Techno seems to be one of the most popular themes for dance music sample packs these days, but which ones are worth your time? Alex Holmes cuts the list down to bring you our top 6 techno sample tools…
Best Pure Techno: Sample Magic Berlin Techno Sessions
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We think someone at Sample Magic must have made a pricing error with this pack, as it features a whole load of grade-A techno loops, hits, MIDI and sample instruments, plus a couple of Ableton Racks for a ludicrous price. The production has a raw energy to it, making this a good all-round techno pack to get your tracks started.
We said: “Most of the loops are repeating patterns that could be used as building blocks for a track and are fairly simple. However, what it lacks in rhythmic and melodic complexity, it makes up for in the character and driving power of the production. The loops and hits are detailed enough in the sound design to be interesting, but short and simple enough to inspire creative use and further manipulation. As an added bonus you also get an Ableton bass/FX Rack, plus a custom built processing Rack.”
Best Cutting-Edge Drums: Wave Alchemy Drum Tools 02
If you want to write your own beats, or supplement your loop library with some weighty hits, then Drum Tools 02 comes highly recommended. This massive collection of 4025 individually processed drum hits was crafted using a range of drum machines, analogue synths, foley recordings and acoustic sources that were then processed through boutique outboard gear. You also get versions recorded through analogue tape and vinyl, making this a good choice if you want to add some character and warmth to your beats.
We said: “This large collection has been sensibly organised into 36 kits, plus 43 instruments for the different kicks, claps, hats, percussions and other hit types. It’s clear a lot of effort has gone into each sound, as everything here has a vibrancy, punch and loudness that would cut through the mix like a knife. There’s also a good mixture of solid, dependable sounds, and more experimental hits for added variety.”
Best Acid/Warehouse: UNDRGRND Sounds They Call it Acid
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Will we ever tire of the sound of a squealing 303? Not any time soon! This pack contains a whole load of loops and hits to add an old-school, acid-style flavour to your techno tracks. Even if you’ve had enough of Roland’s little box, there are plenty of thick, more modern sounding analogue synth sequences to check out.
We Said: “You’ll find thick, squelchy basslines, resonant arps, plenty of squealing 303 loops, some nice synth lines with a throwback vibe, time-stretched and effected vocals, trippy FX, and plenty of beefy tech house and techno influenced drum, percussion and top loops. There’s also a fairly extensive collection of fat, drum one-shots, with 5 accompanying sample kits. Everything here has been expertly produced and processed, with good use of effects to add a sense of space but not overwhelm the sounds.”
Best FX: Zero-G Aftershock: Extreme Audio Cinematics
If you want your tracks to sound professional and stand out, then it’s important to sprinkle them with some quality special FX, and the deep, hypnotic and often spacious nature of techno makes it ripe for adding intricate sounds. This hefty pack from Zero-G sees sound design master Si Begg on top form as he meticulously crafts and engineers effects and cinematic textures.
We Said: “Sounds are divided into folders of abstract events, atmospheres, hits, sweeps, risers, bass effects, morphs and transforms, drones and tones and more, and everything here is amazingly detailed and well polished. There are also sampler instrument files for each sample so you can easily experiment with the pitch and play the sounds like an instrument. This would be an excellent resource for anyone wanting fresh sounds for an action, sci-fi, fantasy or horror soundtrack, or for dance music producers looking for sophisticated sounds and FX.”
Best Classic Drums: F9 Audio Pure 909
No techno round-up would be complete without a mention of the classic 909, whose beats have been heard on many, many records over the years. In order to capture the analogue detail and subtle fluctuations of the machine, this pack from F9 Audio contains 150 pre-written drum stems for you to chop up and use.
We Said: “Stylistically the kits mostly fall into the techno and house categories, but there are a few other styles to keep things interesting. Everything is expertly written and features plenty of variations, short fills and longer build-ups for you to dissect, and the sound is loud but punchy and dynamic. You also get a moderately sized collection of decent drum hits that have been carefully formatted for a variety of samplers. Overall, this is a meticulously processed and written, and well formatted library of punchy electronic drum stems that capture the subtle nuances of the classic machine.”
Best Artist Pack: The Carl Cox Collective – My Life In Music
A true legend of house and techno, this excellent pack from Loopmasters sees Carl Cox join forces with Samplify – aka Davide Carbone and Josh Abrahams – for a treasure trove of inspiring loops and sounds. If you’re looking for vibey, song-starting riffs to kick-start the process, then this pack has them in spades.
We Said: “A frankly ridiculous kit list of new and classic synths and drum machines was used to create a varied collection of rich basslines, big leads, deep pads, vintage beats, and disco-infused vibe loops. This comes through in the amazing amount of variety in the production, with dark and aggressive sounds, sitting alongside more beautiful pads and upbeat grooves. Everything here has a warm and lively finish, and the riffs themselves are well written and memorable. There’s also a decent round-up of high-quality bass, chord, lead, pad, FX and drum hits, with accompanying sampler patches.”