4 tips for making your own drum kits

Do you struggle to find the perfect sounds for your drums?

While royalty-free sample libraries are always a powerful resource, if you’re interested in sound design, then making your own drum kits from scratch can be the best way to achieve the exact kick or snare that’s in your head. In this tutorial video, veteran producer and beat maker Isaac Duarte shares four tips for crafting your own kits from scratch—watch along for in-depth insights, and see below for highlights.

How to make your own drum kits

1. Obsess over sound design

The most important feature of your drum kit is the quality of its sounds—so taking your time to achieve well-crafted timbres is essential. While this is easier said than done, there are dedicated sound design tools like KICK 2 and Serum that allow you to have complete control over the fine details of elements like kicks and 808s. Check out 0:28 in the video to hear Duarte discuss this in more detail and showcase these plugins in action.

2. Experiment with layering

Do you like the attack of one sound but the sustain of another? If you want to get the best of both worlds, layering can be a powerful technique for effectively blending the attractive sonic qualities of two completely different sounds. At 3:43 in the video, Duarte demonstrates layering in action by using a combination of Arturia’s Mellotron V and FL Studio’s stock plugins.

3. Test your sounds

At the end of the day, how a sample sounds in context should be the highest priority—try testing your drum kits in actual productions you’re working on as well as in multiple listening environments, whether that be your headphones, monitors, laptop speakers, etc. This will help you go back to the sound design process and figure out how you need to fine-tune your sounds; hear Duarte discuss this at 4:51 in the video.

4. Label your samples

Last but not least, make sure you label your samples with descriptive file names, so they’ll be easier to distinguish from both one another as well as from other samples you’re using. Adding your producer name is also helpful if you’re looking to distribute your drum kits to other creators—Duarte explore this in more detail at 5:23 in the video.

And there you have it! Do you have any questions on making your own drum kits? What other topics would you like to see us explore next? Let us know in the comments section of the video, and subscribe to the Splice YouTube channel for more producer-led tutorials and insights.

Try Arturia’s V Collection for free, and then rent-to-own it for $24.99/mo until you own it outright:

April 15, 2024

Harrison Shimazu

Harrison Shimazu is a composer, content strategist, and writer who’s passionate about democratizing music creation and education. He leads the Splice blog and produces vocaloid music as Namaboku.