Ginno’s Sound Investments

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Gino Legaspi looks at fifteen libraries from Big Fish Audio, Sample Magic, Zero-G and several other sound purveyors in an ongoing series of such reviews.

by Ginno Legaspi, July 2014

 

Big Fish Audio – Gravity – Cinematic Electronica, Electro Rock and Dubstep

Inspired by today’s influential sounds of Skrillex, Junkie XL, The Crystal Method, Tiesto, Moby, Kraftwerk, Massive Attack, Daft Punk, William Orbit and so many more, Gravity is a 3.5 GB (WAV) gigantic collection that is comprised of several sound folders. Gravity includes Atmospheres, Bell, Drones, Orchestra, Pads, Synth Pulses, Retro and Vintage Synths, Synth Sequences, Synth Leads, Synth Basses and Talk Boxes. It is jam packed with all kinds of sounds ideal for creating game trailers, cinematic soundtracks, electronica, electro, dubstep and content for multimedia developers. The sounds are perfect standalone but, if you are like me, they can also be augmented/layered with other sounds for that thick, unusual sound. On top of the included synth sounds, there are striking SFX, drum elements, drum hits and various ‘up-to-date’ drum loops thrown in for good measure. If you crave that synthetic sound to add spice to your own compositions, Big Fish Audio has provided a way to help you make high-impact music with Gravity. I highly recommend this for its synth content.       

WEB:

www.bigfishaudio.com

FORMAT:

Apple Loops/REX/WAV/RMX/Acid or Kontakt 4/5

PRICE:

$129.95 USD

 

Niche Audio – Beat Machines TR909

The sample library market is so saturated with TR-909 (a drum machine from the 80’s made by Roland) titles. I’ve already seen plenty of them. So what makes Beat Machines TR909 from Niche Audio special? For starters, the TR-909 drum machine was recorded and sampled at 96 kHz. Then every drum hit was processed with an array of high and low-end outboard equipment such as an SSL 900 AW mixing console, original UA 1176 compressor, Empricial Labs Distressor compression unit, DBX 165 unit, a Focusrite EQ, etc. to give you a more colored, punchy and interesting sound. The result is an impressive, great sounding set of samples that are ready to drop into any electronic music productions. All the samples are organized into 15 different folders and labeled according to the processing used on them. It’s easy to build kits in each folder since the samples are labeled properly.

I believe that many producers of classic house will dig this library. If you can’t get ahold of a vintage TR909 drum machine and need that TR909 sound on steroids, then get this sample pack instead. What’s also awesome is the inclusion of TR909 samples in 96 kHz format. Boom!

WEB:

www.loopmasters.com

FORMAT:

WAV/SFZ/Kontakt/HALion/EXS24/NN-XT or Live Suite 9+or NI Maschine

PRICE:

From $30.76 to 42.75 USD, depending on format

 

Zero-G – WARP_static

Berlin-based Arovane (aka Uwe Zahn) is one heck of an electronic artist and sound designer, and this library of his (distributed by Zero-G) is a testament to his skill as a sample library producer, performer and programmer. Warp_static is a 1.7 GB multi-format (ACID, Apple Loops, EXS24, HALion, Kontakt, NN-XT and REX2) sample pack made with digital synthesizers (Kawai K5000S), samplers (E-mu e4XT) and a bunch of outboard equipment (Yamaha QY700). For software, Ableton Live 9 was used for recording, cutting and finalizing the sounds and loops. His trademark electronic timbres and distinct sound are included in this library. IDM connoisseurs will be pleased to find glitchy drum loops in the ‘Rhythms 120’ and ‘RhythmicPercussive’ folders. All loops have that Autechre vibe and are well programmed. All other sounds are just icing on the cake of this sweet but fascinating library.

We all want having the right tools when we are composing in the studio. And if you need the right samples to elevate your glitch, IDM and experimental tracks to the next level, I would recommend getting Warp_static. Overall, a tremendous library with plenty of synth experiments and beautiful oddball beats.   

WEB:

www.timespace.com

FORMAT:

Acid WAV/Kontakt/EXS24/REX 2/AIFF/Apple Loops/HALion/Reason NN-XT

PRICE:

approx. €76 EUR including VAT

 

Famous Audio – Atmospheric Piano Themes

Micro pack libraries are all over the place nowadays. They are good when you just want specific sounds to inject into your productions. Here, we have a goody bag of piano sounds from Famous Audio. This pack offers 20 beautifully played piano passages that are superb for new age, ambient and mellow instrumental productions. The files are separated into different tempo folders of 70, 90 and 100 BPM. You’ll get both WAV and MIDI file formats for maximum flexibility. I like the inclusion of MIDI files because it gives you the advantage of tweaking the loops to your heart’s content – whether you want to change the key or make velocity changes…it’s easy. Another thing I like about Atmospheric Piano Themes is that the files are long. Each loop runs from 1 minute to 1:30 minutes long, about 16-24 bars in length. Overall, the performances are great and with plenty of emotion. With this pack you have a great set of 20 loops and MIDI files that breathe pure dream pop, new age and chill out flavor.

WEB:

www.loopmasters.com

FORMAT:

WAV/MIDI files

PRICE:

$25.60 USD

 

Sample Magic – SM101 Analogue Noise

From time to time I’ll review a sample library that has a very specific set of sounds. And this month, it’s Sample Magic’s Analog Noise – a library that is chock full of peculiar FX noises. As the title suggests, this micro sample library contains 101 FX layers and textures that can be injected to enhance the character of your compositions. Each sound is carefully crafted using the best analogue (and natural) sound source available. There are real vinyl crackles, channel hums, tape hisses, white noise, radio frequencies and broken circuits that have been carefully processed to give each sample a warm and fuzzy (yet raw and gritty) vintage sound. Experimentalists, IDM and Glitch producers will find this library useful as there are plenty of samples with weird modulations. I happen to like tape hiss samples because you can actually hear the wow and flutter and, of course, the loud hisses in the high frequencies. While there are countless of FX sample libraries out there in the market, Analogue Noise includes some of the best esoteric sounds that I’ve heard in a sample library. I think the sounds here are best suited to layers in static pads or simple drones. This is highly recommended.  

WEB:

www.samplemagic.com

FORMAT:

WAV

LIST PRICE:

approx. €13 EUR (digital download)

 

Niche Audio – Dubstep Supercharged

This release by Niche Audio delivers 13 construction kits of basses, drums, wobbles, chords and plenty more sounds that can be highly addictive. There are two additional folders called Vox and FX one-shots for layering and manipulation. All in all, you get 15 folders of materials to play with. Dubstep Supercharged is primarily aimed at dubstep producers and is great when used with a MIDI controller, especially one with pads. It was designed to be tweaked, played and triggered on the fly for maximum enjoyment. Native Instruments Maschine and Ableton Live users take note of this! I especially like the sound of the drums because they are so aggressive and punchy. The included bass sounds growl, like many of the dubstep basses today. The innovative FX section (which features 16 samples) has some cool selections ready to be dropped into your own compositions. Processed or dry, these samples are good to go. A well-produced sample pack.   

WEB:

www.loopmasters.com

FORMAT:

WAV/Kontakt/HALion/SFZ/EXS24/NN-XT or Live  9 Pack or NI Maschine

PRICE:

From $30.75 to 42.74 USD, depending on format

 

Bluezone Corporation – Motherships – Science Fiction Sound Effects

Motherships – Science Fiction Sound Effects (brought to you by Bluezone Corporation, a sample developer known for their superb atmospheric releases) is a 1.21 GB supremo effects, drones and textures library with 129 futuristic samples in WAV format. If you’re a TV/film composer for sci-fi movies or soundtrack composer for video games then this library has something to offer. Samples in folders include alarms, indoor ambiences, machine drones, computer beeps, mechanical devices, motherships, radars, laser, energy beams, rumbles and transmission sounds. The concept here is, of course, about sci-fi space sounds with all kinds of robotic, synthetic samples that are way futuristic. From the sounds of a huge mothership (think of the move District 9) cruising ‘faster-than-the-speed-of-light’, to the sound of a nuclear reactor core rumbling, you’ll find it here. I reckon Bluezone had to to be pour plenty of creativity into making this library because the programming is slick and the sounds are simply mind-blowing. Overall, this library is well produced and very inspiring.  

WEB:

www.bluezone-corporation.com

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€26.95 EUR (digital download)

 

Bluezone Corporation – Spaceships – Science Fiction Sound Effects

Set way forward to the age of advanced communication and futuristic robotics, Spaceships is a new sci-fi effects release from Bluezone Corporation. Spaceships is the follow-up to Motherships in Bluezone’s science fiction sound effects series. They say that sequels are never as good as the original, but this sample pack goes far beyond the first volume. For starters, it has more variety and more folders of sounds to choose from. Additional sounds such as scanners, communication elements, spaceships 1-4 and weapons sounds are included in this collection. The library has a total of 176 samples in high definition 24-bit WAV format and is delivered as a 1.6GB digital download. As far as the materials go, this is another well recorded library that is clean and pristine. The sounds are good building blocks if you are constructing scenes for game music or for adding esoteric ambiences for an electronica piece you are writing. 

Do you want to upgrade your science fiction sound effects library for even more sounds? I definitely recommend getting Spaceships, because this is the real thing! This, and Motherships, will give you a one-two punch that will undoubtedly appear in your production soon.       

WEB:

www.bluezone-corporation.com

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€29.95 EUR (digital download)

 

Sounds-of-Revolution – Prime Kicks Vol. 1

Another offering from Sounds-of-Revolution (via Resonance Sounds) this month is called Prime Kicks Vol. 1. This is a micro collection consisting of 125 well-crafted drum kicks that is sure to fire up your next composition. The samples are delivered in 24-bit WAV stereo and download size is 52 MB. In the download you’ll find folders for Analogue Kicks, Breakbeat/Live kicks, FX/Big Verb Kicks, Layered Kicks and finally Top & Verb Elements. If you program your drum patterns using software samplers, then you will be happy to know that presets for both Kontakt and EXS24 are included.

So what do I think of Prime Kicks Vol. 1? It’s great and affordable. The kicks, especially the analogue ones, are deep and fat – lots of oomph. The FX kicks are my  least favorite, but they are there if you need something extreme with plenty of reverb tail. If you’re an EDM producer, you’re going to love this pack as the majority of the kicks sound great. There are also plenty to choose from.

WEB:

www.resonance-sound.com

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€5.95 EUR

 

Best Service – Production Tools Vol. 7

The Production Tools series from Soundorder has expanded once again, and for this month we have the seventh volume of the series. Production Tools Vol. 7 (or PT7 for short) has the elements to inspire you to create up-to-date dance tracks. The samples included are geared towards the creation of progressive house, electro and trance. So if your focus is those genres, more than likely you’re going to find sounds you can incorporate into your productions.  This library has more than 7 GB of content and is delivered in several different audio formats such as WAV, Apple Loops and REX. Multi-sample instruments for software samplers are also included for Kontakt, EXS24, Keymap, Reason and Structure – which makes this a very usable and flexible library. PT7 is comprised of 35 construction-type kits that are labeled by tempo. You get all the elements (drums, instrument loops, basses, leads, and more) to construct your own track. There’s also a mix track that gives you an idea of what you can do with the files. That’s the power of construction-type kit libraries. Of course, you can always freely tweak each sound to your own liking. What I like about this library is that it sounds so clean and fresh. I have to give credit to the editors for doing a fine job. Great stuff that can be used in today’s EDM productions.

WEB:

www.bestservice.de/en/

FORMAT:

WAV/Apple Loops/EXS24/Kontakt/REX/Keymap/NN-XT/Structure

PRICE:

€69 EUR

 

Best Service – Production Tools Vol. 8

I’ve seen and reviewed plenty of electro, progressive house and progressive trance collections over the years and some  are pretty much just the same run-of-the-mill sounds. They bring nothing new to the table. But Production Tools Vol. 8 is a pretty banging and usable sample pack. Just like its predecessor, Production Tools Vol. 7 (reviewed above), this latest dance sample pack by Soundorder is comprised of 35 construction kits, that can be used as starter loops or inspiration for your next masterpiece. The same audio formats are available, and the sampler patches are compatible with popular software sample players such as Kontakt and EXS24. Each kit is broken into 3 different sub-folders of ‘Drums’, ‘Instruments’ and ‘MIDI Files’. The drum folder is my favorite because it has plenty of single-hit samples included. With drum shots at hand, I can make my own custom drum rack that is tweaked to perfection. This is exactly what you’d expect from seasoned samplesmith like Soundorder. 

WEB:

www.bestservice.de/en/

FORMAT:

WAV/Apple Loops/EXS24/Kontakt/REX/Keymap/NN-XT/Structure

PRICE:

€69 EUR

 

Niche Audio – Prima Tech

Niche Audio’s Prima Tech is a sample library that is inspired by current trends in the groovy tech house scene. This collection is comprised of 15 solid construction kits (more than 200 WAVs) that can be easily injected into your own compositions, as well as in starter files you can use to get something going from scratch. Prima Tech appears to be aimed at producers of any house sub-genre, but can be used for other electronica genres as well – you just have to be creative with your slicing, processing and tweaking procedure. Each folder has all the necessary files you need in order to create full backing tracks. Inside each one, you’ll find basses, tops, chord hits, drum hits, FX noise and many more. These samples are ready to go: just audition them and and drop them into your DAW of choice. The drums are punchy and the kicks are tight, with good low-end. There’s not a single dull-sounding sample. Niche Audio processed the samples just right.

When I was listening to the demo mix track of this library, I couldn’t help but move my head back and forth. I was really into it. But hey, good stuff. Producers take note. There’s new cool sample library in town and the name is Niche Audio! 

WEB:

www.loopmasters.com

FORMAT:

WAV/Kontakt/HALion/SFZ/EXS24/NN-XT or Live  9 Pack or NI Maschine

PRICE:

From $30.76 to $42.75 USD, depending on format

 

Big Fish Audio – Echo – Cinematic Pop Guitars

Continuing Big Fish Audio/Dieguis Production’s KLI Series & Textured Series, Echo is a collection of 847 guitar loops and samples, split into 25 song kit folders and 1 folder containing beautiful guitar soundscapes. Like all previous Big Fish titles, the folders in this sample pack have been labeled properly with key and tempo information, providing you flexibility where needed. In each kit you’ll find all the elements (intro, verse, chorus, bridge, outro) needed to construct starter songs or samples that can be augmented into your own tracks. You won’t find any soaring leads or crunchy chords in this sample pack, but a bunch of very convincing cinematic, ambient and shimmery guitar that are nothing but inspiring.  All of the guitar samples are high-quality, 24-bit live recordings that are epic and full of emotion. This library actually reminds me of post-rock bands such Sigur Ros and Hammock, where the guitars are just mesmerizing. As always, Big Fish Audio produces some of the useable guitar libraries around so I’m giving this a thumbs up. 

WEB:

www.bigfishaudio.com

FORMAT:

Apple Loops/REX/WAV/RMX/Acid/Kontakt

PRICE:

$129.95 USD

 

Black Octopus – Cyborg Onslaught by Paradigm Theorem

Dubbed ‘Complete Bass Music Destruction Kit’, Cyborg Onslaught from Black Octopus is a 2.31 GB mega library in 24-bit WAV format. There are over 1500 files in this collection of destructive bass sounds, punchy drum loops, otherworldly SFX, futuristic vocals and soaring leads. A lot of the sounds have that gritty, dirty and aggressive tone – very nicely done. And even the texture sounds have been stylistically programmed to fit well into today’s modern dubstep and neuro-hop productions. Although the focus of this library is the drum sounds, the basses can cover a lot grounds when it comes to electronica production. Overall, this library will prove its worth to any hard-hitting dubstep producer. Black Octopus has a winner here.

WEB:

www.resonance-sound.com

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€ 25.48 EUR

 

SM White Label – UK Techno

This collection from Sample Magic’s White Label showcases the essence of UK Techno. Even though the content is only 400 MB, you’ll get a variety of 24-bit goodies to complete your techno and tech-house masterpieces. The samples themselves are pretty banging with a lot of grit. The 140 drum loops and 40 basses will get you started pretty quickly as they are programmed nicely with the use of Roland drum machines. The bass loops sound pretty raw and brutal – plenty of acid-inspired rippers without sacrificing the low end.  In the music loop department, 101 of the freshest loops will have you up and running in no time. Another group of sounds that I like are the drum hits folders. It includes kicks that are pretty solid, snares that will cut through mixes and sizzling hi-hats.  In closing, the drums and basses are UK Techno’s main strength, but there are other materials in this pack that are great as well. 

WEB:

www.samplemagic.com

FORMAT:

WAV/Apple Loops/REX2/EXS24/Ableton Drum Rack/Kontakt/NN-XT

LIST PRICE:

Approx. €21 EUR (digital download)

 

Ginno Legaspi: www.facebook.com/ginnolegaspi

 

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