183 Free 80s Pop Drum Samples

Four drum kits perfect for an '80s pop sound...

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(Image credit: Roger Linn Design)

The influence of 80s music has ebbed and flowed over the last 3 decades with many audio production techniques rearing up across numerous genres. 

Amongst the ultra clean guitar tones, fizzy vocal reverbs and inexplicably ubiquitous saxophone solos there are many bonafide classic 80s sounds, and drum production contains most of them: tone- dropping synth toms, Roland TR drum machines, copious Eventide Harmonizer treatments and, of course, the gated snare.

This free sample pack doesn’t hold back on the reverbs, especially the gated kind, as well as some (virtual) H910 and chorus type delays. Four drums kits were assembled in Kontakt and Spark with each drum type (kick, snare, hats, claps, cymbals, toms and perc) routed to individual channels for separate processing before some era-relevant bus processing (VCA compression and exciters mostly).

Stereo external lines were used as plugins in Nuendo to take advantage of the excellent gated reverbs in the Kurzweil K2600r, a spot on gated verb on the Yamaha SPX1000 and another through the TC Electronic Hall Of Fame reverb pedal, which was preceded by the Eventide Modfactor for some stereo chorus too.

The kits were used to create beats and fills (very much tom focussed) across seven tempos as well as a set of hits. A collection of 32 gated snares were also created by sending a selection of snares (80s drum machine types) to six parallel process groups, each with a different reverb, EQ and compression chain.

The samples are split into nine folders: there’s seven tempo-labelled folders of loops, a folder for gated snares, and a folder that contains all four drum kits the aforementioned loops are built from.

All the samples are supplied as WAV files so can be imported directly into your DAW or sampler of choice.

Because they’re royalty-free, you’re welcome to use the samples in your music in any way you like – all we ask is that you don’t re-distribute them.