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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


ToneBuilder releases Driven Machine Drums Strikes Back sample library

ToneBuilder has released Driven Machine Drums Strikes Back, a drum and percussion sample library.

ToneBuilder Driven Machine Drums Strikes Back

“What if a time-capsule was discovered that contained never before heard drum machines… With the classic character of the 909, 808, 707, SP1200, Drumulator, and Linns…”

“What if Don Buchla created a drum machine…”

“What if that time-capsule also contained a drum machine from the future…”

These are the questions I had in mind, a game I played, during the creation of Driven Machine Drums Strikes Back. But the real questions are what would you do today with these sounds, what genres could you invent, who’s mind could you blow?

A few people enjoyed Driven Machine Drum and wrote in asking me to continue working on sound design, so I decided to sell a large portion of my kit and double down on some of the best analog and digital synthesis technology available today… if not the best.

DMD Strikes Back features

  • 2072 Premium Designer Drum Samples.
  • 24-Bit/96kHz WAV, 24-Bit/96kHz AIF.
  • Intelligently organized and labeled for optimal creative work-flow.
  • 16-Bit/44.1kHz WAV, featuring premium dithering/SRC and 8 character names for classic samplers such as the MPC and Akai series.
  • 22 FXPansion Geist and Guru Kits.
  • Deluxe Edition: Logic EXS-24 programs (also compatible with Digidesign’s Structure).
  • Deluxe Edition: Native Intruments Kontakt programs.

Driven Machine Drums Strikes Back is available to purchase for the introductory price of $69 USD (Standard Edition) $77 USD (Deluxe Edition) until October 31, 2011.

More information: Driven Machine Drums


Broombeck Tik Tik Tak remix competition, win Geist and more + DMD 1.5 for Geist/Guru

FXpansion Broombeck

FXpansion has announced the Tik Tik Tak Boom remix competition by Broombeck.

Remix Tik Tik Tak Boom, a tech house track by Broombeck, for a chance to win a copy of Geist, an Akai MPK Mini, a Novation Launchpad or a 1 year soundcloud Pro Account!

For full details and rules on the competition click here.

Driven Machine Drums

FXpansion has also announced Driven Machine Drums 1.5 for Geist & GURU.

Driven Machine Drums are offering a 25% discount on their new sound library Driven Machine Drums 1.5 for Geist and GURU. Offer ends February 28 2011.

Driven Machine Drums features

  • 4,100+ Electronic Drum Sounds
  • 41 Kits
  • 24-Bit Wav/Aif
  • “10/10″ – Rekkerd, Waveformless

More information: Driven Machine Drums 1.5


Tonebuilder Driven Machine Drums, now includes Geist kits + 25% off

Tonebuilder Driven Machine Drums

Tonebuilder has announced an update to Driven Machine Drums, a collection of drum machine and modular percussion samples.

A library designed to keep you in the creative flow all the time, recorded directly from the source through some of the best equipment in the world.

Driven Machine Drums features

  • Added 41 kits for Geist, the next-generation sampling instrument by FXpansion.
  • Digidesign Structure support included for the complete collection within the Deluxe version.

Driven Machine Drums is available to purchase at 25% off through February, priced at $57 USD / $65 USD (Deluxe version).

More information: Driven Machine Drums


Review: Driven Machine Drums v1.5, drum machine sample pack expanded

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.

Tonebuilder Driven Machine Drums 1.5 gear
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.
  • Snares – Alt Anlg (26), Soft Anlg (21), Dirty (29), Tight (24).
  • Toms – Electro Clean (32), Electro Dirty (18), Electro Organic (41), Electro Polite (41).
  • 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.

More information: Driven Machine Drums


Tonebuilder announces 25% off Driven Machine Drums 1.5 sample library

Tonebuilder Driven Machine Drums

Tonebuilder has announced an end of the year sale for its Driven Machine Drums 1.5 sample library.

A library designed to keep you in the creative flow all the time, recorded directly from the source through some of the best equipment in the world.

Driven Machine Drums 1.5

  • 4,114 Total Samples, 24 Bit.
  • Synthesis Sources: Euro Modular (Cwejman, Wiard, MOTM, MakeNoise+), Serge Modular, 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, Jomox MBase 11, Acidlabs Miami, Jomox MBrane 11, Drumfire DF500, Simmons SDS-1000, MFB-503, Elektron Monomachine.
  • 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.

More information: Driven Machine Drums


ToneBuilder Driven Machine Drums 1.5, electronic drum sample library gets major update

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.

ToneBuilder Driven Machine Drums
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.

More information: Driven Machine Drums