Jazz/World & Lounge/Chillout Libraries
WAV and RX2 Sample CD-Rom
This is a solicited review requested by Loopmasters. I purchased these libraries through the Big Fish Audio website and they were delivered in a few days. After realizing that my sample library seemed to be lacking in certain areas, I specifically chose the Jazz/World, and Lounge/Chillout collections based on the product descriptions. I’m constantly on the lookout for acoustic instrument and raw percussion samples as well as acoustic drum and percussion loops and samples, and I'm happy to say that I have found these two libraries to be quite a refreshing change from the same old programmed sample libraries.
The Loopmaster libraries are delivered on CD-ROM, and typically provide about 450 to 500 megabytes of sample data in Microsoft WAV and ReCycle RX2 format. Both the audio and ReCycle files are 16bit /44.1 kHz files. About 70 megabytes are occupied with promotional demo loops in WAV format showcasing the other Loopmaster titles. The basic file formats make these libraries accessible to MacOS 9/X, Windows, and other operating systems. I had no problems copying the data over to my hard drive, and simply accessing the samples directly from the file browser—this is probably the best way to manage the library.
The WAV format is ideally suited for users of applications like ACID, Live, Logic, etc. the producers of these libraries have included Reason patch files for the multisamples and Redrum kits, making them especially useful for Reason users. While these patch files are useful for Reason users, hardware and other software sampler users will have to go through the trouble of mapping these manually.
There are several things that really impressed me about the Jazz/World and Lounge/Chillout Libraries. The audio recordings are top quality matched with equally stunning performances from very talented live musicians. The audio samples have just the right amount of outboard processing to make them usable as elements in a track without standing out from the rest of a track. The production quality is the credited to the engineering skills of Harvey Summers and Simon Southgate, who recorded these performances at Swine Studios in the UK.
The overall feel of these Libraries is a produced tracking session. By this I mean that the samples are extracted from the individual tracks of a song. The loops are very tight and have that energy as if they were played and tracked live with each player in iso booths. The loops complement each other fairly well, and there’s very little need for timing correction to match a drum groove with the bass. Either it was tracked live, or someone is a madman with the editor! Each Library is like a specific production kit which can help you achieve cool results in a very short amount of time.
The samples are categorized by instruments, with subdirectories listed by tempo. As long as you stick to loops in the same tempo category, you can build up a very lush sounding production in a few minutes. I even noticed that these two different seem to complement each other well, so loops from 100BPM J/W library match those in the 100BPM L/C library.
The Drum Loops and individual hits are stereophonic with the elements balanced in the stereo field. Layering up several drum loops is a bit overkill since each individual loop is already quite rich. The producers were quite meticulous with the ReCycle editing, and there's no need to adjust slice points. Decreasing the tempo on the RX2 files seems to work well down to 20% before the groove loses integrity. This amount varies since some loops still sounded great with a 50% tempo decrease.
I really must applaud the musicianship on most of these samples. The drummer is really tight and has some fantastic original grooves that provide solid foundations for a variety of styles. The bass performances are also top notch with some catchy hooks usable for commercial projects. There are plenty of usable percussion loops with intricate patterns which can be used as templates for groove quantization. The Solo sax samples have a great sound and with some creative manipulation, you can create some great lead riffs.
The loops are solid for the most part, and the editing quality matches the stunning audio. For those using audio loops, you should have no problems implementing the loops in your software or hardware samplers. For those who use ReCycle files in Cubase, Logic, Reason, or even Reason Adapted, the RX2 can be imported and synchronized to the song tempo. In most cases, for every WAV loop there is a matching RX2 file, so the producers have done all of the work. There are few cases where there are more WAV files than RX2 loops for some of the instrumental parts.
Content Overview Lounge/Chillout Library
Bass Loops Some really groovy fretless bass loops
Double Bass Multi Same samples as J/W Multi - Patches Improperly Mapped.
Drum Kits 10 different kits with ReDrum Patches
Drum Loops Solid groovy drum loops and Rex files
FX & Atmospheres Single samples of layered sound textures
Pads Highly produced texture multisamples with NN-XT patches
Percussion Clean and very usable one shot samples
Sequences Miscellaneous sequenced sound loops. My favorites are the talkbox guitar loops
Lounge/Chillout Example Song (5.6Mb RPS)
The Upright Bass multisample NN-XT patches on L/C library are improperly mapped. The root key information is not adjusted for the individual samples, so mapping features on any sampler will not automatically set the zones.
Upon a closer inspecting, these are the identical upright bass samples included in both the J/W and L/C libraries. It seems that the producers attempted the old shortcut of copying the directory and renaming the samples without reconciling the file paths in the NN-XT patch. Because the files were renamed, Reason will not automatically replace the samples. I've fixed the patches, and users should make a copy of the "Double Bass Multi" folder on a local hard drive, then place these SXT files in the directory.
The Multisample pad samples do not contain root key or zone information so these must also be manually mapped in samplers other than the NN-XT. The file name contains the root key name, so this task is not quite as difficult since 4 to 7 zones are typically mapped.
There are number of one-shot percussion samples. It would be useful if ReDrum (.DRP) patches were provided for these sets, or even velocity sensitive NN-XT patches. Of course, these can be easily customized in any sampler.
After shipping and taxes, each CD costs a little over $80 US [$69.95 MSRP plus $11 for 2 day shipping and tax] if you order through Big Fish Audio. This is not exactly a small investment for what totals to about 30 minutes of unique sounds. However if you're a UK consumer, the £39.95 price seems like a bargain. I’m not going to say that everyone needs either of these libraries, but if you need some unique acoustic instrument loops in the REX format, then you will not be disappointed with the Loopmaster Libraries. If you’re the type who looks for a good bargain with every possible bit squeezed out of the CD, then these are probably not for you. If you're looking for really solid drum loops and fills with uncompromising audio quality, then the Jazz/World and Lounge/Chillout Libraries are definitely worthwhile investments
Jazz/World & Lounge/Chillout Libraries