Results for Empirical Labs

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Review: ToneBuilder Driven Machine Drums

ToneBuilder Driven Machine Drums

When I first visited the Driven Machine Drums website I thought I had found another one of those silly marketing schemes. You know those sites that promise loads of “fresh” content for cheap, meaning to say they’ll send you a disc with stuff that is old and readily available to download from the internet, free of cost…

Just reading the first few paragraphs on the website immediately triggered my scam alert.

Have you purchased hundreds; even thousands of drum sounds… only finding a handful of gems among the clutter? Are you often irritated when sifting through countless sounds, devastating your creative flow? Do you fight with samples to make them tight, slamming, and club ready… only later to be disappointed in the results? Have you fantasized about the multi-million dollar deal or winning the lottery so you can stack your studio with all the esoteric highend gear? Does your music command you have the latest kit, to gain the advantage and stand apart from the masses?

If you answered “YES!” to any of these questions, then you are in the right place and the right time.

The website even mentions a 30-day no questions asked refund, and then there’s the odd “only 997 copies will ever be available” thing.

The whole thing looked pretty dodgy to me, but my gut feeling was wrong.

The guy behind ToneBuilder and Driven Machine Drums is Nathaniel Shreve, an electronic musician who is passionate about his work. He wanted to make sure to share some interesting things about how the library came to be, and why he feels Driven Machine Drums is different from other drum sample libraries.

Now whether or not you enjoy Nathaniel’s style of writing, the bottom line is: this product is legit and well worth checking out.

What do you get?

Driven Machine Drums includes samples from a variety of synthesis sources:

  • Elektron Machine Drum
  • Symbolic Sound Kyma Capybara
  • Eventide H8000FW
  • Korg ER-1
  • E-mu SP-1200
  • Oberheim DMX
  • Yamaha DX200
  • Roland TR909, TR808, TR707, TR606
  • Jomox MBase 11
  • Vermona DRM-1 MKIII

While in itself that’s a nice list of gear, the special thing about Driven Machine Drums is the way each of the drum sounds was processed with analog coloration hardware. Tubes, tape emulation, transformers and envelope shapers were used to add a distinct “drive” to the samples.

Driven Machine Drums analog processing gear
Analog processing gear used to process the sounds includes the Thermionic Culture Vulture, Anamod ATS-1, Empirical Labs Distressor, Mutronics Mutator, and more.

Nathaniel writes:

See, what makes the MPC3000s and SP1200s so special was the quality of DRIVE added on the input. That drive adds natural compression, limiting, and HARMONIC DISTORTION, making the drums appear louder, warmer, and punchier.

Have you ever heard an acoustic guitar recording vs. a driven guitar recording? Play them at the exact same level and the DRIVEN guitar will appear to be louder.

This is the exact thing that was happening with my drums. They became louder, sharper, and driving without resorting to obscene amounts of limiting.

The Driven Machines Drums samples are categorized in various folders (claps, kicks, snares, etc.) and include a total of 1,684 samples:

  • 362 Kicks
  • 244 Snares
  • 108 Claps
  • 218 Cymbals and Hats
  • 135 Toms
  • 190 Hand Percussion Hits
  • 158 Sticks, Rims, Metals, and Bells
  • 272 Electronic Noises including Bass Boosters

Each folder has a number of subfolders with a descriptive title (e.g. DMD Ana Soft BNS, DMD Hats Fltrd 909) to help you find the type of sound you need.

The samples are available in 24bit WAV and AIFF formats. MPC users will be happy to hear the library also includes 16bit dithered WAV and there are 26 kits for FXpansion GURU.

A Deluxe version also includes Kontakt and EXS24 patches.

Check some of the sounds from the Driven Machine Drums library below.

So what do I think?

Product: Driven Machine Drums by ToneBuilder
Format: 24bit WAV/AIFF, GURU/Kontakt/EXS24
Price: $77 USD ($87 USD for the Deluxe version)

ToneBuilder is taking drum machine sampling to the next level. The sounds of Driven Machine Drums were designed and edited individually using a combination of analog processing gear. This way Nathaniel managed to get an amazing warm and punchy sound, full of that analog character many of us are looking for.

I didn’t find the Kontakt patches very useful as they simply map a (sub)folder of sounds across the keyboard. Handy for auditioning sounds but I think mapping the samples to drum kits would have been more valuable.

Driven Machine Drums is probably just another collection of electronic drum hits to those who think every 808 snare sounds like that one sample they already downloaded from the internet a few years ago. However, if you are serious about your drum hits Driven Machine Drums is certainly worth checking out, especially since there will only be a limited amount of copies sold.

In short, Driven Machine Drums is a great collection of electronic drum hits. High quality sounds with plenty of character to separate it from the competition.

ToneBuilder has a generous 100+ sample pack available to download on the Driven Machine Drums website, and you can get an additional pack of 34 free sounds here.

More information: Driven Machine Drums

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Mini-review: Wave Alchemy Drum Machines 01

Wave Alchemy Drum Machines 01

Didn’t I just say in another review that there are plenty of drum machine sample libraries already? So what does Wave Alchemy’s Drum Machines 01 have to offer that you haven’t seen before?

Looking at the drum machines they sampled you might think the answer is “not that much”. The library includes samples from three previously released sample packs featuring the following machines: Vermona DRM mkII, Jomox AiRBase99, Jomox MBase 11 and Jomox XBase 999.

There is a good chance you already have some samples of a few of those machines, but that doesn’t mean Drum Machines 01 doesn’t bring anything new. Since the samples were taken from analog drum machines you will still get some “fresh” content every time someone comes around with a new pack of the same old drum machines.

Wave Alchemy used some outboard gear for this sample library:

All samples have been beautifully recorded through an API 512c preamp with a small selection of the sounds being sonically enhanced through the use of an Empirical Labs Distressor and highend SSL equalizers.

The kit list in the manual mentions the use of the API 512c preamp, Empirical Labs Distressor EL8, SSL E Series EQ and Compressor, and SPL Transient Designer.

Vermona DRM mkII and JoMoX XBase 999
The Vermona DRM mkII and Jomox XBase 999, two of the drum machines sampled.

Drum Machines 01 features

  • 1,400 24-bit 100% royalty free analogue drum hits
  • 466 XBase 999 drum samples
  • 453 Vermona DRM mkII drum samples
  • 237 AiRBase99 drum samples
  • 245 MBase 11 kick drums

Check out some of the sounds from Drum Machines 01 in the demo mp3 below.

So what do I think?

Product: Drum Machines 01 by Wave Alchemy
Format: 24bit (mostly mono) wav files
Price: £22 GBP
(individual micro packs are available for £8.99 GBP each)

Wave Alchemy clearly takes sampling seriously. They did a smashing job sampling these drum machines to a high quality standard. The variety of drum sounds available is good, but note that over half of the 1,400 sounds are kick drums sounds. The hits are generally really tight and punchy sounding and even though I already have a boatload of electronic drum samples, I still found a lot of new sounds in this library.

In short, a high quality pack of electronic drum sounds. If you don’t have any sounds from these drum machines yet, be sure to check out Drum Machines 01. Wave Alchemy has a free collection of samples from this library available to download (you need to register an account, which is also free).

More information: Wave Alchemy / Drum Machines 01

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ToneBuilder releases Driven Machine Drums

ToneBuilder Driven Machine Drums

ToneBuilder has announced the release of Driven Machine Drums, an electronic drums sample library, created from an unique blend of 14 drum machines/synthesizers and 9 analog coloration devices.

DRIVEN MACHINE DRUMS highlights the natural sounding punch, depth, and warmth added by a collection of tubes, transformers, and hardware tape emulation.

Driven Machine Drums features

  • 1,684 sounds in 24bit resolution, captured directly from the source using professional-quality cables and A/D converters.
  • Each individual sound has been carefully edited by hand for tight attacks and natural decays.
  • Synthesis sources: Elektron Machine Drum, Symbolic Sound Kyma Capybara, Eventide H8000FW, Korg ER-1, E-mu SP-1200, Oberheim DMX, Emu Mo Phatt, Yamaha DX200, Roland TR909, TR808, TR707, TR606, Vermona DRM-1 MKIII, and Jomox MBase 11.
  • Analog processing: Thermionic Culture Vulture, Anamod ATS-1, Neve 1073 Preamp, Atlas Pro Juggernaut Twin, A-Design EM-Gold, Source + Plus Tube Amp, Empirical Labs Distressor, Moog MF101, and Mutronics Mutator.

Driven Machine Drums is available in two packages:

  • Driven Machine Drums (26 Guru Kits, 24bit Wav + 24bit Aif) $77 USD.
  • Driven Machine Drums Deluxe (Kontakt, EXS-24, Guru, 24bit Wav/Aif) $87 USD.

A demo pack featuring 100+ free sounds is available to download from the website.

More information: Driven Machine Drums

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Impact Soundworks releases Groove Bias: Vintage Drum Sounds

Impact Soundworks has released Groove Bias: Vintage Drum Sounds, a new drum sample library featuring vintage acoustic drum kits recorded in an authentic 60’s and 70’s style with all-analog gear.

“The drum sounds of the 60s and 70s have been captivating producers and engineers such as
me for decades. Countless tracks have featured samples taken from funk records, but no one
has made an effort to create a new collection of old-school sounds with that vintage tone,” said
Andrew Aversa, lead developer of the product.

Impact Soundworks Groove Bias: Vintage Drum Sounds

Groove Bias: Vintage Drum Sounds features

  • Nearly 4 gigabytes and 3,500 samples of unlocked, 24/96 audio content.
  • Three deeply sampled, custom kits as well as a set of percussive instruments: five snares, four kicks, nine toms, three hats (closed, loose, open, pedal), two rides, two crashes, two splashes, two rims, handclaps, tambourine, shaker, agogo, bongos, woodblocks, cowbell and triangle.
  • Recorded at three studios across the United States using a wide range of microphones, from high-end Neumann mics to trashy RCA and GE mics nearly half a century old.
  • All-analog outboard chain featured such gems as an authentic 70s Neve broadcast console, a UA-1176 and 2-610S, Tube-Tech, ADL and Empirical Labs compressors and even giant Otari and TASCAM tape machines.
  • Streamlined mixing, offering one or two tracks per kit component – close micing, and overhead or room micing.
  • Formats: Kontakt (version 2+), EXS-24, Battery and Reason NN-XT (at 16/44.1), with more formats on the way.
  • All formats of Groove Bias are unlocked for your editing and re-mapping pleasure, and with 5-10 round robins and 5-16 velocities per switchable kit component.

Groove Bias: Vintage Drum Sounds is available for download for $99 USD for the Kontakt/HALion/EXS24 version, and $89 USD for the Reason version.

Visit Impact Soundworks for more information and some audio and video demos.

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