Searching for sound samples can be a lengthy and sometimes unproductive process. Using popular search engines can be particularly frustrating especially when you’re looking for free or new and unique sample sources. Search engines tend to rank websites by popularity and so by definition it becomes difficult to find sound samples that are unknown and unique.
Directories and Recommendations
By far the best way of getting started with such a task is through recommendation. On a larger scale we could say directories are a form of recommendation. The best directories use real people to select and maintain a high standard of information for their users. Some of the smaller directories can be unreliable, either because they accept all sites that are submitted to them or are built from paid admissions to the service.
One of the largest directories is The Open Directory Project which indexes sites according to strict criteria and is not dictated to by advertisers. Also known as Dmoz, the database is used by many other branded services and therefore represents one of the most important directories on the internet with over 2 million links.
The soundspy directory uses Dmoz without incorporating misleading ads for financial support. It also provides a useful news filter to further enhance the search function.
Level Playing Fields
When it comes to finding the most original samples and loops I believe it’s best to start with a level playing field, preferably hand picked by people that know and care about the subject. I recommend bookmarking the following sites and links as a starting point:
- Soundspy directory of samples and loops has short descriptions of each site.
- Future Producers Forum has a long list of sample resources without full descriptions.
- Entropy Music also has a list of free loops and Wav samples without descriptions.
Feel free to share links and details about free samples and loops in the comments section below.