2023 marked 10 years of Samples From Mars, and looking back, it's safe to say I'd be very proud of where we've arrived after starting out of a bedroom with no gear to my name. We embarked on our most ambitious and successful project to date, sampling 40 drum machines and pressing the results to vinyl. We got back to our educational origins, creating the Sample Journal - a place to explore anything and everything that doesn't fit the mold of a traditional sample pack. We also started asking YOU what we should sample - creating some of my favorite releases to date: the Pulsar From Mars and our most recent release, the Mirage From Mars.
Making its debut on Black Friday of this year, the Mirage From Mars showcases how traditional, acoustic instruments can be transformed into lush, grainy, lo-fi, psychedelic synth patches via our favorite sounding 8 bit sampler. This is our spin on a traditional factory library that might accompany such an instrument originally, and is chock full of instruments we've never sampled before - grand pianos, celeste, strings, horns and more. It's our smoothest sounding pack yet 🌊
The resulting 35 patches range from strong and straightforward to more complex, intricate, and complex samples. The simple patches are flexible and great for breathing lo-fi goodness into existing productions, while the more obscured instruments are perfect for finding inspiration when starting a track from scratch. This is an eclectic batch of Mirage hits that are a blast to pepper a track with oddball textures and progressions.
You can read more about the sampling process here.
Like the Mirage, the Pulsar was another winner in our "what to sample" survey - and it looks like we have similar taste because it's our favorite too! We've tried many modern machines, but this is by far the most unique. With a complex yet familiar layout, the Pulsar rewards both the studious and lazy user equally.
With a natural ability to create juicy, modern grooves, heavy basslines, melodic polyrhythms, psychotic, dystopian madness, and everything in between, the Pulsar provided us with a rich toolkit to sculpt modern drum loops and one-hits from scratch.
You can read more about the process here.
The Sample Journal was launched this year to create a space for us to explore anything that wouldn't be a part of our more traditional sample packs. Often educational in nature, it's a place to address specific questions like "what does an MS-20 sound like through a Model 200 reverb?", "How does drum machine volume affect DI saturation" or what an 808 sounds like through our favorite Ampeg amp. Samples of all of these experiments are equally educational as they are useable in your production, and are included in the 2023 bundle.
We'll continue expanding on the journal, offering up new tip and tricks, stories and samples along the way 🥂
Our most ambitious sampling project yet, Vinyl Drum Machines is a collection of 40 of our favorite machines, from classics to rarities, vintage to modern, pressed to vinyl, processed, degraded and sampled. It's an all-time best-seller 🥁.
Starting with the highest quality possible sources for electronic drums, we sampled our favorite drum machines cleanly, and with processing, to tape, and into the computer. Then, we pressed a vinyl of those one-shots. Next, we sampled the vinyl cleanly, but also with processing, degrading the face of the record with scratches to create analog artifacts.
The results: a massive collection of royalty-free vinyl drum machine samples, ranging from clean, un-pitched vinyl hits, to dusty and dirty, gritty drum machine samples, formatted for your favorite samplers and DAWs. These are the best sounding drum machine samples on the site and vinyl is our favorite most luxurious processing medium. And no, simulation can't come close 😉
10 years of producing sample packs has taught me to focus my efforts on fewer, but more rewarding projects. When I started SFM, I wanted to sample everything - but as I've gained more experience, I've learned that in a digital world with so many options, curation is the most important thing, as want fewer, but better options (to paraphrase Brian Eno). Doing less has allowed us to create our best packs yet, and the 2023 pack demonstrates this better than any other year (but of course, you can always get everything 😉).