Niche Audio Dark Bass House
Available in Ableton Live and NI Maschine formats, Dark Bass House gives you plenty to get your teeth into: 13 full projects, plus 15 Groups/ Drum Racks and 21 Simpler-based Instrument Racks for Live, built on 240 samples and a ton of MIDI clips.
The production quality throughout is stellar, with each DAW’s effects fully deployed in the successful pursuit of that sinuous, rolling bass house sound. The only criticism we can
think of is that Niche hasn’t made use of Maschine and Live’s Macros, but that’s nitpicking.
Native Instruments Queensbridge Story
Powered by the personal sample collection of major league hip-hop producer Havoc (Kanye West, P Diddy, Mobb Deep et al), this Maschine 2 Expansion features 50 fully loaded Groups (primarily drums but also incorporating a few other sounds and 77 Massive presets), and 44 single melodic instruments.
The samples cover the gamut of hip-hop flavours, from dusty old-school to clean contemporary, and although this isn’t the most adventurous of Maschine Expansions, it serves as a versatile source of classic and modern material for urban productions of all kinds.
UNDRGND Sounds House for Heads
The debut release by this edgy new imprint puts genre authenticity at the top of the agenda, and with 829 loops, 197 one-shots and 138 MIDI files in the clip, it makes a great first impression in terms of VFM, too.
Packed with rumbling basses (with a heavy emphasis on sub-heavy tones), bouncy beats (drums, tops, percussion and fills), syncopated synth riffs, stemmed music loops, choppy vocals and more, and exhibiting a pleasingly warm production style, this is an exciting, floor-shaking hybrid house library that inspires and impresses at every turn.
Sample Tools by Cr2 Progressive House Tools
Another budget genre library from Cr2, this time taking on the cheery, upbeat sounds of prog house with 412 samples, 41 MIDI files and 40 (not terribly exciting) Sylenth1 presets.
The ten stemmed drum (58 samples), 20 bass and 21 synth loops are nicely varied in style, while the five Songstarter construction kits make good jumping off points for new projects. Add in the drum, bass, synth and FX one-shots and it’s decent amount of content, although, as ever, we’d rather have more discrete drum loops and fewer stems.
Loopmasters Liquid Beat and Future Chill
A decidedly summery vibe permeates this 660MB pack of loops, one-shots, MIDI clips and sampler patches.
Alongside some of the most off-kilter beats we’ve ever heard (at 90, 120 and 144bpm) are a clutch of gorgeous Rhodes licks, a satisfying diversity of basses, 35 understated music loops and a laid-back array of percussion, tops and FX.
At just 169 loops, 80 hits and 10 multisample sets, the value proposition is perhaps questionable, but that’s offset by the innovative, evocative nature of the sounds and rhythms on display.
Sample Magic Chillwave 3
The capacious finale to Sample Magic’s Chillwave trilogy (1.4GB; 1087 samples) has a neon-lit ‘80s feel to its drum, bass, chord shot, pad, synth, key, vocal and found sound loops.
Key to this are the selection of synths and drum machines used in their production (Juno 106, Mirage, Nord Lead 2, LM-1, MPC60 and many more), and the pervasive tape-saturated analogue sensibility. Mention must also be made of the 40 superb Inspiration Loop construction kits, which sound like they tumbled out of a time machine.
An embarrassment of riches for retro heads.
25 textural construction kits, each comprising Ambiance, Contour, Grain, Noise, Sub and Synth samples, and every sample clocking in at 11 seconds long.
Each category has its own tonal characteristics and style of movement (the clues are in the names), and each set is designed to work together as a mixable combo, but all the samples stand up on their own individual merits, too. You also get tails for 42 of the Subs and Synths - we’ve no idea why the other 108 main samples don’t qualify for the same.
Beautiful sounds at a very fair price.
Samples From Mars Voyetra From Mars
A 2.5GB multisampled rendition of the legendary early ‘80s Voyetra synth in Live Sampler/Simpler, EXS24, Kontakt and NN-XT formats, with 45 instruments (Bass, FX, Keys/Pads and Leads).
We tried the Live and Kontakt versions, and were surprised to find that the latter is unscripted, with sound tweaking having to be done through Kontakt’s regular Editor. Old-school! The Live version, however, has Macros assigned, making for a much friendlier interface.
Sonically, the full majesty of the source synth has been perfectly captured, making this a must-hear for synth enthusiasts.
An ‘abstract’ vocal library for Kontakt (ie, non-specific ‘sounds’ and phonemes, rather than actual words), Ethera consists of three separate instruments.
Phrases features 45 easily manipulated phrase patches in a wide range of styles; the Legato instrument lets you combine keyswitched legato and staccato ‘Ahs’ and ‘Ohs’ into melodic phrases; and Pads houses eight sumptuous vocal pad patches.
It sounds absolutely amazing and the range and variety of vocal noises that can be coaxed from it is endless. The Pads instrument is a bit superfluous, though.
Rankin Audio Cinematic Hip Hop
It’s unusual to find a hip-hop sample library that puts melodic loops front and centre, but with almost twice as many of them (125) as their accompanying drums (55) and basses (20) combined, Cinematic Hip-Hop does just that.
And very tasty they are, too, with instrumentation taking in everything from piano, Rhodes and kalimba to cello, sitar, vocals and beyond, and an emotional quality across the board that really resonates.
The aforementioned beats and basslines are also great, although, once again, you don’t get a huge amount for your 30 quid.