Discrete Drums: Kickin’ Country
There aren’t many country drum loop libraries, so this one—with studio ace Tony Morra—is all the more welcome. The format is complete songs, deconstructed into (mostly) one- and two-measure sections used in verse, chorus, break, etc. These sections are the heart of 19 eight-track, fully stereo Pro Tools sessions (including room and ambience mic tracks). The multitrack format lets you create your own mixes and process individual drums, so they’re recorded neutrally—it’s up to you to tart up the sounds if desired.
For other DAWs, sections are also available as dry, mixed, and room only stereo mixes. If you don’t need the multitracked aspect, it’s quick and easy to assemble a drum track from the individual mixed sections. File formats are WAV (not Acidized) and REX for those into time-stretching.
There’s a ton of material—dozens of sections per song—so a collection of MP3 audition files is helpful in figuring out which song has the right vibe. Even so, Kickin’ Country isn’t about triggering a couple loops and letting them run; it’s about assembling a convincing drum part, played by a human. If you’re willing to invest the time, that’s exactly what you’ll get.
Contact: Discrete Drums, www.discretedrums.com
Format: Four DVDs (over 9GB) of 44.1kHz/24-bit loops including multitrack Pro Tools session files, REX stereo files, WAV stereo files, and one-shots.
List price: $199 ($99 for 3GB of REX/WAV stereo files, no Pro Tools sessions)
Vir2 Instruments: Electri6ity
Electri6ity is an ambitious, complex virtual instrument/sound library that takes playing guitar on keyboards to new levels. Like other Vir2 products it’s based on the Kontakt Player, but this one pushes Kontakt 4 further than I’ve seen before— especially in terms of scripting. (Kontakt allows custom scripts that process incoming data; a simple example is assigning successive string notes to alternate between up and down strum directions.)
Vir2 gets around the “sample dry or processed?” dilemma by doing clean samples of the eight guitars (Les Paul, Les Paul P90, Strat, Tele, 335, L4, Danelectro Lipstick, and Rickenbacker, all with over 24,000 samples per guitar). With “Amped” versions, the Player provides some effects à la Guitar Rig; or load “DI” versions and use other amp sims, or send the out to a physical guitar amp. There’s 27GB of samples, so Vir2 recommends 4GB RAM—but go for more if you’re running a 64-bit operating system.
You’ll need an 88-note keyboard to access all keyswitching and articulations. You could use a smaller keyboard, as you can simply ignore the built-in articulations. Then again, you could drive a Porsche without getting out of second gear, but you wouldn’t want to.
The Systems setting page alone is mind-boggling: Set characteristics for individual strings, like velocity and volume, as well as body resonance and 4,544 other parameters (okay, it’s not really that many, but it seems like it sometimes). Thankfully, someone obviously spent a lot of time on presets, so what you load is ready to go. But, being able to change the sound with this level of detail means Electri6ity isn’t just for keyboard players. Even though my primary instrument is guitar, Electri6ity isn’t irrelevant because I can create “impossible” guitar parts that nonetheless sound like guitar.
A Performance page is where you change parameters like which pickup you’re using, the guitar’s tone control, pick position (closer to the neck or bridge), pick direction (up, down, or alternate), how morphing is controlled, and much more. A realtime Fretboard page shows notes being plucked and mapped (with artificial intelligence to map notes in a “guitaristic” way, although you can turn this off); with Amped presets, an additional page offers effects.
This is a remarkable virtual instrument, and yes, the manual does need all 54 pages. You can just load presets and go, or get lost in an amazing level of detail. This is an instrument with a serious “wow” factor. Wow.
Contact: Vir2, www.vir2.com
Format: Four DVD-ROMs with Kontakt 4 Player and 27GB of samples; VST/RTAS/AU plug-in formats.
List price: $399.95