Music Production - Toolkit 4: Sample Magic, Music Radar and Original Drum Hits

Welcome to the final part of the Music Production Toolkit series where I am looking at some of my favourite and most frequently used plugins, virtual instruments and samples libraries.

This week we are looking at drum hits, and when I am starting a new project one of the first things I consider is the drums and percussion needed. I begin this process by auditioning individual sounds and building my own palette of individual hits as a kit in Battery, Native Instruments drum sampler. Choosing the right sounds is important to me, particularly when working in ambient genres as the percussive elements are often exposed and pla
y a vital role in establishing the overall texture and aesthetic. While I utilise samples from a wide range of sources, lets take a look at 3 of my frequently used approaches.


1. Sample Magic
Sample Magic have been producing high quality royalty free samples, loops and drum hits for over 10 years and sounds from their back catalogue can be heard on releases across many genres and have featured in a range of industry standard software and equipment. I own a number of the Sample Magic drum packs and highly recommend Lo-Fi Pop Drum Kits, Drum Hits 1 and 2 and the Vinyl and Tape Drum Hits and Machines. Lots of the genre packs available also include drum hits and you can use the 'click and mix' option at checkout to buy just the parts of the packs you want.

2. Music Radar
Music Radar is the online companion to Computer Music and Future Music magazines. The website contains a whole range of information including reviews, tutorial videos, interviews, and tips to improve your skills. However, one my favourite parts of the site is the section which offers a wide range of free samples and loops, these are great for new producers who are looking to build their own catalogue of sounds, whilst experienced producers stuck in a creative rut can turn to these sounds for inspiration to kickstart a new project.

3. Original Drum Hits
For a truly unique set of samples why not make you own original drum hits. There are a number of ways to go about this, the first is to grab a microphone, portable recorder or even your phone and capture hits from everyday objects - be creative and you are certain to create some exciting sounds. You can also try layering up multiple individual existing sounds to create new hits and take this even further by applying processing and effects in your software or via external effects units. At the end of a project I tend to bounce out these individual hits to create new samples for future projects.