In 2023, you can become a music producer with as little as a laptop, internet access, and a professional DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). The advancement of technology and popularization of DAWs in recent decades created a growing demand for sample aggregating platforms: sample packs, templates, presets, loops, and MIDI are a must-have if you want to create a smooth workflow and produce quality music. The right samples can evolve the scope of your repertoire and level up your listeners’ sonic experience.
Last year, I wrote an in-depth review of professional DAWs. In this review, I will present the best paid and free sample pack websites you should consider if you want to pursue the path of a music producer.
The music production market is over-saturated with infinite samples provided by numerous websites, making it harder to choose the best service. Websites selected for this review offer a superb sound selection, a user-friendly and easy-to-navigate interface, and excellent customer and product support.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the leading and largest sample pack websites on the market. Loopmasters have been operating for over 17 years, which makes it a veteran of the industry. With over 4 million samples and loops at hand in its library, it’s hard to come up with a genre they don’t feature.
In addition to the extensive collection of samples, bundles, and synth presets, Loopmasters offers various online music production courses. They ensured that users won’t get lost in the jungle of available samples: these are easily searchable by genre, sample creator, sound types, and others. Users can also find Loopmasters’ library on Plugin Boutique – the worldwide-known plugin store.
Loopmaster includes the possibility for creators to register as a label and offer their own sounds on the website. In fact, most of the samples available in the library are artists or label-based. Users appreciate the website for their great Electronic Music samples, including EDM, House, Techno, and Drum & Bass.
Here, you’ll also find diverse acoustic music samples, like Blues, Country, and Jazz. Producers looking for sounds for films and gaming can choose from cinematic music and special effects samples. Loopmasters doesn’t offer a subscription, and prices vary based on label, quality, and genre. Users can purchase samples in individual packs or genre-based bundles.
Landr is known for its online mastering service, but the flagship product of MixGenius, an AI-focused Canadian company, also offers a pretty decent sample library. Sample collection by Landr includes over 2 million sounds and a range of plugins.
The samples are updated frequently, and you can always find fresh sounds to suit your needs. Unless you are on the hunt for some really unconventional stuff, you can choose from almost any genre, like funk, R&B, downtempo, hip-hop, Lo-Fi, or SFX. Sample can be selected based on tempo, genre, key, and other features.
On top of that, Landr gives you the option to preview the pack before purchasing it to ensure the samples will be up to your taste. Landr Studio plan, which I praised in other articles, is indeed a nifty product, and it gives you access to all their services, including sample collection. If all you need is sample packs, you can get 1200 sample credits and a samples plugin to browse directly in your DAW for $71.88 a year on their “Sample Pro” plan.
If you’re keen to learn more about other tools Landr provides, head over to my review from April this year, which gives a complete overview of this all-rounder offering distribution, plugins, and networking tools on top of the premium online mastering services.
3. ADSR Sounds
ADSR Sounds features an extensive library consisting of sample packs, presets, loops, kits, vocal samples, and plugins. One of the forerunners in the market, the platform also has a comprehensive list of both free and paid courses, tutorials, articles, and other educational materials on music production, sound design, and related topics.
Artists, recording studios, and film and ad producers frequently use ADSR Sounds services. The website has a user-friendly interface and excellent customer service, a must-have in the highly competitive industry. You can browse the samples by format or genre. They cover over 60 genres, including a broad selection of dance, pop, and EDM.
You can also choose from a generous collection of off-beat sounds, like Chicago House, Garage, Oldschool, and Nu-disco. ADSR Sounds, as most of the Sample Pack websites, doesn’t offer a subscription service, and their products can be purchased individually or in a bundle.
Launched by Loopmasters in 2017 to address the need for a “more integrated solution,” Loopcloud is a subscription-based AI sample management tool, and its primary purpose is to organize and tag your collection of samples, allowing you to preview and search for new music while creating your own tracks. It comes with 4+ million Loopcloud sounds and gives you direct access to their royalty-free samples. It’s an excellent tool with a highly customizable search engine and precise labeling system.
Loopcloud can be integrated within a DAW and is also available as a plugin. The software has 3 subscription plans:
- Artist, $6.99 a month
- Studio, $10.99 a month
- Professional, $19.99 a month
Each plan includes points that can be spent on samples, presets, and plugin extensions and offers additional Cloud space. A 14-day trial on a monthly plan comes with 100 points to use.
Samplesound established its position as a place to find techno and house quality samples with a strong focus on off-beat sounds. The platform offers much more than just sample packs; its products include plugins, software, tutorials, courses, and mixing and mastering services.
The platform collaborates with several music labels, including Deeperfect Records, Ushuaia Music, and Minar Records. Thanks to these collabs, they have a diverse collection of label-specific services available. Samples are available for individual purchase or as a part of a bundle, and in addition, they have an honest offering of free samples.
Head over to Looperman if you’re on the lookout for some free quality samples. The open-source website offers one of the largest free loops, plugins, and sample libraries. You can select and filter out the results in the search engine on the website, but you will need to set up an account to be able to download these.
Users can also upload their own samples and get feedback and advice from the community. While all the sounds are free, the community moderators encourage users to let the author know how they intend to use the samples.
Cymatics is one of the most acclaimed websites in the industry, not only thanks to its diverse range of paid and free sample packs but also due to its popular YouTube channel and beat-making competitions they used to run on its Instagram account. The platform’s co-founders, Drew and Steven, have done an excellent job creating hype around the platform, supported by the generous prizes offered in the contests.
Beloved by bass music producers, Cymatics sample packs have been recommended by artists like Getter and Dillon Francis. While you can come across almost any sub-genre in their library, they excel in trap, lo-fi, R&B, and future bass.
Again, there is no subscription plan, but sample packs and other products can be purchased individually on the website. Cymatics offers a worth-noting collection of freebies, including modern-rap orientated construction kits, EDM and house starter packs, as well as synth presets and wavetables, which makes it a perfect choice for any producer who needs a high-quality library at hand without breaking the bank.
Splice is a cloud-based music-making platform that simplifies DAW integration, streamlining artists’ workflow and enhancing their creativity. Its immense library includes millions of high-quality samples, one-shots, presets, loops, MIDI, you name it.
Splice is also a music community that encourages posting your sessions and projects for review or download by other producers. Furthermore, users can collaborate in real-time using the Studio page.
Splice is a subscription-based platform (like Loopcloud), and it offers 3 payment plans:
- Sounds+ for $12.99 a month
- Creator for $19.99 a month
- Creator+ for $39.99 a month
With each plan, you get credits to purchase from the library: a sample costs 1 credit, and MIDI and presets are between 1-3 credits. You can also try it out with a 14-day free trial.
Big Fish Audio has been on the market since 1986 when they recorded and made available allegedly “the first virtual instruments, the Prosonus brand of orchestral libraries.” In terms of length of service, it beats even old-timers like Loopmasters. The website offers the possibility to select sounds based on genre, file type, instrument, brand, style, and others.
BFA is a pioneer in recording quality instrumental samples, like bass, drums, or strings. The sounds recorded by BFA have been featured over the years in a number of films and game releases, and it’s still sought-after by soundtrack composers and sound designers across the genres.
You can purchase sounds in various formats (MIDI, Wave, FL Studio, Massive, NKS, RMX, and others) directly from the website.
Music production doesn’t need to be an overly complicated process. When all the elements fit, you get the lyrics right, and all of a sudden, everything just works. Sometimes, a faint sound in the background can catch someone’s attention, while other times, a part that goes unnoticed can become someone else’s obsession, and they might listen to it over and over again.
You don’t need years of experience or a professional studio to get there. While producing music is not everyone’s piece of cake, an array of tools at one’s disposal with nothing more than a stable Internet connection creates endless possibilities for professionals and amateurs alike.
Sample packs can be a great way to level up your music when used creatively. Using ready-made samples is still a somewhat controversial topic, with producers being divided between those who use them and others who still believe you should record your own audio. While not everyone has the skills, time, and resources to do it, using sample packs can be a great solution to streamline your creative process.
There are a few essential aspects you should consider before starting your adventure with the sample packs:
Sample packs are a priceless tool for professional producers and beginners, regardless of genre. Before you start exploring the endless sound libraries out there, make sure you familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of the licensing. While sample packs are generally available royalty-free, some providers may have particular limitations or demand appropriate credits when utilizing their samples for commercial purposes, e.g., different licenses may apply to loops, demos, and construction kits.
Royalty-free doesn’t necessarily mean copyright-free. Many producers still get flagged for copyright infringement when using the loops and samples purchased from top providers. This could be due to a number of producers using the same loops or melodic samples. We all know that many producers use complete loops and sounds without any editing at all, and nothing happens. Still, this may not always be the case. Some websites, like Cymatics, are trying to address these concerns by having a limited inventory for each pack.
How to avoid this from happening? Be creative. Add your own input, chop the loops, layer up or resample the sounds, and add effects. Use samples as a source of inspiration. Make sure the music you publish is genuinely yours.
At the end of the day, a big part of being a musician is getting satisfaction from your creative process. While publishing a sample purchased from a website as your own music, you are missing out on perhaps the most crucial element of the whole music production process: the one that differentiates artistic creation from simply copying and pasting sounds.
The 10 best Sample Pack Websites gathered here offer everything you need to make sure you use the best-sounding, high-quality samples that will level up your creativity and help you produce evocative, top-notch, and unique music.