Friday, May 29, 2009

Review: Dusted William's "Dope Ass Loops" and "The Dirty Dose"

Library: Dope Ass Loops & The Dirty Dose
Creator: Dusted William Sounds
Format: WAV, RX2, SoundFont, SFZ, MIDI files, Guru Kits, Battery Kits
Genre: Dope Ass Loops -Breaks, Big beat, Hip-hop, Trip-hop, Electronica, The Dirty Dose - Chiptunes, IDM, Electronica, Electrohouse
Price: Dope Ass Loops - $29.99 The Dirty Dose - $21.99
Demo: Audio demos on the product pages Small, downloadable 'snack packs' for evaluation available.

In recent years, something very cool has been happening in the world of sample libraries. Once restricted to a handful of industry heavyweights, the advent of easy online commerce and internet sales has opened the sample library market to smaller developers whose work we probably would never have been able to hear 5 years ago. Not only do most of these developers pedal their wares for significantly less than the big boys, but the libraries are generally a lot more interesting and specialized as well. Today, I'll be looking at two offerings from one of these new breed of sample developers, Dusted William Sounds.


Dope Ass Loops

First up is a collection of drum loops entitled "Dope Ass Loops". Before we get into this, I think we need to be clear not only about what this collection is, but what it is not. If you're looking for heavily-produced, lengthy loops to drop into an arrangement and forget it, then this might not be the collection for you. What Dusted William has done here is to essentially give you a blank slate. They've recorded an actual drummer playing a variety of beats on a nice sounding kit with little more than some studio ambience to sweeten the sound. Where you take the sounds from here is up to you. If you want to smash them with compression, knock yourself out! Want to bit-crush it to yummy 12-bit crunchiness? Go for it! Or maybe you just need some nice sounding acoustic drum beats as-is. It's entirely up to you. Dusted William has provided the starting point by providing some great sounding drum beats with minimal processing so you have an incredibly amount of flexibility regarding how you can process them. This is a refreshing approach, but it might not be for you if you're looking for something to just drag and drop into a track without any further work. For those of us who like to put our own stamp on sounds, however, it's fantastic!

The library consists of around 200 loops, all played by the same drummer, on the same kit. Tempos range all the way from 61 BPM up to 138 BPM. Via the RX2 files, most of the loops can work beautifully outside their original range, but some of the loops with heavy ride or crash cymbal use can get a bit choppy-sounding if you stray too far from the home tempo. The RX2 files are all well put together and accurate. If I can make an aside about customer service here, I actually had a problem with the RX2 files when I first got the package to review. The problem ended up being not with the RX2 files, but with one of my computer programs dropping the SYNC source on my soundcard, which rendered playback impossible. I emailed Derik at Dusted William about the problem and both he and a staff member tried to recreate my problem and pinpoint the cause. Now obviously, they couldn't reproduce it because the problem was unique to my system, but they showed a lot of concern for getting me up and running, and were very helpful. This is another advantage a lot of the smaller sample developers have - fast, friendly customer service.


On to the beats themselves! Most of what is here fits into the funkier side of rock and its related styles. As a reference point, with the right processing, I could see these beats finding lots of use in music in the style of Fatboy Slim or even the Beastie Boys' seminal "Paul's Boutique" album. Crushed a bit, they'd also work well for breaks. Really, any genre that needs sound acoustic drums with a human feel will benefit from what's here. Most of the loops are offered in multiple variations (often with fills), so building a full arrangement with lots of variation is a breeze.


I really can't find much to complain about with this collection. One nit-picky bit is that the WAV and RX2 files are in the same folders (folders are divided by BPM), which makes it a bit of a pain to go through if you just need one of the formats, but like I said, this is nit-picky. It might be too homogenous for some people, but I think those people are missing the point of how this library is intended to be used. Look at it as getting some great grooves that are just waiting for you to put your own personal production touches on them and you'll have the right idea. (9/10)


The Dirty Dose

Dusted William's website sums up what this collection is about pretty well, so I'll just quote them: "The Dirty Dose is a sample set made up of over 500 one shot hits from an Atari 2600, a Commodore 64, and a vintage analog Tama Techstar electronic drum set, all recorded onto 2 inch master tape at ekedek studios. Then finely cut up and sampled, ready for you to drop in your tracks and start living again."

I love sample libraries like this. Sure, 808's and 909's are undeniable classics, but honestly, who doesn't already have a million samples of these already? Wouldn't you rather have something rarer... something more unique... something you might only find in a dusty corner at a yard sale? If you answered 'yes', then you would do well to check out this library.


In addition to the 521 24-bit wav files that form the backbone of this collection, 100 MIDI files are included for instant gratification, and pre-made kits are provided in Guru, Battery, Live Drum Racks, and SFZ formats. The sounds are all trimmed, edited, and normalized perfectly and are ready to go.


The sounds themselves are fantastic. All manner of bleepy, lofi, vintage computer and drum machine type sounds are here. If you're looking for 'normal' drums, you should probably look elsewhere. These ain't your grandaddy's drum sounds. But if you want something truly unique or just want some of the vibe that these types of old school sounds can lend to a track, these sounds will definitely put a smile on your face. The sound quality is superb throughout, which is no mean feat given the lofi nature of some of the sources.


There's not much else I can say that will do this collection justice, so you should probably just head over to the product's web page and check out the demos yourself. This obviously isn't a collection for everyone, but upon hearing the demos, you should be able to figure out rather quickly if they'll be useful to you. Personally, I really loved this library and it has me excited to see what other sorts of audio arcana Dusted William has up their sleeves next. (10/10)

1 comment:

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