Loop Kits and Sample Packs Creative Use in Beatmaking
Music composition with sampled loops may lead to questioning the artist’s originality, but despite that, it is used widely in today’s music, and whole styles rely on this process. Fortunately, there are a lot of loop kits available online – free and paid – so you can choose freely.
A few artists, for example, Daft Punk, build their tracks around a loop from another song. The Hip-Hop genre stems from combining samples and drum machines to create a musical accompaniment for rapping. Countless records are using the Amen break loop – the most popular drum sample in music history.
But not only drums from other compositions can enhance an ordinary sounding piece of music: a track can benefit vocal samples and instrument loops just as much if they are used wisely. There are a lot of sample packs you can find online to enhance your sound. So here are a few tips on making samples sound at home in your music.
Don’t use them on their own
Try to approach samples and loops with imagination. If you rely exclusively on loops in your project, it’s probably not going to sound very exciting and musically appealing. Because this way composition loses its originality and inspiration. And expressing yourself is probably one of the most important things in making music. Therefore, you need to limit your sample usage and add original elements to your track.
Loops as layers
Some musicians like layering loops, especially when it comes to drum samples. If you want your song or beat to be in the pocket and sound cohesive, it might help to throw in some loops as an additional layer, as many Drum&Bass and Dubstep producers do. Another technique is adding a high-pass filter to a loop. So it acts as a percussion supplementing the main rhythm part. This helps inject more energy into the beat when you are layering a percussive sample onto your primary kick-snare groove.
Another thing you can do to achieve this effect is to cut a vocal or an instrument sample and include it in the rhythmic pattern to add more color to the beat.
Use multiple samples together
By all means, you should not be limited to a particular drum loop to set the groove for your entire song, or a specific vocal sample to serve as a hook. Use samples from different loop kits. The only rule in music production is: if it sounds good, it is good.
The advice is – combine different drum samples that you think are fit for your track, cut the grooves into pieces, stack the elements or spread them apart and join them back up. This process will lead to the creating of an original beat, both rhythmically and sonically, that will grab your listener’s attention.
Use processing tools
You can find thousands and thousands of loops out there in sample packs and loop kits, and some of them are a perfect fit for particular music just as they are, but why not make them sound more exciting? There are a bunch of basic effects such as Compression, EQ, Reverb, Delay, Distortion, Modulation with tons of options on them that will help the samples to suit your music better. Even if you do not have a goal of how you want your loop to sound in the end, try different processing tools and find what you like the sound of. This process is very interesting on its own and can yield inspiring results.
In addition to these effects, try splicing vocal or instrument samples into bits, speeding them up or slowing down, reversing and pitch-shifting them. Often times, the end product sounds nothing like the original sample. This is a producer’s equivalent of writing melody or riff on a real instrument. A lot of modern songs have parts that have been filtered, reversed, pitch-shifted or distorted to make them sound more original and unique. Be bold in choosing what loops to use and how to manipulate them. Try bass samples, pads and synthesizers, guitars and vocals – there are countless sample packs containing every imaginable instrument. Try the sound of a construction site or a sports stadium!
Remember to stay creative and authentic, and don’t rush things. Take your time in exploring and experimenting with the sound.