June 2007 Recording Magazine Feature/Review: Beta Monkey Double Bass Mania II: The Beast Returns!
A great write-up from Recording Magazine, one of the industry’s best. The author makes some interesting observations about what sets Beta Monkey apart from the crowd…read on!
Beta Monkey Music Double Bass Mania 2 By Paul Vnuk Jr.
Double Bass Mania 2 is the newest drum (not bass!) loop collection by Beta Monkey Music and its subtitle “The Beast Returns” should give you an educated guess as to its content (in their words)—Brutal Metal Loops.
Format / Medium / Compatibility: Double Bass Mania 2 (DBM2) is available directly from Beta Monkey Music’s web site (www.betamonkeymusic.com) in either16-bit WAV, 24-bit WAV, REX2, or Apple Loops (AIFF) format (chosen at time of purchase).The loops arrive on a single compact disc housed in a standard DVD case and (based on your above choice) should work fine in the current lineup of DAW/Loop programs for Mac or PC, including ACID, Cubase, Reason, Live, SONAR, Logic, Garage Band, and so on. We received the 16-bit WAV files for review.
Content / Organization: DBM2 contains over 800 loops in a wide range of tempos and also includes 75 additional multi-velocity samples and a folder of breakdowns, one-shots and extended fills. DBM2’s drum loops are organized into folders in the following tempi: 75, 90, 100, 110, 120, 140, 150, 180, 200, 200+, 220, 280, and 300 BPM. There are also folders for the above-mentioned one-shots and multi-samples.
The loop files are primarily labeled as “grooves” or “fills” with additional prefixes and suffixes that refer to tempo, kit piece, and musical phrasing. For example: “110_RC_Groove_02f” translates to “110 BPM Ride Cymbal Groove number 2 with a fill”.
Documentation / Royalties and Licensing: While there is no booklet, the CD contains both .TXT and PDF files of creative suggestions, file nomenclature, legalese, letters of thanks, the Beta Monkey catalog and the how, why and where DBM2 was made. DBM2 contains the usual Lawyer Speak End User agreement, and they sum it up nicely in English as: Use the loops in your musical compositions only, do not use them either altered or unaltered in commercial product (i.e., other sample/loop libraries).
Sonics and Craftsmanship: All of this library’s grooves were taken from the same sessions and recorded on a single kit. The kick drum tones are well defined, tight, and punchy, the snare tone is thick, and the cymbals are crisp and full. The sonic balance of the kit is good, and while the obvious focus is on the power of the kick and snare, and the crash placement is tasteful, I do wish the ride and hi-hats could have been a bit hotter in the mix.
Ambience-wise there is enough hint of the room so the loops sound natural, but not so much that adding your own additional verb would cause a problem. I was very impressed with the tooling of the loops. They are expertly cut and tightly quantized, which is very important for proper manipulation and playback in loop based programs like Live or ACID. The loop points are smooth and with few exceptions the drum and cymbal transients blend seamlessly.
Like most libraries these loops have a tempo threshold of roughly 20 BPM down and 30 BPM up before they became compromised with artifacts or sound unbelievable, but thanks to the abundant tempo choices this is not likely to pose a problem. (Speaking of tempo, this may be the first library I have reviewed with BPMs in the 300 plus range!)
Style: The metal genre covers a lot of territory from slow and heavy to speedy and furious, and this library keeps up quite well, and while Double Bass is its name, that’s not its only game. There are meat and potatoes hard rock riffs, machine gun snare work, cymbal mayhem and thundering tom fills too. As long you stick to logical tempo choices (for example, not throwing 75 BPM loops and 300 BPM loops into a 180 BPM song), most every file will play believably into the next, and with the additional one-shots and multi-sampled hits, crafting fist-flying, stick-twirling, head-banging anthems should be a synch! (Excuse me…cinch.) I can’t shake the name Tommy Aldridge from my mind as I listen to these loops, it’s like the Beta Monkey boys trapped his soul in these beats—think early Ozzy, Whitesnake and Steve Vai.
Summary: Given the sheer number of drum libraries in the world, it is surprising that there are very few which focus solely on this musical style and do it so well. At a paltry $30, even if you are not in the metal-client capital of the world, adding this flavor to your drum library is just a fun no-brainer. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have the sudden urge to watch some re-runs of MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball…
Price: $29.99. More from Beta Monkey Music. Order Double Bass Mania II metal drum loops now.
Paul Vnuk Jr. (www.recordingmag.com) is a recording engineer, producer, composer, and sound designer living in Milwaukee. Enter his musical world at www.majale.com.
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