels and/or producers releasing them to the public.

These packs often feature quite meticulously created drum samples and unique sounds which can be used creatively to amazing effect in your mixes. A good point to start at here is by researching the artists you admire or the record labels you’re a fan of to see what sort of exclusive sample packs for purchase they offer.



3. Free Drum Samples Available Online

Most likely, the best drum samples are going to incur some sort of financial cost. But that doesn’t mean good free drum samples aren’t available. Focus on online music or DJ communities on websites like Fressound or Reddit (Drumkits is the name of the subreddit). There can be vast collections of samples of all types submitted by other users and community members.

Be vigilant about quality. Nevertheless, free online samples can be a good diving-off point for amateur DJs or those of us on a budget.



4. Drum Machines and Vintage Drum Samples

Classic drum machines and vintage drum samples may not suit everyone’s needs, but there’s a classic, timeless appeal that can be great. Many sample libraries offer high-quality and accurate recreation of these machines so that you can capture the unique sound and character for yourself and use them in your mixes.



5. Independent Sampling and Recording

If you can’t find the right drum samples or decent free samples that suit your needs, you may want to consider creating some of your own. Using drums, percussion or even unconventional objects around the house, a creative musician can create original and pretty amazing sounds that are tailored and designed to suit your musical vision. 


Using Your Samples to Best Effect

Once you have the drum samples you need, play around with them. Experiment with the layering of your audio, manipulate your tracks to produce something unique and try acoustic drum samples in place of virtual drums.

Finding the perfect sound to achieve the style you’re after requires a lot of trial and error. Embrace the journey and spend time searching for the right drum samples for your project. 

List of Equipment

To help you, here’s a list of must-have equipment and gear to get started working with drum staples:

  • Computer: You’ll need this for using music production software.
  • DAW: Digital Audio Workstations allow you to manipulate your drum samples. 
  • MIDI Controller: You can create your very own samples using the virtual drum controls.
  • Drum Machine or Sampler: This one is not a must but can be very helpful.
  • Audio Interface: You’ll need a reliable interface to connect your computer to the external audio equipment you plan on using.
  • Studio Monitors or Headphones: Make sure you can hear your music while experimenting with maintaining high-quality audio.

DJ City: the home of DJ equipment

DJ City is not just the home of the largest online selection of DJ, recording, and musical equipment in Australia; we’re also the home of DJing enthusiasts! Our team lives and breathes all things music mixing and production.

If you’re struggling to find the right free drum samples or you’d like to have a chat with us about what sort of DJ equipment you need to get started, don’t hesitate! We’re here to help, so contact us today.

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