Guide to musical loops!

This guide was designed to help you to get loops for making music with loop based music applications, such as Looptastic Producer, Ableton Live and ACID.

Free loops

Everyone loves free stuff.  There have been times when I’ve had to get creative about ways to get loops.  Here are some resources to help you build your library for free.

1. Websites

Freesound.org – Freesound is a wonderful resource for Creative Commons Licensed sound effects and musical loops. The Freesound library is huge and it feels like a strong community of artists.  Freesound provides color coded waveform visualizations of each sound prior to download.  Their search engine is powerful and their content has even been used in major motion pictures.

Looperman – The Looperman search engine provides quick access to a large selection of royalty free loop downloads.  The rest of the Looperman site is filled with tutorials and useful links.

Freeloops.com – Freeloops provides wav and mp3 files of many different instruments and styles.  Their library is somewhat limited but there is some decent material available.

Peace Love Productions – Peace Love Productions has a monthly free download pack for electronic musicians.  They also sell high quality music loops.

2. Remix Contests

Remix contests are a great way to get high quality loops from your favorite artists.  Musicians will sometimes post stems (loops) from their tracks and encourage people to download and experiment with them.  This gives the musician more visibility and gives fans a new way to experience their favorite music.

Peace Love Productions – Assorted free remix contests

Beatportal Remix contest List – Not free, but a very good selection of well known musicians.  $3.99 per remix pack.

Radiohead remix contest – an example of a well known band hosting a remix contest.

3. Magazines

Magazines such as MusicTech, Computer Music and Future Music include free DVDs filled with high-resolution royalty free samples, loops and software that you can use for your creations.  While I strongly encourage purchasing these magazines to support the creators, you should also be aware that bookstores regularly discard outdated unsold magazines as well as the DVDs included with it.

Loops for sale

Royalty free CD/DVDs

SONIVOX – These guys sell loops and wave table packs for samplers.

BigFish Audio – A good selection of high quality loops.

Sony Loops and Samples – A decent roster of well known and unknown artists.  A good collection of loops.

Motion Samples – Motion Samples have a large collection of hip hop and dance music loops for your remixing pleasure.

Guitar Center – Guitar Center has a good selection of high quality loop libraries from many producers.

Cutting the breaks

There will be times when you’ll want to grab a swanky drum break from your favorite funk song and use that as a loop.  Here are a few free software programs to help you get started.

Mac:

  1. Loop Editor

  2. Audacity

PC:

  1. Wavosaur (Tutorial)

  2. Audacity

Loop creation tutorials

Make a loop – How to make a loop in Waveosaur.  Go here first!

Practical PC tutorial – An introduction to loop creation.

Scratch (documentary) – Essential viewing material.  Discusses DJing and creating loop based music with records.

Recording and editing

If you want to record your own loop material, you can start by learning more about recording from the sources listed below.

Years ago I made a song entirely out of sounds at a grocery store.  The drum track was shoping carts being stacked and the melody was created by the sound of the scanner at the register.  Vocals were all incidental conversations recorded at the store.  Don’t feel limited by standard instruments.  Anything that makes a sound can be used as an instrument and any recorded sound can be looped.

So You Wanna Make a Loop – A somewhat advanced tutorial by Craig Anderton

AudioTuts.com – An excellent blog filled with valuable audio production tutorials.

Modern Recording Techniques – An excellent book about recording by David Huber

HomeRecording.com – A very helpful website about home recording.

A special thanks to Aaron at Sound Trends for the free software suggestions.


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