Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: No Dough Music NDS-3 Classic FM Sample Pack

Product: NDS-3 Classic FM Sample Pack
Developer: No Dough Music
Format: 24-bit WAVs mapped in Kontakt, EXS-24, Halion, NNXT, and Ableton instruments.
Demos: On the product page.
Price: £29.99

No Dough Music is a record label who have made the "outside the box" move of also selling samples for musicians. Although they've only released a handful of sound sets, each one has been a noticeable improvement on the one that preceded it. Their latest offering is NDS-3 Classic FM, a sample collection consisting of multisampled sounds sourced from classic hardware synths like the TX-81Z amd DX-7.

This is also, coincidentally, No Dough's most ambitious sound collection, consisting of dozens and dozens of instruments and over 4 GB of sample material. All instruments are multi-sampled, and a great many are sampled at different velocity levels so the samples here capture the dynamic aspect of FM synthesis in a way that may sample collections fail to do.

NDS-3 offers an amazing bang for the buck given the sheer volume of instruments that are here (often provided in multiple variations). You'll find a good selection of the types of sounds FM is known for... plonks, plucks, dinks, donks, biting basses, crispy clavs, hollow bells, brass/reeds, metallic leads, etc. By themselves, the sounds might seem quaint or cheesy to those not already enamored with FM synthesis, but with some compression, and a smattering of reverb, delay, or chorus, it's easy to bring the sounds into a more contemporary context. Suffice it to say, if you're looking for a good "greatest hits" type selection of FM sounds, this is a good place to start. (And yes, it not only includes "Lately Bass", it includes an immaculately sampled version of it that I would consider to be the definitive sampled version of that famous sound.)

The sound quality of the samples themselves is very good and most everything is seamlessly looped and multi-sample skillfully so these don't sound so much like sampled instruments. Perhaps most impressive is that the samples are quite clean, which, given the Yamaha instruments reputation for noisy outputs, is an achievement in itself. FM synthesis is not for everyone and if you're not a fan of the technique, this set is not going to change your mind. But if you appreciate FM's sonic qualities, especially to add bite to analog type sounds, this is a great place to start. [9/10]

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