Ginno’s Sound Investments

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Ginno Legaspi looks at an even dozen libraries from Loopmasters, Zero-G, Big Fish Audio, Sample Magic, Blue Zone Corporation, Best Service and Renaissance Sounds.

by Ginno Legaspi, May 2014


Loopmasters – Classic Synthology

Desktop musicians are so spoiled these days (aren’t we all?). It’s a good time to make music because gear is now so affordable and readily available. But what about those behemoth machines from yesteryear that are hard to find and so expensive? Yes, I’m talking about those vintage synthesizers and classic drum machines that are still quite an arm and a leg to buy. Who can afford a Yamaha CS-80 original Minimoog on eBay?  Seriously!

Fortunately, Loopmaster has the bit of solution when it comes to integrating classic sounds into your productions. Meet Classic Synthology – a 1GB sample library of synthesizers, drums and basses designed to help you with your analog needs. This was recorded and produced by Harvey Summers at Broad Oak Studios using some of greatest classic synths such as the Yamaha CS-80, Arp 2600, Minimoog, Moog Taurus Mk1, Korg MS20 and Korg M1. They were then heavily processed using high-end studio hardware including Neve and RCA preamps, Eventide H3000 D/SX and an DMX 15-80S for that warm, vintage sound. To those who produce wicked techno, groovy house, dubstep, electro and all forms of electronic music they will be happy to find wide pads, punchy synth basses, lead lines, one-shot percussions, EFX and other cutting edge sounds. Definitely the sounds contained in this sample pack are for modern production of electronic music. Material-wise, the basses are my favorite of all the sounds. They just have that saturated, fat sound in them. I also love the one-shot drum sounds that were made with Korg Wavestation and M1. They don’t sound (obviously) digital at all – so I was a bit surprised how ‘gritty’ sounding they are. An evidence that if samples are treated properly (with care and expertise), they can sound completely new.

Not only that you get plenty of loops from this library, the content is good and well recorded. If you’re a producer looking for a fantastic collection of fresh EDM sounds to inject into your dance-electronica productions, this is a sample pack won’t disappoint.

WEB:

www.loopmasters.com

FORMAT:

WAV, Apple Loops, Rex2, Live, Kontakt, Halion, EXS24 and NN-XT

PRICE:

$50.44

 

Zero-G – Urban Symphony

Urban Symphony is a new soulful delight from UK’s sample-smith giant Zero-G. It is a diverse collection of orchestral sounds designed to work in dance, Rn’B and hip-hop compositions. This library weighs in at about 1.5 GB, and includes all major audio formats such as WAV, AIFF and REX2 files…all in high quality 24-bit. Also, popular sample player formats are provided if you have EXS24, Kontakt, Halion or NN-XT software samplers. Content-wise, the included samples are broken down into 3 separate descriptive folders of Orchestral Sessions, Harp Loops and Piano Loops. In total, there are 727 orchestral phrases to light up your productions.

Like many of Zero-G’s sample libraries, Urban Symphony is an exceptionally well-constructed library. It was made using high-end equipment and modern production techniques were applied in recording and mastering the samples.  The orchestral phrase folder has some really nice gems in there. I especially like the violin solos because they are played with emotion. The bonus acoustic piano loops sounded well recorded with just the right amount of ambience, as well. Overall, this a library to consider if you want to inject some smoothness into an otherwise heavy hip-hop track or if you want to add some emotional spice into your Rn’B grooves. This is hot.

WEB:

http://www.timespace.com/

FORMAT:

Acid Wav, Kontakt, EXS24, REX2, Aiff Apple Loops, Halion and Reason NNXT

PRICE:

£59.95 including vat

 

Sample Magic – SM White Label Amsterdam Tech-House

Are you ready to put some special magic in your tech-house track? If so, take a look at Amsterdam Tech-house – a 24-bit sample library suitable for desktop musicians who are in the electronic, house and techno scene. This title is chock full of sounds with a hard hitting style. Inside this collection are punchy drum patterns, strong basses, sun-drenched synths, top loops, drum hits (hi-hats, kicks, percussion hits and snares) and a goodly amount of FX sounds. I love the included drum loops – great sounds from start to end. I think it’s the pack’s strongest point. Additionally, the synth loops and FX are decent enough for a song starter. If you’re running out of ideas, then my advice is to resort to these folders. Overall, this 400 MB packs enough sample content to get you bangin’ immediately in the studio. The quality of this inspirational dance samples is superb and what you’d expect from Sample Magic.

WEB:

www.samplemagic.com

FORMAT:

Wav, Apple Loops, Rex2, EXS24, Kontakt, Abletom Drum Rack and NN-XT

LIST PRICE:

£ 16.90 (digital download)

 

Big Fish Audio – Guitar Sessions: Indie and Alternative Guitars

When I received the new guitar library from Big Fish Audio called Guitar Sessions: 

Indie and Alternative Guitars, I was anxious to give it a spin because I have been constantly reviewing electronica sample packs for the last four issues of SoundBytes.  A little change in review material gives my review column a bit of a flavor. 

Guitar Sessions: Indie and Alternative Guitar is part of a growing Xtended Series from Dieguis Productions in which the focus is to deliver samples in a massive construction kit manner. Like many of Big Fish Audio’s sample library, this pack has 25 song-based construction kits included. Each construction kit (or folder) consists of a mix file along with multiple sections (intro, verse, chorus) of loops. There are also several loop variations thrown in as well. This library is delivered in industry standard formats such as WAV, Apple Loops, REX, RMX and Acid, and are all wrapped up in a 5.8 GB download. Should you prefer the Kontakt format (given that you have the full version of Native Instruments’ Kontakt sampler), that is also available for download. Guitar is the name of the game of this product and if your cup of tea is in the likes of Electric Six, R.E.M. Temper Trap, Minus the Bear or Imagine Dragons, you’re in for a treat. This incredible stringed instrument library contains different styles of guitar sounds that includes heavy guitars, muted, effected, ambient guitars, clean and distorted guitars and many more. With different styles of playing such as strumming, picking, riff and slides this sample pack covers a wide range of sub-genre in rock.

As I was going through each folder, auditioning was a blast with Guitar Sessions. I love how the guitars were well recorded – they are clean and the signal is strong and punchy. There’s a lot of presence in the mids, too, without sounding harsh. The performance of each loop is absolutely top notch. I’m guessing that the guitar player is a well-seasoned musician because this person has some serious chops. The mandolin and the electric slide guitar licks are a good testament to that. So, if you’re looking for a library with a blend of licks, riffs, picking, strumming and slides, Guitar Sessions: Indie and Alternative Guitars might be for you. It is a package that covers a wide range of sub-genre in rock.

WEB:

www.bigfishaudio.com

FORMAT:

Apple Loops, REX, WAV, RMX, Acid, Kontakt

PRICE:

$129.95

 

Bluezone Corporation – FMJ: Dramatic Soundscapes and Textures

Bluezone has become one of those “tier 1” sample developers when it comes to soundscapes, textures and special effects libraries. Over the years, their catalog of ambient/cinematic sample packs just exploded to enormous quantity. It looks like there is no stopping now for this French company. So for this month, I have the privilege to review FMJ: Dramatic Soundscapes and Textures.

Like it predecessors, this sample pack offers the same familiar structure of Bluezone libraries; over a hundred set of genre-specific samples included in 24-bit WAV format. It’s a small pack with a size of just over 600MB, but the content is great. The library is broken into 3 main folders of Impacts, Melodic-Textures and SFX-Textures. Impacts are what you call “one-shots”. They are impact sounds that are larger-than-life. These reverb-immersed sounds are good for movie scores as well as TV soundtracks. The Melodic-Textures samples can be used in the background for an ambient piece or simply a bed for drone compositions. What I like about these sounds is that they are evolving, not static-y (for lack of better term). In the FX-Texture folder, I find the atmosphere samples have a very spooky vibe.  They are meticulously programmed, though, but with a twist. Plenty of horror soundtrack producers will find this set of samples inspirational day in and day out. In closing, if you are short of inspiration and needed a spark, this library might just do the trick.

WEB:

www.bluezone-corporation.com

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€ 12.95 (digital download)

 

Loopmasters – Aethers 01

Aethers 01 joins the ever-growing Loopmasters library catalog to provide desktop musicians, live PA artists and producers a sampling resource for creating cinematic, ambient, soundtrack , IDM and drone music. This library is the fruition of the inventive minds of Loopmasters, Ultimae Records and Vincent Villuis aka AES DANA (Ultimae ambient artist). 

When it comes to loop libraries, Loopmasters knows how to deliver, and they don’t disappoint either. Aether 01 features a whopping 3.17 GB of 44.1kHz samples in 24-bit rate. Audio formats include Acid WAV, Apple Loops and REX2. Sampler patches for Kontakt, Halion, EXS24, NN-XT and SFZ are included as well. If you use Ableton Live, a Live Pack version can be purchased separately. Here’s a breakdown of samples in this collection:  11 ambience things, 29 Ethereal Atmospheres, 24 Interferences, 26 Dark & Deep Atmospheric loops, 24 Drone loops, 35 Ethereal Loops, 105 Drum Shots, 51 drum loops and 50 Field recordings. These loops were made using the best in gear technology and some “secret” audio tools that AES DANA does not want to reveal.

So what makes Aether 01 an appealing pack to its potential customers or producers? Well, for starters the loops and samples on it sound interesting, fresh and useable. You’ll find a wide range of material that will work well in an ambient and IDM context. Also, the 51 drum loops are just superb, with each and every one of them just programmed perfectly. I love the subtle use of click sounds in background of the loop – very innovative drum programming there. Overall, this is a beautiful library with plenty of sounds to choose from and a spot-on to the ambient genre’s distinct sound that plenty of producers could make use of in a long haul.

WEB:

www.loopmasters.com

FORMAT:

Wav, Apple Loops, Acid, Rex2, Ableton Sample, Kontakt, Halion, NN-XT and EXS24

PRICE:

$50.44

 

Sample Magic – Synth Shots

As the name suggests, Synth Shots from Sample Magic is a hot collection of one-shot synthesizer sounds geared for a wide range of music genres. Its design is to give producers or desktop composers an easy access to a variety of perfectly recorded synthesizer samples. In this collection, there are 1,027 key-labeled shots, chords, bass hits, pads, keys and FX expertly sculpted for almost any genre of electronic music. Don’t expect musical loops or melodic phrases because you can’t find them here. However, if you want to create your own loops, you can load the samples to play in all major DAW samplers such as Kontakt, NN-XT, EXS24 and Ableton Live Sampler. All samples were created using vintage and digital synths such as Moogs, Rolands and Yamahas, and delivered in pristine 24-bit resolution. There’s a good blend of samples here to choose from, and my favorite is the one-shot bass folder. The bass folder has some really aggressive basses that cuts through the mix easily.  

Overall, this is a nice varied collection, and for £24.90 you can’t go wrong.

WEB:

www.samplemagic.com

FORMAT:

WAV, EXS24, Ableton Live Sampler, Kontakt and NN-XT

LIST PRICE:

£ 24.90 (digital download)

 

Big Fish Audio – Modern Gospel Hits

Gospel producers and musicians, rejoice! Greet the new day with Modern Gospel Hits – a new library from Big Fish Audio containing different sketch loops, starter phrases, heavenly hooks and one-shots to give your musical ideas an uplifting boost. This 7 GB construction-based library boasts 24 kits that are neatly organized in folders, with key and tempo information. Within each folder, you’ll find different loop stems such as bass, piano, live drum, organ, lead guitar, pad, synth, electric piano, rhythm, muted, clean & distorted guitar, sax solo, Rhodes piano, string, flute and many more. A “mix” file is also thrown in to give you an idea of how the loops sound like when mixed together. Additionally, each construction kit includes drum hits, drum tracks and drum tracks live folder. The included drum hit samples allows you to create custom drum kits for, say, Reason’s Kong Drum Designer or Ableton Live’s Drum Rack. The amount of loops and one-shots in this collection is staggering. The WAV files alone are 1560 in total. But if you prefer to purchase the Kontakt version, these loops becomes highly customizable. You can tweak the samples in Kontakt at your heart’s content or rearrange the slice, remix, or completely rework each loop to fit with your music exactly how you want. It’s really fun and the possibilities are endless. One thing I like about this sample library is that most of the construction kits are upbeat.

With Modern Gospel Hits, every day is a glorious day in the studio. This is a highly inspirational set of sampling material. With over 1500+ samples, this collection will last you for an eternity. Overall, if you’re looking original worship sounds then this library from Big Fish Audio delivers comprehensive materials to work with.

WEB:

www.bigfishaudio.com

FORMAT:

Apple Loops, REX, WAV, RMX, Acid, Kontakt

PRICE:

$129.95

 

Bluezone Corporation – Dark Movies: Ghostly Ambiences and Sound Effects

It’s good to know that a sample developer company finally has the guts to release a library so epically dark and so scary that it’s named “Dark Movies”. I mean, there are plenty of sound effects and atmospheric libraries geared for horror film music but none has a cool title as this one.

I can tell you, those innovative samplesmiths at Bluezone Corporation don’t sit on laurels. They’ve been churning out library after library for the past several years now, and Dark Movies is the epitome of what a great horror library should be.

Firstly, the sound design of this 760MB library is good. Like many of Bluezone’s libraries, Dark Movies showcases good sound design skills. The sounds have been crafted specifically to the genre and the programming is slick. As I was going through the samples and auditioning them in my DAW, there is some really good content here to be used. The ones I’m particularly fond of are the metal impacts. They sound so huge, clear and have been prepped with the right amount of ambience for TV/movie scores. The high-pitched FX sounds are great for futuristic thrillers and science fictions shows that needed that extra spice. Some samples are just pure scary – especially the scrape sounds. Believe me, they will give you goose bumps.

Ever watched a movie in which a scene just makes you jump out of your seat? Well, that’s the result if you combine a thrilling/scary scene, some good acting and sounds to boot with. Dark Movies offers 160 files that are ready to drop in your favorite DAW and will help you inspire to write your next ghostly piece.       

WEB:

www.bluezone-corporation.com

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€ 18.95 (digital download)

 

Resonance Sounds – Vintage Movie Vocals 2

This sequel to the Vintage Movie Vocals title definitely is geared toward musicians and record producers needing movie dialogs for their productions. Similar to the first title, this library packs 672 samples with a total weight of 1.11 GB. There are 612 vocal phrases and 61 vintage FX samples that can be infused in dance, electronic and experimental music. If you’re an experimentalist like me, you can further manipulate them using your DAW’s powerful plugins or audio editor favorites such as Sony’s Sound Forge or Steinberg’s Wavelab. According to Resonance Sounds, these samples were taken from very old movies / film dialogues that are in the public domain and all licensed for use under the new Creative Commons license agreement. But the samples themselves were cleaned up in Resonance Sound’s high-end studio, edited and mastered to give you that production-ready sound. What I like about this pack is the variety of vocal phrases it offers – it’s really great for spicing up breaks and drops in a song.  If your arrangement is lacking something in the vocal phrases department, Vintage Movie Vocals definitely has the samples that can take your track to the next level.

WEB:

http://www.resonance-sound.com/

FORMAT:

Wav, Kontakt, EXS24

PRICE:

€ 24.95

 

Sample Magic – Drum Hits 2

Just when I thought that Sample Magic had created and compiled all the drum hits in the world into single huge collection in Drum Hits, they come out swinging with a sequel (dubbed ‘definitive’) that is even bigger and badder than the first release. It’s only natural to outdo yourself, you know.

Presented as the ultimate drum hits collection, Drum Hits 2 is a versatile sample pack of more than 1,500+ drum sounds of kicks, snares, toms, hats, crashes, one-shot FX, percussions and various processed hits that is sure to last you a lifetime. This is one huge collection. For example, the snare folder alone has over 300 sounds to play with. That’s plenty, of course, but I wouldn’t mind having a lot because I prefer having extra sounds at my disposal than a few to choose from. The diversity inside this collection is great, too. You’ll find just about everything you need imaginable. From live to layered and from old school to synthetic…they’re all there. Most of them sound crunchy, punchy and up-to-date. Although the samples are geared towards modern electronic dance productions, they are also designed to work in any genre. So, if your cup of tea is electro rock or ambient there are plenty of samples to work with that is sure to fit into the mix. If you ask me what my favorite samples are in this collection? I would have to say that the “NU Percussion” folder is my favorite one, simple because I love esoteric sounds. The ‘Glitch’ percussions, too, are fabulous to use when creating IDM or glitchy music – overall, a good library with plenty of useable content.

WEB:

www.samplemagic.com

FORMAT:

Wav, EXS24, HALion, Kontakt, NN-XT, Battery, Maschine, Kong and Abletom Drum Rack

PRICE:

£34.90 (digital download)

 

Best Service – Phantom Files 2

Here we have an esoteric sample pack that has a tremendous usability when it comes to ambient, experimental, avant-garde and industrial noise music. Set aside the frightful cover image, Phantom Files 2 is a sequel ready for primetime. Picking up where volume one left off, this library is produced by the diabolical geniuses at Best Service. It has 8.44 GB of total content, in WAV and Apple Loops audio formats. There are loops, one-shots, arps, melodic line phrases and just about every electronic sound you can expect from this type of library. Altogether there is plenty of material for you to twist, mangle or augment into your own tracks. It even has an added feature – phrase MIDI files, which is a surprising bonus. Phantom Files 2 exhibits great sonic quality with plenty of samples included. When I auditioned the sounds using Sony Acid, the processed voice samples are very terrifying and will give you chills when working with them at night. The soundscapes folder is the same story, as they are great for horror compositions and extreme late night movie soundtracks. The rhythm loops will make their way on plenty of electronic productions I’m sure. Overall, this is one enormous library. The soundscape samples alone make it a worthwhile investment. Make The Phantom Files 2 your new weapon for esoteric sounds!

WEB:

www.bestservice.de

FORMAT:

Wav, Apple Loops

PRICE:

€ 49

 

Reach Ginno at: www.facebook.com/ginnolegaspi

 

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