Vintage clothes, vintage records, vintage wine. We are becoming obsessed with the vintage lifestyle. Was it that much better?
Regardless of whether it was or it was not, there is a good reason machines like the Linn Drum, or TR-808 have never gone away. They sound great. They work great. They are great. Vintage drum machine sounds can be heard in all genres of music today, and it’s important that you stay current.
This article investigates the best vintage drum machine samples on the market today. I hope it helps you find the vibe you’re craving!
Top 10 Classic Drum Machine Samples
Below is a short list of the vintage drum samples we talk about in this article. Scroll down for more details or click for audio demos.
- Vintage Drum Machines [CONNECTD Audio]
- Vinyl and Tape Drum Machines [Sample Magic]
- Synth Explorer CR-78 [Loopmasters]
- Designer Linn Drums [RV Samplepacks]
- Vintage Beat Machines [RV Samplepacks]
- TR-707 Vintage Drum Hits [Influx Studios]
- Linndrum: The Machine [Zenhiser]
- TR-909: The Machine [Zenhiser]
- Drum Machine Collection [Wave Alchemy]
- Drum Machines 02 [Wave Alchemy]
CONNECTD Audio’s Vintage Drum Machines explores a myth as old as time itself. A story that causes producers to drool. They say there is a man in LA who owns 180 drum machines. From the eccentric to the classic, he has got them all.
Well. CONNECTD Audio found this man, confirmed the myth to be true, and captured the best 500 sounds from 20 drum machines. This collection also consists of 66 drum loops, 10 different drum kits and four different processing options for you to tailor the perfect sound for your beat.
Let us explore the processing for a moment.
- Tape. With tape, each one shot was recorded using reel to reel tape to add warmth and roundness to each hit.
- I don’t know about you, but when I think drum programming, I think MPC. The MPC processing has manipulated the Akai’s limited resolution and sampling rate. These limitations add a crunchy vibe reminiscent of early Hip-Hop.
- Desk processing involved the samples running through an SSL, resulting in the cleanest sounding samples of the collection. Ideal for those who like to dig in a little more.
- Finally, Lo-Fi. An amalgamation of 8-bit modules, tape saturation plug-ins, and bit-crushers, these one-shots are dark and decimated.
A fantastic collection of classic and under-appreciated drum machines, with tonal variations ideal for those looking for a wide range of sounds to add to their collection.
If you’re looking to expand your collection of drum samples, you could do a lot worse than Sample Magic’s Vinyl and Tape Drum Machines.
This pack contains a whopping 6775 files, consisting of 1355 one-shots, processed in five different ways to give you all the tonal variations you could want.
Sample Magic cover all the classics from the likes of Roland, Sequential Circuits, Dave Smith, Oberheim and more. As well as the classic drum machine sounds, Sample Magic have been kind enough to include a bunch of bonus live sounds, featuring acoustic drum kits and a variety of hand percussion.
These samples are production ready. With processes including vinyl, studio tape, cassette tape, desk and smashed. Whether you are looking to add a clean 808 bass to your contemporary pop track, or wanting something dark, distorted and crunchy for your darker electronic music, this pack has a set of sounds waiting for you.
Each sample has been recorded with a resolution of 24-bit, ensuring greatest quality. This pack also includes 20 custom drum kits for Kong, Battery, Maschine 2, Ableton Live and EXS24, allowing you to sequence these sounds in the sampler of your choice.
Ah yes, the CR-78. I have whispered about this beast in a previous collection. It’s only appropriate that we dive right down the rabbit hole of the CR-78.
Let us explore why you need these sounds and why Loopmasters Synth Explorer CR-78 is the faithful pack you want representing your beats.
If the likes of The Who, Blondie, Radiohead, Gary Numan, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Elton John, Mike Oldfield of Jean Michelle Jarre inspire you, you’ve been inspired by the Roland CompuRhythm 78. Loopmasters have created one of the most authentic sounding CR-78 packs I’ve ever heard.
A staggering 1991 individual files, captured in 24-bit to maximize resolution. This collection cashes in on all the analog lushness of the original, with the flexibility of being able to manipulate the sounds within your Digital Audio Workstation.
The 1991 files include 392 full drum loops, 108 full loops with percussion, 1174 fill loops, 305 fill loops with percussion and 12 mixed percussion loops.
Each loop is REX compatible, giving you, even more, flexibility to chop and change with ease. An incredible collection of a legendary machine, curated with the modern-day producer in mind.
With the popularity of 80s production staples rising back up in music, the Linn Drum has found itself back in popular music. What could be better than a collection of Linn Drum samples? Enhanced Linn Drum samples, that’s what.
RV Samplepacks have taken the original beast and added tuned subs to kicks, adding gated reverb and compression to snares to make them hit harder and sculpted brand new percussion sounds with creative enveloping.
Designer Linn Drums is a collection of production-ready samples. All you need to do is drag and drop onto your beat’s timeline.
This collection contains over 650 individual hits. If you love the drum sounds of 80s heavy hitters such as Prince, Human League, and New Order, then this pack is the love you need in your life. As well as the exhaustive collection of individual one-shots, RV Samplepacks have also included 15 beats to help ignite your inspiration, 10 MIDI drum loops to trigger using the Virtual Instrument of your choice and 15 drum kit presets for NNXT, Halion, Kontakt, Sfz, and EXS24. Regardless of how you like to compose your beats, RV Samplepacks have got you covered with their range of formats. A phenomenal collection of production-ready Linn Drum sounds for the 21st century.
If you imagine 14 of the hottest analog classics and rich sounding digital beat machines, you’re imagining RV Samplepacks Vintage Beat Machines.
This collection is perfect for producers of all electronic genres searching for authentic, high-quality drum sounds, recorded from the original machine and presented in a usable format. 745 drum sounds have been pulled from the 14 different drum machines, covering a wide range of sonics.
As well as the 745 one-shots, RV Samplepacks have also included 59 bonus loops. If programming one-shots aren’t for you, I’m sure you’ll find a loop to suit!
My favorite component of this pack is the software sampler patches. Whether you use Kontakt, Halion, EXS24 or NNXT, Vintage Beat Machines has 42 individual software sampler patches for you to audition. Find the perfect sampler patch and get thumping your MIDI controller of choice to program your hottest beat to date.
Ah the TR-707! If you’re new to drum machines and samples, you may perceive the title as a cruel typo, but fear not! The TR-707 is very much it’s own beast and one you should explore.
The TR-707 was Roland’s cheaper alternative to the more popular TR-909. The hi-hat, clap and cymbal sounds from the TR-707 are almost unrecognizable from the TR-909! The shuffle and flam functions of the TR-707 are completely original and influential. You can hear the effects of the TR-707 on works by the likes of Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Marshall Jefferson and even Phil Collins.
The Influx Studios TR707 drum samples have been recorded through a gorgeous analog chain, ensuring maximum vibe and impact from each hit. Included in this collection are 386 one-shots, 11 loops, and an Ableton Live Instrument Rack. The TR-707 has recently made a comeback in Indie Dance, Chillwave, Techno, and House.
If you are producing in those genres, this pack from Influx Studios will help elevate your drum sounds from cliché to contemporary.
Another Linn Drum sample collection? Unlike the collection from RV Samplepacks, Zenhiser have opted to remain truer to the original LM-1 and LM-2 drum machines.
Linndrum: The Machine is an incredible collection of authentic Linn Drum samples, captured from two of the most sought-after drum machines in audio history. Dubbed the “non-synthetic alternative to the TR-808”, the Linn Drum can be heard in Tears For Fears “Shout” and A-ha’s “Take On Me” amongst countless other hits.
Zenhiser have ensured fullest quality, capturing the samples at 24-bit resolution. This collection contains almost 900 one-shots and 405 drum loops. So, if you are in need of a snare to help buff up the downbeat in your track or an 80s drum loop, this collection has you covered. If you are looking to add authentic Linn Drum samples to your hard drive, you can’t do much better than this collection from Zenhiser.
A legend of dance music, the Roland TR-909 is THE standard for House and Techno drums. The unmistakable kick, snare and clap from the 909 can be heard being used and abused on tracks by Moby, Norman Cook, Daft Punk, Orbital, The Prodigy and tons more Electronic Dance Music tracks.
The tweakable parameters of the TR-909 have made the sounds still just as current today as they were upon release in 1983. TR-909: The Machine from Zenhiser is exactly what you would expect from Zenhiser’s ‘The Machine’ series. Authentic.
This collection utilized an original, pristine 909, with a range of parameter tweaks to get the most out of the little beast.
The result? Over 800 one-shots and 364 drum loops. Each sample has been processed accordingly to make the sounds ‘production ready’. Just drag and drop samples onto the timeline in your Digital Audio Workstation, or into your sampler of choice, and start sequencing powerful beats in no time.
The loops range from 54bpm to 200bpm, covering an enormous range of styles. This pack is perfect for any producer searching for authentic TR-909 samples to create House, Techno, Trance and other EDM based genres.
Wave Alchemy set out to achieve eclectic with Drum Machine Collection, and by God did they achieve it. Drum Machine Collection has utilized 15 drum machines to capture over 4000 individual one-shots for your consumption, today.
The versatility of this collection makes it the perfect pack for producers of Deep House, Techno, Hip-Hop, Dubstep and everything in between. Everything.
Each one shot has been captured using a high-end analog chain, maximizing the depth and quality of the original hardware machines.
Once captured, each one shot has been processed further and edited to ensure you have all the vibe of the original machine, but processed to sound present day. Not only do you get some of the best sounding drum machines from the likes of Roland, Linn, EMU, Sequential Circuits and more with this collection, you also get 38 pre-mapped drum kits for Battery, Kontakt, Reason NNXT, Halion, and SfZ. Load up your hardware sampler of choice, program a beat and flick through the drum kit patches to see which collection helps your track pop out of the speakers.
Drum Machines 02 from Waves Alchemy bundles together three of Wave Alchemy’s ‘micro series’ packs. These packs are 808 Drums, 909 Drums, and Drum Fire. The 1500+ drum samples included in this collection have been captured using a high-quality analog signal chain. The depth of the original machines has remained intact. However, that wasn’t enough for Wave Alchemy.
As well as the 1500+ drum samples, Wave Alchemy has also included 9 drum kit patches for Kontakt, Halion, EXS24, SfZ, NNXT, and Battery. These drum kits will allow you to abuse the flexibility of MIDI in conjunction with these fantastic sounds.
The unique selling point of Drum Machines 02 is the sound shaping process. A range of saturation devices has been used post-capture to squeeze all the grit and crunch out of each hit. The tonal variations within this pack make Drum Machines 02 ideal for anybody looking to add attitude to their productions. If you’re working with House, Techno, Hip-Hop, Minimal and Down Tempo, there are flavors of grit here that you need to be exploring.
To me, the word vintage is a fad. I do not, however, believe vintage in the context of audio is.
There’s a reason people are still searching for drum samples from machines that are nearly 40 years old. It’s because they sound great. They have a vibe that cannot be recreated with virtual instruments.
This article has explored a vast array of drum machines, as well as different levels of processing for different drum machines. I am confident that through examining the audio examples on each of the manufacturer’s pages you’ll be able to find the perfect drum sounds for your track.
Genres aside, it is never a bad time to start investing in vintage drum samples, and while it’s as popular as it is, what excuse do you have for not joining in? Until next time.