Insert these unique “tonal” sounds into anything in need of something really out of the ordinary – be it four to the floor, downtempo, urban or cinematic.
Created through the exploration of rhythmic possibilities in analogue traditional and Cartesian sequencers, and rotating clock dividers in a Eurorack modular system, by feeding clock signals from a DAW and process the resulting sequences in the digital domain – retaining all the magic and weirdness coming from the analog circuits in sync and under control for maximum musical ability.
Instead of focusing on any specific genre or style of sound the goal here has been to squeeze out the unique, personal and odd from the hardware, and find emergent source sequences using high quality analogue oscillators combined with digital wave table ones, frequency modulation, low pass gates, filters, distortion, frequency shifter among others.
The modular system consists of selected modules from about 20 different brands: Makenoise, 4ms, Cwejman, Doepfer, TipTop audio, Plan B, Intellijel and a Roland system 100 Model 101. Digital real time processing mainly through Soundtoys and Fabfilter suites.
Musikmesse 2013 sees ALEX4 Distribution proudly introducing several new brands to its European retail network, with notable new analogue synthesisers and innovative musical hardware products being showcased by big names like Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments and Haken Audio from the USA alongside emerging European manufacturers and already in place partners alike.
Doepfer is proudly previewing the MAQ 16/3 Dark Edition of its long-running, rack-mount MIDI Analog Sequencer with CV/Gate connections.
This limited-edition version celebrates the 20th anniversary of its development in close collaboration with techno pop pioneers Kraftwerk.
Now that aptly-named Dark Edition features a black front panel and bigger knobs to match the recently redesigned desktop Dark Energy II Analog Synthesizer and accompanying desktop Dark Time Analog Sequencer in both look and feel.
Several significant additions coming to Doepfer’s diverse A-100 Modular System are also on show, including the A-127 Triple Voltage Controlled Resonance Filter; A-130 Linear Voltage Controlled Amplifier; A-131 Exponential Voltage Controlled Amplifier; A-135-1 Quad Linear VCA/Voltage Controlled Mixer; A-157 Trigger Sequencer Subsystem (based on the same 8×16 matrix central to the discontinued ‘full-size’ 8U rack-mount SCHALTWERK MIDI Trigger Sequencer); A-171-2 Voltage Controlled Slew Processor/Generator; A-180-2 Small Multiple; A-190-5 Polyphonic USB/MIDI to CV/Gate Interface; A-190-8 USB/MIDI to Sync Interface; and A-192-2 CV/Gate to MIDI/USB Interface — not forgetting the newly-designed, pocket-friendly A-100 Low Cost Base Frame to house all those modules… and many more besides.
ALEX4 also spearheads new additions to the ever-expanding Eurorack modular system format by boutique European manufacturers Endorphin.es from Austria — following up its Furthrrrr Generator dual oscillator module with a prototype of the Terminator analogue delay/low pass gate/reverb — and Frankfurt’s very own Broken Silicon, making its Eurorack debut at Musikmesse 2013 with Gainsburg, a dual VCA module with severe signal-boosting for some seriously nice-sounding distortion… interstellar overdrive, anyone?
Having given its RES-4 Quad VCA a cream-coloured facelift to match the recently relaunched MMF-2 Stereo Multi Mode Filter, high-standing Swedish synthesiser developer and manufacturer CWEJMAN is back with the DP-2.
With this brand-new complex modular compression tool CWEJMAN continues to play its part in ensuring that the Eurorack modular system format remains even more buoyant and musically vibrant than ever!
Reaching beyond Eurorack — and, indeed, Europe itself, ALEX4 is delighted to introduce Dr Lippold Haken and Edmund Eagan of Haken Audio fresh from the USA. Duly demonstrating the captivating Continuum Fingerboard realtime performance controller — running the latest firmware in its full-size glory (with greater pitch range than a traditional 88-note MIDI keyboard), they are also introducing the inbuilt EaganMatrix digital modular synthesiser, designed to take advantage of the controller’s delicate and dramatic musical performance possibilities!
EaganMatrix section of the Continuum Editor program.
Alongside that rolling workshop, ALEX4 proudly presents the wonderful world of Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments to the wider European musical community. A new incarnation of founding father Don Buchla’s classic Californian design from 1973, its Buchla Music Easel is a portable, performance-orientated instrument, comprising the 281e Touch Keyboard Controller (29-key chromatic touch keyboard with pitch, pressure, and pulse outputs) and 208a Stored Program Sound Source (primary sound generator with five-position sequencer, ADS-type envelope generator, pulser circuit, modulation oscillator, complex oscillator, dual lowpass gates, envelope detector/inverter/preamp, and output section) housed in a rugged carrying case.
The Music Easel remake, as introduced at the Winter NAMM 2013.
Seeing is believing, but you’d better believe it: standing in front of an actual Buchla electronic musical instrument is truly a sight (and sound) to behold!
Berlin-based Manikin Electronic is introducing Harry’s Collection for its Memotron, an acclaimed digital remake of the legendary Mellotron, much beloved by the likes of popular music landscape-changing Beatles — think ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ — and Moody Blues, classic prog-rock era Genesis and Pink Floyd, as well as electronic music pioneers Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream during their so-called ‘Berlin School’ days.
Complimenting already available Memotron sound library collections, this includes 12 sounds originally created by none other than Harry Chamberlin, famed for inventing his namesake electro-mechanical Mellotron forerunner, the 1950s-vintage Chamberlin. Available as a 35-note keyboard — now in charcoal grey or beautiful black lacquered finishes in addition to traditional white — or conveniently compact 1U rack-mountable module, Memotron sound library collections continue to heighten its status as a must-have ‘digital Mellotron’ for the modern-day discerning musician!
Also joining ALEX4 at the Musikmesse 2013 launchpad is fellow Berliner MFB, presenting a keyboard version of its Dominion X programmable analogue synth with onboard sequencer, alongside an all-new, mature MIDI-compatible drum machine: Tanzbär bristles with innovative functions from contemporary sequencers and workstations, together with high-quality sounds and six full-size output jacks. MSRP will be €840.00 EURO (including 19% VAT).
Having had to discontinue some earlier established products due to plastic casings no longer being available, MFB is rereleasing ‘MkII’ models of its Kraftzwerg and Microzwerg desktop analogue synths alongside the Urzwerg Pro step sequencer — all rehoused in more upmarket metal casings combined with eye-catching wooden end cheeks, while its popular TR-808 classic-cloning 552 Drumcomputer remains in production.
SubtleNoiseMaker from Vienna is introducing its not-so-subtle-sounding Cacophonator Noir, a handmade electronic music synthesiser, effects pedal, and noise box. This extreme noise and drone machine is inspired by circuit-bending, but better suited to those who prefer music-making stability! MSRP: €369.00 EURO (including 19% VAT).
Thanks to ALEX4, Scottish ‘synthmeister’ Ken Macbeth’s namesake Macbeth Studiosystems is making its seriously-sought-after boutique synths available throughout Europe, starting with the upcoming Micromac-D, a full-scale integrated analogue desktop — small… but perfectly formed!
Also new to the ALEX4 fold — and Musikmesse 2013 — is the midiclock from Berlin-based Erfindungsbüro Rest & Maier.
This simple but brilliant little tool can synchronise several software and/or hardware sequencers with the greatest of jitter-free ease and full BPM control via a dedicated knob. MSRP will be €195.00 EURO (including 19% VAT).
Last, but by no means least, Trautoniks from Germany is introducing its new Trautonium Manual with separate CV and Gate manuals in 70cm and 90cm lengths.
Based on the Volkstrautonium, a pioneering monophonic electronic musical instrument mass-manufactured by Telefunken throughout 1933/34, those manuals are made of a resistor wire over a metal plate — playable just like an original, only when pressed produce a sound on any connected CV/Gate-equipped analogue synth with perfect velocity curves. Come see for yourselves… on Stand C54 in Hall 5.1!
ALEX4 Distribution GmbH is showcasing its unique product portfolio of analogue synthesisers and innovative musical hardware from smaller specialist manufacturers at Musikmesse 2013 on Stand C51 in Hall 5.1.
When Nathaniel of Tonebuilder released his Driven Machine Drums electronic drum sample library – back in November 2009 if I’m not mistaken – it came at a time when exciting things were happening in sample library land. Wave Alchemy had just released its Drum Machine 01 library, Goldbaby was putting out top class libraries, one after the other.
Possibly not the easiest time to introduce yet another collection of drum samples. However, Nathaniel was confident about the quality of his work. So much even that he offered a 30-day money back guarantee on a purchase. Being a limited edition library – with only 997 copies available for sale, ever – DMD’s exclusiveness introduced additional perceived value. This slightly unconventional approach to marketing something digital (and thus basically inexhaustible) raised many an eyebrow.
All said and done, in the end DMD is what it says on the package: “… an electronic drums sample library, created from an unique blend of 14 drum machines/synthesizers and 9 analog coloration devices.” and eventually demand outgrew supply and all 997 copies sold out.
The goal was to present you with something simultaneously familiar and yet completely fresh. But creating new sounds, IMHO, wasn’t enough. There had to be an improvement in the methodology because I wanted you to feel like you owned these “newly-discovered” instruments.
I also wanted you to be able to spend even more time writing, being creative, and performing (aka fun stuff) and less time EQing and controlling dynamics to get a reasonably loud master.
To achieve this goal, the samples in DMD Strikes Back were created using various analog & digital sound sources and outboard gear, resulting in 2,072 new drum sounds in 7 categories:
333 Unknown Electronic sounds
Each of these has a bunch of subfolders sorting similar sounds by texture type. Most folder descriptions are self-explanatory (e.g. low short perc, dub toms, digi electro snares), others perhaps a bit vague (e.g. white elephant, doubleplus unhats), but the bottom line is – after auditioning the samples once or twice – it’s real easy to find sounds in this folder structure.
The list of gear used to create the sounds is quite massive and includes lots of modular units (Harvestman, Cwejman Modular, Wiard, and more).
If you suffer from gear lust you should probably not click above to see the larger image…
The DMD 1.5 update already showed an increased focus on modular sound sources, and I was happy to see this continued and reinforced in DMD Strikes Back.
Many of the samples were created from the ground up using these modular devices, routing the sounds through envelopes, transformators, tubes, filters, reverbs, etc. during the synthesis and design stages.
Nathaniel speaks with great passion about the sound design, and what exactly went into creating this new library. Minimizing transients, adding harmonic content, capturing textural changes within samples, etc. Things that may not be something you consider when looking for that perfect snare for your tune, but these things make a difference. It took 13 months of work to complete DMD Strikes Back; now that’s some serious commitment to creating something special IMHO.
The sounds are suitable for a wide range of electronic music styles, including minimal, techno, house, glitch, hip hop, dubstep, and whatnot. From soft analog to rough digital, dusty hip hop snares to chest hitting kicks, glitchy blips and clicks… Every single category includes tons of sounds I had never heard before. The amount of new, unique material is simply staggering.
Right, I know I’m sounding like a fanboy – which obviously I am. But the sounds speak for themselves. The DMD website has a few demo mp3′s, but better yet, just download the free 60 samples demo pack at no cost and see how you like them.
Driven Machine Drums Stikes Back is available in two editions:
Standard, includes all 2,072 sample in 24-Bit/96kHz WAV and 24-Bit/96kHz AIF, 16-Bit/44.1kHz WAV for use with classic samplers + 22 kits for FXpansion Geist/Guru.
Deluxe, Standard edition + EXS24 and Kontakt patches mapping similar sounds closely together on the keyboard.
So what do I think?
Product: Driven Machine Drums Strikes Back by Tonebuilder Format: 24-bit/96kHz WAV & AIFF, Geist/Guru kits, and EXS24 + Kontakt (Deluxe only) (intro) Price: $69 USD – Standard / $77 USD – Deluxe Like: Unique, usable sounds, top quality and good variety Don’t like: – Verdict: 10/10
I am not sure I really need to write something here. You know the verdict. This is an essential sample pack for electronic music producers. To be honest, I am already feeling bad for those who will read this review after all 966 copies have been sold.
Driven Machine Drums Strikes Back raises the bar for electronic drum sample libraries. This top quality content is fresh, exceptionally well crafted, and most of all, extremely usable musically.
If the 60 free sounds in the demo pack aren’t enough to convince you, the 30-day trial policy is still in effect. If you are serious about your electronic drum sounds you owe it to yourself to check out this library.
DMD Strikes Back is available at an introductory price through October 31, so let me +1 the tongue-in-cheek (but not really!) copy on the website:
Since I reviewed the original Driven Machine Drums release a little over a year ago, Nathaniel at Tonebuilder has worked hard to make this excellent drum machine & percussion sample library even better by adding tons of new sounds to it in version 1.5.
Some of the gear used for Driven Machine Drums 1.5 (click image for more)
New samples were created with a number of new sound sources, including various modular gear components: Euro Modular (Cwejman, Wiard, MOTM, MakeNoise+), Serge Modular, Acidlabs Miami, Roland TR-909, Jomox MBrane 11, Drumfire DF500, Simmons SDS-1000, MFB-503, Elektron Monomachine, Avedis E-27, TK-BC1, Valley People Dynamite, Schippman Ebbe und Flut, and all the tubes, pres, compressors and tape devices from the first DMD collection.
The new samples are categorized into the following folders:
Hand Percussion – good variety of percussion type sounds (54).
Hats and Cymbals – sharp (25) and soft (29) hihat and cymbal sounds, both open & closed.
Kicks – Dirty (14), Mid Punch (17), Sharp (23), and Soft kicks (29). Deep, raw, distorted, round, thumpy, punchy, etc. All there.
Other Percussion – Some “offbeats” sounds (20). These are shorter samples including snare, clap, clang type hits etc.
Unknown Electronic – FM Klanks (38), Inharmonic (39), Mod Blue (48), Mod Red (50). Great assortment of original sounds.
It is a shame most computer operating systems are still limited to having files in a single folder as quite a few samples fit in more than one sound category. Some kicks sound like toms, toms sound like snares, and there are snares that make good hihats… Anyway, I am quite happy with the way the DMD library is structured. Even with close to 4,500 audio files it is easy to navigate around and find the type of samples you are after.
I made a few short audio clips to demonstrate the sounds of Driven Machine Drums 1.5. The loops were done with the new samples only, using a tiny amount of reverb and compression.
The version 1.5 update to DMD also includes the complete Hi-Fi 909 and Hi-Fi Miami libraries. These are high quality sample sets of the Roland TR-909 and the TR-808 based Acidlabs Miami drum machine.
There are well over 800 samples in each library, including clean sounds as well as a variety of processed versions (compression, tube, EQ, etc).
Check the audio clips below for some more examples of the DMD 1.5 and Hi-Fi 909.
The new content – adding a total of close to 2,300 new sounds to the original DMD collection (all in 24bit/96kHz format), is included with all new copies of Driven Machine Drums and is available to previous DMD customers as a $27 USD upgrade.
I know some people were a bit disappointed with the upgrade not being free. Nathaniel explains:
I had two options, which was to release a DMD 2 for $77/$87, or reward the early adopters by releasing it as 1.5 instead of V2, and hope to make the investment of time/gear by selling new copies of DMD.
Upgrade pricing, special promo deals, bundle discounts, etc. There are always customers who will be upset with however you deal with the commercial side of things. Personally I think the upgrade price for DMD 1.5 is more than reasonable. The additional content is well worth it (Hi-Fi 909 actually sold separately for $23 USD).
So what do I think?
Product: Tonebuilder Driven Machine Drums Format: 24bit/44kHz and 96kHz samples Price: $77 USD (Guru/Wav/Aif) / $87 USD (Kontakt/EXS24/Wav/Aif) Like: high quality drum machine samples and unique synthetic percussion sounds, much variety and originality Don’t like: – Verdict: 10/10
Driven Machine Drums already was a superb sample library before the v1.5 update, so it should not surprise you that I am giving DMD 1.5 full marks.
The new content increases the library’s versatility by including more mainstream sounds (Hi-Fi 909 & Miami) as well the less conventional glitchy sounds from the modular synths. The quality is of the same high standard as the original release, but now even in 24bit/96kHz.
Comprising more than twice the amount of sounds of the original, Driven Machine Drums is quite the “no brainer” deal, superb value for money.
Note that only less than 250 of the 997 Driven Machine Drums copies available to purchase remain, so check it out and take the DMD 1.5 library for a spin with the 144 free samples included in the demo pack available from the Tonebuilder website.
Analog Processing: Thermionic Culture Vulture, Anamod ATS-1 w/ all cards, Neve 1073 Preamp, Atlas Pro Juggernaut Twin, A-Design EM-Gold, Source Plus Tube Amp w/ 1957 NOS French Mazda Tubes, Empirical Labs Distressor, Moog MF101, Mutronics Mutator, Dynacord VRS-23, Avedis E-27, TK-BC1, Valley People Dynamite, Schippman Ebbe und Flut.
Driven Machine Drums 1.5 is available to purchase at 25% off until 1 January, 2011.
24 Bit Wav/Aif, Guru Kits: $57 USD.
24 Bit Kontakt, EXS-24, Wav/Aif, Guru Kits: $65 USD.
ToneBuilder has released version 1.5 of Driven Machine Drums, adding sounds from two modular systems and 6 new drum machines to the electronic drum sample library.
This new expansion contains 2,280+ new sounds, for a total collection of 4,114 samples, organized intelligently to maximize creativity.
The new content is recorded at 24/96 resolution and includes the DMD15 expansion, Hi-Fi 909, and Hi-Fi Miami.
Driven Machine Drums now includes sounds from 2 modular synths + 6 new drum machines.
Driven Machine Drums v1.5 features
Includes DMD 1.5 (original Driven Machine Drums content + update), Hi-Fi 909 (Roland TR-909), and Hi-Fi Miami (Acidlab Miami).
Gear used to create the new samples includes Euro Modular (Cwejman, Wiard, MOTM, MakeNoise+), Serge Modular, Acidlabs Miami, Roland TR-909, Jomox MBrane 11, Drumfire DF500, Simmons SDS-1000, MFB-503, Elektron Monomachine, Dynacord VRS-23, Avedis E-27, TK-BC1, Valley People Dynamite, Empirical Labs Distressor, CDSoundMaster Source + w/ 1959 Valvo Tubes, Anamod ATS-1, Thermionic Culture Vulture, Atlas Pro Juggernaut Twin, Schippman Ebbe und Flut.
Available in 24-Bit Wav, 24-Bit Aif, Kontakt (3.0+), EXS-24, 16-Bit Dithered Wav (for classic hardware samplers).
Driven Machine Drums is available to purchase for $77 USD. A “Deluxe” version is available for Kontakt and EXS24 for $87 USD.