Let the beat drop!
Without a strong beat, how can you expect anybody to sit up and notice your music?
Long gone are the days of cringing every time a crude snare drum sample is triggered. Or that 808 you’ve heard a thousand times kicks the chorus four on the floor like it has so many times before.
This article explores 9 great real sounding drum sample packs covering different genres, styles, and formats, guaranteed to add enough juice to supercharge your productions.
Whether you’re a multi-platinum selling producer or a bedroom beat maker, in the market for one shot snare samples or full drum grooves from a professional drummer, there’s a place for each of these packs in your tool box
So let’s take a look at the crème de la crème of real drum samples available today.
Below is a list of the “real” drum samples we talk about in this article. Scroll down for more details or click to hear audio demos.
- Modern Samples – Analog Snares
- Modern Samples – Hip Hop Drums Live
- Real Drum Samples – Ultimate Percussion Jungle
- Loopmasters – Acoustic Drum Workshop
- Image Sounds – Ultimate Drums – Studio Edition
- Organic Loops – Pop Session Drums
- Loopmasters – Jazz Drums Vol1 – Mark Fletcher
- RV_samplepacks – Reel Grooves
- Frontline Producer – Love Drums
- Loopmasters – Real Drums Vol.1
- Organic Loops – Brazilian Drum & Percussion Grooves
440 snare drum samples within a package may seem overkill, but as soon as you dive into the seven different folders, (another well-organized sample pack!) it’s quite clear you’re not dealing with just “another” sample pack.
The team at Modern Samples have captured 11 different snare drums in 3 various locations, recorded and mixed through a fully analog chain to ensure maximum harmonic loveliness throughout.
Diving into the different folders provides a versatility that will suit users of various genres and skill levels.
The “clean” folder allow producers that prefer to start raw and shape their own sound to have their way. The “game over” and “layered” folders allow a ‘finished’ sound to be added to your production with ease. If you are wanting a little more impact to inject there’s the “punch and click” folder, comprising of snares that smack. Or perhaps the snare you’re working with doesn’t have the right ‘space’; the “textures” folder can take care of that with a host of ambient flavors to choose from.
Will you ever need another snare sample library after checking these?
Hip Hop Drums and Live aren’t two words often synonymous, with Hip Hop being largely responsible for the explosion of the TR-808. However, if you look at the spine of Hip-Hop heavyweights from its embryonic stage to today, what do those at the top of their game have in common? What does Dr. Dre’s “2001” and Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” have in common? Live Drums that hit hard!
400+ samples of Claps, Cymbals, Hats, Kicks, Snares, Toms and more, this sample pack is perfect for the Hip Hop producer that wants to layer his Drum Machines with real sounding drums, packing a punch and adding flavor that wouldn’t be possible to achieve with a Drum Machine alone.
Furthermore, these realistic drum samples were captured in a converted church with massive ceilings, recorded using the best vintage equipment and mixed to be instantly usable within your work.
The stomps and hits within the Misc folder are worth the investment alone, which when layered with a kick drum that’s already layered with an 808 bass, triggers a Kick that people will hear 3 blocks away.
How much can you possibly need a percussion sample library?
Well, about as much as the guys behind Bruno Mars, Kanye West, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Dr. Dre and Timbaland do, which is why you need to use Ultimate Percussion Jungle like them.
With more than 450 high-quality percussion sounds bundled into this one sample pack, you can be adding Tibetan Gongs, Hindustani Tabla and Nigerian Udu’s into your track to further densify the percussive landscape. When was the last time you heard a Timbaland hit that didn’t have a tabla sample?
Perhaps the only flaw in this vast percussive library is the lack of loops for each of the percussive samples. And although you can create your own loops by arranging a series of different velocity samples and manipulate fades between, this isn’t quite as user-friendly as some of the other libraries explored in this article. With that in mind, 450+ samples of unique percussion to add a signature flavor to your work is hard to find elsewhere.
These real drum samples are delivered in WAV format to be used in all popular DAWs and hardware devices, and meticulously organized for ease of use. A fantastic addition for producers of all skill levels – with the unique array of percussion sounds available allowing a producer to create their sonic signature.
When it comes to size and versatility, the Loopmasters Acoustic Drum Workshop pack is one of the best. Top-notch session drummer Matt Butlin sampled his entire customized collection to pack in over 500 one-shot samples, including 10 different cymbals, 30 tom samples, 30 different snares, and a variety of live and processed kick drum samples!
It can be hard finding realistic snares, but with over 200 to choose from, each with their own tone, timbre, and dynamics, you’ll have no excuses when it comes to creating the right sound for your production.
The samples were recorded through gorgeous Neve preamps, giving users that warmth and realism that is hard to come by anywhere else. Beyond the Wav samples, Loopmasters has included 15 sampler patches to help with programming.
If you’re looking for a HUGE collection of acoustic drums that can work with every genre, from pop to rock to jazz and beyond, the Loopmaster Acoustic Drum Workshop is one we highly recommend.
Ultimate Drums Studio Edition from Image Sounds is a fresh collection of one hits, stems, and loops that have been recorded by a real drummer at Frontline HQ. That drummer was Terl Bryant, who is possibly one of the best session drummers on the scene right now.
The loops are incredibly tight, perfect for those who want that pocket-style drumming. All of the samples were recorded on a professional Mapex kit with a large collection of SE microphones, including versatile E4400s, Neve RNR1 ribbons, sE1as, SE4s, and a 2200 ambient microphone for a bit of added flavor.
The pro result of the recordings is easy to hear right out of the gate. The samples work for a wide range of genres, including jazz, funk, reggae, and just about anything where the soul and presence of live drums are needed.
With 150 live drum loops recorded at 24 Bit and 44.1 kHz, 40 one-shots, and three complete track stems, users will have an endless supply of goodness to work with.
Modern pop drums need punch, which is exactly what Pop Session Drums from Organic Loops delivers. This sample pack is a collection of rhythmic backbeats and swinging percussion to help bring much-needed energy to any mix.
The drums in this pack were recorded by the one and only Matt Butlin, using his massive Gretsch Kit, a beautiful Tama snare, and Sabian cymbals. Even with the rhythmic diversity in this sample pack, every one of these loops packs power and groove. There are a variety of full drum loops, builds, fills, tom grooves, and step sequences. Essentially, you get everything you need to build a song from the ground up.
Beyond the regular drums, users get access to a collection of percussion, including blocks, shakers, djembes, triangles, bongos, and more. With tempos ranging from 110-170 BPM, these real drum kit samples will work for funk, rock, pop, house, and anything else that requires an in-your-face drum sound!
It’s impossible to make a professional jazz recording without realistic drums. You need that iconic, soft, roomy tone. Luckily for us, Mark Fletcher laid down the grooves with Jazz Drums Vol1. From his intricate brushwork to his subtle cymbal embellishments, he adds a little spice to every loop in this pack.
Fletcher’s style is aggressive, to say the least. This pack provides users with rock-solid grooves and total realism, perfect for modern jazz or shuffle music.
The session was chopped up into separated grooves with 10 different microphone placements. Overall, the kit includes two different kick microphones, snare, toms, hats, OHs, and front/rear ribbon microphones for different mixing possibilities. With 73 full drum loops, you can easily drag and drop these into your productions.
You’ll find just over 2 GB of 24-bit jazz breaks ranging in tempo from 87-180 BPM for a wide range of genres, including lounge or drum and bass. For a unique approach to jazz drums, this Mark Fletcher kit is a great choice.
There is nothing quite like the crispy sound of vintage drums. The Reel Grooves sample pack from RV Sample packs contains a collection of vintage drum sounds that were recorded with vintage microphones and run through magnetic audio tape for a classic, saturated feel. The samples are great for old-school or lo-fi genres.
These are the same guys that produced Vintage Beats and Breaks, as well as LoFi Breaks Vol. 1, both of which are some of the most popular lo-fi sample packs around, so you know you’re getting something good.
There are over 500 loops and tempos that range between 60-152 BPM. In all, you get 558 MB of content recorded at 24Bit and 44.1 kHz for a high-quality sound. Whether you are looking to add some underlying groove and grit to your sterile electronic drum loops or build out your productions around one of the 143 included drum loops, the Reel Grooves sample pack is a winner.
Love Drums, a sensual selection of gorgeous drum loops and samples with a loose feel for that timeless sound. For rhythm and realism, this sample pack by Frontline Producer is a top choice. It comes with 271 MB of classic one-shot and drum kit loops, each of which was recorded using classic microphones and a vintage analog desk.
In terms of feel, Love Drums provides a soulful downtempo style, which can work in productions ranging from soul to RnB to soft rock and beyond. The tempos rest between 65-132 BPM, giving producers a bit of tempo range as well.
The audio was recorded at 24 Bit and 44.1 kHz for high-quality sound. In all, you’ll find 126 live drum loops, 126 Rex2 files, 30 drum hits, and four soft sampler patches for Kontakt, Halion, SFZ, NNXT, and EXS24. If you’re looking to add a little love and affection to your drum productions, this kit is it!
Real Drums Vol.1 is one of the premier Loopmasters kits for producers who are seeking out natural-sounding drum loops and samples. The pack makes use of a wonderful Vintage Oyster Pearl Kit that was recorded by Harvey Summers at Broadoak Studios using a variety of vintage microphones and a top-notch room. The kit includes 50 bass drums, four 70s-style toms, and a custom shop snare, giving users fat and punchy tones to work with.
The kits have been multi-sampled with 54 velocity layers to add emphasis to the overall authenticity of the kit. You can even choose whether or not you want to hear the rattle of the snares or have them off for a tighter sound!
One of the coolest things is that they even added in a natural room tone that can sit nicely under your productions to add a bit of depth. For detail in funk, rock, or soul music, Real Drums Vol. 1 is an absolute beast of a drum sample pack.
With the Brazilian Drum and Percussion Grooves pack from Organic Loops, you almost feel like you’ve taken a trip to the percussive regions of South America. This sample pack is filled with some of the most infectious Latin grooves. The drums here were produced by Tristan Banks, an internationally renowned session drummer and percussionist.
The focus of this kit is maintaining realism while focusing on the tradition of Brazilian grooves. There are endless kit variations to choose from within the nine construction kits, each of which comes with individual stems and full mixed kits.
Beyond the USA Custom kit, Keller Shells, and Zildjian Cymbals, you get access to a variety of Brazilian percussion, including a Conga, Repinique, Tumba, Surdo, Tambourine, LP Blocks, and much, much more. If you are looking to add some tasty and exotic grooves to your productions, look no further than the Organic Loops Brazilian Drum and Percussion Grooves kit.
That’s a Wrap!
It quickly becomes apparent that the competition and range of live drum samples are vast, but one thing’s for sure – the competition is driving the demand for quality.
With each of the packs explored in this article being of the highest quality, any producer or beatmaker (regardless of experience and skill level) can utilize them to bring their beats to the next level.
Whether it’s adding an ambient tambourine to help a snare poke through, a heavily processed 808 pack to add low-end punch when your track is slamming in the club, or maybe you just need a set of loops and grooves to ignite inspiration, there’s a pack here for you.