The Best Sources for Sample Packs (Free & Paid) for any GenreThe Best Sources for Sample Packs (Free & Paid) for any Genre


The Best Sources for Sample Packs (Free & Paid) for any Genre

Finding quality sample packs can be difficult. The best places to look can vary according to genre—in this guide, we share some of our top recommendations for styles like soul, funk, and hip hop. We also take you through sampling from multitracks, and give you the lowdown on sample clearance.




December 9, 2022

What is a sample pack?

A sample pack is a collection of sounds—usually in a folder or an application—that producers can use to make music. They enable producers to use a huge variety of sounds without having to play or record anything themselves. Most commonly, they’re a folder containing WAV files (high-resolution recordings), organized by genre or instrument—an example would be hip hop snares. Most sample packs are royalty-free, which usually means that, after the producer pays for the pack, the original sound designers aren’t owed any additional royalties.

Sampling a record is very different from using a sample pack. While there are many approaches to real record sampling, the older song is likely still recognizable even after being transformed, manipulated, and updated with modern production techniques. In fact, the sampled record is normally the star of the show, especially in hip hop tracks. Sample packs, however, are usually used to create or enhance new material that isn’t intentionally referencing an existing track.

Hip hop sample packs

In recent years, hip hop has overtaken rock music as the most popular genre in the USA. To put your own spin on the style, you need to find a quality sample pack. With hip hop, a sample pack might include elements such as vocal chops, hard-hitting compressed 808 samples, powerful snares, driving hi-hats, and expressive lo-fi piano producer loops. You can also add plenty of vintage character with FX like glitches and vinyl scratches.

Some great places to find free hip hop sample packs include the Cymatics Trap Starter Pack, Adieu Sounds packs and the Lit Modern 808 Collection from Echo Sound Works. High-quality paid options include Splice and LANDR.

digging for samples vinyl

Funk sample packs

The essential components of a funk sample pack are syncopated bass lines, and authentic-sounding drum grooves. For free options, great places to find funk sample loop packs include this pack from SampleRadar, and a big selection at Samplephonics. Premium paid-for options include Loopmasters and Sloopy.

Gospel sample pack

A good gospel sample pack will contain some of the essential elements that define the genre: luscious pianos and organs, buzzing bass guitars, snappy live drums, and the all-important call-and-response singing from the choir.

The best places to download free gospel sample packs include Looperman and this pack from ToneDen–you need to subscribe to their YouTube channel to gain access. High-quality paid options include ProducerLoops and MSX Audio.

Frank Dukes Tanima Mehrota

Kingsway samples

The Kingsway Music Library is a huge collection of sample packs from Grammy-winning producer Frank Dukes, known for its attention to detail and organic sounds. In recent years, these samples have been used on countless hits by artists including Eminem, Drake, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Travis Scott. It’s one of the best sources for hand-picked downloadable sample packs.

As you’d expect from such a high-quality library, it’s rare to find Kingsway samples for free. However, you can download this sampler pack from HipHopDrumSamples for just $10. Needless to say, their actual material is the real deal:

Drum sample packs

Drum sample packs come in every imaginable style, genre, and vibe, and there are countless places to look for them. Most DAWs come with plenty of drum samples pre-installed, a lot of them very high quality. Be sure to delve deep into these libraries to see what gems you already have. Premium paid-for options include Splice and DrumForge to mention just two. Check out our article Drum Loops & Breaks: What They Are And Where to Find the Best (Free & Paid) for a more comprehensive look.

Many of the songs in the Tracklib library are available with multitracks, which means you can remove entire instruments from the sample as you please. This offers a unique opportunity to sample live drums in your own music productions, taken directly from tried-and-tested tracks.

drum sample packs live drums

Instrument sample libraries

Instrument sample packs are perfect for when you want to capture the intricacies and imperfections of a performance, to add character and authenticity to your track. They’re also especially useful for instruments that are difficult to recreate digitally, such as acoustic guitars.

The best sites to find instrument sample libraries include Cymatics and Free-Sample-Packs. High-quality paid options include Noiiz, and Native-Instruments.

Sample clearance

Tracklib removes a lot of the hassle of clearing samples for you. Even with real records, which are normally much more complicated to clear than sample packs.

It’s important to make sure you have the appropriate clearance for all the individual samples used in your tracks. It’s the right thing to do to respect the original creator’s hard work—you’d want the same if someone uses your music, right? On top of that, clearing samples avoids any risk of legal action that can come from using music illegally.

Even "free" sample packs often have limits on their use. You’ll need to check this with your particular packs. Generally speaking, free samples can be used in commercial releases that are streamed and sold without paying any additional royalties to the original creator. However, you’re not allowed to resell the sample packs, or individual music samples from them, or use the samples to make your own sample pack.

Some high-end music production sample packs, such as those from Blap Kits/Illmind have additional limitations. These can’t be released on a major label (such as EMI, Sony BMG,  Universal Music Group), and you’ll have to pay royalties if your track starts to turn into a hit.

We get that sample clearance can be a confusing business, even when it comes to sample packs. For a more in-depth look at this, check out our beginner’s guide to clearing samples.

vinyl record sampling clearance

Final thoughts

As we’ve shown you, finding the perfect sample pack varies slightly according to genre. There are many great places to look, including right here at Tracklib. To start sampling, we offer a 3-day free trial with no commitment, and you’ll get 15 free track downloads without paying a cent.

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