DJ loops for better DJ sets
How to use professional loops for DJ-ing
There are some amazing ways to get creative with your DJ software and hardware these days, none more so than remix decks that allow you to play one-shot and looped samples.
We absolutely LOVE loops but it takes a certain kind of percussion arrangement to really enhance your DJ mixes.
So with that in mind we’ve not only created a tutorial on how best to use them, we also created two percussion packs for you to use today.
First things first, why would you want to use percussion loops on your sets? Well its easy to explain that.
Your ultimate goal as a DJ is to be creative with the music you’re playing. There’s many ways you can do this through advanced mixing techniques, key matching your tunes, creating the best possible set list to take your crowd on a journey, and also by adding your own style to the tracks you play.
All modern pro quality DJ software and hardware can handle multiple samples, either in a one-shot format or looped and synced with the track you’re playing.
Originally this was designed to let you build your own percussion including kick drums, high hats and even synth and vocal samples.
But there’s a much more powerful method that we love, and thats DJ friendly percussion loops!
Lets face it plenty of other DJs are playing the same tracks that you are, so if you want to stand out from the crowd you’ll need to get creative with your music.
You’ll need to add something special
The easiest way to do this is by using percussion loops. They can be played over the top of your tracks and perfectly sync-ed to create your own musical interpretation of any track.
Not only that but you can keep the percussion loop going during your mixes to create one perfect seamless mix. Or even use percussion loops multiple times during your set to create a more cohesive themed playlist.
As if that weren’t enough you can also layer multiple percussion loops together creating entirely unique percussion arrangements that work perfectly with your tracks.
So there’s plenty to explore here.
Check out this quick demo of 25 loops which are the kind of loops we mean.
Lets dive a little deeper…
The toughest thing about using percussion loops in your DJ sets is sourcing samples that work well. There’s a number of reasons this is a struggle…
Its hard to find percussion loops without kick drums and high hats
Generally speaking you’ll find lots of percussion samples that contain these and they nearly always clash with your tracks. You’re trying to add an extra layer to your tracks so why would you need sounds that already exist in your music?
The best percussion loops are those without these elements, adding just new percussion instruments in exciting new ways. This is a far more subtle and creative method. It’s also why all of our percussion loops DO NOT contain kick drums and high hats that would clash with your tunes.
Many samples contain “groove” that doesn’t work with dance music
While there’s a wealth of percussion samples and loops out there you’ll find plenty of them just don’t sync well with dance music. This is because they contain a creative styling known as “Groove”. The idea behind groove is to add a little swing imperfection to music making them feel less digital and rigid.
It’s great for adding some creativity to music production but as a general rule it doesn’t work well for percussion samples. This is because the groove of one percussion loop may not match the groove of your track or other loops you’re playing, creating a messy, cluttered, out-of-sync sound which your audience will hate.
So your percussion loops need to have almost no groove, but don’t worry they will still sound awesome, keeping to a more strict groove will mean the loops are compatible with every dance track you play them with.
Because of this we quantised all of the percussion loops in our DJ packs with minimal groove to ensure they sound great with whatever genre of house music you’re playing them with. We’ve tested them all on multiple genres so we know they are perfectly in sync.
Many samples aren’t designed for DJs
As I’ve mentioned above you’re trying to add a creative flare to tracks that already contain percussion. This extra layer you create is what makes the difference. It can be subtle and enhance a track or you can turn a minimalist tech house track in to a funky samba tune. Percussion can do this.
But the problem is many percussion loops are designed for music production, not to DJ with. So the audio can often be too overpowering or clash in ugly ways with already fully produced track, the likes of which you’re playing in your DJ sets.
We designed a set percussion loops to compliment already fully mastered tracks, its a pain-staking process but worth it to produce percussion samples that DJs can actually use.
Creating the perfect DJ friendly percussion samples
So as you can see there’s a whole bunch of reasons why standard percussion samples often don’t work for DJs and that creating our very own set of percussion was so important. To make DJ friendly loops they need to be
- Complimentary to multiple dance music styles
- Quantised and groove-free to allow them to sync perfectly
- Percussion arrangements created to work with already mastered tracks
There are two main percussion loop types we like to use that offer very different creative offerings. Here’s what they are and how to use them.
Multi-instrument percussion loops
This is essentially a fully fledged percussion loop using more than one instrument to create a specific style of drums pattern. Sometimes one instrument just wont create the perfect arrangement, so a multi-instrument percussion loop deals with that perfectly.
But the arrangement and the use of different instruments has to fit just right with the music you’re playing.
It’s a fine art creating arrangements that can work well for DJs.
Multi-percussion loops essentially do all the hard work for you. Adding a “texture” to your tracks and a musical style that can either compliment the playing track’s own style or completely transform it. All you have to do is hit play.
Single instrument percussion loops
While the multi-instrument arrangements are the perfect plug and play solution to percussion loops, having a library of high quality single instrument loops opens up a whole world of possibilities.
Almost all modern DJ software and hardware can handle playing multiple loops at one time, allowing you to layer multiple percussion loops in to your very own multi-instrument percussion!
If you load a number of single percussion samples in to your remix deck you can play them together, looping them, adding effects and adjusting volume and filter on each to create a new textured sound all of your own.
This is what professional DJs do, producing new tracks live with multiple percussion loops, adding looped samples from other tunes and layering them on top.
The tough part is finding percussion loops that work well together. So we’ve created single instrument percussion arrangements that we know can be stacked and played together. All perfectly in sync.
So you’ve grabbed yourself the loops and bought the awesome Pro package to give you a huge collection of multi and single instrument percussion loops. What are you going to do with them now?
Here’s a few ideas on how to make the most of working with percussion loops.
While I’ve discussed seamless mixes before in a previous article you can enhance them even further with percussion loops.
The idea behind the seamless mix is to transition from one track to another in the most subtle and blended way possible. Using multiple features of your mixer to merge the high frequencies, mid and low, adjusting volume and sometimes effects to create that perfect mix.
You can take this a whole stage further by introducing a percussion loop that plays over the entirety of your transition. While you’re adjusting the sounds and blending the tracks you’re also layering a constant percussion over the top which helps to mask any changes.
Put simply the ultimate seamless mix is where one element never changes, and that my friends is a percussion loop.
I recommend you start the percussion loop at the beginning of 16 or 32 beats, bringing it in instantly, you can always adjust the volume up later to give it more punch. Then start your seamless mix transition while the percussion plays throughout. This will add to the “seamless” style you’re going for providing a constant.
Keep the percussion going all the way to the first break of your new track, and WOW your seamless mix has been enhanced!
Creating a set theme
Gone are the days of just playing one track after another. With loops and samples you can now create your own remixes and bootlegs on the fly! Percussion loops are the bedrock of this and you can give your set a textured thematic feel by repeated use of selected loops.
To do this you’ll want to select a loop or small collection of loops that offer a specific style or “identity”. A very easy example of this would be a samba style percussion loop and single instrument bongos and tambourine loops.
You don’t have to use these during your mix transitions but keeping them going through prolonged sections of your tunes is a great way to give a familiar layer to your entire set.
You can also add single instrument percussion to breaks throughout your set to give a familiar theme. Its a fantastic way to give your set a themed identity.
Remixing on the fly
Here’s a challenge for you. Grab our Pro pack of 100 percussion loops, load up your remix decks to the max and select a few of your favourite tracks.
- Find some breaks or samples within those tracks that work well as loops. Drag them from your standard decks in to remix deck slots.
- Hit play on your remix deck and introduce one loop to the mix.
- Now add another loop in to the mix, building up the percussion.
- Start a sample from one of your tracks, keep it looping and add effects to help it warp and morph in to new sounds.
- Bring in more percussion loops, drop out some old ones, filter and play with the sounds you’re creating
Try doing this with multiple tracks for around 30 minutes. You’ll be amazed what new sounds you can create and what exciting new tunes will come together as you mix.
As if you hadn’t noticed we’re super excited to give to you our FREE sample pack of percussion loops. Featuring 20 of the pro pack loops for you to test. Just download and import them in to your DJ software for use in your remix decks. Then grab our Pro Pack and download all 100 professional percussion loops.
Each pack contains:-
- Multi-Instrument percussion loops of a wide range of styles
- Single Instrument percussion loops you can stack to create your own percussion styles
- High quality WAV file format audio samples
- All fully mastered and quantised for perfect sync-ing with your tracks
- Tested on multiple dance music genres for great compatibility
- All produced at 120BPM for easy setup and control
- Compatible with all modern DJ software
I really hope you like our free percussion loop sample pack and mega value 100 loop Pro pack. Its been a fantastic experience creating these for you to use. Do let me know your feedback and how you’ve put them to use in your DJ sets.
Check out our quick demo sample of 25 percussion loops you’ll find in the huge 100 loop Prop Pack.
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