Sample Magic Garage & Bass-House Tracks
Ten bass-bouncing, club-ready projects in Ableton Live and Maschine formats (both are included), using the various sample playback systems and effects of each, as well as NI’s Massive synth.
The tracks themselves are credible and catchy, but the real value here is in the individual clips, instruments and patches, which are largely excellent. It is important to note, though, that you’ll miss out on quite a few sounds (although you’ll still get the notes, of course) if you don’t have Massive installed.
Capsun Textures - Dust, Dirt & Crackle, Vol. 1
1.12GB of loops and one-shots with the common element of authentic analogue background noise. It offers beats, beds, ‘inspiration kits’, single-hit drums, retro synth washes, real-world ambiences (cafe, rain, etc), tape and vinyl hiss/crackle loops and more - it’s hard to get a grip on the overall theme, but it’s mostly useable material.
You get a decent amount of it for your money, too, and overall this is a solid, if rather confused, package of intriguing, lovingly-produced sounds.
Icebreaker Audio BitRate II
A step-sequencing drum machine for Reaktor 5 featuring four very crunchy synth- and sample-based sound engines, a mixer and effects (EQ, compressor and speaker emulation).
The lengths of the five sequencer tracks can be set individually, and programming sequences couldn’t be easier.
BRII is an extremely edgy drum machine for noiseniks, but the inability to import samples (they have to be recorded) and the lack of any sort of animated playhead is disappointing. The bundled Monoboy synth helps to make up for it, though.
Samplestate Little Helpers Presents - Minimal, Tech & Deep, Vol. 1
This 712MB library of house loops and one-shots gets everything right by keeping it simple.
The drum loops are phat and include a bizarre folder of fills and ‘live loops’ that turn out to be surprisingly effective in the mix. These are joined by 50 cone-poppingly subby bass loops and plenty of tasty melodics, adding up to a lean, earthy house toolkit by a production team that really knows its genres.
Big Fish Audio the Rock Collective
This ten-pack of 24-bit rock construction kits (including processed and unprocessed drum multitracks) is flawless in its production quality and instrumental performances… perhaps too exemplary, it could be said.
Cleanliness takes precedence over attitude, and even though the sub-genres represented fall a long way short of ‘hard’, the polish and sheen become positively dazzling in places. Still, if that radio-friendly American sound is what your next media production needs, this would certainly satisfy.
Sample Tools by Cr2 Classic House
Loops, hits, mini construction kits, Massive and Sylenth1 patches, and MIDI files in a retro house stylee.
The drum loops have been doubled up with ‘dry’ and lightly processed ‘wet’ versions - a number-boosting ruse that we don’t approve of. We were also puzzled by the Hats folder containing mostly crashes and rides. The Piano/Synth Loops folder is noteworthy, although, again, we can apply our own reverb and delay, thanks.
Ultimately, there’s nothing here you haven’t heard a thousand times before but, as ever with Cr2, the production quality and value for money are high.
Mode Audio Float - Chillwave Guitars & Loops
Ten chillwave loop construction kits with an emphasis on guitar. Chords, leads, riffs, strums and more are presented dry and with effects, and all sound great.
We like the provision of the decay tails as separate samples, too, making it easy to lay out loops and conclude them smoothly on the final cycle.
Also in the pack are MIDI files for the drums, bass and synth parts, if you want the composition but not the sounds. Float’s guitars are quite lovely, but there’s not that much to it beyond that.
Sample Magic Future R&B
Fusing hip-hop, chilled electronica and trap, Future R&B strives to be original in its production style and mood - and it generally succeeds.
The stemmed drums (408 loops in total) are 808/606-based and stylistically adventurous; the 85 mini bass/melodic/ pad ‘music loop’ construction kits are quirky and clever; and the bass, synth and vocal loops - while not particularly numerous - are a lot of fun. The One Shots folder hosts a grab bag of very usable drum, bass and synth elements, complete with sampler patches. Futuristic!
Niche Audio Neuro DNB
This raucous, hard-edged 174bpm drum ’n’ bass library comes in Live, Maschine and various sampler formats, all drawing on a set of 1365 one-shots.
The Live and Maschine versions include full projects (17 for Live, five for Maschine) and all the Kits, Drum Racks, Simpler presets and effects setups used to make them.
Soundwise, it’s jackhammer drums, frantic percussion, sinuous basslines, bleepy FX and abrasive leads all the way, and we have no hesitation in recommending this to any producer operating on the darker side of DnB.
Samplephonics Hip Hop Crate Diggers, Volume 2
The second in producer Rigglebeats’ vinyl-flavoured series of sample libraries has all the requisite crust and swagger, even if the drums sound too programmed to warrant their organic allusions. The basslines and Rhodes-heavy music loops are superb, though - it’s a real pity there are only a paltry ten of the former - and the one-shot drums and melodic sounds are the high points.
At only 113 loops and 173 one-shots, however, you’re paying a premium price.
Rhythmic Robot Hurdy Gurdy
The crazy tones of the hurdy gurdy captured in a 455MB scripted Kontakt 4/5 library. Cranked drones (single- or dual-string) occupy the bottom octave, with the rest of the ’board used to play the main keyed notes (single-, dual- or triple-string).
Key On and Off noise levels are independently adjustable: the Attack phase has been scripted to ‘slur’ correctly, depending on the notes played; and all the tuning wonkiness of the recorded instrument has been left in.
A mad, evocative must-have for the esoterically-minded muso.
Samplephonics Sylenth: Neo 80s Synths
The shared characteristic that puts these 120 presets for LennarDigital’s classic soft synth in their stated '80s setting is elemental simplicity.
From rounded, beefy basses and clear, cutting leads, through rich pads and bright keys, to modulated FX and driving arps, great use has been made of Sylenth1’s architecture and effects in the construction of a well-designed if straightforward soundbank. And while it’s never easy to price synth preset packs, this one strikes us as a fair deal.
Big Fish Audio Guitar Sessions: Pop Songwriting Guitars
25 two-minute-long (on average) guitars-only construction kits in the style of Ed Sheeran, The Script, One Republic, Coldplay and their yearnsome ilk.
It’s the tried and tested Big Fish formula - spotless production, professional performances and bags of instrumental variation (acoustic, electric, banjo, mandolin, picked, strummed, etc) - and it yields an exemplary resource for media producers, and a worthwhile source of guitar samples for musicians.