Ginno’s Sound Investments

 

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

 

by Ginno Legaspi, Sept. 2014

 

Big Fish Audio – Steel & Wood: Songwriter Acoustic Sessions

Steel & Wood is a sample library that includes some of the most impressive guitar loops I’ve heard. It is packed with 25 construction kits that every songwriter and composers can benefit from – whether for inspiration or loops they can use to start their songs around. You’ll find a beautiful selection of live acoustic guitar (picking and strumming), mandolin and ukulele in this 2.7 GB of material. The loops have been carefully recorded using high-end mics and latest studio tools for a truly Nashville (Southern) sound. Auditioning this product was a joy for me because most of the loops are oozing with cool performance.  The playing is very emotional, not static. There’s a lot of room for creative potential here, especially the Kontakt version. Each sliced loop can be customized can be manipulated, rearranged and reworked to create unique ideas. You can tweak to your hearts content to further create new and exciting parts or loops, and this pack is no exception. Overall, this is a well-constructed library with very polished sounds. And if you’re looking for a good set of starter loops, the rich melodic motifs of Steel & Wood will surely spark your creativity.

WEB:

www.bigfishaudio.com

FORMAT:

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

PRICE:

$129.95

 

Loopmasters – Puncture Kits – Beats Cycling

The idea of recording a drum kit mounted on a bicycle and releasing it as a finished sample library product is crazy. But this is exactly what happened when Alex Pettman (of Debut Audio Mastering) recorded David Osborne’s punctured kit at Studio 284 in Brighton. The result is 1.7 GB library chock full of loops, fills and drum hits that are well suited for breaks, funk, dubstep, house and other electronica sub-genre. A second custom studio kit was also recorded to give sampling addicts more sample selections. Sound-wise, the samples are very clean and punchy with an edgy tone. My favorites of this bunch are the 140 BPM Dubstep and the 175 BPM Dn’B folders. It’s performed fast but in-the-pocket. Under the ‘PUK_STUDIO_LOOPS’ folder, I found some tasty assortment of gems, especially the 90 BPM Hip Hop folder. I have to say that David Osborne performance is really “in-the-pocket”. His ability to add subtle dynamics in playing really shines here. Groove on!

WEB:

www.loopmasters.com

FORMAT:

WAV, Live, Kontakt, HALion, EXS24 and Reason ReFill, Rex2, Sfz

PRICE:

$41.06

 

Zero-G – Extreme Environments

Si Begg burst on to the sampling arena scene with his previous Zero-G library titles Distorted Dancefloors and Electro Glitch Essentials. When I reviewed Distorted Dancefloor, I actually liked it that I rated it highly. Now, Si Begg returns with an ambitious library called Extreme Environments (Soundscape Creator). So what is it? Extreme Environments is a library geared for ambient & experimental musicians, TV/film composers and sound designers who want to create rich textured compositions. It is s soundscape generator made with various sources such as field recordings, analogue synths and custom IRs. Inside you’ll find 150 presets (for Kontakt, with custom GUI) of drones, pads, beds and SFX that are highly inspiring. Other formats such as Logic EXS24, Reason’s NN-XT sampler, WAV and Apple Loops (24-bit) are also supported. It didn’t take me long to enjoy auditioning this library as everything sounds unique and clean. The real field recordings are exceptionally well-recorded and the programming is top notch. There’s so much you can do with this library, especially with the Kontakt format as it gives you the ability for customize, edit, tweak the stock sounds to create something new. If you want a fresh dose of musical inspiration, Extreme Environments has the complex and convincing sounds that will fill your need. I highly recommend this!

WEB:

http://www.timespace.com/

FORMAT:

Acid Wav, Kontakt, EXS24, Aiff Apple Loops, Reason NN-XT, Logic

PRICE:

£55.95 including vat

 

Industrial Strength – 404 Studio – Fusion Studio

This 1.3 GB library contains very solid samples targeting the Hard Dance, Techno, and IDM crowd. Fusion Studio was created and produced by Dom Sweeten, along with the 404 studio collective to give producers dance floor-ready materials. The content includes synth loops, top loops, bass loops, drum loops, kick loops, SFX loops, synth and drum hits in 44.1 kHz, 24-bit format. I must say that there are plenty of inspiring sounds in this collection to get you going in your electronica journey. The loops are programmed well, and you’ll find the materials applicable to other electronica sub-genres as well. After auditioning each folder, the SFX loops can’t be beat. Although geared for dance, they can be useful in styles such as dubstep or even ambient. But the drum loops are the highlights in the sample pack, in my opinion, along with the top loops. Overall, Fusion Studio is a good, reasonably priced library that should be part of your arsenal.

WEB:

www.loopmasters.com

FORMAT:

WAV, Apple Loops, Kontakt, EXS24, Maschine, Rex2

PRICE:

$49.35

 

SM White Label – Downtempo Electronica

Sample Magic has hit the brakes, slowed down a bit and crafted a sound set with strong fragmented grooves, inspirational off-kilter melodies, exquisite synth loops, ready-made music loops and one shot samples. Downtempo Electronica is a sample pack that is 750+ MB in size. It is comprised of 450 loops and 50 one-shot samples. The samples are recorded in 44.1 kHz, 24-bit format. The sonic quality is superb and most of the loops are very inspiring and unique. All the right sounds for song starters are here. What I really like are the cool processed drums that are programmed really well. They can be sped up for IDM or manipulated further to your specifications. What I also like about this pack is that it sounds clean, very punchy and up-to-date. Those looking for a dose of ‘pure electronic’ down-tempo electronica, I highly recommend Downtempo Electronica as your next purchase. It’s a budget pack that’s guaranteed to spark your imagination.        

WEB:

www.samplemagic.com

FORMAT:

WAV, Rex2, Live, Apple Loops, NN-XT, Kontakt

LIST PRICE:

£ 16.90

 

Big Fish Audio – Mutation Machine: Warped Grooves and Robot Loops

Mutation Machine is a sample pack from Big Fish Audio that exhibits unique sonic quality. It offers over 3 GB (758 files) in 44.1 kHz, 24-bit WAV, Apple Loops and REX formats. Like many of Big Fish Audio sample libraries, this is a construction kit with all the material split into 113 folders. It might seem plenty, but each folder consists of elements ranging from two to thirteen. The folders have tempo information for flexibility and to make your job easy as possible. So what are the samples like? All of them are off-kilter, twisted, esoteric and what have you. The drums are filtered, stuttered and applied heavily with crazy effects. ‘Processed’ is the name of the game here and you won’t find any normal bread and butter type sounds. I like it though – it’s pretty unique. The loops are very intricate and can definitely work in various electronica, glitch, dubstep and experimental compositions. Overall, aside from the great library cover, Mutation Machine is a serious library that is surprisingly useable.      

WEB:

www.bigfishaudio.com

FORMAT:

Apple Loops/REX/WAV/RMX/Acid

PRICE:

$99.95

 

Loopmasters – UMEK – Loops from Behind the Iron Curtain

Slovenia’s UMEK is one heck of a DJ/producer who has been churning out countless dance tracks since the 90’s. Recently, he’s been actively releasing techno and tech house tracks since converting to those genres. He’s an awesome studio cat, too. So the next logical step for a DJ/producer it to release his own sample library (wouldn’t you think so?). Loops from Behind the Iron Curtain (via Loopmasters) is a comprehensive 2.7 GB sample pack that has dance electronica written all over it. This library includes 640 loops and 1330 one-shot sounds in 44.1 kHz, 24-bit format. Additionally, it includes patches for software synthesizer Sylenth and templates (mapped drum kit) for NI Maschine. You’ll find all kinds drum, bass, synth, kick and top loops. There are also chords, SFX, drum fills and all kinds of drum hits, in which he has stamped his distinct sound in them. The spotlights of this library are definitely the drum loops. UMEK has created some of the punchy drum loops over the years and it shows here. The kicks are seriously fat and the hi-hats are EQ’d with detailed highs. The bass lines are useable with plenty of bottom-end bliss. Although this pack is geared mainly for techno and tech house heads, the synth loops can be used in other electronica sub-genre as well. If you’re a producer who enjoys experimenting with samples, you can manipulate, re-pitch and chop them to your own taste. The bottom line is that this is a very impressive library that has the undeniable UMEK vibe in it.

WEB:

www.loopmasters.com

FORMAT:

WAV, Apple Loops, NI Maschine, Sylenth, Live, HALion, EXS24 and ReFill

PRICE:

$11.44-65.77

 

Ian Boddy Waveforms – Analogue Workshop 2: Dark Ambient

I enjoyed reviewing Ian Boddy’s first Analogue Workshop outing ‘Distortion and Feedback’, so it’s nice to see he’s back to offer electronica, experimental, avant-garde, ambient and dark ambient aficionados a labor of his love. As the name suggest, Analogue Workshop 2: Dark Ambient is the second of a sample series geared to help composers create dark ambient, but could also be used for media and film music. The 300 sampling material is basically broken down into five section folders of atmospheres, drones, FX, one shots and pads. The sounds were created and based on Mr. Boddy’s wide arsenal of modular and analogue synthesizers, as well as high-end outboard processors.  So how does it sound? Gritty and raw…just like the first volume. The 44.1 kHz/24-bit samples have that undeniable vintage warmth vibe. The programming is superb and sound design is second to none.

Kudos to Ian Boddy for delivering a library that can be used over and over again for a long time.  

WEB:

http://www.timespace.com/

FORMAT:

Wav, Kontakt

PRICE:

£34.95 including vat

 

Bluezone Corporation – Unknown Surface: Alien Soundscapes and Sound Effects

Bluezone Corporation delivers an incredible value in this out-of-this-world soundscapes and SFX sample pack for ambient, space music, game and film soundtracks. If science fiction, mystery, suspense and fantasy music is your game, Unknown Surface has the samples you need (122 files) imaginable, including humid ambiences, growling creatures sound effects, recorded forest ambiences, deep drones, pure ambient tones, inspiring textures and otherworldly soundscapes. Stat-wise, this collection is 930 MB in download size (via web) and is delivered in 44.1 kHz, 24-bit format. I like all the included sounds but what appeals me the most are the spooky sounds in the ‘Alien World Ambiences’ folder. These imaginative sounds were made to scare the heck out of you. And that’s a good thing. Some of them impart that digital coldness that are good for ambient beds or something that can be used in the background. Overall, the sounds are of good quality and decent enough to make it into someone’s productions. Those who are looking for an affordable solution for soundscape and SFX, Unknown Surface won’t disappoint.

WEB:

www.bluezone-corporation.com

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€ 16.95

 

Big Fish Audio – Amplified

Inspired by the sound of bands such as The Temper Trap, The Fray, Muse, U2 and many more, Amplified by Big Fish Audio is a gigantic 3.5 GB (1.4 GB WAV) of guitars, guitars and more guitars samples. This collection comprises 225 unique loops of Ambient, Delayed and Rhythm guitar, split into 12 construction kit folders. The folders are key and tempo-labeled – giving you a flexible, easy solution to construct song ideas in no time. All of the samples are recorded in pristine 44.1 kHz 24-bit high-quality format, and the performance is pretty solid and organic. The sounds on this library have a vibe comparable to today’s modern rock bands. I find this a nice library best used in conjunction with other synthetic sounds to create guitar ambient music. My favorite groups of sounds are the delayed guitar samples because they are very well played and processed properly. We have a nice BFA release here!

WEB:

www.bigfishaudio.com

FORMAT:

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

PRICE:

$69.95

 

Black Octopus Sound – Leviathan

When it comes to electronic-based sample libraries, Black Octopus is not new on the block. They have some of the most innovative materials on offer, and Leviathan is no exception. Geared primarily to electronic music producers and composers, Leviathan is a sample user’s dream with over 5000 samples. Dubbed by Black Octopus as a “complete sample pack suitable for all genres of music”, Leviathan’s content weighs in at a staggering 4 GB, with over 5000 samples. The included sounds are up-to-date, fresh and ready to drop in any electronic production. You’ll find plenty of drum hits, percussive sounds, synth stabs, chord stabs, music loops, drum loops, out-of-this-world glitched FX and many more. All the samples are well recorded and programmed with expertise. The clever synth work of 42 long atmospheric FX and 227 rising & falling FX alone makes this a worthwhile investment. Overall, this is a fantastic tool for producers and composers that are looking for today’s cutting edge sound.

WEB:

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

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€ 72.99

 

Bluezone Corporation – Club SFX – DJ Audio Samples

DJ’s and dance music producers, meet Bluezone Corporation’s latest SFX sample pack offering. With over 250 MB of sounds for dance music production (all in 44.1 kHz, 24-bit format), Club SFX covers a wide variety of sounds for house, techno, trance, dance, electro-pop and much more. These are carefully designed risers, sweeps, impacts, booms and transitional sounds that are very well programmed and recorded. The sounds are very crisp and clean. The samples with full-on effects are the ones that I really like, and should provide inspiration to producers to passionately work on the banging masterpieces to a finished product. Overall, an effective utility sample set consisting of futuristic, fresh sounds, Bluezone style.

WEB:

www.bluezone-corporation

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€ 10.95

 

 

Ginno Legaspi: www.facebook.com/ginnolegaspi

 

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