Review: Heavyocity Master Sessions

True old-school sound in a modern format
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Heavyocity Master Sessions focuses much of the real-time DSP that drives the company’s earlier percussion engines, Damage and DM307, on two new titles, Ensemble Drums and Ethnic Drum Ensembles ($149 each as a collection of kits and loops; $89 for kits or loops on their own).

Ensemble Drums comprises a huge selection of low-end rhythm beds derived from field drums, rototoms, floor toms, large bass drums, and snares, among other sounds. The kits capture ensemble performances of five musicians, and the loops layer a number of stems to create full loop compositions. Ethnic Drum Ensembles provides loops and six kits culled from an instrument list that includes taikos, daikos, bongos, congas, frame drums, djembes, dumbeks, bodhrans, darbukas, batas, cajons, and surdos. I was surprised to find only a few ethnic grooves in this title.

Unlike previous Heavyocity titles, patches do not appear in the Kontakt browser. You must load them from the Kontakt 5 file menu, which makes random-access file auditioning a bit more difficult with a collection of this size.

The MIDI to Host feature lets you drop the MIDI data into your DAW to change the feel, quantize, or otherwise alter data. All loops offer stems comprising various percussion groups, letting you wring tremendous variety out of an already deluxe assortment of grooves.

Master Sessions instruments feature Heavyocity’s Twist and Punish knobs, the former comprising LFO-driven filter effects and the latter drawing on saturation and distortion. These, in conjunction with four Master effects, go a long way toward obliterating the purely acoustic dimensions of the sounds. If that’s not enough, you get five programmable Trigger effects, which have the added benefit of a step sequencer for each.

In general, these grooves are powerful and best suited to dramatic scoring. The two libraries work beautifully together, letting you create multis from both titles. The series is a worthy addition to Heavyocity’s roster of sound libraries.