Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review: Driven Machine Drums 1.5 Update

Library:Driven Machine Drums
Format: Kontakt, EXS-24, GURU, WAV, AIF
Genre: Any genre that needs electronic drum sounds with character
Distributed by: Tonebuilder
Price: Upgrade for owners of version 1 - $27, Driven Machine Drums 1.5 - $77, Driven Machine Drums Deluxe - $87. Free 30 day trial.
Demo: On product page

A little over a year ago, I reviewed the first version of Tonebuilder's Driven Machine Drums (read the review here). If you haven't heard of it, Driven Machine Drums is a library of drum machine and synthetic percussion sounds processed with various bits of high-end pre-amps, compressors, and distortion units resulting in uncommonly punchy and present sounds that are ready to drop in a mix as-is with little, if any, need for further processing.

Rather than wait until the full version 2 was ready, soundmeister Nathaniel Shreve decided to release a version 1.5 with a generous upgrade path in hopes of being able to invest any of the proceeds towards more gear to make tasty drum sounds with. Shreve says this expansion pack is intended to fill in some of the gaps in the original library, rather than being a standalone library of its own, but to be honest, I think he's being a bit modest, as the new material is more than capable of standing on its own merits. Most of the over 2,200 new sounds were created with modular gear components, so the emphasis here is mainly on synthetic drum sounds.

The expansion is divided into the following categories: Hand Percussion, Hats and Cymbals, Kicks, Other Percussion, Snares, Toms, and Unknown Electronic. Helpfully, most of these categories are further organized by descriptors like "dirty", "soft". "tight", etc. This is very handy when you're looking for a particular type of sound to fit your mix. Additionally, the expansion contains "Hi-fi 909" (the classic Roland beatbox), and "Hi-fi Miami" (featuring Acid Labs Miami 808 clone).

As with its predecessor, the expansion sounds fantastic. There's tons of punch and presence in every sound, lots of low end weight when appropriate, and clear, defined highs when needed. Most users won't ever need to reach for their own processing unless they really want to, making this a great library for budding musicians whose production chops might not have caught up to their ambitions yet. Also worth noting is that the new sounds are recorded at 24 bits at 96k, unlike the previous library which was at 44.1k. Happily, most samplers will handle these files without a hitch, so no conversion is necessary for those of us who generally work at lower sample rates.

There's no denying it, Tonebuilder has another winner on their hands. If you're in the market for some amazing-sounding individual drum sounds to spice up your productions, this is a damn good place to start. [10/10]

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