Drum Werks V Alt Rock Drum Loops Review


July 2005 Drum Werks V Alt Rock Drum Loops Sound on Sound Magazine Review

Five stars for Drum Werks Vol. V? Too much! We really have to start raising our prices if everyone keeps saying such nice things in these drum loop reviews…

Drum Werks Volume 5 *****

Beta Monkey Music are a US-based company specialising in competitively priced drum loop collections. Their various titles are mostly aimed at rock, pop, and blues styles, but the catalogue also includes libraries suitable for country, rap, and hip-hop. The library under review here is, like most of the other titles, based around a collection of 16-bit Acidised WAV files. In this case, the CD contained some 700MB of acoustic drum loops and single hits. The loops are organised into a number of tempo-based folders (ranging from 75bpm up to 180bpm), while separate folders contain collections of one-shots and single hits.

The titles of the various folders give a good idea of the loop styles available: ‘Funky Rock Swing’, ‘No Nonsense Rock’, and ‘Alt Rock Grooves’, for example. The playing is excellent throughout – where required it is straight and powerful, but there is also plenty of more intricate stick work to be found in the more funky or shuffle-based loops. Both the recording and subsequent editing also seem to have been well done. The sound is crisp, with nice biting snares, plenty of sizzle to the cymbals, and a solid kick-drum sound. The loops seem to have a little processing applied, which gives them a nice natural ambience, but, thankfully, this is not overdone, so it was easy enough to add a little further reverb if required.

The real strength of the library is the range of loops provided. As well as the usual one-, two-, and four-bar patterns and their variations, there are some really excellent fills, intros, endings, and breakdowns provided. This really does make it easy to construct a complete drum track with a minimum of fuss, including all the necessary elements needed to glue the basic sections together and enough variation to make it sound ‘real’. This is further enhanced by the excellent collection of single hits. While these could easily be used to construct a multi-velocity drum kit within a sampler, they can also be used to ornament a loop-based track. The various cymbals, in particular, are good and all sorts of crashes, swells, and choked hits are included. The loops also have a fairly consistent sound across the folders, so it is easy to mix and match material for further variety.

I’d have no problem using these loops for any style of rock, from nu metal through grunge and into more pop-orientated indie styles, but they could also work in funk, blues, and straight pop. The other remarkable thing is the price, particularly as this includes worldwide shipping. Indeed, Beta Monkey also offer various bundles, bringing the price per library down even further. This is an absolute steal – so much, in fact, that I ordered half a dozen more libraries myself! These arrived very promptly and are now being put to good use in my own studio. Excellent value for money and highly recommended.

John Walden

Review can be found online at Sound on Sound Magazine.