Raw Cutz Smokers Unite
The follow-up to the excellent Turf Smoke, which is actually included (hence the high price - owners of Turf Smoke can upgrade for £25), Smokers Unite is another hazy virtual crate digging session, featuring 146 laidback, jazzy loops and 255 one-shots, plus 16 small but perfectly formed Live and Maschine projects/ Groups/Drum Racks.
The sound and vibe of ‘golden era’ hip-hop has been captured to a T, with a broad range of ‘real’ instrumentation covered, and we love the attitude and spirit of both collections.
Sample Magic Golden era
Another classic hip-hop-style library, Golden Era is cleaner and more structured than the grittier, dustier Smokers Unite, but neither is qualitatively ‘better’ than the other.
Sample Magic’s contender comprises a whopping 1382 samples, including mini ‘break’ construction kits, drum, percussion, synth and vinyl noise loops at 80, 90 and 100bpm, and a ton of one-shot drums, FX, stabs and more.
Hip-hop is the overarching theme, but there’s more to it than that. In addition to the quality of production, the volume of content included makes this a crazy bargain.
Loopmasters Ultimate Vocals
A ‘best of’ compilation of vocal loops and lines from across the Loopmasters catalogue (far too many titles to list), at 3.5GB in weight and 2000 samples in, err, height, Ultimate Vocals can’t help but constitute good value for money, and by and large, the quality level is high.
With so many genres represented - from blues, funk and pop to DnB, trap and house - there’s something for everyone, although the scattergun approach might render most of it redundant for many producers, depending on how stylistically adventurous they’re prepared to be.
Goldbaby’s second dedicated TR-909 multisample library (the other being Tape909) sees his beloved beatbox shoved through various outboard configurations (Fat Bustard II, Moog 500 filter, AML ez1073-500, etc) and every sound recorded as eight round robins.
You get individual samples and multiformat sampler patches, and as with many of its label-mates, it’s the analogue subtleties and nuances that make SuperAnalog909 a worthy endeavour. For the electronic producer seeking a sampled 909 with real character, soul and bite, it’s a must-have.
Mode Audio Resonate
400 vintage drum machine one-shots, most arranged into kits for Reason, Logic, FL Studio and Live, plus five tuned kick drum sampler patches and four creative channel strips.
The sounds are powerful and mix-ready, and the Drum Racks (in the Live version) are well balanced and set up with six macros already assigned - although they have to be pointed at their sample folders when loaded.
We wish the samples were more descriptively named, but Resonate is a fun, musically useful and joyously affordable offering.
Loopmasters Dope Ammo & Run Tingz Cru - Drum & Bass Fusion Vol3
For Loopmasters’ third Drum & Bass Fusion library, Dope Ammo is joined by another leading light of UK jungle. The 531 samples have been compiled from a series of named projects, so it’s easy to see what goes with what for construction kit-style usage, although it does also mean that each folder of loops is full of variations on a few themes.
It all sounds awesome though, with its hard-hitting but old-school vibe, and the usable one-shot drums round things off nicely.
Incognet Massive Groove EDM Kits
Six extensive 128bpm construction kits put together by DJ Shiverz, each comprising a build and drop, followed by a full-on groove, and all squarely falling into the ‘mainroom EDM’ bracket. The production behind this pack is first rate, and the inclusion of MIDI files and presets for the Spire and Sylenth1 synths used to create it brings in that extra bit of interactivity.
If it wasn’t so cheap, we’d be questioning the utility of MGEK, with its restrictive remit, but at just 12 quid, it’s well worth checking out.
Mode Audio String Theory
This hip-hop sample library with an emphasis on guitar looks like an iffy proposition on paper, but proves to be pretty convincing in practice.
Sorting its contents into 12 complete projects, String Theory puts electric guitar and bass alongside down-the-line hip-hop beats, synths, keys, vinyl noises and FX. While the axes don’t feel 100 percent comfortable 100 percent of the time in that setting, the performances and tones are great on their own terms.
An odd one, but we’re all for trying something different.
Sample Magic Underground House
Among Underground House’s 1.2GB of samples, MIDI files and Massive presets, the 36 stemmed drum loops are the least interesting part - there’s nothing wrong with them; they just don’t wow us.
The rest of the loops are well up to Sample Magic’s usual standards, though, amounting to a ton of attention-grabbing basslines, melodics, pads, FX, percussion lines, tops and vocals that hop confidently between minimal, dark, tech and deep house styles. You also get a sizeable collection of equally comprehensive one-shot drums.
Zero-G Other Worlds
A 4.6GB library of extended textures and ambiences by Adam Pietruszko, Other Worlds’ 500 lengthy (up to 1m44s, with most around 30s) samples are divided up into Futuristic, Industrial, Mellow and Suspense folders.
There are multiple variations of each sound at different pitches and keys, but you still get a decent amount of material for the money. Tonally, Other Worlds ranges from decidedly abstract to subtly melodic, although it’s largely of more relevance to sound designers than music producers.