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Most Authentic Sounding Acoustic Drum Samples & Sample Packs

Using drum samples in your mixes can be a powerful tool in bringing your music to life. As the heartbeat (and backbeat) of your tunes, a good acoustic drum kit can be the difference between a song that has punch and clarity and a song that feels dull and uninspired. 

Samples are easy to use, so they make great tools for beginning engineers, but their precision and unique sound has made them a staple of many genres regardless of skill level. 

Acoustic Drum Samples Highlighted

Adding Samples To Your DAW

The process of adding samples to your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is similar across almost every DAW in use today. Samples take the form of individual sound files that are collected together in a folder, typically in .WAV format for easy use in your workstation. It’s usually as simple as dragging the sample you want from the folder and dropping it directly onto a track in your song. Depending on the limitations of your specific DAW, you’re free to layer as many samples as your system can handle. Check out our piece on recording software for some great DAW suggestions.

In general, there are two types of samples: loops and one shots. A loop is a sample that includes multiple pieces of percussion played to a specific rhythm, like a four-on-the-floor or double-kick pattern. Loops often last for at least one full measure, and multiple instances of the same sample can be placed back to back (or “looped) to fill out a song section. One shots are precision samples of a single kit piece, like the sound of an isolated snare or cymbal. You can layer multiple one shots together to create the sound of a full kit, or you can add them in selectively to bolster specific sounds. This is where your creativity as a producer comes into play: the sky’s the limit!

Top Acoustic Drum Samples

The first step in creating a great rhythm section for your song is starting with a great sample. Whether you’re looking for that signature Questlove sound or a heavy John Bonham vibe, our list of the best acoustic drum samples has you covered.

1. Pocket Drums with Corey Fonville

Best for: Funky soul, disco, and hip-hop.

Playing “in the pocket” is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after aspects of any drum feel. Corey Fonville is a world-renowned drummer, so you’re in good hands here. The loops here are played super-tight, so if you’re looking for a good drag-and-drop option that isn’t overwhelming, this is a solid choice.

Where to get it: Splice

This sample pack is an original offering from Splice and Corey Fonville. It’s available as part of Splice’s subscription service.

What’s in this pack:

  • 297 loops
  • 138 one shots

2. Acoustic Drum Workshop from Loopmasters

Best for: Jazz, folk-rock, and country.

This is an exhaustively large package of one-shots that can easily be layered to create your own loops. It’s ideal for the tone aficionado that always needs more choices and doesn’t mind tinkering a little to get them. The tones here lend themselves heavily to jazz, but you can manipulate them to suit other genres as well. As an added bonus, this pack contains patches that can be used as virtual instruments to give you a truly customizable experience.

Where to get it: Loopmasters

Loopmasters offers royalty-free sample packs, and once you’ve bought it, it’s yours forever. They also have a “taster pack” in case you want to check out your options before you purchase.

What’s in this pack:

  • 525 samples total
  • 213 snare hits
  • 92 kick hits
  • 185 cymbal hits
  • 35 tom hits
  • 21 soft sampler patches

3. Punch Live Hip Hop Drums from ModeAudio

Best for: Hip-Hop, Funk.

A great option if you’re looking for a one-and-done solution. It not only contains dry, close-miked drum loops for maximum clarity but also offers those same loops with room sound so you can incorporate some space into your mix. Better still, there are both pre-processed and pure-acoustic options to suit your needs and either save you time when mixing or provide your rhythm with a clean foundation.

Where to get it: ModeAudio

ModeAudio has a wide variety of loops, one-shots, and virtual kits available for purchase. They also frequent sales, so be sure to keep an eye open!

What’s in this pack:

  • 133 dry loops (swing, straight, and no hat)
  • 133 room loops
  • 37 cymbal & drum loops
  • 56 acoustic-only samples

4. Dusty Acoustic Drums from Multiton Bits

Best for: Hip-Hop, Rock, Fusion.

A sample pack that is small but mighty, and what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. These might be some of the most resonant acoustic kick drum samples on our list, and there’s no shortage of vibe here with most of the loops receiving a vinyl-inspired treatment. Despite being intended for hip-hop, these samples can be used to great effect in other genres, especially rock.

Where to get it: Splice

Currently offered as part of Splice’s subscription service, this makes a great add-on to some of the larger sample libraries available on the site.

What’s in this pack:

  • 31 loops
  • 51 one shots

5. Snares by Versilian Studios

Best for: Everything (seriously).

This may be the definitive starting point for snare sounds. When your track is lacking that crack, you can always turn to a good snare sound to flesh it out. This sample pack is strictly snare one-shots, but they can be paired kit pieces from other packs to create unique layered sounds that pop. Whether you need extra rattle or snap, there’s an option for just about everything, and these clean sounds take other effects well. The pack even contains different takes for the left and right-handed hits.

Where to get it: Sounds

For clarity, you’ll need to pair these samples with others if you’re attempting to get a full kit sound. These are precision application sounds for snare only, but Sounds also offers samples for other kit pieces too.

What’s in this pack:

  • 336 samples
  • Two takes per snare hit (left and right hands)
  • Snare-off and snare-on options

6. Acoustic Drum Layers from Sample Magic

Best for: Rock, Pop, Funk, World.

Sample Magic has made sure that each of these samples is presented 100% dry, with none of the added processing that might be undesirable if you’re after a pure-acoustic sound. The rhythms here cover all of the classic ground you’d expect, but a few creative choices can yield a solid foundation for world music sounds.

Where to get it: Splice

You can check this pack out in a free trial or sign up and get access to Splice’s expansive catalog of samples.

What’s in this pack:

  • 180 loops
  • 123 one shots

7. Organic Drums from Mr. Bill’s Tunes

Best for: Hip-Hop, Rock, Pop. Mr. Bill’s Tunes is a sound designer that releases thoughtful sample packs intended to make the creative process a little easier. This offering is ideal for layering with your live drums to create fuller mixes, especially if you’re working on a mix that could use a little more low-end. There are plenty of loops on tap here, so it also makes a great drag-and-drop foundation to build your rhythm section.

Where to get it: Splice

Another offering from Splice. Be sure to check out the rest of Mr. Bill’s Tunes’ samples, too!

What’s in this pack:

  • 158 loops
  • 91 one shots
  • 51 x organic fills
  • 36 x hats & cymbals
  • 25 x kicks
  • 124 x loops
  • 11 x snares
  • 20 x toms

8. DrumWerks Mapex Maple

Best for: Classic Rock, Alt Rock, Pop.

While perhaps a lesser-known sample pack, there’s a lot here to love. DrumWerks has sampled a six-piece maple Mapex kit and brought it to the digital world as a series of one-shots. If you’re a rock producer drowning in a sea of samples that you just can’t use, this is the solution – it was specifically curated to cater to classic rock tones.

Where to get it: DrumWerks

Available as a single purchase sample pack. Be sure to check DrumWerks bundles, as this sample pack is also included in several other bundles with other samples.

What’s in this pack:

  • 303 samples
  • 6-piece Mapex kit sample

You’ve Got The Rhythm – Now What?

Once you’ve built a solid rhythmic foundation for your tracks, you’re ready to fill out the rest of your instrumentation. Depending on your project, you may find yourself in need of other plug-ins to get the most out of your drums and other instruments.

Samples are an affordable alternative to booking studio time and using session players – websites like Splice typically offer free trial sessions for their subscription service so you can demo your samples before you commit.

Sometimes you’ll want to augment your live-tracked percussion with the controlled addition of a pre-recorded sample to bring out individual instrument parts, like a deep kick or a sharp snare hit. 

If you’re recording without the benefit of a real drum kit, samples can also be an incredible tool to complete your instrumentation. 

What happens when you need your samples to sound like a “real” acoustic drum set? You use acoustic drum samples that were created by sampling a real kit, of course! Fortunately for you, we’ve collected a handful of high-quality sample kits with a focus on classic acoustic kits for your next project.

If you need some suggestions, we’ve got you covered with some of the best plug-ins available today. Still got drum fever? See our previous article for more sample suggestions!

Learn More About Samples

Do I need to credit the sample artist if I use their sample in my song? 

This is easily one of the most complicated questions in the industry. If you’re using pre-made drum samples in your music like the kind we’ve recommended in our list above, you’ll see a disclaimer from the provider that they have already been cleared for use. That means you’re free to use them in any way you like. It’s generally considered a courtesy to credit the originator, though – after all, you’re using someone else’s hard word. If you’re interested in sampling sounds that you’ve heard elsewhere, you need to obtain written permission from the originator or rights holder. You should never sample someone else’s work without written permission, as doing so is an infringement on the originator’s rights and may subject you to legal action.

Can I get free acoustic drum samples? 

Yes, there are several free acoustic drum samples available online – just be sure you’re getting them from a reputable source and be sure to read the fine print. One of the advantages of purchasing drum samples is knowing where they came from and being assured that they’re truly royalty-free. Some DAWs will come packaged with free acoustic drum samples (and other samples) that you can use in your mixes. Websites like Splice also offer free trials, so you can demo their sample libraries before you shell out.

Do sample or sample packs take up a lot of space on your hard drive? 

Samples and sample packs are generally just a collection of short .WAV files. These files contain more information than other formats, but because individual samples are pretty short, these files tend to be relatively small. The total space that your sample library takes up on your hard drive will be determined by how many samples you have, but sample pack space requirements are almost always listed by sample providers, so you don’t have to worry about getting caught off guard. If you anticipate having an especially large collection of samples, you might consider using an external hard drive to store them all.

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