by Anders Johanson January 03, 2021 9 min read
Ableton Live has been a staple for electronic music production for over 10 years and, along with the likes of FL Studio and Pro Tools, is among the most commonly used software applications found in the music studio. It’s for this reason that there’s a huge amount of Ableton Live sample packs, loops and software instruments designed specifically for Live and its users, which lets creators expand their sonic palette, find inspiration quickly, and get great-sounding results quickly.
But, because there is so much content out there, it’s sometimes hard to find the stuff that really stands out. And while many sound packs and virtual instruments are top-class, others are lacking in quality. So here is a run-down of our favorite five premium sample packs for Live. In no particular order:
If you have spent any amount of time doing research on sample packs and sound libraries online then chances you have had to dig through unusable sounds and jumbled collections of audio just to find one or two samples that you might use, banishing the rest into the recycle bin, never to be seen again. We’ve all been there. When a market becomes so overcrowded with free content it becomes harder and harder to find anything worthwhile, and the paid content is, sometimes, not much better of an alternative. Regardless of what genre you are producing, you are going to want to have some sample packs tucked in a folder somewhere on your hard drive. Even ambient composers will figure out a way to weave in a kick drum or something every now and then.
One of the best things about this age of free sample packs is that you do not always have to risk crippling your computer by downloading files from a sketchy website. Nowadays some of the bigger companies in the music software game offer free sample packs, and since they are coming from a reputable source you do not have to worry about the quality of the samples or what could end up on your computer after downloading them.
We went ahead and compiled some of the best free (and paid) Ableton sample packs on the internet, sample packs that will help you with beat making and music production for years to come (until you find different ones). This will be a living list so even if you have visited this page in the past, it may be worth it to come back and see what has been added or removed. It will not be so exhaustive that it includes every free sample pack and free sound library known to man, as some other lists online might, because exhaustive often means exhausting, and I know I would not want to scroll through a seemingly endless list of links just to find one or two worthwhile sample packs, so I'm not going to ask you to do that either. Think of this as like the greatest hits of free sample packs available on the internet.
Another one from Samplified, whose hard-hitting sample packs are exceedingly useful for when you want to expand your sound library past the normal beats and loops — and they’re affordable too! Flodelity is a collection of Lo-fi and abstract hip hop samples, produced by AYWY. Like Benzie Box, the pack comprises a vast amount of WAV files, which you can freely build into your Ableton Live Sessions.
The pack is a massive 3.5GB, which includes the following, all in 24-Bit WAV format: 160 loops (Percussion, Guitar, Harp, Synth, Bass, Rhodes Piano, Synth & Vinyl); 200 one-shots (Drum, Foley & Percussion); 35 bass and 808 sounds; 20 pads/drones; 40 effects samples and 15 MIDI chord progressions. There are also 50 patches for the acclaimed Sylenth virtual instrument.
Using Live’s built-in plugins like Sampler or Drum Racks, users can create their own unique sample-based instruments. These can be played and manipulated on MIDI controllers or dedicated Ableton hardware devices like Push or Launchpad. Be sure to check out the full contents below.
Samplified’s range of snackable audio content is perfect for producers needing to inject a new flavor into their creations, or find a different sonic direction. They offer everything from ‘Essential’ packs of guitar chords and loops, to 808 kicks, and several packs inspired by specific records. That’s where Benzie Box — one of our favorite premium future bass sample packs for Live — comes in…
Fans of mid-2000s rap will spot the reference: ‘Benzie Box’ was a track on the revered Danger Doom album The Mouse And The Mask. Known for its unusual timbres and chunky grooves, Samplified’s version is a tribute to found sounds, wonky beats and quirky sonics. It’s the perfect sound set for making gritty, futuristic and bass-heavy sounds of the golden age of alternative Trap/Hip-Hop. Benzie Box gives you everything you need to start building chunky breaks and captivating instrumentals, perfect for hip-hop, electronica, and everything that blurs the line between the two.
It’s presented in a way that the user can tap into the pack’s raw material — dozens of foley sounds, drum hits, multisamples, synth loops and effects, all in WAV format. Alternatively, they can simply open the Ableton Presets to take inspiration from the ready-made creations of Samplified’s sound engineers. A total of 50 Xfer Serum presets also give users of that platform the ability to open ready-made software instruments.
Puremagnitik have been on the sample scene for over 10 years and have many great products to be proud of. If you’re willing to splash out, their ‘Decade’ and ‘Century’ bundles offer an enormous amount of bang for a reasonable amount of buck. (The ‘Century’ bundle even offers the promise of future content for free, for the rest of the century!)
Our top tip from Puremagneitik’s range, however, is Wicked Kits, a free bundle of five very simple but essential electronic drum kits. Unlike other ‘must-have’ drum libraries, these aren’t simply collections of the untreated sounds from the revered drum machines of yesteryear, rather they are an amalgamation of warped percussives, solid thumps and industrial clangs, plus some instantly recognizable slices of the ‘Amen’ break. Not only will they bring some polished sonics to your productions, they will transform your beats to a new dimension!
Nobody likes predictability, and this pack is the quintessential tool to bring unpredictability into your music. The samples in Wicked Kits belong to no one genre, which means they work in every kind of music, whether you’re making dance floor bangers or ambient weirdness. And because they exist as WAV samples, they can be built into your unique drum racks in Ableton Live.
We would be doing you a disservice if we failed to mention Ableton in this roundup. Ableton have, after all, been doing this for longer than most, and some of their factory sound banks are second to none. There’s a whole section of their website dedicated to free packs, which includes several Max For Live instruments alongside a number of straightforward sample packs.
Ableton work with a number of sound makers to compile their native packs, so you’ll find names like Heavyocity, Sample Magic and Puremagnetik among the list of providers. Rest assured, you’ll find some inspiration, whether it’s from the multi-sampled Yamaha drumset (Recording Hybrid Kit), or Henrik Schwartz’s ’Schwartzonator II’, which automatically moves MIDI to a selected musical scale!
Not only does Ableton offer a stack of new sounds to help expand your personal sample collection, they also provide a window into the world of Max For Live, which to some is still shrouded with mystery and confusion. Here’s a challenge if you’re feeling brave: head to the Ableton site, download a Max For Live Patch like Richie Hawtin’s ‘Kapture’ or Oli Larkin’s ‘Kasio’. Then, open it up, start to tinker with it, and slowly begin to understand the inner workings of M4L: the powerful accompaniment to Ableton Live Suite.
Slate Digital, known mostly for their mixing and mastering plugin suite, has a hand in the free sample library game, and as they are one of the most recognizable names in audio production it only makes sense to have them headline this collection of sample packs. Slate Digital offers six sample packs, each geared towards specific genres, so there is plenty of content for you to pick through. Honestly, there is so much good stuff just in these sample packs from Slate Digital, it would almost be silly not to download this.
Good for: Hip-hop, EDM, electronic, drum machines
Cymatics is a top-tier name in the world of sampling and production, and they banded together with several producers to put out this sample pack that they named Cobra. Cobra has features loops and sounds that were designed with hip-hop in mind, so if you are a hip-hop producer, this should be a great starting place for you and your tracks.
Good for: Hip-hop, R&B
Not to be confused with the photo printing company, Kodak is a sample pack inspired by the music of Kodak Black. This sample pack has a mix of loops, great for dropping into your track and building around, and one-shots, which work perfectly if you’d like to program your own beat rather than use someone else’s. Kodak Black’s song catalog and production style feature some trademark characteristics, and having access to those sounds will put you in a good spot in your own music. Definitely worth a download.
Good for: Hip-hop, R&B
This trap sample pack has a good mix of melodic loops and unique one-shots, great for giving your trap songs a unique sound. With 203 files to go through and choose from, there’s bound to be something in this pack for you to use. I particularly liked a few of the snare one-shots included in this pack, and if you want a snare that other people might not be using, this pack should have it for you. This website does require you to make an account or login with Facebook, and once you do that you have to download each file individually. (One of the “benefits” of paying for an account on this website is batch downloading. I will record a video of myself downloading all 203 files one by one, upload it to Vimeo in 4K resolution, then email it to them just to show them how dedicated I am to getting stuff for free.)
Good for: Trap, electronic, techno
Over at MyLoops, they have put together a sample pack for progressive house music that hits all of the key sounds you will need to get your house beats moving. This sample pack is a high-quality download with loops, one-shots, and MIDI files for you to drag and drop into your project file to keep the style but swap in your own sounds. MyLoops also has a psy trance sample pack as well as a synthwave sample pack, so if electronic music is your thing then they should have what you need.
Good for: House, electronic, techno
Electronic dance music is one of the most popular styles if you are looking to reimagine a song, and if you are struggling with finding sounds or designing your own, this sample pack is an incredible resource. With over 300 loops, over 100 drum one-shot samples, and over 50 synth one-shot samples, this pack will cover all of the bases for your EDM remix and give you enough structure to build around.
Good for: EDM, dance, techno
The About Noise techno sample pack checks all of the boxes for techno music, and especially if you are producing a couple of the more specific techno genres, like dark or minimal techno. This sample pack is mostly loops, but with some one-shots scattered in, and even has some textural tracks for you to incorporate into your mix.
Good for: Techno, dark techno, minimal techno, electronic
This collection of loops and samples is another one for the hip-hop producers. This sample pack features some slow and groovy beats, with plenty of room for adding in your own sounds or other elements, but also comes with MIDI files for you to replace sounds without losing the rhythm component that may have caused you to pick a track in the first place.
Good for: Hip-hop, R&B
This is one of the best minimal trap sound and sample packs I have heard, and the fact that it’s available for free makes it even better. Crafted in the style of Pierre Bourne, this sample pack has claps, cymbals, kicks, snares, and 808s that will really make your trap music stand out among the rest. This is a truly unique and high-quality sample pack, and well worth the free download.
Good for: Trap, techno
This sample pack was designed using the Arturia DrumBrute analog drum machine, so all of the samples and sounds have a distinctly warm, analog sound to them. If that sounds made up or fake to you, give these sounds a listen side-by-side against a digital sample pack. You will hear a difference. If that sound is desirable to you, then this sound pack will give you everything you have been hoping to find. It leaves plenty of room for further processing while still retaining that analog tone.
Good for: Anything that needs analog drum sounds
If you are looking for high-quality, absolutely free sample packs to stash away in your library for future use, or to incorporate into a project immediately, this list should have plenty to keep you busy for a while.
While you're at it, be sure to stop by our collections to check out all of the Samplified premium sound kits, essential, and free sample packs. We have over 20+ years of experience in sound design, mixing, mastering, and creative. See why 10,000+ producers rely on Samplified to bring them the industry standard of sounds at an affordable rate. Click any of the images below to check out our selection, and be sure to dive into our Free Sounds & Tutorials section for all the goodies.
Writer and musician based in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he lives with his wife, Hannah. Extensive career as both a writer and a musician previously working with brands such as Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, and Sports Illustrated. As a musician, Anders has played in several bands throughout the last decade, and has experience in touring, booking, band management, engineering, producing, mixing, and composing. Anders has recently composed music for short films and media presentations in universities, and has launched a podcast focusing on giving musicians and artists a place to talk about their work and the process behind their creation.