Damage is Heavyocity's latest ROMpler instrument for NI's Kontakt (Kontakt Player is included).
Featuring a new interface, improved Trigger FX and a whopping 30GB sample library, it goes a long way beyond previous Heavyocity efforts in terms of size and functionality.
"Sonically, Damage spans the range from tight, blockbuster-style impact sounds to earthy, organic drums and metals."
Damage's sounds are divided into two main categories: Rhythmic Suites and Percussive Kits. These differentiate between loop-based, tempo-synced sounds, and playable multisampled kits. There's further subdivision in both categories, too.
The 700-odd loops are split into Menu patches (a single loop mapped to each key) and Single patches (one loop is split into slices and mapped across the keyboard). In both cases, patches arelabelled by genre (Epic Organic, Epic Tech, Industrial and Mangled Pop), and both Full andElements patches are included, the latter comprising the layers that make up the former.
The Percussive Kits come in five main categories: Epic Organic Drums, Ethnic Drums, Metals, Hybrid FX Hits and Damage Kits. There are 60 kits in total, some with round-robin implementation, some single-shot and some multilayered. The Hybrid kits folder also includes separate hits and tails patches, and a mod wheel patch that blends between the two.
Squeezing all of these disparate instruments into one interface would have made Damage deeply confusing, so although all patches include three main pages, the options vary between them (see Interface matters). Common to all patches are global 3-band EQ, high- and low-pass filters, master effects (distortion, lo-fi, reverb, delay andcompressor), an ADSR amp envelope, the Punish control and key-specific tuning.
Damage's loop patches incorporate extensive key control with useful colour-coding. Once you get the hang of which key does what, you can get very creative with them, from the obvious (slice re-ordering) to the less so (Trigger FX).
Apart from the Damage Kits folder, the Kit patches don't use keyswitching. Keys are still coloured, though, to indicate duplicate zones (useful for playing fast passages).
Sonically, Damage spans the range from tight, blockbuster-style impact sounds to earthy, organic drums and metals. The presets are heavily influenced by the onboard reverbs, and the space-specific amplitude envelopes on the Percussive Kits are a very welcome feature. The Kits suit a wide range of musical styles, and you can always rummage around inside Kontakt or Kontakt Player to further fine-tune things.
By contrast, the loops' characters tend to push them into certain pigeonholes. Even so, skillful application of the effects results in harder, more cutting-edge sounds; and the sliced loops can easily be matched to project tempo, further enhancing Damage's flexibility and usefulness.
We must also mention the Punish knob. Found on the EQ/Filter page, this controls a combined drive and compression effect, enabling quick, loud global saturation.
Damage uses different interfaces for its Kits, Loop Menus and Single Loops instrument types. The Single Loops page presents loop slices, with parameters and real-time modifier controls for each. A handy MIDI To Host button enables dragging and dropping of sequences into the DAW's arrange page.
Loop Menu patches benefit from the excellent Trigger FX system. This comprises eight effects (punch, phaser, rotator, lo-fi, glitcher, pitch envelope, filter envelope and delay) that can be triggered in real time from the keyboard - creative and fun. The Loop Menu patches also get a 16-step amplitude sequencer.
The Percussive Kits come with three mic options (Close, Room and Hall) and a 3D panorama that enables drums to be placed in one of 35 stage positions. However, the most powerful thing is the ability to apply amp envelopes individually to each space, and EQ and filters to each note.
If you're after the larger-than-life percussive sounds that pepper today's soundtracks, games, ads and music, Damage delivers them, quickly and easily. It's also a very creative, versatile instrument capable of going way beyond the genre limits implied by its preset library.
Top-notch sounds out of the box; sensible library organisation; MIDI pattern drag and drop; creative loop modification tools; excellent Punish effect.
Learning curve for key control; sonically specific applications.
More specific than previous Heavyocity outings but just as awesome, this is a superb source of dramatic percussion.
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PC: Windows 7 (latest Service Pack, 32/64 Bit, Intel Core Duo or AMD Athlon 64; Mac: OS X 10.6 (latest update), 10.7, Intel Core Duo
RAM Required (GB)