You certainly can’t accuse FXpansion of slacking when it comes to providing ongoing support for BFD. The XFL and 8 Bit Kit expansion packs took their flagship plug-in to new heights in terms of flexibility, boosting its library with a raft of genuinely useful and sonically diverse new sounds.
Now we have the third and fourth add-ons – both Jazz & Funk and Deluxe boast a whopping 55GB each of additional tubs and metalwork, though the Reduced Detail option means that each can be ‘summarised’ in a mere 25GB.
Installation of both packages is straightforward, their authorisation involving nothing more than the entry of a serial number. With each one comprising five DVDs, however, getting all the samples copied over is by no means a quick process, though the fact that BFD 1.5 supports two data paths means that expansions can be installed on a different drive and don’t have to go in your existing BFD folder.
The number of velocity layers in play is impressive, with up to 90 for each snare, 40-60 for each tom, and 25-40 for the cymbals and hi-hats. The hats are presented in quarter- and three-quarter-open versions as well as the open and half-open configurations of the original BFD. As well as the regular stick versions, many of the kit pieces also come in mallet, rod, hand, cross-stick and brush iterations, with long and short brush sweeps for the snares (hard to play via an electronic kit, but wonderfully expressive when carefully programmed).
Deluxe is a more ‘conventional’ soundbank, recorded by the legendary Steve Albini (among others) at his own Electrical Audio studios in Chicago. The kits here include a 70s Ludwig Vistalite, a DW, a Sonor Designer, a Yamaha Pro Tour, a double-kick-equipped Gretsch and a Backyard Drums prototype. The majority of the cymbals are from Zildjian, though there are Sabians, Paistes and Wuhans here and there.