Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: Zenhiser's 80s Drum Collection

A couple weeks ago, I got a copy of Zenhiser's recent sample multi-pack, The 80s Drum Collection. This set consists of 10 of Zenhiser's other sample selections, so not only am I reviewing this entire collection but the individual parts-- three sets of 80s Electro Beats, the Pure 80's Kick Drums, Hi Hats, and Snares & Claps, three sets of Ultra 80's Drum Beats, and the Ultra 80s Drum Kit. All this totals to 885 samples and it's just over a gig in size!

The first bit I dove into when I downloaded was the Pure 80s Kick Drums-- the "Pure" collection is drum hits only for the most part. As expected, these are those classic kicks we're all used to hearing-- they are very much 80s pop all in one nice place. They also have a decent range in them, as some of them could be blended easily into more modern sounding tracks, or if you're absolutely going for that old school sound, you have plenty of that as well.

The Pure 80s Snares & Claps selection again nails the 80s right on the head. There's plenty of those snappy claps that would be great in a track where you want the audience to put their hands together and groove along. Some of snares even have a bit of natural verb to them, which means you don't even have to put any effects on it to have it sound retro-- this means it's a great starting piece if you want to make an 80s style track and don't want to fiddle with plugins until you get the sound you're wanting-- the classic sound is already there. There seems to be a mix of some old drum machine style sounds too, but my ears aren't skilled enough to know their origin.

Finally, the Pure 80s Hi Hats collection features even more great 80s sounds. While I personally don't think of hi-hats when I heard 80s music, these sounds definitely fit nicely within the collection and can be strung together to make some great beats. There's some drum machine style sounds in here as well-- very white noisy, but there's also some live sounding content in there as well.

The last pack that is mostly hits is the Ultra 80s Drum kit. This is a nice collection because it not only offers snares, kicks, and hi-hats, but also effects, tambourines, toms, crashes, and other percussion elements. This pack is about 427 elements, so it's a solid chunk of sounds. This works great with the prior 3 packs because if you wanted to buy them separately, you could start with this pack and then bolster your selection with the previous three packs. The percussion elements in particular here are really nice because there was a ton of percussion work done in the 80s that we don't hear as much of now. I can easily here elements that are reminiscent of Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon being made with the percussion elements.

The next pack to mention is the Ultra 80s Drum Beats. These are 3 sets of a ton of drum loops that last a few bars. As with Zenhiser's other samples, usually they are grouped into groups of three or four of the same beat, with one including all elements of the loop, and the other 2 or three missing either the kick drum, or snare drum, or high hats. This is great because you could love a loop but not enjoy the kick drum or high hats, and you could go in and replace them yourself using regular drum hits.

What I really love about these drum loops is that some of them are so reminiscent of classic tracks. There's a drum beat that sounds like "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves, and there's another that sounds a lot like Toto's "Africa". There's even some great beats that remind me of Genesis. These definitely inspire to create songs that sound like the old greats of the 80s, which is what you want in a sample pack. Even if you used one of these as a starting spot and wanted to chat it later, you could easily replace it using the hits discussed earlier.

The last pack included is the 80's Electro Beats, which is split into 5 different folders, in 3 groups total. These sounds are again very 80s but less reminiscent of pop to me. They feature more heavy rhythms on the high hats and are more what you'd expect in the dance spectrum of 80s sounds rather than pop. Again, they're easily split apart as each loop has 3 to 4 versions that you can use, some missing parts and one of them all together. If you listen to this pack, you can expect more big kick drums too-- it reminds me more of the sounds you get out of the Roland 808s and 909s.

As always, the sounds are 24 bit audio so they sound super clear, and are 44.1 kHz wav files. To hear some sample sounds, click on the links below.

Overall, this pack is a great addition to anyone's selection if you're a big fan of the 80s. This is a perfect starting point for crafting the hits of the neon light decade.  You can purchase them apart, or you can get a better deal if you purchase them all together.  Check them out!


  1. Do you know where I can get these drum samples? Really interested in using some of these beats in a couple of retro tracks I'm looking to compose. Thanks, Josh

  2. The most essential components to consider when purchasing a drum set are: mark, value, the quantity of drum pieces required/wanted, the look of the drum set, and obviously, the sound nature of the set.
    best drum set for beginners