DISS is one year old today and it seems appropriate to celebrate with a post focusing on sound samples and loops. Over the past year we’ve seen rapid growth in DIY music production, much of which has been made possible by "open source" developers and people willing to embrace the "open content" ethos. These pioneers have been the inspiration for most of the material on this blog. Thanks for your support and words of encouragement.
For digital music-makers, sound samples are the building blocks of larger compositions, the DNA if you like. These chunks of information are so intrinsic to how music is made and heard that the use of sampled audio is frequently associated with a fight for the Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age.
In that light, this collection serves as a guide to royalty-free audio resources that anyone can use to share and discover sounds for music making. Several resources are included for people involved with sound design and application. The emphasis is on sharing rather than selling.
An extended version of this post with legal audio samples, loops, software, music and video downloads is available at the Free Sounds Lens on Squidoo.
Free Sound Sample Collections
Audioshots.com has a Sample Section for SoundFonts, Sample Sets and One Shots. This is a new archive that will continue to grow throughout 2006. Sister site The Auditorium is a forum for sharing audio and music information. Free registration provides access to member shared samples and loops, royalty-free.
Beasty Boys Acapella Download Page currently has downloadable audio of vocal performances in a range of BPMs. The acapellas are for your own personal use for creating remixes which can be shared in the Beastie Boys Remix Forum. New tracks are added every Friday.
ccMixter is a community music site using CC licenses to help people share samples and remix tunes. The site uses ccHost open source software, freely available to developers (CC WIKI).
"The goal of this project is to spread media content that is licensed under Creative Commons throughout the web in much the same way that weblogs spread CC licensed text. The more installations of ccHost and its variations, the more content there will be available for enjoyment and artistic re-use in a sane and legal setting."
DJSamples Free Samples and Loops has a growing collection of user submitted samples in WAV and MP3 formats. The site requires free registration which is simple and quick, no need to confirm account via email before logging on. Some samples may not be safe for commercial use.
efiddler gives you online access to real violin tracks and fiddle tracks for your recording projects. There are over 100 violin loops grouped into style categories including; Electric, Classical, Celtic, Country, and Gypsy.
Free-Loops.com provides free loops and audio clip downloads to the music production community. There are thousands of free loops to explore, preview and download.
Flashkit Loops is a vibrant community for Flash developers with royalty free loops for download. The shared loops are particularly suitable for use in multimedia projects. All sounds can be previewed and usually have a brief description.
Freeloops provides a free download section for samples in a variety of musical styles and instrument types. All loops are original and full sample packs are available for purchase. Read the License to ensure you understand the terms of agreement.
Freesound is a collaborative database of sound samples and effects. Users can up and download sounds to and from the database under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License. It provides a way for sound designers and artists to legally share and track the evolution of their creations. The database is for sound samples and loops only – the building blocks of compositions, field recordings and generated sounds – not full songs. Membership to the Freesound community is free.
g essence sounds offers samples from minimalist electronic music tracks for remixing. The sounds are released under a Creative Commons Sampling Plus license. Related electronic music projects include -N netlabel and podcast, plus the excellent ACOWO blog and podcast for showcasing netlabel releases.
G-Town Church Sampling Project via Legal Torrents. Recorded in his local church in Grebbestad, Sweden by music producer Tobias Marberger, this set of CC-licensed music samples (available in two separate torrents, with either the original .WAV files with separate EXS24 soft sampler patches, or as .GIG Gigastudio-formatted versions) should be invaluable to amateur and professional musicians alike – includes anvil, snare, wood stick, hihat, brushplate, bongos, piano, organ, mandolin, glockenspiel, flute, many other instruments.
HammerSound is a web-site focusing on computer music and sound creation using SoundFont compatible soundcards like the SoundBlaster Live!, the AWE-range of soundcards, and several others. The SoundFont Library is a database containing free SoundFonts submitted by people from all over the world.
Looperman offers free loops of various instruments including acoustic, electronic and vocals. All loops are saved as zip files and sounds can be previewed before downloading. Check the FAQ page for clarification of how you may use them. There are also sections for tutorials and related links.
naturalstudio – Douglas Whates has created drum and piano samples in WAV, SoundFont, Gigastudio and Battery versions. The zipped sample packs have MP3 demos so you can preview the sounds before downloading. There’s also a jazz guitar SoundFont and some bank presets you can use with the sample packs including Akai S5/6K multi, EXS-24, Halion, Hydrogen, Kontakt, Muzys etc.
Ontology SampleSwap is a free community for electronic musicians to share their original sounds and music. Samples and loops are archived in categories for easy retrieval and members can exchange ideas and tips in the forums.
SampleNet is a searchable database of copyright free sound samples and loops in mp3 format. Part of the SonicState.com musician’s resource.
University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios a collection of orchestral instrument samples created by Lawrence Fritts. All samples are in mono, 16 bit, 44.1 kHz, AIFF format apart from the Steinway piano which is a stereo recording. The samples may be used freely without any restriction.
Waveform.dk has over 2000 samples being shared by users. Samples are sorted into categories for easy browsing. File formats allowed: WAV ( samplename extension .wav ) IFF AIFF ( samplename extension .aiff or .aif ) IFF 8SVX ( samplename extension .svx ). All sample packs use RAR compression for better bandwidth performance.
YourBeats.com is an online music production resource that offers free MP3 hosting, samples and loops in MP3 and WAV formats, VST’s, software, and tips.
Ziggus Guitar Loops offers a small collection of royalty-free guitar loops. Categories include Clean, Effected, Metal, Rock and Loops.zip. Contains chord arpeggios, riffs, phrases etc .wav, .mp3, and .ogg formats.