Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Wave Alchemy Syncussion Drums Sample Library

Library: Syncussion Drums
Downloadable 24-bit WAVs
Dance, Electro, Disco, Lofi
Developers Site:
Wave Alchemy
Distributed by:
On product page (A selection of free samples from the library are also available here)

There's been a bit of a trend among indie sample developers in the past couple of years of releasing libraries of sounds from rare, obscure bits of vintage gear - those pieces that just sort of fell through the cracks for whatever reason, but upon further inspection, turned out to be really cool. That's exactly what we have here with this collection of drum and percussion sounds produced by the Pearl SY1 Syncussion drum synth.

Back in the late 70's, drum manufacturers Pearl decided to enter the electronic drums market that was being stirred up by the disco movement. Although it was an unusually capable drum synth, for whatever reason, it seemed people were more interested in using it for novelty type sounds and the unit eventually faded into obscurity. But now Wave Alchemy has picked it up, dusted it off a bit (but not too much), and, in combination with extensive processing from an impressive (and expensive) gear list, they've attempt to give this old curiosity a second lease on life.

Wave Alchemy's Syncussion Drums consists of nearly 1,900 24-bit one-shot samples sourced from the Pearl SY1. There is a good selection of cleanly recorded sounds, but for me, the processed sounds - run through high-end compressors, an E-mu SP-12, a Studer tape machine, and the like - is the most interesting section. There's some really aggressively processed stuff here and there is a beautiful grit and weight to these.

The library comes with 63 pre-mapped kits that arrange the samples in a logical way for all the major software sampler formats. The types of sounds are surprisingly varied, considering the age of this machine. There are classic analog sounding drums, clangy FM cymbals, gritty, hard snares, rumbling subs, Kraftwerkian bleeps & bloops, cheesy FX - a very nice spread of different types of sounds. Some of the really hard, compressed kicks and snares are going to appeal to French House enthusiasts and electro-heads on the harder end of the spectrum. The best thing about the sound of the SY1 is that it wasn't really trying to sound like anybody else. It has a very unique sound that can take you beyond the wonderful, but overused Roland TR samples and add a more unique edge to your productions.

As always with Wave Alchemy, the sound and production quality is superb. Everything is clear, it punches where it's supposed to punch, and it sizzles where it's supposed to sizzle. I think dance producers looking for a different sound will especially appreciate this collection, but at such a cheap price, there's really no reason for anyone not to just get it. (Especially because for a limited time, your order will also get you some free processed TR-808 samples.) More obscure stuff like this, please! [10/10]


bb said...

I was shopping for one of these, but now I’d rather just get the samples since they’ve done a lot of the work already.

Jeremy Allen said...

Looks reasonably priced as well...

Tom, any thought about adding info on live performance to the music tech portion of your site.

I've definitely got a lot of use out of the existing content. Now I'm getting read for live shows and don't know where to begin! Do you use the same audio interface live as in the studio?

Having seen a ton of industrial shows at El Corazon, I'm trying to figure out why some bands sound GREAT and some just sound thin and bad....I'd prefer to sound good ;)