The use of samples plays a fundamental role in today’s music production. There are many reasons why that is and the following examples are just scraping the surface: Samples let you borrow the musical and creative skills of others. They let you incorporate the sound of rare and expensive instruments in your own music without having to rob a bank only to own one of these. And samples like found sounds and fx loops can be the icing on the top of a finished song. This article however is all about speeding up your music production workflow. We are going to explore 3 reasons why producing music with samples is a huge time saver.
1. You Don’t Have to Start From A Blank Page
One of the most daunting things for a producer is starting a new song with an empty session and no initial idea. But why would you want to start a new song, when you don’t even already have an idea in your head?
Well, sometimes you simply have to because a client is waiting for a demo. Or you just set yourself a challenge to produce X songs every week for a certain time to build your portfolio.
Whatever the reason, what you need in such cases is some good tactics to get you going even when inspiration doesn’t hit you instantly. This could be stepping through presets of your VSTs (I bet there are some gems hiding on your hard drive). Or you could grab your guitar or bass (or any instrument for that matter) and record a few random bars. Sometimes that’s all you need to get the ball rolling.
However, one of the most efficient and fastest ways to instant inspiration could be stepping through your library of sampled loops. I bet that in 99% you’ll find a melody or chord progression that triggers your creative juices. And then you can start building your beat or song around that loop.
You don’t even have to keep the initial loop. Sometimes it is just the starter, that triggers a musical idea, that gets your creativity going, so you can create that new song.
2. You Don’t Need to Spend Time Creating Sounds From Scratch
Creating samples is fun! It puts you in that musical micro space, where it’s all about texture, punch and vibe. But creating samples from all kinds of sound sources and shaping them until they sound as sweet and spicy as you want them can be very time-consuming. Let alone learning how to process which sounds with which devices or how to play one or more instruments and get good at it.
Why not let other people do that work for you and focus on the process of creating songs? There’s some really good resources for dope samples nowadays so that there really is no need for spending huge amounts of time creating your own sounds.
If you ever feel like creating music with other peoples sounds is like cheating I invite you to look at it from another perspective: Creating music with other peoples sounds is like collaborating. It’s the same as inviting a guest musician or a fellow producer to add some of their musical creativity and skills to your song.
“I can’t play the piano and well, I don’t feel inspired today. Can you play a few funky chords, please, so I can build upon those?” That’s exactly what would happen in a collaborative situation. You bring your strengths to the table and let others bring theirs, so something bigger than the sum of its parts can happen.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to keep you from getting good at sound design or learning to get good at playing an instrument. Both can be very rewarding and inspiring. Just don’t let that keep you from creating and finishing songs.
3. You Spend Less Time Mixing
Good samples are already processed in such a way that they instantly fit well in a mix. You will still need to mix your songs to taste but the hardest work is already done for you.
If you’ve ever recorded sounds yourself, let’s say from a drum machine or a synth or a guitar amp or acoustic drum set, then you should be able to refer to the following situation. You have recorded sounds that are decent by themselves. The drums have punch, the guitar has a great vibe. And that new VST, damn that thing sounds out of this world.
But as soon as you start to put these elements together, create a beat from all your dope recordings… somehow the beat just doesn’t sound that dope and punchy compared with the records you love. Something is lacking. It sounds kinda dull and “amateurish”.
The reasons for that are complex and they have to do with processing recordings with EQs, compressors and all kinds of overtone and glue creating gear like tubes and tape. And then some other crazy stuff like envelope followers, filters, modulated delays and so on that make the sounds more interesting. And it has to do with giving each instrument it’s place in the frequency spectrum.
Okay, you may already know that and even be good at recording and mixing. But why not take a shortcut when it is offered to you? Your life becomes easier with good samples and as a consequence you will be able to spend less time mixing and create more music. And as a music producer that should always be your priority number one!
There are many good reasons to produce music with samples. You may not be good at playing instruments. You may want to use the sound of hardware you don’t possess. You may want to tap into the skill set and creativity of others.
One big reason is that it’s a huge time saver. Sample loops can trigger initial ideas and keep the flow going during the production process.
You also don’t need to spend time creating and shaping your own sounds. You can focus on creating songs, arranging and fine tuning them and let others do the sound design work for you.
And producing music with samples can save you a lot of time because you most certainly spend way less time mixing, than when you create or record your own sounds. You still need to make every element sit where you want it but…
…good samples save you most of the hard work so you can focus on creating music.
And as a music producer your number one priority should be the creation of music. Good samples will help you on your way.
Where To Find Good Samples
You’ll find some dope sample packs here at SuperHeroSamples.com and I highly recommend you check them out. You can find them here:
But I also know that not all tastes are equal. So here is a list of other sites that provide you with good samples. I’m sure you’ll find tons of sounds that inspire you on at least one of these websites.
Enjoy and stay creative:-)