Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: Loopmasters Scott Rockenfield Drums

Product: Scott Rockenfield Rock Drums
Format: WAV, Acid, Rex2, Reason Refill, Ableton Live Pack, Apple Loops, Halion, Kontakt, EXS-24, SFX, Stylus RMX, NNXT, and Garageband
Genre: Anything Rock-oriented
Distributed by: Loopmasters
Price: €34.95
Demo: Audio demos on product page.

Although drum loop libraries seem to be a dime a dozen these days, it can be difficult sometimes to find a decent collection of rock-oriented loops played by an accomplished drummer. Loopmasters is here to remedy that with more than a little help from Queensryche drummer Scott Rockenfield.

This collection consists of six complete drum tracks divided up into loops consisting of intro, verse, chorus, bridge, fills, and ending. In most cases, multiple variations of each loop are available to help keep things more interesting. The loops range from 130-180 BPM. Perhaps a few slower loops would've been nice, but what's here is very good. The full loops are all fully mixed and pre-produced. Aggressive compression and various reverbs help give each track its own personality, but may make things a bit more difficult to drop smoothly into a pre-existing mix where the compression settings or reverb might not be appropriate.

Fortunately, all of the loops are also available as mutli-track loops, where you can isolate and even mix and match different parts of different loops. These loops are recorded dry, so you have a lot more flexibility producing them the way you see fit. This extends the usability of the collection by quite a bit if you're willing to do some extra work. Adding to that is a collection of "bonus loops" from the sessions giving you still more options to play with.

Man cannot exist on loops alone, however, so it's nice that the collection also contains sampled drum kits from each of the tracks. These are kind of a mixed bag. Most of the sounds are quite good, but some of the tom and snare sounds seem oddly truncated, like they've been cut off too quickly. The best of the sounds are really good, however, and using these in combination with the loops will yield you the most variation and flexibility of all. Just don't expect the standard of some of the round-robin, multi-velocity level samples many dedicated drum libraries have.

As you would expect from a drummer with a 30 year history, the playing throughout is superb. Rockenfield's drumming is precise and creative (very nice cymbal work) and the recording and production quality is quite good. How useful for you this collection is, depends on what you're after. This isn't a collection of hundreds of diverse loops. but rather sub-collections of loops intended to form a complete song. This could be really handy for demo work or any instance when you need a good sounding acoustic drum track without much time to record a real drummer. Producers who aren't afraid to dive into the dry isolated tracks will get the most of out this, as it will allow them to customize the sound of the drums more, as well as mixing up and combining different parts from different loops. [8/10]

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