NOVEMBER 15, 2023

Tea Time Breaks—the latest Pro Tools | Sonic Drop

Shot of Tea Time Breaks Sonic Drop sound pack

Resampled break beats (sometimes referred to simply as breaks) have always been one of my favorite sounds in modern music. Multiple genres have been created simply off the concept of resampling breaks, including jungle, drum and bass, breakbeat, break core, and multiple other esoteric genres dedicated to manipulation of the almighty break. Mainstream genres such as Hip Hop and Pop are greatly influenced by breaks, and perhaps unknowingly you’ve been hearing them for 40+ years. They are simply so ubiquitous that it’s difficult to accurately describe the influence that resampled breaks have. Tea Time Breaks was created due to my unending fascination and love of that inimitable sound that only a resampled break can offer.

While I certainly had the sound of a break in my head growing up (ex. Snap!’s “The Power”), it was 90’s IDM records by artists such as Aphex Twin and Squarepusher that made my ears perk up and look up to the metaphorical heavens wondering how they got their drums to sound like that. Eventually I learned that it was from manipulating break beats typically sampled off funk records from the 60’s and 70’s, and it was the resampling and rearranging of an actual performance that yielded such a fluid sound that’s difficult to achieve with one shot samples. To this day, I still go back to Prodigy’s The Fat Of The Land and I’m awed by how good the drums sound. That album is endlessly inspiring to me.

Beyond the original raw sound of the drums and the inherent performance of course, so much of the sound comes down to the sound of resampling. Pitch shifting changes the character of a drum dramatically, and by speeding up a break beat that’s originally 75 bpm to twice the tempo will naturally pitch shift the drums by an octave... it's not subtle. Saturation from driving consoles and preamps, aggressive EQ moves, and of course the bit rate reduction inherent to the early samplers all contribute to the characteristic sound of a resampled break.

Shot of Elektron Digitakt Drum Computer and Sampler   
Shot of AudioScape 76A and V-Comp+ compressors   

While it’s quite murky legal territory to sample a released record, as pervasive as that may be, Tea Time Breaks gives you THAT sound by being created using the techniques traditionally used in the 90’s. I loaded up my hardware sampler, an Elektron Digitak, with a library of breaks we had previously recorded (no pesky sample clearance required), rearranged the performances, pitched them around, and slammed the rearranged rhythms through an SSL EQ and an AudioScape 76A and V-Comp+ compressors to give some extra character to the breaks.

While the Tea Time Breaks do sound great already, you should try resampling some of these breaks for yourself. I cannot express how truly fun it is. You can do this with any software sampler of your choice or even just by cutting and rearranging directly on the grid in your edit window. The break is your oyster, if you will.

Screenshot of a rearranged break on grid

Check out the fantastic blog that Perfect Circuit published about the history of the break beat which I would encourage you to read here.

Like all Pro Tools | Sonic Drops, Tea Time Breaks is FREE with your active Pro Tools annual or monthly subscription or current perpetual license plan. Check the Sonic Drop tab in Avid Link (version 2023.3 or later) for a list of all the latest Sonic Drops. This is also where you can play audio samples and manage your content downloads. Watch this video to learn more.

Time for a Tea Time Break,


  • Matt Lange headshot

    Matt Lange is a multiplatinum artist, producer, DJ, and sound designer who recently joined the Avid team as Head of Audio Content.

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