Review: Tonebuilder Driven Machine Drums: Strikes Back!

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.

ToneBuilder Driven Machine Drums Strikes Back

With Driven Machine Drums: Strikes Back! Nathaniel takes the original idea one step further.

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:

  • 121 Claps
  • 163 Hats
  • 327 Kicks
  • 365 Percussion
  • 522 Snares
  • 241 Toms
  • 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).

Gear used for Driven Machine Drums Strikes Back
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:

P.S. Buy this library.
P.S.S. Seriously.

More information: Tonebuilder


Puremagnetik Food For Live – Analog Shakedown for Ableton Live

Puremagnetik Food For Live - Analog Shakedown

Loopmasters has released Food For Live – Analog Shakedown, a bundle of Ableton Live sound libraries by Puremagnetik.

Analog Shakedown will instantly transform your Ableton Live library into a comprehensive showcase of modern and classic analog synthesis. Analog Shakedown includes a richly programmed collection of sounds from the following Puremagnetik Micropaks

Food For Live – Analog Shakedown

  • Vespine – Expertly tailored programs that fully capture the characteristic charm of the legendary EDP Wasp synthesizer.
  • HarvestPak – Multisampled instruments programmed exclusively from The Harvestman synthesizer modules.
  • String Machines – A lush collection of sounds recorded directly from the classic stringers of the 1970’s.
  • Analog Drums – A collection of percussives captured from modular analog systems.
  • Analog Bass Volume 1 – Multisampled programs direct from classics such as the Minimoog, Roland TB-303, ARP 2600 and the Doepfer Modular.
  • Analog Bass Volume 2 – A complete bass sound set focused entirely on the classic KORG MS-20.

Food For Live – Analog Shakedown (requires Ableton Live 8.2+) is available to purchase for £17.95 GBP.

More information: Loopmasters / Food For Live – Analog Shakedown


Puremagnetik releases 3 Free Sound Sets and HarvestPak

Puremagnetik HarvestPak

Puremagnetik has announced the release of 3 Free Sound Sets and HarvestPak, a collection of patches programmed from The Harvestman synthesizer modules.

Puremagnetik has just added 3 free new instruments to their PakBytes library. PakBytes are quick downloads that include handpicked instruments from Puremagnetik’s Micropak catalog. They are available in Ableton Live, Logic and Kontakt formats.

New Puremagnetik PakBytes

  • HarvestPak – a collection of patches programmed from The Harvestman synthesizer modules.
  • HackShop – a glitchy collection of basses, pads and percussion elements sampled from circuit bent toys and drum machines.
  • Artifact – a library of sounds created from digital anomalies and malfunctions.

PakBytes are free to download and require only a valid email address by registering with Puremagnetik.

Puremagnetik has also released HarvestPak, The Sounds of The Harvestman.

To celebrate the fall season, Puremagnetik has just released HarvestPak – a comprehensive library built from The Harvestman synthesizer modules. HarvestPak comes loaded with 34 multisampled instruments that explore the unique character of The Harvestman analog/digital hybrid machines. HarvestPak is available in Live 8, Kontakt 3/4 and Logic 8/9 formats. It includes a unique assortment of bass, atmospheric, percussive, lead, “chaotic” and keyboard programs.

HarvestPak features

  • 34 multisampled instruments sourced directly from Harvestman synthesizer modules.
  • A library of basses, leads, keys, percussives, pads and “chaotic” patches.
  • Over 500 expertly recorded 48k 24-bit samples.
  • Completely integrated Ableton Live effects racks with advanced Macro mapping.
  • Native Kontakt effects and custom KSP GUI for easy editing.

The HarvestPak is now available to download for Puremagnetik subscribers.

More information: Puremagnetik / HarvestPak


Short links for October 20th, 2010

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Jeremy Ellis rocks MASCHINE

Native Instruments' Maschine promo video featuring Jeremy Ellis. via Matrixsynth

# How to Install ReBirth in Linux, Get a Free Rack of Beat Machines

Peter Kirn writes:

I just picked up a $280 Asus netbook and installed Ubuntu on it. ReBirth seemed a perfect addition; its compact-sized UI, lightweight processing and memory requirements, and simple functions are the ideal companion to a netbook. And, thanks to Propellerhead, it also happens to be free.

If you stick with Windows, just download and go. On Linux, though, you have to give the installer some help to see the install disc. (Why install Linux? I’m finding Ubuntu is just fine for battery life, and I wanted to take advantage of the OS’ optimizations for netbooks and its flexibility for the work I do, audio and otherwise. Windows 7 Starter, by contrast, I found slow and painfully hobbled.) You’ll need WINE, a Windows compatibility tool, in order to run this Windows app in Linux without virtualization.

Sun Boxes

# Sun Boxes

Sound artist, Craig Colorusso, returns to Western Massachusetts with his latest piece, a solar powered sound installation; SUN BOXES.

For the first three weekends of November Turners Falls River Culture will present Craig Colorusso’s latest piece Sun Boxes. At three locations, allowing the participants to observe the piece evolve as it moves through the town.

  • Nov. 5-7 Lawn of the Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Ave.
  • Nov. 12-14 Peskeomskut Park, Ave. A + 7th Sts
  • Nov. 19-21 Lawn at the beginning of the bike path, 1st St

Sun Boxes is a solar powered sound installation. It’s comprised of twenty speakers operating independently, each powered by the sun via solar panels. Inside each Sun Box is a PC board that has a recorded guitar note loaded and programmed to play continuously in a loop. These guitar notes collectively make a Bb chord. Because the loops are different in length, once the piece begins they continually overlap and the piece slowly evolves over time.

Participants are encouraged to walk amongst the speakers, and surround themselves with the piece. Certain speakers will be closer and, therefore, louder so the piece will sound different to different people in different positions throughout the array. Allowing the audience to move around the piece will create a unique experience for everyone. in addition, the participants are encouraged to wander through the speakers, which will alter the composition as they move. Given the option two people will take different paths through the array and hear the composition differently. Sun Boxes is not just one composition, but, many.

We are all reliant on the sun. It is refreshing to be reminded of this. Our lives have filled up with technology. But we still need the sun and so does Sun Boxes. Karlheinze Stockhausen once said “using Short-wave radios in pieces was like improvising with the world.” Similarly, Sun Boxes is collaborating with the planet and its relation to the sun.

Colorusso now lives on the South Shore of Boston with a wife and a cat.

Moog Filtatron

# Dan303: Moog Filtatron

Dan on Moog’s Filtatron iPhone app:

I found the Moog filtatron app fun and extremely easy to use.

The sound of the filters and VCO are brilliant, it's hard to replicate analog hardware exactly but for an app running your phone it's very close.

It's cheap too, for just £2.99 you can own your very own moog filter. Combine that with the Amplitube iRig adapter and you have yourself a portable, analog modeled filter and effects unit.

# Talking Piston Honda

Richard Devine writes:

Checking out some new Roms for the Piston Honda tonight. Making the Piston Honda sound like a broken Speak & Spell.

Sound Tamasha - Spectaculicious Music

# Sound Tamasha – Spectaculicious Music (Creative Commons Only)

In this first compilation created by Sound Tamasha that is released under a Creative Commons license, we present a small selection of the artists who collaborated in our project during the last two years. In fact, this release is the first electronic music compilation of Indo-European artist collaborations. The artists featured are: 22ROCKETS, Hamza, Sedat Altinok, B.L.O.T., Vipul Angirish, Andre Wakko, Tiago Oudman, and Ricardo Ferreira.

The best part of it is that you can use it without the usual restrictions of digital music: put it on your laptop, MP3 player, home stereo or car with no copy-protection or legal boundaries. You can share it with your friends, family, or that special girl/boy you might have a crush on. Thanks to the artists who support the distribution of music beyond commercial interests, all the great music comes for FREE!

Download the compiliation here.