Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review: Wave Alchemy Drum Machines 01

Library: Drum Machines 01
Downloadable WAVs
Any genre that need electronic drum sounds
Distributed by:
Wave Alchemy
On product page

When I was a kid, there was an old house up the street where two elderly eccentric brothers lived together. These guys were "hoarders" - they never threw anything away and their house was filled floor to ceiling with boxes, old newspapers, trash, and assorted other stuff most of us would have thrown away. Their hoarding problem was so bad that they eventually had to move out onto the porch of their house. Well... I'm kind of that way with drum samples. I already have more drum samples on my hard drive than any mere mortal could possibly use in a lifetime, and yet, I constantly find myself looking for more. So, along comes sample developers Wave Alchemy with a new bundle of electronic drums sounds to feed my addiction. I believe that makes them enablers. And when the samples are as good as these, that's okay with me.

Drum Machines 01 is actually a repackaging of 3 "micropacks" of electronic drum sounds previously released by Wave Alchemy called Airbase Drums, Deep Drums, and Electric Drums. Collectively, the sounds in these collections come from some of the famous boutique drum machines from Jomox such as the Airbase 99, Xbase 999, and the Mbase 11, as well as 1 machine from Vermona (the DRM Mk-II). Wave Alchemy says these sounds were all recorded through an API 512c pre-amp and were further processed with an Empirical Labs Distressor and various SSL equalizers.

There are 1,400 samples here with the following breakdown:

· 128 AIRBase99 kick drums
· 245 MBase11 kick drums
· 41 AIRBase99 clap & snare drum samples
· 52 AIRBase99 hi­hats & toms
· 16 AIRBase99 percussion & crash cymbal samples
· 150 Vermona DRM MK11 kick drums & subs
· 96 Vermona DRM MK11 snare drum & luxury clap samples
· 65 Vermona DRM MK11 hi­hats & toms
· 122 Vermona DRM MK11 percussion samples
· 20 Vermona DRM MK11 sound effects
· 215 XBase999 kick drums
· 115 XBase999 clap & snare drum samples
· 40 XBase999 hi­hats
· 57 XBase999 toms
· 39 XBase999 percussion & crash cymbal samples

So yeah... there are a few sounds here and in case you missed it, they're only asking £22 for the whole shebang! But how do they sound? In keeping with Wave Alchemy's previous releases, they sound excellent. The kicks have punch, weight, and presence, the snares have lots of snap, and the cymbals all have a pleasant sizzle. There is a good balance here between variety of sounds and offering small variations thereof. Some people may wish there were simply a lot of sounds that are totally different from one another, but the addition of the subtle variations really is the next best thing to actually owning the drum machines yourself and gives you a ton of flexibility.

I'm not going to go through and describe each and every sound for you since that would make for a pretty boring read, but I can go into the general character of the machines sampled. The Airbase 99 is probably the nicest sounding of the lot, producing sounds somewhere between a Roland TR-909 and 808. There are some more synthy sounding timbres here as well, but for the most part, if you are a fan of the TR sound, you're know what to expect. The Mbase 11 is Jomox's dedicated kick drum synth and it is an absolute monster. The usual 909 and 808 kicks are present here, some clean, some overdriven and nasty. Additionally, you'll find all manner of electronic kicks from tight goa kicks to sustaining subs that'll rattle your teeth. The Xbase 999 is similar in concept to the Airbase 99, but I found it to have a decidedly more synthetic sound. Finally, the Vermona DRM Mk-II is the most synthetic-sounding of all, sounding more like the types of drum and percussion sounds you'd get from an analog monosynth or a vintage modular.

What's not here? Well, if you're after clickier kicks or more digital sounding drums, this isn't for you. The sounds here are as analog as it gets and if that is your sort of thing, this collection is going to keep you happy for a very long time. My only complaint is that there are no pre-mapped sample instruments (EXS, Kontakt, Reason, etc.), so you will have to map the sounds out yourself. But at this price, that seems an awfully petty thing to complain about. Indeed, if you make dance music, you'd be a fool to pass this collection up. (10/10)


ronnie said...

Looking forward to checking this one out as well. Wave Alchemy seems to deliver top quality stuff.

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