Posted 11th January 2023

Best drum samples for your DAW

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If you're a music producer or a beatmaker, you know that finding the perfect drum samples can be a crucial part of the creative process. Whether you're looking for punchy kick drums, crisp snares, or versatile percussion sounds, there's a wide variety of drum samples available to suit your needs. In this blog post, we'll take a look at some popular types of drum samples and where you can find them. Drums and other instruments are key in forming a great sound in the mix. Other instruments including guitar, piano and vocals all benefit greatly from a good drum sound.

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  1. Free drum samples

  2. Genre specific

  3. Acoustic kits

  4. Drum & bass

  5. Drum kit samples

  6. Can you kick it?

  7. Experimental sounds, lofi

  8. 80's nostalgia

  9. Drum machines

  10. Drum loops

  11. A more finished sound from the off

  12. Mixing drum samples and drum loops

  13. Compression

  14. Get creative with reverb

  15. Plugins or hardware?

  16. Conclusion

Free drum samples

One of the first things you might be looking for is free drum samples. There are plenty of websites out there that offer free drum samples, so you can try out different sounds and music styles without spending any money. Free samples free drum kit sounds can be found at the sites such as Freesound, 99 Sounds, and SampleRadar. These websites offer a variety of free drum kit sounds and free sample packs, ranging from classic acoustic sounds to more experimental electronic beats. Be aware however as free drum samples are generally lower quality and aren't always royalty free. They can be a good place to start as you find your feet. Lets face it, we all love free stuff but remember that your favorite free drum kits and free samples may not be royalty free to release. Check out our Copyright blog

Genre specific

If you're looking for a specific type of drum sound, you might want to try searching for hip hop samples or metal samples. There are plenty of websites that focus on specific genres, offering authentic sounds that will give your tracks a professional edge. For example, you can find hip hop samples at websites like Hip Hop Makers or Boom Bap Labs, while metal drum samples can be found at sites like Metal Samples or Metal Foundry. Here at we offer various electro packs that can be used in hip hop, house, EDM and any kind of electronic music. Try one of our Electro Kick Drum Packs, all supplied in high res wav files.

Acoustic kits

If you're looking for a more traditional sound, you might be interested in acoustic samples. These samples are recorded from real drum kits and offer a more natural, organic sound. You can find a wide variety of acoustic samples at websites like Big Fish Audio, Drum Werks, or of course (which we highly recommend). Check out this great acoustic Kick Drum Pack by Paul Burgess of 10cc & Sad Cafe.

Drum & bass

Another type of drum sample that's gained popularity in recent years is the drum and bass sample pack. Similar to hip hop drum kits, The sound is deliberately focused towards the genre. These packs offer a wide range of drum and bass sounds, including punchy kicks, crisp snares, and intricate percussion sounds. You can find drum and bass sample packs at websites like Loopmasters or Producer Loops that can help you achieve that distinct sound. Also see dubstep. Dubstep is a sub category of the Drum & Bass genre.

Drum kit samples

Of course, no drum sample or loop collection would be complete without a set of drum kit samples. Kit samples offer a full range of drum sounds, including kicks, snares, toms, and cymbals. You can find drum kit samples at websites like Sonic Reality or Drumdrops. Check out our offerings here at Macdrum for the professional solution. We recommend the Electronica Kit Samples Pack that can be used in hip hop, drum & bass and all electronic music.

Can you kick it?

Kick drum samples are another essential part of any drum sample collection. These samples offer a wide range of kick drum sounds, from deep and punchy to sharp and cutting. You can find kick samples at websites like Prime Loops or Sample Magic. Check out our professional Kick Drum Pack, the second pack in the range by Paul Burgess.
Kick drums are a staple in most forms of pop music and acoustic drums like electronic, are in most cases, essential in forming a great low end sound in the mix and will help in ensuring that you track sounds great.

Experimental sounds, lofi...

If you're looking for a more experimental sound, you might be interested in lofi samples. These samples offer a lo-fi, retro-inspired sound that's perfect for creating beats with a vintage vibe. You can find lofi samples at websites like Lofi Drum Samples or Samplephonics.

80's nostalgia

For those who are looking to add a touch of nostalgia to their electronic music, 80s drum samples might be the perfect choice. think TR808, 606, Symonds machines and more. Retro 80's samples offer a wide range of classic drum sounds, including big snare drums, claps, punchy kicks, and intricate percussion. Think of the classic hip hop and dance tracks that used the aforementioned drum machines.

Drum machines

Buying vintage drum machines from the 1980's can now prove expensive and this is where samples libraries come in. Check out this 1980's & 90's Sample Pack. Played and recorded using classic synths and drum machines from that period and produced by world class producer/sound engineer, Andy Macpherson.

Drum loops

Drum loops are pre-recorded rhythms and beats that are typically used in music production as a foundation for building a track. They differ from standard drum kit samples in that they are already arranged into a repetitive pattern, whereas individual samples would have to be manually sequenced to create a beat. Drum loops can be found in a variety of genres and tempos, and can be used to quickly add a solid rhythm track to a song.

A more finished sound from the off

Additionally, drum loops are often more polished and produced than a standard drum kit sample and may include elements like reverb, delay and other effects, which can add a more polished and professional sound to a track from the get go. On one hand this is great but it can be of great benefit to start with flat, source samples, that will allow for the use of the relevant sound design techniques further on down the line. Any sample pack from is produced with the professional producer, sound engineer, composer or songwriter in mind. We're confident that they're the best out there.

Mixing drum samples and drum loops

Mixing drum samples can be a great way to add variety, realism and dynamics to your tracks. One technique to create a cohesive drum sound is to layer multiple samples of the same drum, each with different levels of velocity and tuning. At Macdrum we provide all the files you need to achieve this. EQ can be used to balance the frequencies of each sample and create a cohesive overall sound.


Compression can be applied to add punch and glue the samples together. Additionally, it's also common to add reverb and delay effects to the drum samples to create depth and space within the mix. Overall, mixing drum samples takes some time and practice, but it can really help to elevate the sound of your drums and bring them to life in the mix.

When working with drum samples, compression is a powerful tool that can be used to shape the overall sound and increase the level of the drums in a mix. Compression works by reducing the dynamic range of a sound, which means it reduces the difference in volume between the loudest and softest parts of the sound. When applied to drums, compression can help to even out the levels of different drum sounds and make the overall drum kit sound more cohesive.

A common technique for compressing drums is to use a medium attack time and a fast release time. This allows the initial transient of the drum sound to come through while quickly reducing the volume of the tail end of the sound. This can help to bring out the punch and definition of the drums without making them sound too squashed.

Sidechain compression is another popular technique, where the compressor is triggered by the level of a sound, typically a kick drum. This creates a “pumping” effect where the level of the drums ducks down when the kick drum is hit, allowing the kick drum to cut through the mix.

Using too much can lead to the drums sounding 'over-compressed' and lacking in dynamic range. It’s important to use a balance of compression, EQ, and other processing to make the drums sound cohesive and powerful in the mix.

Compression can be a powerful tool to help shape the sound of drum samples, and increase the level of drums in a mix. The technique used is to balance the Attack time and release time for medium attack and fast release. Sidechain compression is also a popular technique that can be used to create the pumping effect. It’s important to not over-compress to avoid the drums sounding over-compressed and lacking in dynamic range.

Get creative with reverb

Using reverb with drum samples can add a sense of space and depth to the drums in a mix. When applied to individual drum sounds, such as a snare or kick, reverb can create the illusion that the drums were recorded in a specific environment, such as a concert hall or a room. When applied to the entire drum kit, reverb can glue the sounds together and create a cohesive drum sound.

Plugins or hardware?

To use reverb with drum samples, you can use a plugin or an hardware reverb unit. Depending on the software you use, you might find different types of reverb like plate, hall, room, chamber, and spring. Each of these types emulates a different physical space and has its own distinct sound character. Experimenting with different reverb types can help you find the one that works best for your drum samples.

When setting up the reverb, you will have different parameters to adjust. The most important ones are the wet/dry mix, the decay time, and the pre-delay. Wet/dry mix controls the balance between the dry, unprocessed sound and the wet, reverberant sound. A higher wet/dry mix will result in more reverb and a more washed-out sound, while a lower mix will result in less reverb and a more dry sound. Decay time controls how long the reverb tail lasts, and pre-delay controls the time before the reverb starts. A longer decay time can make the drums sound more natural in an expansive room or hall, while a shorter decay time can give the drums more attack and definition.

It’s also important to remember that reverb should be used sparingly and carefully, as too much can make the drums sound distant and washed-out. It’s best to add reverb gradually and listen to how it affects the overall sound.


In conclusion, there are a wide variety of drum samples available to suit any musical style or genre. Whether you're looking for free drum samples, hip hop drum samples, metal drum samples, or something a little more experimental, you're sure to find the perfect sounds to enhance your tracks. The best free drum kits and samples are a great place to start but there's really no substitution for a Macdrum pack. The best free drum kits and most paid packs and kits don't get anywhere near to the same level of quality.