Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review: Sample Magic Deep Tech-House

Product: Deep Tech-House
Format: DVD or Digital Download, Sounds in Apple Loops, REX, Stylus RMX, plus Reason NNXT, Logic EXS-24, Kontakt 2, and Halion
Genre: Techno, Minimal, House
Distributed by:
Sample Magic
Price: £59.95 (DVD) or £49.95 (Download)
Demo: Audio demos on product page.

Today we'll be having a look at the latest offering from British sample maestros Sample Magic, the creatively titled Deep Tech-House. As the name suggests, this library is aimed at artists skirting the edges of minimal, deep house, and tech house, although the soulful feel to many of the loops wouldn't be alien to Detroit techno or traditional house either. The library is available in both download and physical (DVD) formats, which is a nice bonus for those who want the choice. With that out of the way, let's dig in and see what we've got!

The bulk of the collection is made up of loops - 830, to be precise - all in 24-bits and with the original tempos between 125-127 BPM. The loops are all divided up into folders to make it easier to find exactly what you're after.

Things start off with a hefty collection of bass loops. These are all helpfully tagged with descriptive names and musical keys. Here, you'll find everything from classic house squarewave synth bass to hyper-edited bass guitar parts, from dirty subs to hard FM digital goodness. The basslines themselves tend to be heavily repetitive with some standing out more than others, but there is enough choice here that it's unlikely the aspiring house producer isn't going to find something to like.

Next up are the so called 'combi loops'. These are suites of 3 related loops apiece with minimal drums, a bass, and a chord line. Each of the loops has varying amounts of the individual parts with the idea being that you could build a more or less complete track by arranging them and adding your own touches. I'm not really a fan of the whole "here's a complete song" end of sample libraries, but these could definitely come in handy for soundtrack or commercial artists on a deadline, or complete noobs who are still getting a feel for constructing their own tracks.

As you might expect, the largest portion of the loops is dedicated to drum loops. Here you'll find over 200 four-on-the-floor loops complete with lots of soul and swing. There's a pretty even split between purely synthetic-sounding and more organic-sounding loops with touches of manipulated percussion and vocal snippets adding to the funk. Overall, I'd say the drums veered mostly into the deep house/techno realm than the more tech-oriented end, but the beats tend to be minimal enough that you can add your own bits and pieces to lead it into whatever genre you so choose.

Conversely, the smallest folder is next with the effects loops category. On offer are about a dozen or so glitchy, highly-effected rhythmic loops that will fit perfectly in the intro or breakdowns of tracks as well as adding the odd bit of rhythmic spice to the main drum parts.

The music loops folder is stuffed full of sampled chord riffs, filtered sounds, synth blips, and more, usually with multiple elements per loop. Most of the loops come in several variations of differing complexity. It's here that the more tech-oriented sound comes to the forefront. Lots of filtering, reverse edits, and bouncy synthetic echoes. There's a ton of material here and it's all very well constructed and produced.

The synth loops category is a bit more stripped down than the music or combi loops, often consisting of only a single chord progression or lead line, although occasional accents from other sounds pop up when appropriate. Lots of very soulful stuff here... jazzy chords, burbling Detroit synths, etc.

The final category of loops consists of 'top loops'. As you might expect, these are mainly hihat, percussion, and light snare/clap lines that are designed to add a little instant attitude and groove to your existing drum parts. Very useful!

In addition to all the loops, there are 8 sampler instruments offering up a great range of kicks, snares, hats, percussion, chords, and hits for constructing your own grooves. As in the rest of the collection, the production quality is very good and the sounds are extremely useful.

One final thing to mention here that is a nice extra touch, but the DVD version includes a 'users guide'. This is a small thing, but it includes installation tips, a list of the equipment used, as well as some production tips aimed specifically at the deep house genre. An excellent little bonus. Overall, Sample Magic has done a top notch job with this collection. Great production, generous variety, both loops and individual sounds, a nifty little user's guide... you'll find it all here. A great source of inspiration for househeads everywhere! [9/10]

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