Ginno’s Sound Investments
Gino Legaspi looks at four libraries from Zero-G, Sounds-of-Revolution and Sample Magic in an ongoing series of such reviews.
by Ginno Legaspi, Mar. 2014
Zero-G Critical Mass – Audioscape
Critical Mass, from Zero-G/X-fonic is a massive collection of twisted cinematic sounds and cutting-edge audioscapes that are suited for the production of soundtrack, cinematic, ambient, electronica and experimental music. As the title suggests, it is geared for high-end, modern use.
This library weighs in at 3.6 GB of 44.1KHz/24-bit audio and sampler patches. Supported formats include Acidized WAV (700+ files) and Apple AIFF for audio and EXS24, NN-XT, HALion and Kontakt for sampler players. The download or DVD version also contains a PDF file of “Production Notes” about the library, in which it gives you a detailed description of all of the sounds plus the equipment used in the production process. Basically, Critical Mass’ content is categorized and broken up into 4 separate folders of Production Kits, Sound Design Elements, Looped Sounds and Textural Beds. There are various sub-folders of sounds under the 4 main folders, except for Textural Beds. You’ll find high impact hits, industrial, deep space, SFX, horror, abstract, swells, drones, pads, organic ambiences, nocturnal noises and background bed samples. Upon auditioning the sounds, I can say that these are some of the most highly inspiring samples I’ve ever heard. Now, this is given that I’ve reviewed tons of libraries in past. For the ambient producer who wants to take their music into the unknown, you’ll find plenty of obscure samples made with field recordings, CSounds/MaxMSP and various synthesizers such as Roland and Waldorf. If you’re a game composer who wants to push your soundtrack/composition to the extreme, there are countless of extraordinary, esoteric materials specific to the TV/game genre. The Production Kits folder is a goldmine to start with.
Building upon the success of coveted Dark Skies and Alien Skies libraries, Zero-G has once again upped the ante with Critical Mass – Audioscapes. Overall, this is a good sample pack with tons of quality sounds. I highly recommend this title.
Acid Wav, Apple Loops, EXS24, Kontakt, Reason NN-XT
59.95 £ including VAT
Sounds-of-Revolution Minimal Techno Revolution Vol.3
A film executive knows that if a good movie series is a constant box office hit, he or she will continue that series for as long as it draws millions and millions of ticket-buyers with each release. If you’re successful with the first part, why not add a second or a third?
What we have here this month is Sounds-of-Revolution’s (aka Oliver Schmitt) third installment of the Minimal Techno series. The MTR series started back in 2010 and each release is, dare I say, getting better. Firstly, Volume three’s content of 1.4GB is in the same ballpark as its predecessors. In fact, you’ll find over 1400 stereo samples in 24-bit format. The full package includes WAVs, REX2 and sampler patches for Kontakt and EXS24. It features loads of synths, kick-free, atmosphere, bass (live & synthetic), percussion, drum and kit loops. You’ll also find effects, vocals, one-shots, SID and processed live audio samples. So don’t let the name “minimal” fool you, because the variety of samples is staggering. Secondly, we all know that it takes time, patience and technical skills to build a decent sample library. Well, MTR Vol. 3 was created with great detail, focus and Oliver was able to create the samples true to the genre. The samples are very well programmed, organized neatly in folders, and the loop points are as smooth as a ripe mango skin. My favorite materials in this collection are the synths, the lo-fi sounding SID and the live basses. But even the live basses do not sound live as they have been heavily processed. It’s a good thing, though. Overall, I like MTR Vol. 3. Along with its predecessor, I am highly recommending this.
24-bit WAV Stereo, REX Loops (Stylus RMX ready), EXS24 & Kontakt Patches
57.11 € full package
Sample Magic SM34 Drum Hits
One thing about producing tracks is that you want the best sounds you can get your hands on for your composition. Sounds that are production-ready and professionally polished so you can rest easy without worry of tweaking samples to perfection. Sample Magic’s Drum offers just that – a one-stop shop of high quality “one-shot” drum samples. This library is huge! We’re talking 1300+ of kicks, snares, hats, crashes, percussion, claps, hits and slams that you can think of. After auditioning, the focus here is definitely dance and electronica because of the how they sound and how they were programmed. The 44.1kHz/24-bit WAVS are very punchy, strong and very modern-sounding. What I like about this collection are the “Mid” Kicks folder. In it are bright kicks that are just punchy and can slice through a mix. The inclusion of 28 custom-programmed drum kits patches for sample player/drum racks such as Battery, Kong, NN-XT, EXS24 and Ableton Drum Rack is also a nice addition. Overall, the variety is great. This will last you for a long time.
24-bit WAV one-shots, 28 x Battery, Kong, NN-XT, EXS24, Ableton Drum Rack sampler
34.90 € full package
Sample Magic SM White Label Organic Deep House
Organic Deep House from SM’s White Label is an ambitious take on that classic deep house sound. It is a mini sample pack weighing in at 435MB, but don’t let the size of this pack fool you. It has the different elements to feed your inspiration to make deep house compositions as well as other house sub-genres. Deep House includes drum, synth, bass, music, tops & percussion loops, as well as drum hits, chords & synth stabs. The samples themselves are true to the genre as they have that organic, lo-fi kinda feel. I love Sample Magic when it comes to their dance sample releases – no doubt about that – but I wish there were more loops in the “Music” and “Synth” loops folder as these are strongest of the bunch. The bass loops are kind of okay – not much excitement there. But when I was continuing to audition each of the folders, things picked up quickly with the 100+ “Drum” loops. The programming is superb and the grooves are a blast to listen to. They’re very impressive as they are, or if you want to add you own spin to the drum loops, there always the “Top” loops you can layer with them with. If you’re looking for organic samples that are deep-house tinged, and without breaking the bank, then Organic Deep House by SM White Label is something to consider for.
Ginno Legaspi: www.facebook.com/ginnolegaspi