Sample Magic Dubstep and Grime £47
While we offer you free sounds every week via our SampleRadar service, we know that many of you also like to keep your eye on what’s new in the world of commercially produced sample packs.
So, we’ve put together a review round-up of some of the latest collections to come to market, starting with Sample Magic’s Dubstep and Grime.
There are a fair few dubstep packs about at the moment, but this one stands out from the crowd. It’s not just the creative naming (we particularly enjoyed one bass loop entitled ‘Bag of Gits’) but also the toughness of the sound design. Some attempts at this genre can sound weedy and thin, but there are some searing basses and punchy drums here.
The pack is a 1.8GB download (the WAV section adds up to 741MB, with other formats duplicating this content). You get drum, ‘top’ (ie, high-end percussion), vox, bass and synth loops, as well as full mixed “combi loops”, which we’re not so keen on.
The 291 drum and 50 single-shot bass noises hits display plenty of heft, clout and dirt, as do the 50 single-shot bass noises. Filthy FX are also on hand. There are some inconsistencies - not every sound is a winner - and we’d have liked dry versions of some of the delayed/reverbed sounds.
Overall, there’s a slightly flat, dry quality to this pack that it can’t quite shake, but perhaps that’s just what you need to convey the sound of urban decay. In any case, it’s a solid library.
Samplestar Electrik5 £29
This 750MB electro/progressive house pack offers bass loops, melodies, drum loops, single drum hits, synth one-shots, FX and more. The drums folder houses 191 hits, featuring kicks, snares, cymbals, hi-hats and 49 short, blippy synth percussion noises. Bizarrely, every kick is layered with the exact same hi-hat sound, but otherwise the production standard is good, with some juicy synth parts.
There are 20 ‘loop kits’ offering complementary synth parts, and the pack leans more towards loops than nuts-and-bolts offerings like Vengeance-Sound’s Electro Shock, so it’s a better choice for novices. Pros will find plenty to put to use, too, though, as the overall vibe is authentic and the loops offer scope for creative chopping.
Loopmasters Soundsystem Vocals Vol. 2 - Horseman £18
Horseman is a “notorious old skool toaster from the 80s”, and here, he spits out almost 300 phrases that bring to mind those ragga vocals that used to pop up everywhere: “This one going out to all the dub pirates!”
We can imagine these heralding an explosive DnB riff (“Now hear dis!”) - or wending their way over the top of a heavy dubstep track (“Orrrriginal style!”). We could’ve done without the delayed versions of phrases (all are supplied dry, too), and it’s annoying that Horseman’s orations are split across two volumes. But overall, this is authentic and fun.
Push Button Bang Future Garage £20
We’re not sure who this 500MB pack is aimed at, and perhaps its creators aren’t either, as they cite three very different genres (UK garage, dubstep and techno) as the styles it draws inspiration from.
Cross-genre packs can be great, but only if they’re top quality. The one-shots here offer only Abstract FX (rather ‘90s-sounding), sub bass hits and ten weak vocal stabs. Beats come as percussive tops and kick loops (some have snares, etc, too), but there are no one-shot drums. There are suspect sample start positions in a few places and the drums are paper thin. That just leaves Textures (more dated FX) and the Tonal Loops, which do have some interesting bits.
It all feels slightly random and sketchy, with not enough attention to detail - even the rhythmic sounds are entitled ‘RYTHM’… ’Nuff said..
Goldbaby The FatJuno-6 $49
Wow! This is stunning - go and buy it now! What, you need more information? Well, the FatJuno-6 is a terribly-named, fantastically-executed multisample collection created using a Roland Juno-6 running through a UBK Fatso processor. The results are astonishing: huge-sounding, instantly usable, authentic Juno sounds for a mere fistful of dollars!
There are 140 patches here, which is more than enough at this price, but they’ve all been crafted with the intention of being combined into new, exciting hybrids. You’ve got everything from raw oscillator samples to enormous multi-layered beasts. Our only criticism: this pack is so good, we would have happily paid extra for more content. How about it, Goldbaby?
Zero-G Disco Gold £80
Disco Gold is the follow up to Classic Disco and focuses on the sounds you’d hear in discos from 1977 to 1989. Arranged as 34 construction kits, tempos range from 100 to 125bpm and each kit includes a full mix and a breakdown stem or two, as well as the individual elements.
Great effort has gone into mimicking the sound of famous tracks of the time, with acts such as Chic, Salsoul and Jam & Lewis being influences. For more flexibility, the bonus ‘pairs’ folders offer pairs of matching phrases for bass, guitar, synth and piano. Brilliant stuff.
Ian Boddy Beatalogue £25
The fourth release in Ian Boddy’s Waveforms series is built from a selection of drum loops at tempos 100, 120 and 140bpm. In typical Boddy style, these are mashed and modified through his array of synths (Roland Series 100fM, VCS3, Harvestman Malgorithm, etc), resulting in 300 mono loops across three categories: treated, twisted and warped.
Typically, the loops combine rich analogue filtering and distortion, and the treatments range from subtle to pretty serious. Overall, we were very impressed by the novel sounds here and, although it’s a small pack, its uses should be many.
Producer Loops Ambient Glitch Vol 3 £15
This latest instalment from sound designer Jeff Rhodes continues down the mangled ’n’ processed route established in volumes 1 and 2. Spread across six folders (bass, beats, clanks, percussion, synth and zingers), tempos go from 70 to 180bpm, with loops ranging from one to eight bars.
Although this pack does ambient and glitch very well, we feel that the appeal is far more general. From the tasty reverse zingers (or hits) to the looped synths and beats, if you’re after a dash of electronic flavour, there’s lots to choose from. Rhodes has also made excellent use of the stereo field in this pack
Impact Soundworks Shreddage $49
This library focuses on rock and metal rhythm guitar, with raw samples DI’d from a guitar tuned to B flat (ie, it’s meant for use with an amp sim). Articulations include sustained notes, power chords, pinch harmonics, mutes and slides, with switching accomplished via velocity.
The note range goes up to around the first A (fifth fret) on the high E string, which is plenty. The 1GB sample set sounds superb, and with up to eight round-robin alternatives, up and down strokes, and double-tracked patches (using Kontakt’s multiple outputs), it can be highly convincing, even with frenetic thrash and death metal picking patterns.
Wave Alchemy Drum Tools 01 - Minimal Techno & Tech House £40
This is Wave Alchemy’s first drum tools library, with over 700MB of raw drum samples (all in 24- and 16-bit format). Inevitably, given its size, this set covers more than just the genres listed, and with 472 kicks, 251 snares and a host of other sounds (glitch, crash, claps, hats, snares and effects), the 1950 samples offer immense choice.
There are also 13 genre-specific kit patches, though none for individual sound types. However, this set sounds brilliant and serves as a fresh, up-to-date library for those making electronic music.