Audio sample libraries

September 17, 2015 — December 13, 2023

A particular type of free content, or a particular subclass of data sets, for making music.

Figure 1

1 Audio, General

2 Whole songs

See also some weird bonus options from the audio datasets.

Figure 2

3 Loops

4 Drum samples

Who knows which of these are legal, but there is an endless churn of drum sample over on Reddit.

5 Instrumentals / acappellas / dub plates

Hard to google for because “instrumentals” has too many synonyms, and no one can agree how to spell “a capella” as a plural noun.

Here is a reddit on instrumentals, linking to more resources in this area.

acapellas.eu is a site for this kind of thing.

You should of course be careful about the copyright on these kinds of forum. I am not qualified to advise you on the legalities of up- or downloading in your jurisdiction, and I don’t mean to imply by linking to them that I have checked them out at all. They all claim to be abiding by relevant laws.

6 Soundfonts

A particular type of (faintly retro) sampled-based synthesis standard. Made famous by Fluidsynth, but there are other VST players and a big community.

You can also extract the samples form these and use them and normal one-shots.

You can edited them with Viena, Swami or Polyphone.

7 Impulse Response libraries

Libraries of reverbs, that may be convolved with a signal to make it sound like it was recorded somewhere else — e.g. record a sound in a church then play back other sounds as if they were played in the church. Aside: there is an interesting deconvolution problem in making these things, and possibly an even more interesting one in synthesising them.

Sources, via, e.g. sidebrain:

And ultimately anything can be treated as an impulse response; although you might have to do some fancy footwork to make it sound ok — see above re: deconvolution.

8 Managing and indexing

See sample management.

9 Kontakt

Free.