April has been an especially good month for sample lovers, with some tasty releases in a range of genres. We’ve rounded up our top picks that cover plenty of ground, including rare vintage synth multisamples, soulful vocal hooks, beautiful, cinematic cello and piano textures, stomping club beats, free funk-heavy basslines and more.
1. Sample Tools by Cr2 Eats Everything Vol.1
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The latest Artist Series pack from Cr2 includes over 1GB of loops and hits from Bristol’s favourite globe-trotting house DJ, Eats Everything. This high-energy pack blends classic jacking house with hints of garage, rave and techno, and a healthy dose of groove. There are 248 audio files in total, covering chunky drum loops, weighty basslines and lively synth riffs, plus a bunch of one-shots and four songstarter kits with individual stems. For an extra £10 you can also get access to an exclusive production masterclass with the man himself.
2. Sample From Mars 360 From Mars
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You may not have heard of the 360 Systems keyboard, as the company only ever made 200. It was an early foray into multisampling real instruments that looked to offer a cheaper alternative to the Mellotron but never quite caught on. Luckily, the hardware sampling masters at Sample From Mars have captured this rare beast with multiple versions of its 20 instrument patches, including the clean sound, variations on the in-built vibrato and analogue CEM3320 filter, and versions processed through high-quality external effects. It all adds up to 37 playable patches for a range of samplers and DAWs and 1.96 GB of pristine Wav files.
3. EZkeys Contemporary R&B
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If you’re looking for some chord and melody inspiration for your next song or composition, then this expansion for EZkeys offers plenty of smooth riffs for hip-hop, soul and modern pop. This is more than just simple chords sets and includes detailed left and right-hand melodies performed by a professional session player, organised into convenient song parts (intro, A, B, C and fills). There are 4/4 and 6/8 tracks in straight or swing feel, with tempos ranging from 65 to 121 bpm. And the best part is that EZkeys allows you to slice, dice and rearrange the MIDI to make it your own.
4. Cinematique Instruments Vertigo Cello
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There’s no doubt that the cello is an expressive and beautiful instrument, and there are plenty of sampled versions that offer traditional cello sounds. Vertigo Cello aims to go further, with various playing styles and articulations that take the sound into more unique and cinematic territories. Its 15 articulations can be freely mixed and individually tuned, including a ‘fragile’ style that plays very quietly at the edge of atonal bow scratching. Also available are traditional sustained notes as solo and a cello trio, with three velocity layers, harmonics, sul ponto, circular motions, effected versions and more.
5. Frontline American Road Trip
Get the authentic sounds of Americana with this pack of country and rock music samples. There are 137 loops covering crunchy, distorted guitars, strummed acoustic guitars, grooving organ and clavinet riffs, overdriven bass and hard-hitting drum loops at 61 to 124 bpm. Also included are 109 one-shots and 76 patches in a range of sampler formats. It’s a perfect collection for writing rock, country, and blues tracks, and for film and tv composers in need of an authentic American sound.
6. Loopmasters Amanda Wilson House & Disco Vocals
Avoid any potential copyright headaches from unlawful sampling with this top-quality collection of royalty-free female vocal hooks and adlibs. Amanda Wilson has spent more than 15 years teaming up with dance music’s finest DJs and producers, which has resulted in a string of top 40 releases. You can expect to find 364 MBs worth of hooks, adlibs, stacked vocal harmonies and full loops, all with a full and soulful voice recorded using high-grade mics and outboard gear.
7. Bandlab Sounds Malcolm Joseph Bass
If you want to add some funk into your productions, then look no further than this pack by UK bass legend Malcolm Joseph, available for free from BandLab Sounds. There are 99 electric bass loops from 104 to 120 bpm in a range of keys. It’s essentially five tracks, but each has a multitude of riffs and different playing styles, from hard-hitting slap bass to muted plucks and straight-up funk. The playing is packed with tiny details and has a raw and lively feel.
8. ModeAudio Colour Field
Because the sound of a piano is instantly familiar, it’s the perfect source material for this collection of 157 piano texture loops. ModeAudio has reshaped the pianos’ tonal qualities into a beautiful, ambient patchwork of layers, using cutting-edge processing tools to tease out resonances and reshape envelopes. It’s a hauntingly beautiful library that includes various well-labelled chord voicings, plus a set of 13 single bass notes, all as 8-bar loops at 120 bpm.
9. UNDRGRND Sounds Breaks House & Techno
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The nostalgic and emotive music of Bicep has been an apt soundtrack to the last 12 months. This pack taps into that sound with 393 loops, 83 one-shots, and 85 MIDI files that blend old-school rave and breakbeat elements with analogue techno basses and euphoric synth melodies. You can expect to find drum and break loops, chord and synth sequences, pads, leads, bass and reverb-drenched vocals, plus a handful of drum hits and sampler patches.
10. Loopmasters Pastel – Modern Bossa
This new Loopmasters pack comes courtesy of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Pastel, a 27-year-old French-Polynesian who has been making waves with his intricate and musical sound. The collection contains 199 loops of lively keys, synths, guitars, marimba, flute, steel pan, upright bass, percussion, drums and more, with tempos from 80 to 173 bpm. There are also 71 beautifully recorded one-shot hits with accompanying sampler patches so that you can jam your own patterns, plus 387 MIDI files.