SampleRadar: 183 free 80s pop drums samples

Roger Linn Design LinnDrum
(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.

Today's 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). 


john taylor of duran duran

(Image credit: Fin Costello/Redferns)

10 synths and drum machines that defined the '80s

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. 

What you need to know

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.

These samples are supplied in a zip file, so you'll need to extract them before you can see them. 


Example sounds

80s pop drums samples: click to download

80s pop drums samples (78MB)

These samples were originally distributed by Future Music Magazine. Check out the latest issue for many more.


How to imitate an '80s-style studio with modern software

Back to the '80s: how to capture an '80s sound in your home studio

6 ways to recreate the sound of '80s synth-pop

6 ways to recreate the sound of classic '80s live bass

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