When it comes to working with sampled acoustic drums, the advantages of using commercial software like EZdrummer, Addictive Drums, or BFD2 are more than obvious. But not everyone can afford these, as they all come with quite a big price tag.
Luckily, though, there are many free alternatives available online. I selected only the best free sample packs for this list, choosing only the ones that come with mappings in SFZ format (among others, of course). If you don’t own a commercial sampler like Battery or Halion, I recommend using the free Shortcircuit 1 sampler, as it supports the SFZ format and also offers multiple outputs (or check out BPB’s list of the best free sampler VSTi plugins).
- Big Mono by Analogue Drums – A rich sounding drum kit recorded through a vintage Neve desk, available for free. How cool is that?! These samples sound really amazing and the only (potential) drawback is that they come with a lot of room reverb which is there to stay. But check out that fatso kick! Native support for Kontakt and Battery, custom SFZ mappings by Peter L Jones can be downloaded here.
- G&S Custom Drum Kit by Salvador Peláez – My favorite drum sample pack. I love jamming with these! They sound just the way I like it and the available mappings feel very natural. These drums sit really well in the mix too. The original download location is no longer available, but we can still get these, and all the custom mappings, thanks to autodafe.net.
- Salamander Drumkit by RytmenPinne! – A great sampled acoustic drum kit in SFZ format. No compression or EQ, just a set of quality samples ready to be played and mixed to your preference.
- Free Jazz Funk Drum by Orange Tree Samples – Completely different than the previous three links, these samples come from a rare jazz/funk kit. And I somehow always come up with great beats when playing with these. They were created with special attention dedicated to expressive playing, with varying velocities, so get your shuffle on and make some funky beats. Mappings in SFZ format are available here (made by PL Jones).
- Vintage Funk Drum Samples by drumsamples.ca – Perhaps the best free acoustic drum pack for Ableton users. Features a set of samples from a vintage Pearl drum kit, formatted into an Ableton Live drum rack. You’ll find two more awesome free kits on the same site. Registration is required, but well worth it! Thanks to BPB reader stldrms for suggesting this kit in the comments section.
- 12 Piece Pearl Master Custom Drum Kit by 1313 – 1313 is a blog mostly known for offering high quality impulse responses of various expensive pieces of gear. But besides that, there are many other goodies on that website, including these great samples of a custom Pearl acoustic drum kit with Zildjian cymbals. A set of SFZ mappings made by SWTrex can be downloaded here.
- Basement Drums by Sounds Outside The Lines – A dirty sounding acoustic drum kit sample set in EXS24 format. Recorded with a pair of Shure SM57s and an Apogee Duet, the kit sounds great and catches all those sweet imperfections for a more realistic sound.
- Free EXS24 Drumkit and Samples by Sam Greene – A Sonor Force 3001 sampled and available in EXS24 instrument format, released under a Creative Commons licence.
- Dry Studio Kit SL Sample Set by Smart Loops – Unreleased samples which were created during the same recording sessions as the commercial Dry Studio Kit. It’s a fairly compact library, containing 3MB of samples. They’re not breathtaking, but I use them from time to time. To get these, you must subscribe to the Smart Loops mailing list by clicking here.
- The Open Source Drum Kit by Real Music Media – A huge 600 MB pack containing more than 700 samples. I still haven’t had the time to test the mappings for this kit, but the individual samples sound very good.
- NSA Custom Series Drumkit by Dean aka ‘Nekro’ – Whooping 777 samples grouped into separate folders for cymbals, hi-hat, kick, snare, and tom sounds. This 132Mb pack doesn’t contain any patches, but that shouldn’t stop you from testing them in your favorite sampler.
- Big Daddy Drums by Bulldawg Sound Design – Several acoustic drum kit multi-samples available in16bit/44.1khz AIFF, ReFill, and EXS24 formats.
- DrumTaste Free by AcousticsampleS – A Rick Marotta Signature drum set with Paiste cymbals. It weighs around 80Mb and comes with Kontakt, EXS and SFZ mappings with 6 velocity layers and 2-cycle round robins.
- 1965 Ludwig Super Classic by Plutonic Lab – An awesome free vintage Ludwig drum set for Kontakt 4, made by Plutonic Lab. Uses some Kontakt scripts, but you’ll be able to load it in Kontakt Player, too.
- Brush Kit by Soniccouture – A full brushed drum kit, with some great articulations, available for Kontakt, Reason, and Battery.
- Free Drum Kit by Tchakpoum – A free drum kit available for Shortcircuit, Groove Agent One, Drummagog, Battery 3 and Kontakt 4.
- Ruffrider and Easyrider by Michael Kingston – Two very useful packs. While Ruffrider is a very raw sounding kit, the Easyrider samples are less edgy and sound more natural. Both are very good though. I like using these two for creating custom breaks. Available in all major formats, including SFZ.
- Jazz Kit by Gigfiles – A free Jazz drum kit with patches available in all popular formats, including Kontakt, SFZ, EXS-24, Halion, SF2, etc.
- Drum Samples Meta! by Ultimate Metal Forum – A collection of links to lots of free custom-made acoustic drum samples posted by Ultimate Metal Forum members.
- Tape Kit Mini by Impact Soundworks – A free 150MB version of the large Groove Bias drum sample library, available in Kontakt format.
- Slingerland Drum Kit by Indie Drums – A set of 23 acoustic drum kit samples in 24-bit WAV format. Features a nice Ludwig Black Beauty snare drum and Sabian cymbals.
- Culture Collection by The Lower Rhythm – A collection of 158 free drum samples recorded from 3 different acoustic drum kits.
- Free Drums by Pipelineaudio – An old set of free acoustic drum samples by Pipelineaudio, revamped in a KVR Forum thread with permission of the author.
Bonus Feature #1 – Acoustic Snare Samples:
There are a couple of free acoustic snare sample packs available online. These can work come handy as layering tools.
- The Real Snare Drum by Real Music Media – Mapped multi-samples of a vintage 1972 Slingerland Sound King snare drum.
- Tiny Snare by AcousticsampleS – 150 untreated samples of a 12″ snare in EXS24 and Kontakt formats. Recorded using a Neumann KM184 pair.
- The Cracken by Signals Audio – A set of raw Sonor Chrome metal snare samples for Kontakt, Drumagog, and Trigger (24-bit WAVs included).
- Free HQ Snare & Kick Samples by Supersonic Samples – A series of acoustic drum kick and snare samples, recorded from three different kits using various high quality pres and industry standard mics.
- Free Acoustic Snare Samples by Anemic Studios – A free set of Vinnie Paul (Snakeskin) 14×8 acoustic snare samples in WAV format.
- Free Acoustic Snare Samples by Sylvain Raulin – A set of free acoustic snare samples processed with some high-end audio gear.
- Erkan’s Cymbal Pack by Erkan Dogantimur – A set of 615 free cymbal samples recorded by Erkan Dogantimur from Ultimate Metal Forums.
Bonus Feature #2 – Free acoustic drum VSTi plugins:
In case all of these samples aren’t enough, here’s a short list of freeware acoustic drum VSTi plugins until I make a bpb Freeware Studio entry about ‘em.
- Addictive Drums Demo by XLN Audio – Demo version of Addictive Drums. It includes one kit without toms, but the samples are really good.
- DrumCore Free by Sonoma Wireworks – A lite version of DrumCore, comes with two kits.
- MDrummer Small by MeldaProduction – Contains several drum sets and rhythms taken from its larger brother MDrummer 3.
- My Drumset VSTi by Bluenoise plugins – Bjarte Ludvigsen (aka Bluenoise Plugins) has recently re-released this amazing free acoustic drum module in VSTi plugin format. A must-have freebie!
That’s it for the second episode of Free Sample Shootout, enjoy the samples, comment, subscribe, and support BPB by sharing this on your favorite social network or forums! Also, check out all the other Free Sample Shootouts by clicking here!Share This! ♥ :