Hey guys, Daniel Kern here, music producer and huge chiptune / 8-bit music fan and creator. When looking to build up your 8-bit chiptune sample collection with free samples, you’ll probably do the time honoured practice of searching the internet for free stuff. I have done this many times myself, and, if you know how to avoid the sketchy websites, you’ll be able to dig up lots of great sample packs just from searching around.
You should know that when you’re digging around for samples, when it comes to chiptune stuff, you’re mainly going to get synths and drums for the most part. There are no “guitar” or “piano” chiptune samples specifically. Part of the fun with 8-bit music is trying to mimic certain instruments with synths, which is something I do a lot of and it’s an enjoyable pastime. The end result I would say is pretty good too, as I am a big fan of designing my own home-made tunes, or lately I’ve been covering this guy Young Coconut for a full album of chiptunes based on some weird tracks he did. Here’s a sample of that work on a song called “Spiders of Old Montreal” just in case you don’t believe me! XD
Anyway, finding a good source of free chiptune samples can be a bit of a hunt for Bigfoot, as in it might take you a bit of time. When you finally get a hold of some sweet ass samples, they’ll probably come compressed in the form of a .rar or .zip file, which you will have to expand to grab the files within. These files come in formats such as .dll or .wav files. For .wav files, you would need a sampler like Kontakt to play it through your keyboard or controller. Hopefully, this will also include the .nki files for Kontakt.
Of course, to do any of this you will need a DAW, eg. a piece of recording software where you can manipulate sound. I use Cubase myself, which works well with Kontakt, but you should be also fine with Ableton or Studio One. I’m not versed in every DAW ever, so you’ll need to consult your umm..DAW to see if it’s capable.
I’ve been growing my own collection of these types of 8-bit samples for a while now. My own personal sample collection contains the following:
Kontakt files such as:
- BPB Game boy drum kit
- Commodore 64 Synthesizer Sessions DELUXE
VST Plugins including:
- NES VST 1.2
- Tweakbench Carillon , Monomate , Peach , Toad , Triforce
- YMCK Magical 8bit
- ymVST (Atari)
Within these libraries and collections, there are thousands of files that I can use, and customize to my liking. Ok, enough humble bragging on my part. Now, on to why you are probably here, which is that you’re looking to build up your own collection so you too can make some chiptune 8-bit C64 style music.
I have found the following resources useful, as they all have free stuff.
Please comment below if you know of any other resources for this type of thing. I want to know!