Big Fish Audio | Keyboard Magazine Greg Rule | Off The Hook 2 Product Review
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Off The Hook 2 | Keyboard Magazine

Reviewer: Greg Rule Back to Off The Hook 2 product details

Pros: Loads of radio-ready grooves in pull-apart, construction-kit format.
Cons: Don't look here if you're after the more aggressive side of R&B.
Bottom Line: A smooth, well-produced collection in a variety of smooth and tasty flavors.

Off The Hook 2 is a top-selling R&B resource from Big Fish, and it's easy to see why. If you need quick access to layers of radio-ready urban R&B tracks, there's a mini mountain of gold to mine on these four discs. Think Destiny's Child and TLC, and you're barking up the right tree. There are some tasty laid-back greasy grooves too, a la Jam & Lewis, as well as a few soulful gospel flavors.

The presentation, formatting, and documentation are excellent. First, you're given a complete ready-mixed motif, after which come the individual layers: drums, bass, guitar, keys and synths (one by one), effects sounds, and the individual drum hits. In all, 32 construction kits are offered, plus 16 bonus drum loops and 34 funky guitar phrases. Key signatures and tempos are well documented throughout. Tempos are mostly in the 70–100BPM range.

It's great to have access to the individual tracks and sounds that comprise these meaty motifs. Need a sample of that classic Minimoog portamento smear? You'll surely appreciate having useful soundbytes like this at your disposal.

Sound quality? "It's fresh and present, but without being overbearing," says second listener Craig Anderton. "'Solid' is the adjective that comes to mind; the parts have a carefully recorded, authoritative vibe. They punch through a track, but with a fist that's wearing a velvet glove. Rhythmically, the feel is great - laying back in the right places, pushing ever-so-slightly in others."

Off The Hook 2 isn't what I'd classify as a "knock your head off" type collection. I've heard more progressive and aggressive R&B material from the likes of eLab. Not to say that's a bad thing; in fact the CD cover categorizes Off The Hook 2 as "smooth R&B," which is an accurate label. "There's no filler on this library," Craig summarizes, "and if you need that kind of late-night, downtempo R&B, this one hits on all cylinders." Agreed. Those who crave instant, soulful grooves will surely be hooked.

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