Loopmasters Darius Syrossian - Real House Collection
The house DJ and producer releases his first sample library of 142 loops and 126 one-shots. The stemmed drum loops (all at 123bpm except one at 124bpm) are the highlight - crisp, well engineered and with more than a touch of garage in their top-end - countering the not hugely interesting basslines.
The music loops, FX and one-shots don’t leap out as particularly original, but it’s all perfectly good stuff that any maker of house could find a place for in their soundware arsenal.
3.5 out of 5
Triad Sounds Ibiza Presents: Deep House
Five sun-drenched house construction kits, produced by Arkadium. Each kit contains between 15 and 24 samples, including the full mix, and it’s all pretty predictable stuff, albeit well produced (apart from the odd bit of excessive sidechaining) and full of vibe. You also get a handful of MIDI files, should you wish to work your own melodic sounds in.
Even at this low price, we’re just not sure what anyone would really want to do with Ibiza Presents: Deep House, though - there’s just not much to it.
2.5 out of 5
Soundiron Steel Tones
This deeply multisampled eight-tongue Hapi drum (Google it) for Kontakt 5 boasts a gorgeous scripted interface that lets you layer two independent instances of its core instrument, each with its own adjustable keyspan and sound-shaping controls.
The arpeggiator and effects bring groove and glamour to the Hapi’s earthy, raw tones, while the icing on the cake is the set of 56 pads, ambiences and raw waveforms based on them.
We’d prefer all of the articulations in a single NKI rather than split between eight, but nonetheless, Steel Tones is unmissable.
5 out of 5
Produced with movie, TV and game composers in mind, Zetamorph has plenty to offer musicians as well.
Consisting of 515 24-bit/96kHz samples, it’s a sonically stunning library of risers, fallers, transitions, textures, impacts, drones and electronic FX in general, of the kind that dance producers can’t get enough of.
Although quite a few of the samples are variants of the same core sounds, overall there’s a good level of variety provided, and the sheer amount of time and effort that have clearly been invested easily justify the very reasonable price tag.
4.5 out of 5
Sample Magic Future Trap & Footwork
Bringing “Chicago juke, footwork and ghetto house” together with “trap, D&B and hip-hop”, Sample Magic’s latest opus is such a voluminous bargain that it’s hard to know where to start.
Its 751 loops and one-shots include messed-up vox, stemmed drums, quirky synths and FX, rolling basses, mangled breaks, melodic mini construction kits and more, with everything properly named and labelled by key and tempo. It doesn’t hurt that the production quality is exemplary, either, evoking a unique but satisfyingly referential sound.
4.5 out of 5
Wave Alchemy Drum Tools 02
It’s taken Wave Alchemy long enough to make it, but the follow-up to Drum Tools 01 is every bit as essential as its predecessor. This monster collection amounts to 2029 (mostly) electronic drum samples: 450 kicks, 282 snares, 192 hats, 225 claps, 100 cymbals, 120 toms and 660 assorted percussion sounds, plus 1528 tape-processed alternatives for added warmth and grit.
It’s a staggeringly expansive library of individual and layered hits, and with 79 sampler patches in various formats, Wave Alchemy has even done the kit-building legwork for you.
5 out of 5
Push Button Bang Total Blues
A huge amount of popular music has its roots in blues, but as a genre it’s woefully under- represented in the sample pack market. Thankfully, the Push Button Bang boys are back with another strong release to redress that baffling imbalance.
Total Blues is their 1.4GB collection of Delta belters, and it offers up nearly 400 loops and stems and 200 instrument hits. Authentic playing and full, rich recordings abound, with the guitar folder holding the real gems - whether it’s sliding steel, or the bitterly groovy acoustic workouts you favour, you still get hook after hook.
Elsewhere, there are 100 toe-tapping drum breaks, 40 catchy horn parts, and 25 low-end bass loops. Some blinding Mississippi mouth organ blasts and borderline tearful key stems round off a release that's bursting with emotional depth and soul.
4.5 out of 5
Frontline Producer - Funk Rock Guitars
Finally, a sample pack devoted to the kind of guitar shredding that made bands like Rage and the Chilli Peppers such riff-heavy monsters. Like them, the Loopmasters team has fused the grooves of funk with the attitude of rock on this 203MB collection of royalty-free riffs.
Each Fender Strat or Les Paul loop has been expertly wrung from the necks of these famous guitars, then processed aggressively through a powerful chain of outboard gear. It’s pretty much like they’ve chained Tom Morello to a radiator and given him nothing to live on for three days but JD and p-funk albums, and then recorded the results.
The 218 loops run over one, two and four bars and come in the major musical keys, so offer up plenty of room for manoeuvre. And with tempi of 90, 100, 110 and 124bpm there’s something for everyone.
4 out of 5
Class A Samples - Star EDM Wars
The nerf herders at Class A Samples have used the force (of the studio) to create a batch of Massive and Spire patches inspired by Star Wars. For each of the two popular VST synths you get ten basses, leads, pads and FX presets that bleep and bloop like an R2 unit on ten pound pills.
Like the classic films, the sounds resonate with an old-school futurism, and each carefully tuned preset is designed to blast through your speakers with a super clean high sheen that bristles with that all important light and magic.
Picks of the bunch are the leads. These sizzling toplines are custom-built to soundtrack your next Kessel Run, or just add a darker side to your latest EDM banger.
A great collection that proves that even the sample pack universe isn’t far, far, away enough to avoid getting sucked into the Star Wars black hole.
3.5 out of 5
Music Weapons Boom Bap Kits Vol 1
The aptly-named Music Weapons posse are back with another deadly collection of dope drum sounds for all you classically-minded hip-hop producers out there. Fans of the label’s previous drum packs, like the massive Colossal Drumkits Vol 1, will be getting itchy MPC pad trigger fingers at the thought of more of the same killer sounds and samples to chop up.
They won’t be disappointed. Music Weapons are by heads for heads, so each crunchy kit and every neck-snap snare in this collection has that authentic boom bap thwack. You get 50 kits, 50 snares, 50 hats, 12 loops and 17 SFX samples, all presented as glorious 16-bit/44.1kHz WAV files.
Inspired by big names in the field of Akai manipulation like Pete Rock and Premo, it’s safe to say that these drums are built to vibrate the streets.
4 out of 5