Gretsch 1960s Round Badge Soul Kit Review
We take a close look at the Kontakt 5 version of the Gretsch 1960s Round Badge Soul Kit by Drumdrops, the latest addition to their impressive arsenal of acoustic drum sample libraries.
by Tomislav Zlatic, Jan. 2015
Early in December of 2014, Drumdrops has introduced the Gretsch 1960s Round Badge Soul Kit, which is the latest addition to their impressive line of multi-sampled acoustic drum libraries. This new product aims to recreate the sound of soul hit records of the late 1960s, providing a deeply sampled legendary Gretsch drum kit with a set of four different vintage snares.
Since this is the first review of a Drumdrops sample library in SoundBytes magazine, let’s first take a quick look at the features which are commonly shared among all of the company’s products and then take a closer look at their brand new Gretsch 1960s Round Badge Soul Kit.
Drumdrops Product Versions
Each Drumdrops drum pack is available in several alternative versions, tailored for different types of usage and production workflow. Having access to differently priced versions of the same product allows the customers to purchase only the amount of samples which they really need, as well as to hear the samples in action before purchasing a more expensive version of the same product.
A “Kontakt Pack” is the flagship version of each Drumdrops release, featuring a state of the art custom Kontakt user interface with several bonus features which vary from product to product. The heart of every “Kontakt Pack” version is the powerful mixer section which supports multiple outputs and offers all of the essential tools for controlling the dynamics and tone of the included samples. The sound can be further shaped using the built-in reverb impulse responses and the handy transient shaper which can really make the included sounds cut through a busy mix. Other features include a groove player which comes pre-loaded with a selection of loops in MIDI format, along with a step sequencer and a groove slicer for modifying the loops on the fly.
Users who don’t necessarily need a custom NI Kontakt interface can choose between the “All Samples Pack” version which contains all of the samples from various versions of the product, the “Multi-Velocity Pack” and “Single Hits Pack” versions which come with a reduced sample pool, and the “One Shot Sample Pack” which is the lowest priced version for users who don’t need too many round robins and velocity layers. Each of these alternative versions also includes the patches for all major virtual instruments and digital audio workstations such as Kontakt, Battery, Reason, Geist, Maschine, etc. It’s worth noting that the customized NI Kontakt user interface is included only in the “Kontakt Pack” version of each product, whereas the other versions offer basic support for NI Kontakt.
Drumdrops has announced that they will also release a “BFD Pack” version of the Gretsch 1960s Round Badge Soul Kit and all of their forthcoming products, which is great news for FXpansion BFD users.
A Closer Look at the Drumdrops Gretsch Kit
I’ve had the pleasure of using several different Drumdrops kits in the past and whenever I’d test a new product, I’d be thoroughly surprised by how much character these guys manage to capture in their sample libraries. It’s not just due to the fact that a different drum kit is sampled, or that they’ve used different microphones to record each kit.
Each Drumdrops product literally has a mojo of its own and it’s something that I honestly haven’t seen or heard in most other drum sample libraries. I don’t know how Drumdrops manages to pull this off every time, but it’s probably due to a combination of several factors and the result of their incredible attention to details. Their drum sample libraries are recorded in live rooms at Miloco studios, performed by experienced session drummers and edited by expert sound engineers.
Knowing all of this, my expectations for the new Gretsch 1960s Round Badge Soul Kit have been quite high and Drumdrops has managed to deliver the goods once again. What you’re getting here is a true to life sample collection of a late 1960s drum kit which will work perfectly for adding that soul, disco, indie rock, or vintage breakbeat vibe to your music.
The sounds of this vintage drum set have been captured with five microphones which were positioned around the kit. The balance of each microphone can be controlled inside Kontakt, making it possible to build and tweak your own perfect setup of the Gretsch 1960s Round Badge Soul Kit. The pack includes sixteen velocity layers and five round robin variations per articulation, adding up to 17,935 samples in total.
All of this audio data will certainly occupy a lot of memory space, so Drumdrops has also provided a “Lite” version of the Kontakt instrument which uses fewer samples in order to improve the performance on laptops and slower desktop machines. The “Lite” version of the kit still sounds great, although it’s definitely worth investing in a RAM memory upgrade so that you could enjoy huge sample libraries such as this one in all their glory.
If you’re looking for a great sounding drum kit out of the box, you will appreciate the fact the Kontakt version comes with a range of mix presets which can be loaded up from the user interface. The included presets really show off the variety of different flavors which can be achieved with the built-in mixer and sound effects. On the other hand, users who prefer treating their drum sounds with third party effects or outboard gear will probably take advantage of the multi-output features in order to tweak the sound of the kit to perfection.
The “Kontakt Pack” version of the Gretsch 1960s Round Badge Soul Kit is priced at £45, which is a fair price considering the quality of the included samples, the versatility provided by the custom user interface and all the bonus features which are included in this version of the product. Users who don’t need all the extras will certainly appreciate the alternative versions of the kit, which also come with a reduced price.
Most importantly, this unique drum sample library is definitely worth a look if you’re searching for a great sounding set of acoustic drum samples for use in soul, pop, disco, or even indie rock music. Drumdrops has once again created a well-rounded product which excels in terms of sound quality and compatibility with different music making platforms and music production workflows. Whether you’re a professional looking for a deeply sampled vintage drum kit, or a beat maker looking for some punchy acoustic drum hits, you will find a version of this product which will perfectly suit your needs.
The Kontakt 5 pack is priced at $67.95 USD. Find out more or purchase, visit:
Tomislav Zlatic: http://bedroomproducersblog.com