Vocal samples are the magic touch that can elevate your music.
They can help infuse soul into a soulless track, add complexity to simple beats, and give your music that extra edge it needs to stand out.
Plus, let’s be real, nothing gets a song shared and stuck in people’s heads like an unforgettable vocal hook.
Today, we’re breaking down all the secrets to help you use, tweak, and manipulate vocal samples like a pro.
So get ready, because we’re about to elevate your game and get your music some serious attention.
In today’s article, we’ll be covering:
- What vocal samples are ✓
- Elements of quality vocal samples ✓
- The art of manipulating vocal samples: tips, tricks & techniques ✓
- Mastering vocal sample in different genres ✓
- How to create unique vocal sounds ✓
- The top 3 vocal sample packs of 2023 ✓
Trust me, by the end of this article, you’ll have all the tools and tricks you need to create jaw-dropping tracks using vocal samples, any time you want.
Whether it’s free vocal samples or premium options, you’ll know it all.
Let’s dive in…
Table of Contents
- The Key Elements of a Good Vocal Sample
- Loop or One Shot? Choose Wisely
- Tips for Manipulating Vocal Samples
- How to Integrate Vocal Samples in Different Genres
- Creative Ways to Use Vocal Samples
- The 3 Best Vocal Sample Packs of 2023
- Vocal Samples: Final Thoughts
What are Vocal Samples?
Vocal samples are captivating, alluring, and have the ability to turn your tracks from mediocre to mesmerizing.
They are short pieces of recorded vocals that can range from single words to entire lyrical verses.
Why should you use vocal samples, you ask?
Well, the right vocal loop or sample can add that human touch to your beats.
It can offer:
- A layer of emotion
- Added rhythm
- A unique, captivating sound that you won’t get from an instrument alone
There are a ton of free vocal samples and premium vocal samples out there.
But, before you go and download just any pack, let’s dig into what makes a vocal sample truly great.
The Key Elements of a Good Vocal Sample
Before we get into the really creative and mind-blowing techniques, there are some essential elements to check off before we dive in.
BPM: Why It Matters
First things first, let’s talk about the BPM (Beats Per Minute) of your vocal samples.
You can’t just slap any vocal sample onto your track and expect it to fit.
BPM is what ensures your vocal loops or one-shots groove seamlessly with the rest of your music.
If your track has a BPM of 120, but your vocal sample sits at 100, you’re in for a timing nightmare.
PRO TIP: A lot of premium packs indicate the BPM and key, making it easier to fit the vocal samples into your existing tracks.
If you can find vocal samples that are close in BPM to your project, you’re already halfway there.
That said, don’t shy away from manipulating the BPM slightly for creative effect.
For example, speeding up a soulful vocal sample can give it an urgent, almost frantic feel that might just be the twist your Trap beats need.
Key & Quality: Make or Break Factors
The key and quality of your vocal samples are non-negotiables.
The wrong key can clash horribly with your tracks, while a low-quality sample can make your entire project sound amateurish.
Think of the key like the DNA of your track…
The vocals need to match this to create a harmonious sound.
If you’re working with a vocal sample in the wrong key, you’ll end up spending a lot of time with pitch-correction software.
When it comes to quality, always opt for the highest bitrate and resolution you can access.
Low-quality samples can introduce unwanted noise into your mix 一 muddying your carefully crafted beats.
NOTE: Don’t just download any free vocal samples.
Ensure they’re from a reputable source, or you’ll pay the price in mixing and mastering.
But don’t worry, we’re including the 3 best vocal sample packs ever, so you’ll have no issues later on.
Loop or One Shot? Choose Wisely
The question of using loops versus one-shots depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
Vocal loops offer a repetitive structure that’s great for genres like Techno or Hip-Hop.
One-shots offer a quick burst of sound that can emphasize a beat drop or act as a percussive element.
If you’re looking to create a hypnotic effect, a loop might be the way to go.
Imagine a vocal loop underlining the chorus of a Hip-Hop track, adding depth and complexity.
For more punch or surprise, consider one-shots.
These are usually single words or phrases that you can sprinkle throughout your track.
PRO TIP: Place a one-shot right before a drop, and you’ll elevate the entire listening experience.
Don’t limit yourself to one or the other 一 combine loops and one-shots in a single track for a rich, layered sound.
Use a loop for the verse and throw in some one-shots for emphasis during the chorus, but remember that both will give you the best of both worlds.
Tips for Manipulating Vocal Samples
Alright, you’ve got your pack of high-quality vocal samples and you’re itching to get them into your DAW.
Before you drag and drop, let’s talk about some cool tricks to manipulate these vocal gems.
Stretching Time: The Creative Way
Stretching or compressing the time of your vocal samples can yield some fascinating results.
Ever wondered how to give a vocal loop that surreal, ethereal quality? Stretching is the key.
Most DAWs come with time-stretching features.
The key here is subtlety 一 you don’t want to stretch the vocals so much that they lose their original characteristics.
Remember, a little goes a long way.
It’s not just about stretching time; you can also mess with the BPM post-stretching to give it a different groove.
Let’s say you’re working on a Techno track at 130 BPM…
You could take a 100 BPM vocal sample, stretch it, and then adjust it to fit your faster BPM.
Remember, the idea is not to distort but to create something musically intriguing.
It’s like making your vocal samples wear a costume that complements the music, and makes everything more captivating.
Adding Vocal Chops
Vocal chops are like the secret sauce in a good burger; you may not notice them, but they add a whole new dimension.
In essence, vocal chops are tiny slices of a vocal sample, rearranged and often pitch-shifted for effect.
Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Just take a vocal sample and:
- Slice it into smaller segments
- Rearrange these segments
- Play with the pitch
After that, you’ve got yourself some fresh vocal chops.
You’ve heard this technique in hip-hop and even pop tracks. Artists like Drake and Madeaux are masters at incorporating vocal chops into their beats to create a unique sound.
The beauty of vocal chops is that they can serve multiple purposes.
You can use vocal chops for a number of reasons, like:
- Rhythmic elements
- Harmonic texture
- A lead melody
They’re incredibly versatile and can add a creative flair to your tracks.
If you want to learn all about how to create killer vocal chops in any DAW, we’ve got you covered.
Vocal Drops: Where & How to Add Them
You know that moment in a track when the energy drops, but the emotion skyrockets?
That’s the ideal spot for a vocal drop.
In EDM or Trap, you’ll often find these drops right before the chorus hits or during the bridge.
It’s all about breaking the pattern and adding some texture to your beats.
How to create one?… Easy.
NOTE: Even reversing a vocal sample can yield fascinating results.
A vocal drop can be a word, a phrase, or even a grunt 一 anything that adds a unique sound.
Use it sparingly, though.
The idea is to surprise and intrigue your listeners, not overwhelm them.
How to Integrate Vocal Samples in Different Genres
Your genre determines how you should use vocal samples (whether it’s free vocal samples or premium ones).
A Hip-Hop track and an EDM banger will not treat vocal loops the same way.
So, how can you genre-fy your vocal samples? Let’s find out.
Vocal Loops in Hip-Hop Beats
In hip-hop, vocal loops often act as a rhythmic foundation.
They add depth and complexity 一 complementing the beat and other elements.
Timing is everything, so you want to place your vocal loops in a way that they sync well with the rest of the track.
You want the loop to flow naturally, almost like an additional layer of percussion.
Remember, the key and BPM should align closely with your track.
Get it right, and your hip-hop beats will gain an extra layer of intrigue, effortlessly.
Plus, you’ll impress your listeners, artists, and even other producers.
In hip-hop, you want the vocals to enhance, not overpower the beats.
Trap & Vocal Samples: A Match Made in Heaven
If you’re into Trap, you’re in for a treat.
This genre LOVES its vocal samples, whether it’s the famous ‘Hey’ one-shot or longer vocal loops.
The vocal samples in Trap often provide that much-needed breather in between complex beats.
A well-placed vocal loop or one-shot can give listeners a moment to catch their breath before diving back into the mayhem.
When using vocal samples in Trap, don’t be afraid to get experimental.
For example, you can:
Anything goes, as long as it fits the vibe of the track, of course.
It’s all about creating those big, unforgettable moments we all love.
EDM Vocal Loops: How to Get It Right
EDM and vocal loops are like bread and butter.
Whether it’s a vocal hook in a Progressive House track or a chopped vocal sample in a Dubstep drop, the genres seem tailor-made for each other.
The trick here is to select vocal loops that can carry a lot of emotional weight.
EDM tracks often build up to a massive drop, and your vocals need to contribute to that journey.
You can use pitch correction and time-stretching tools to manipulate the vocal loops to your liking.
You’ll often hear pitched-up vocal samples in genres like Hardstyle or Trance.
The quality of your vocal samples is paramount in EDM.
Any discrepancies in quality will stick out like a sore thumb 一 especially when the track is played on massive sound systems at festivals.
Creative Ways to Use Vocal Samples
Alright, so we’ve covered the basics and genre-specific strategies, but what if you’re feeling adventurous?
Time to unlock some advanced techniques for utilizing vocal samples in new and creative ways.
Reversing Vocals for a Unique Sound
Ever listened to a track and thought, “What was that incredible sound?”
Chances are, you heard reversed vocals 一 it’s an old, popular trick, but one that always stands out.
Reversing a vocal sample is simple; in most DAWs, it’s just a click away (above)
The trick is to find the right spot in your track where the reversed vocal both surprises and fits naturally.
Use reversed vocals to:
- Introduce new sections in your track
- Add an eerie backing sound
- Incorporate some needed flavor
Either way, it will give your track a unique sound and keep your listeners on their toes.
NOTE: reversed vocals can be hauntingly beautiful but also, well, haunting. Use them thoughtfully to ensure they complement the rest of your track.
Believe me, if you do this right, your new releases will thank you and your fans will love what they hear.
Creating a Vocal Wall of Sound
A vocal wall of sound? Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like…
Taking multiple vocal samples and layering them to create a rich, enveloping sound.
The key here is diversity, so don’t just stack identical vocal samples; mix in different kinds of vocals.
Maybe a whispering voice layered with a powerful lead vocal and some harmonies.
This technique can fill the sonic spectrum and add a rich, complex layer to your track. It’s particularly useful in the chorus or as a backdrop for your main vocal line.
You don’t want a wall of noise; you want a well-balanced, rich tapestry of sounds.
Whether you’re using free vocal samples or premium ones, this trick is top-notch and timeless.
Harmonizing Vocal Samples
Harmonizing isn’t just for lead vocals.
You can take your vocal samples and create beautiful harmonies that enrich your track.
The process is easy but requires a good ear, simply:
- Duplicate your vocal sample
- Pitch it up or down
- You’ve got yourself a harmony
However, the key is to always make sure it complements the melody, which some producers and artists regrettably forget; don’t be one of them.
Harmonizing adds emotional depth to your music 一 it can turn a simple vocal loop into a lush, layered experience.
Be cautious with harmonizing.
While it can make your track richer, overdoing it could drown out other crucial elements in your mix.
The 3 Best Vocal Sample Packs of 2023
Now, for the cherry on top, let’s talk about the top 3 vocal sample packs of 2023.
These vocal packs will guarantee your music stands out and your vocal choices are top notch, every time.
#1. Unison Vocal Series – Aaron Richards “Talk About It”
When it comes to quality and versatility, the Unison Vocal Series – Aaron Richards “Talk About It” is a cut above the rest.
This pack is not just a collection of vocal samples.
It’s an arsenal of vocal elements that can elevate your track to a new level.
This comprehensive pack includes:
- 80 unique vocal lines
- 137 ad-libs
- 120 custom-made vocal chops (available in both dry and wet versions)
But that’s not all 一 you also get 2 in-depth vocal processing video tutorials and three valuable bonuses.
What sets this pack apart is its human component.
These vocals can infuse your digital and electronic production with a warm, relatable touch.
If your aim is to get your tracks into the millions of streams, the “Talk About It” pack could be your ticket there.
The high quality and breadth of options make this vocal sample pack an ideal choice for producers looking to make their music more memorable and unique.
From the detailed tutorials to the genre-spanning loop pack, it’s the complete package.
#2. Unison Artist Series – Madeaux Samples
If you’re looking to create a darker, deeper vibe in your productions, then the Unison Artist Series – Madeaux Samples is your go-to pack.
This pack is curated by Madeaux himself and includes the sounds directly from his anticipated album ‘Burn.’
It also offers unique loops and mind-blowing FX that can add an air of mystique to your tracks.
The Madeaux Samples pack also includes 3 bonus beats to inspire you.
With components like 10 kicks, 10 claps, 13 hi-hats, and 25 basses, among other elements, you have all the building blocks to create that deep, dark, and alluring vibe.
While the pack is deeply rooted in Madeaux’s style, it offers enough versatility to be adapted into a variety of genres.
The quality and range of sounds make this pack an indispensable tool for producers aiming to make an impact.
#3. Unison Artist Series – Holly Samples
For those looking for a groundbreaking sound, the Unison Artist Series – Holly Samples offers just that.
At just 22, Holly has garnered a significant following due to his unique style, featured on esteemed record labels like Buygore, Dim Mak, and Monstercat.
Holly’s pack comes chock-full of over 200 samples that include everything from club-destroying 808s to crisp hi-hats and wild synths.
It even features mind-blowing loops and atmosphere effects that can add depth to your compositions.
The pack also includes 10 vocal samples that can make your tracks stand out.
What sets this pack apart is its originality.
These sounds are unlike anything you’ve heard before and can bring a unique edge to your productions.
With 12 exclusive miscellaneous sounds, you also get the chance to add some surprising elements to your mix.
Vocal Samples: Final Thoughts
If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back because you’re now well-equipped to delve into the intriguing and captivating world of vocal samples.
Trust me, these little audio snippets can pack a punch, making your tracks instant classics, shareable beats, and playlist favorites.
It’s like adding the secret sauce that turns a good dish into a culinary masterpiece.
Whether you’re into Hip-Hop, Trap, EDM, or any other genre, the right vocal samples can truly be game-changers.
Now that you’re armed with all this knowledge, you’re more than ready to incorporate vocals into your own beats like a true professional.
Whether it’s choosing the perfect samples, manipulating them, and even to integrating them seamlessly into different genres, you got this!
So go ahead, start exploring the mind-blowing world of vocal samples, and let your creativity run wild.
You never know, your next track could be the smash hit everyone’s been waiting for.
Until next time…