Creative Uses Of Sampling For Dance Music

This is a guest post written by Daniel Trostli. He shares some really good info here.

Daniel is the founder of Sample Focus, a community driven sample library for producers.

It’s a great idea and it’s done well. You should check it out.

You will find a small review of Sample Focus at the end of this post.




In this article I’m going to walk you through 3 ways I like to experiment with sound samples when producing dance music. I’ll be using Ableton as a visual guide but these techniques can be used in any DAW.


1. Pitched vocal sound hits used as melodies


This one is pretty simple yet incredibly versatile.

To give you some perspective I’m talking about taking something like this:

And turning it into this:

To get started just bring in a basic vocal hit to a sampler like Ableton’s Simpler. Then bring the start and end markers so that there is a continuous similar waveform playing. Make sure the Loop and Snap setting are turned on. Play around with different settings on your sampler to tweak the sound a bit – I like using the Spread knob to add some stereo width to the sound. I also added some Glide and adjusted the volume envelope to taste.

Creative Uses Of Sampling In Dance Music 1 JPEG


 2. Using the reversed reverb tail of a vocal hit as a riser


A great way to create interesting epic buildups is to record a long reverb tail on a vocal hit and then reverse the audio.

So we’ll go from this:

To this:

This is another simple but often overlooked technique.  To accomplish this just take the sample that you’d like to transform and put it on a new Audio track, apply a big great reverb, and adjust the Decay Time to a long-ish setting. Then set another Audio track channel to record the output of the vocal sample. Once you have a bounced down version of the vocal sample with reverb applied, use your DAW’s Reverse function and voila! You now have a unique riser effect. Try out different combinations of vocal hits and reverb settings to get it just right.


 3. Layer! And then layer some more.


A lot of producers out there will stick to using just one drum sound or sample per each drum channel. This is a surefire way to have a generic sounding drums. A brilliant way to add some life and originality to your work is to layer drum hits as well as any other samples in your track. An easy way to find complimentary sounds is to search for sounds that are in the same key and have similar characteristics. A great way to find free complimentary and similar sounds for layering is to use and browse their one shots.


For instance this synth trumpet hit went from a straightforward brass sound:

To a much more complex layered sound:




Hopefully this article gave you some more weapons to add to your arsenal next time you sit down to produce.  Have these tips been helpful? Let me know in the comments below.



Daniel Trostli

Founder of Sample Focus – The easiest way to find free sounds


Review Of Sample Focus




How it works:

You create an account (it’s free while in Beta).

You start up with 40 download credits, so you can download 40 samples straight away.

Every week your account will be topped up 20 credits.

To get more credits, you need to contribute to the community by uploading your own samples.

You get 4 new credits for every upload.

So if you upload 10 samples, you’ll be able to make 40 downloads.


How well it works:

It works really well. I was pleased to see that both the idea and its execution were done right.

And mainly because the website is very easy to use.

You can hover your cursor over the waveforms and the sample/loop starts playing instantly. And it’s also looping which is great for one-shots. So no need to click play on every sample. It’s extremely satisfying. Really.

Same goes for downloading. Just one-click, instant download.

When you download something, the file name will contain the musical key of the sample/loop. Very helpful for actually using the file.

And the last thing, it’s royalty free. You’ll love it!


One reply on “Creative Uses Of Sampling For Dance Music

  • Honest Ben

    Sampling is not creative, no matter how you use it. Why not actually create music instead of using another person’s music looped over a beat? There is nothing creative about sampling. It’s boring.


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