Heavyocity DM307 – This drum library is hard to Beat!
The name Heavyocity has for a while become associated with huge cutting edge sample libraries such as Damage and Gravity, you can’t go to your local cinema and sit through the pre-movie trailers without hearing one of their signature sounds booming out from everything from an upcoming film to a mobile phone advert, amongst computer based musicians they are almost immediately identifiable, whilst the public doubtless remain completely oblivious to what all the fuss is about.
Their drum and percussive offerings are particularly noteworthy with their distinctly processed semi industrial booms and metalic hits. Damage is pretty much a must have but as that is included within Native Instruments Komplete 11 ultimate it’s a purchase choice you possibly won’t have to make as it may well already be in your armoury, so for this review I’m focusing on DM307 which although is a couple of years old now still has an excellent range of content for the price.
A good way to look at DM307 is as a Heavyocity swiss army knife of drums and percussion, it’s got pretty much everything you could want in terms of examples of Heavyocity’s wares. There is the expected processed material alongside some standard beatbox and house music kits as well as drum and bass, let’s take a browse through the front end browser.
We have vendor, product, banks, types, modes and preset. Delving deeper under banks reveals significant category content, there are DM307 style kits, drum & bass, dubstep, electronic, element kits, ethnic mashup, hybrid scoring, impact & effect kits, industrial edge, industrial mashup, latin organic, rock, standard midi kits and urban mashup. Pretty much something for everyone (sorry no washboard or stylophone beatboxes this time around!).
further burrowing reveals things like drums or percussive, fx and sequence loops depending on which knobs are selected in relation to their predecessors.
In the case of sequence loop, these patches are like those we are used to with old REX files, where C0 gives us the full loop and moving up the keyboard reveals slices of the pattern.
The real magic of DM307 comes with the bpm DAW synced patches which make up the majority of content. These sounds can be played in their own right, however hit the octave down button (on a 61 note S Series) and you have access to a pretty cool little drum machine mapped to key switches. Differing to Air Music’s Strike library where each key gives a variation in the basic pattern, DM307 opts to keep the same pattern, but gives you the choice of taking out individual percussive elements.
This is particularly useful when scoring for film and you may want to take out a heavy kick drum pattern but still leave a hi-hat or other instrument ticking subtley away to keep the tension going, you can then easily drop other things back in like the snare etc, the world’s your oyster given the number of variables.
It almost goes without saying that the quality of the sounds are top notch, and for anyone who rembers the days when you could easily lose a morning in the studio faffing around with the EQ on a kick drum, the work is pretty much done for you in these libraries, and any adjustments you may need to make to fit your project can in most cases be done using the libraries own sound tweaking tools.
There are 9 pages of controls to tinker with here, starting out with the obligatory yet not to be dismissed ‘Punish & twist’, this is Heavyocity’s signature effect (indeed they have now released Punish as a separate audio plugin by popular demand), most of Heavyocity’s sounds and patches use these effects in one way or another, they are responsible for that edgy gritty bit crushed sound and the motion found within them.
Master FX and delay speak for themselves on page 2, modulation and reverb occupies page 3, whilst we find distance and envelope on page 4. I wasn’t quite sure about the term distance as in the page they are labelled as tone, bass and treble. the envelope lets you alter the ADSR of the samples however this is global rather than on a per instrument basis.
We then begin the EQ pages the second of which doubles for filter and LFO.
TFX page 1 has EQ and options relating to the perceived bit rate, you can make this thing sound like a Commodore 64 if you really want to, TFX page 2 gives choices for filter EQ, cut and resonance as well as pan.
TFX 3 is the final page and delivers EQ for the delay effects and also feedback and width knobs can be found here.
finally also on this last page almost tucked away like an Easter egg treat is a sequencer, which differs from the drum machine keyswitches mentioned earlier, and can be turned on and used to trigger keyswitched DAW synced variations in certain patches that do not have the more definitive drum machine element. As such this set of knobs is not mapped on all presets.
DM307 gives a broad taste of the distinctive Heavyocity sound, and offers a tonne of presets and loops to play with, I’ve included a link to the Heavyocity page so you can check out the specs and content in more detail as well as demos and industry endorsements.
From an accessability point of view, there are as with most libraries certain elements we cannot access, there is a more detailed drum sequencer which requires interaction with the GUI by turning on and clicking certain elements, dragging and dropping, it’s frustrating of course but there’s nothing there that we can’t replicate in our own way by adding another track or simply thinking out of the box. The truth is DM307 delivers a significant amount of high quality drum, percussion and effects sounds at a good price, the sounds are editable and intelligent implementation of keyswitches at both ends of the keyboard (drum machine at the lower end and keyswitched effects at the top) mean that there’s plenty here to keep you creatively occupied with no real glaring accessability issues that will have you crying into your pillow.
DM307 is a downloadable product and usually retails for £239.00, it is on offer currently as part of a Native Instruments partnership for £119.00 until early September.
(c) Chris Ankin 2017
The author accepts no responsability for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of this article.Any inaccuracies found within this review. All opinions or product functions stated are based soly on information perceived whilst using the product or gathered from official factual sources on the web.
About the Author
Chris Ankin has worked previously as a freelance review writer with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.