Drumdrops Gretsch 1960s Round Badge Soul Kit
A multisampled classic four-piece kit with hi-hats, ride and two crashes, plus a pair of congas, a tambourine and a shaker, available in various formats - we’re looking at the Kontakt 5 version.
Five mic channels have been captured (one near the snare, one near the kick, one behind the kit, one overhead and one “distant”), and each kit piece has level controls for all of them. EQ, transient shaping and two reverbs are onboard, as is a tasty library of grooves, and it all adds up to a highly playable retro treat at a very fair price.
Big Fish Audio Impulse: Cinematic Guitar Series
15 multitrack guitar construction kits made with movie, game and media production in mind, but highly plunderable for music projects, too.
Each kit comprises intro, verse, chorus, bridge, turnaround and outro sections, and a wide range of guitars and playing styles are represented. By and large, the production style is chilled and atmospheric, but there are a few spikier, pacier numbers in there too. Lovely stuff.
Sample Tools by Cr2 Mainroom Kicks and Drops
An odd one for Cr2, this, centring, as it does, on 15 mini construction kits (960MB), each comprising a full-on build, drop and groove.
You get all the requisite audio clips, plus MIDI for certain parts, and while the production is superb and the styles are as varied as they can reasonably be within their overall ‘mainroom’ remit, it’s a decidedly limited collection by the label’s usual standards.
Points are won back by the folder of 100 excellent tuned kick drums, which deserve a place in any dance producer’s sample library.
Puremagnetik Analog Automata
350 sampled loops in Ableton Live clip (WAV) and Apple Loops formats, as well as a scripted Kontakt library, made using “a variety of analog modules” and arranged in five categories: Bass, Kick, Lead, Percussion and Texture.
The sounds are earthy and rhythmically interesting - particularly the Percussion and Textures - and the Kontakt interface gives some shaping via low- and highpass filters, and delay and flanger effects. It’s just not a terrifically exciting or memorable collection, though, truth be told.
Loopmasters Kate Wild - Vocal Hooks & Acapellas
Up-and-coming Brighton vocalist Kate Wild debuts on Loopmasters with this 410MB library of phrases, one-shots and “mini song ideas”.
The stylistic theme throughout is commercial, with pop, RnB and dance music all ably handled, and Wild’s delivery is spot-on. You don’t get a great deal for your money, though, with only 46 phrases and shots, and not much of practical use in the song kits, unless you want to work up the songs themselves.
Samplephonics Deep House Sessions
The best thing about this 810MB sample library is its knock-out selection of drums and percussion. The loops are fulsome, funky and beautifully produced, while the 1000+ one-shots, taken from “classic Roland drum machines” would prove useful for any producer.
The rest of the material doesn’t disappoint, either, comprising bouncy basses, smokey music loops, diverse, high-impact FX and blissful pads - we just wish there wasn’t such a discrepancy between the amount of percussive material and everything else. Nonetheless, a fantastic house treasure trove.
Zero G Rise Designer
Zero G is on something of a roll with its ‘Designer’ series, and this is the one many have been waiting for.
A scripted Kontakt interface enables separate two-layer Rise and Tail stages, drawing on a varied library of 69 sampled sounds, to be shaped and combined into a riser (from 1/2 to 8 bars long). Processing notables include the Gater effect, for chopping, and the Super button, for thickening. 94 categorised NKIs are provided, and we have to give props for the prettiest animation yet seen in a Kontakt instrument.
Samplephonics Vintage Drum Breaks, Volume 1
Expertly played by Nightmares On Wax drummer Issac Heywood on a Gretsch kit, recorded to 2" tape through the poshest of Greenwood Studio’s mics and analogue outboard, each of VDB1’s 197 four-bar loops comes in three mic/mix variations.
The breaks range from 90-170bpm, and constitute a huge spectrum of grooves – shuffled, 16th-hi-hat-based, laid-back, driving, sidestick… you name it.
It’s a bit of a shame that the kit and recording setup remain unchanged from start to finish, but this is an awesome resource for those in need of real drums, recorded well.
Sample Magic Radio Slave - Beats Collection
The second soundware release from veteran techno producer Matt Edwards consists of 206 loops and 124 one-shots, plus various sampler patches and kits to turn the latter into playable instruments.
Edwards’ programming and production style is tasteful, dynamic and understated, and his sound selection is second to none.
The loops are the main event, taking in a diversity of sonic flavours and rhythmic designs, but the hits are a more-than-worthy supplement. If you like your techno somewhat off the beaten track, this is a brainy no-brainer.
Loopmasters Michael Schack - Hybrid Beats Session
1.7GB of drum loops, hits and MIDI files by drummer Schack, currently providing the beats for Hospital Records’ Netsky shows. Drum ’n’ bass and breakbeat are the focus, but plenty of stylistic variations are included in each of the 11 project folders.
Sonically, all of the kits sound very clean and there’s obviously a lot of triggering going on - which is fine.
If the idea of working some real human feel into your electronic tracks appeals, this is well worth investigating.
Sample Magic House Nation
So much stuff! House Nation’s 950MB of loops and hits is almost overwhelming in its scope and authenticity. From tough, confident drum stems and beefy, loping b-lines to cool, interesting synth leads and imaginative, layered music loops, this is a library to get lost in. You also get over 300 classic drum machine one-shots.
The style is more hard-hitting ‘tech’ than chin-stroking ‘deep’ (ie, there’s not much in the way of pads and atmospheres), and if that sounds like your bag, this should be at the top of your soundware shopping list.
FXpansion BFD Oblivion
Clicky kick drums and throaty snares are the order of the day with this metal-orientated expansion for BFD 2/3/Eco. The kit is a Mapex Orion five-piece with two snares (brass and jarrah, with snares on/off and optional Moongel damping on the Mapex) and a choice of felt or plastic kick drum beater, plus Zildjian, Bosphorus and Paiste cymbals.
The drums come in three versions, each set up and processed differently, while the included grooves are well executed.
In all, FXpansion’s debut metal kit is worth every penny for BFD owners.
Mode Audio Open Spaces - Massive Vintage R&B Presets
We’re not entirely sure what the “Vintage R&B” part of the name refers to, but this set of 50 presets for Native Instruments’ ubiquitous synth doesn’t really require or warrant categorisation, standing as nothing more or less than a really nice general purpose soundbank.
Basses, leads, pads, percussion, FX and more are covered, with thoughtful Macro assignments yielding good playability. We’re sold, weird marketing angle notwithstanding.