Third-party samples are a benchmark of modern music – for electronic music in particular, although samples have made their way into all contemporary genres. Samples can be used at any point in the music production process for elements like atmosphere, bass, percussion… and so much more. We can use samples to inspire creativity, but they also serve as entire instrument libraries to budding producers who don’t have access to virtual or real instruments. They provide content for those that don’t have the know-how to make it themselves.
What is a Sample Pack?
Sampling has evolved heavily over the past few decades, and now packs can feature a wide array of samples from vocals to riser SFX, and drums to orchestral hits. The sample marketplace has spawned a plethora of diverse sample labels that cater for every music taste. Some sample labels will often choose to specialise in a specific genre, while others concentrate on providing a wide range of sounds and styles. However niche a creative style is, there is always a sample pack to cater for it!
The real advantage of purpose-made sample packs is that they’re designed to be royalty-free. That means you can download and use anything in the pack without the risk of the sample police knocking at your door.
Numerous tracks by Drake, including No Tellin’, have include samples from The Kingsway music library by Frank Dukes!
Drake used the “Colors” sample pack for his track No Tellin’!
Some sample packs have directly influenced the biggest artists we know today. Samples have even shaped entire genres in the electronic sphere from Neuro and Glitch Hop, and most notably – Lofi!
What Can Be Included in a Sample Pack?
The two main types of samples you’ll come across are loops and one-shots.
The most common loop lengths are 2, 4 & 8 bars in length and have a bpm that is a whole number. The Mixxed platform won’t detect decimal points in the file. Loops are extremely convenient for dragging into your DAW and getting busy right away.
A one-shot is a singular “strike”. It can be one hit, note, chord or a sound effect like a snare drum, piano or tapping a pot. This makes one-shots easy to throw into any sampler or DAW to layer, manipulate and play straight away.
So, You Think You Can Make a Sample Pack?
The beauty of making sample packs is that there are zero creative boundaries… we can turn anything into a sample.
Here’s a great pack idea by True Cuckoo that he recorded in a backyard!
So, what can you bring to the broad sample palette? Do you play the drums? Are you a synth noodler? Voice of an angel? Voice of a dementor (Grindcore)? What about the triangle? There’s a sample pack with your name on it!
Your first step should be establishing what genres you are familiar with and will be comfortable making usable samples for.
Then think about what elements are in demand inside that genre. What’s needed? What can’t the user create?
For example, electronic artists love using risers to create tension before the drop. Have you got a few original sounds you’ve been stretching, automating and pitch bending? There’s a sample right there.
Top 5 Tips For Creating Your First Sample Pack
- Think of and maintain a theme. We recommend planning out the sample pack before putting it together. You’ll save yourself so much time!
- Don’t be afraid to raid any and all of your hard drives or songbooks (singers) for ideas that didn’t go anywhere. It’s amazing how many samples you already have!
- The sound of your samples need to reflect the genre that they’re designed for or else nobody will download them (at least nobody in your target audience). There’s no point presenting clean & sparkly Lofi loops.
- Put yourself in the shoes of the user. Have a chat with a prodcuer in your target market if you can. Find out what they need and provide it.
- Don’t feel the need to sound like someone else. Originality can set your samples apart from the competition.
Ensure your audio is recorded to a professional standard, or else your pack may be rejected. However, there are some small things to be aware of before you upload your pack.
When it comes to the files you’re going to include in your pack, it’s important that all files display the correct information to the user.
You can’t upload anything that you don’t have 100% of the rights over. You must seek the permission of any musicians/artists featured on the pack.
Reasons for possible pack rejection include:
- Duplicated audio files
- The sample pack may not have enough sounds inside. Platforms have a minimum sample amount for packs which is usually 10 sounds.
- Loops not looping perfectly.
- It may also be neccessary to apply tiny volume fades at the beginning and end of the loop to ensure there are no clicks.
How Do I Present My Sample Pack?
The presentation of your pack is equally as important as the samples inside it. If your pack has artwork that isn’t of good quality or if your samples are named incorrectly… how do you expect anyone to find or click on your pack?
Let’s talk about how you can optimise your pack for download on Mixxed!
- Always make sure you have a good demo of your pack. This allows users to hear most or everything at work that you’ve created in context. Care for a sample?
- Make sure your artwork isn’t blurred or of poor quality. Mixxed only accept artwork 3000 x 3000 pixels with at least 72 dpi (dots per inch).
- Don’t leave your artwork blank (come on, folks).
- It’s very important that your artwork is orignal and/or doesn’t feature anything that has a trademark that you don’t own. Using trademarked material in your artwork will result in you having to change it (or recieving a copyright claim!)
Creating a sample pack is just as creative as writing or producing a song. You can go anywhere at any time and, providing that you have a portable recorder on you, you can turn anything in the environment around you into a sample pack.
Go and tap on some tables. Hit some pots and pans. Manipulate your synth parameters and record the results. Record yourself laying down a fat riff on your strat. Sing that catchy hook that’s been going around your head for days!
Anything, and we mean anything, can become an audio sample pack. And we at Mixxed want to provide an interactive, resourceful and fun way to sell sample packs for anyone with the creative insight to create them!
The main thing to remember is making sample material is a lot of fun. You’re not under the pressure of composing, mixing and releasing a full track. Creating sample packs is a liberating activity. It allows you to indulge freely in your particular musical specialities…
Most producers and musicians will tell you that the most fun element of music production is that original creative process. The part where you conjure the initial ideas. Creating samples is often just coming up with a bunch of initial musical ideas and themes.
The most rewarding part is knowing your sounds have inspired other people to create compositions. It can be super interesting to hear how people interpret and use your samples.
So go fill your boots and see what sample magic you can create!
What are you waiting for?