Waveformless Blog Review - Synth Drums
By: Tom Shear (Waveformless Blog) - 08/05/2013
Wave Alchemy is a developer I've really enjoyed watching grow over the past few years. They've always provided great sound quality and useful sounds, but what I like about them the most is that you can hear them continually getting better. The cynic in me keeps waiting to be disappointed by something they put out, but it hasn't happened yet. When I heard their new release was to be of nothing but synthesized drum sounds, I was a bit sceptical. Don't get me wrong... I love synthesized drum sounds and all manner of Teutonic bleeps and blorps, but often times these types of sounds are quite light sounding and less appropriate for modern styles of music. If anyone could do a convincing library of this type, I was convinced it was Wave Alchemy, but proceeded with a healthy dose of scepticism.
WHAT IS IT?
Synth Drums is a drum sample library that consists of drum and percussion sounds synthesized on 10 different classic synths: Roland Jupiter-8, Roland System-100, Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, Sequential Circuits Pro One, Moog Minimoog, Korg MS-20, Arp Odyssey, Oberheim OB8, Roland Juno-106, and Roland SH-09. The sounds are then processed with a variety of high end outboard gear. 5900 samples in total consist of identical sounds in unprocessed, processed, and tape/vinyl variations. Mappings of the sounds are available in most major sample formats, although Logic EXS-24 is notably missing.
Synth Drums is exceptionally well organized into folders for Cymbals, Conga & Bongo, Claps, Bass, Imaginary Drums, Exotic, Kicks, Snares, Percussion, Toms, Swells, Strikes, and Stabs. Many of these folders are further broken down into folders describing the characteristics of the sound. For example, the Kicks folder has subfolders for Snaps Clicks and Pulses, Knocks, Fat & Punchy Kicks, Deep Kicks, Classic Kicks, Almost Real, Unusual Kicks, Ultra Heavy Kicks, and Thumping Kicks. This is tremendously helpful if you're in the middle of a session and need to find a specific type of sound quickly. The fact that the sounds are provided in dry, compressed, and tape/vinyl versions is pretty awesome too and lets you choose from a variety of characters or add your own.
As I said before, I was a little sceptical of how useful these sounds would be for modern styles, but after playing with these sounds, I was completely blown away. Truly, I think this may be the best library Wave Alchemy has released so far. If you're familiar with Wave Alchemy, you know they have a reputation for excellent sound quality, and that is no different here. In fact, I think they raised the bar for themselves in terms of punchiness and clarity.
What is most impressive, however, is the sound programming itself. Yes, there is plenty of retro-sounding analog goodness, but there are just as many current and forward-sounding timbres. There is an incredible spread of sounds here and many were good enough to make me want to re-examine the percussive qualities of more than a few vintage synths I'd sort of written off for that purpose.
If you're like me, chances are you already have a million and one drum sounds. Even if that's the case, however, I'd encourage you to check this library out. The sound design is creative, the sound quality is beautiful, and once you start mixing, matching, and layering the samples, the possibilities become even more impressive.