|Fig. 1. Damage offers lots of cool-looking screens, so it’s hard to decide which ones to show. This shot displays part of two instruments: the top one is set to the Stage page, and the lower to the EQ/Filter page.|
Attention, sound designers: I know you have
to meet a deadline, and don’t have time to
read this review. So, here’s the short form:
You want this
, distributed by Native
Instruments, is an instrument for Kontakt 5
(full version or the free “player”) that includes
hard-hitting loops and percussion kits. I
expect to be hearing both in a lot of movies.
Get Looped There are two loop flavors. Loop
Menu presets are sorted into four construction
kit-type categories with acoustic, industrial,
“mangled” pop, and “tech” inflections, but
which never stray far from mayhem. Each has
a “full” mapping that fills the keyboard with loops,
along with three additional mappings of individual
loop elements. The full mappings facilitate quick
soundtrack assembly, while I found the elements
useful in more standard musical applications.
Single Loops deconstruct the loops into
slices triggered by MIDI notes, like REX files.
You can play the individual slices from the
keyboard, or drag the MIDI pattern into your
DAW, then stretch or re-arrange slices.
Get Hit Damage has 58 percussion kits, arranged
in five groups: Epic Organic Drums, Ethnic
Drums, Metals, Hybrid FX Kits, and Damage
Kits. The last two have slightly different interfaces
(described below) than the first three.
Get Crazy If Damage stopped here, it would
still be a way-cool sounding library. But it’s a
virtual instrument, and each of the loops and
kits has three pages of additional processing.
The main page has five master effects
(distortion, lo-fi, reverb, delay, and
compression) and a four-stage amp envelope.
Another page, EQ/Filter (Figure 1), offers
three-band parametric EQ, a “Punish” knob,
highpass filter, and lowpass filter (both with
resonance controls). With kits, these controls
can apply to a complete preset as well as
As to differences among the third pages,
with Loop Menu presets, this page provides
eight effects, enabled/disabled by eight
MIDI notes, whose parameters you can
program—very useful. With Single Loops, a
Loop Modifier page provides realtime loop
modification options, played by MIDI notes—
randomize, reverse, drop, or freeze slices; you
can also pan individual slices, and do other
tricks. It’s deep.
For some kits, the third “Stage” page
lets you move individual drums around in
a soundstage with 35 discrete positions.
This feature goes way beyond panning,
as ambience comes into play when the
instruments are moved “further away.”
It’s brilliant. Other kits include an effectsprogramming
page that is configured like the
one in Loop Menu presets.
The main page for kits includes a mixer
section with sliders for Close (miking),
Room, and Hall except for the Hybrid FX
and Damage kits, where most kits replace the
mixer with an Amp Sequencer (basically a
step sequencer for gating; you can select the
sequencer patterns with MIDI).
Get Damaged Damage is inspiring. The more
time you invest in learning its features—especially
realtime manipulation—the more amazing
If you need cinematic percussion,
Damage is a must-have. But I wouldn’t be
surprised if someone wrote Peter Gabrielmeets-
Trent-Reznor music around it, and took
over the world.
STRENGTHS: Superb sound quality
and production. 30GB of material
(uncompressed). VST/AU/RTAS, 32/64-
bit. Lots of realtime manipulation options.
Useful processing. Easy to use on a basic
LIMITATIONS: Exploiting all of the
included features means a learning