Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: No Dough Music NDS-1 House Music Sample Library

NDS-1 House Music Sample Library
Format: Downloadable 24-bit WAVs and instruments for Kontakt, EXS-24, Ableton Live, and Reason NNXT, Loops also in REX2 format
Genre: House, Techno, Dance
Developers site:
Price: £39.99
Demo: Audio demos and free samples on product page.

NDS-1, is the latest release from record label / sample developers No Dough Music. You may recall my review of their previous release Deconstructed 2 was a bit of a mixed bag, citing inconsistent quality and questionable organization as noticeable problems. Does the new collection fix those problems? Read on...

This collection consists of several thousand one shot drum and percussion sounds recorded to two different tape machines in addition to a classic MPC drum machine. In addition, a nice selection of (mainly Roland) classic synth multisamples are included, not to mention a generous selection of bassline and synth loops.

Right off the bat, I could tell No Dough had upped their game just by listening to some of the new sounds. Gone were the occasionally anemic-sounding drums. all replaced by consistently professional-sounding, punchy percussion with lots of character. The drum samples are all organized sensibly, making it much easier to find what you're looking for quickly. My one complaint here had to do with some of the kicks that had been recorded to tape. As expected, these carry a little bit of noise in them, which is cool. What's not so cool is that the noise often abruptly cuts off in a distracting way at the end of the sample. I think having the noise fade out would be a lot more musical, personally, and in fact, the other types of drums appear to be edited more closely this way, so perhaps this was just an oversight on No Dough's part? Not a deal-breaker by any means, though.

The synth sounds are similarly great, with most of them having a distinct vintage Roland sound to them. Very warm and well sampled. I encountered another problem here, though, in that none of the samples appeared to be looped (I was using the EXS-24 version). Some of the samples clearly weren't intended to be, but others, such as strings, obviously are meant to be looped and instead end with a distracting click. I have to imagine this may have been a problem in making the sampler instruments available in different formats (this seems to be alarmingly common with smaller sample developers). If done in an automated way, sometimes all the parameters don't translate correctly. I'm assuming that's what happened here. It doesn't render any of the instruments unusable, but it is something No Dough should try to correct.

Finally, we have the bassline and synthline loops. These are mostly quite good with just the right amount of processing to give them a professional feel, but not so much that you can't process them further if need be. The basslines in particular had a lot of extra character in terms of light noise, bitcrushing, and overdrive. The sound programming is all very tastefully done and genre-appropriate too.

Despite the minor problems listed, this really is a noticeable step up for No Dough and bodes well for their future libraries. They're clearly more focused with this collection, and as far as I'm concerned, you can never have too many tape-processed drum sounds. Aspiring house producers looking to feed their sampler would do well to check this out. [8/10]

1 comment:

John said...

Bought this the other week, really good stuff...such a phat vibe in the drums.