Wave Alchemy – Drumvolution
The Revolution is over, and Evolution has run it’s course, now enter Drumvolution, Wave Alchemy’s third hard hitting, beat bashing, stick smacking drum machine library.
Just to be clear, Actually Revolution Wave Alchemy’s first drum machine library is still very much alive and kicking offering a collection of classic analog beat boxes, Evolution on the other hand has been gently retired and superceeded with the release of Wave Alchemy’s latest product, Drumvolution.
Without wishing to confuse things further, Drumvolution is very much an evolution of errr well Evolution, and in many ways is identical in operation, the differences from our perspective are both cosmetic and under the hood, therefore for existing blind and visually impaired owners who are taking advantage of the free upgrade, there will be very little in the way of noticeable changes, however if you are new to Komplete Kontrol and looking for a comprehensive collection of some 28,000 drum, percussion, found and FX sounds to boost your beats, read on as Drumvolution may well rattle your proverbial snare drum!
Drumvolution will occupy 4.60Gb of hard disk space, and runs in either the full version of Kontakt 5.7.1, Kontakt player 5.7.1, Kontakt 6 and of course Komplete Kontrol.
There are five main Kontakt .NKI files, these being the clean unprocessed version of the engine and all drum content, three tape versions with increasing degrees of saturation, and a drumvolution module instrument file, which rather than having the kit and sequencer implementations, instead features a multi layered single drum pitched chromatically across four octaves of the keyboard, which you can edit by mixing together several sound layer elements.
There are also around 400 presets, which are duplicated across all four drumvolution tonal variations, so there is plenty to play with and keep you occupied.
NKS Browser & Edit Sections…
Knob 1 and Knob 2 is of course Vendor and Product name,
Knob 3 hosts banks which are Clean, Tape 1, Tape 2, Tape 3 and Instruments. Clean obviusly yields pure unprocessed samples, whilst Tape 1 to 3 sees the same content with 3 varieties of saturation, Instruments has initialised versions of the main bank types these being the underlying .NKI files on which the preset snapshots are based.
Knob 4 has Sub Banks, which are genre based titles as follows:
Abstract & Experimental, Drum & Bass, Electronica, Garage, Hip Hop, House, Pop & Indy, Techno and Trap.
All of the above headings do have suggested bpm figures with them that suit their genre, however they will naturally transpose to tempo’s of your own choosing.
Knob 5 is Types which is simply Drums (well it is a drum library….predominently!)
Knob 6is unassigned
Knob 7 is Modes which are all Sample Based (no arguements there!)
Knob 8 is home to that huge selection of presets, surely you don’t want me to list all those?
Page 1, Mixer & Sample: Knob 1 Volume, Knob 2 Pan, Knob 3 Delay, Knob 4 Reverb, Knob 5 Sample Drum, Knob 6 Transition & Layer, Knob 7 Sample and Knob 8 Select
Page 2, Macros: Knobs 1 through 8 are labelled Macro
Unfortunately as is the case with many sample libries that adopt the macro approach to GUI interaction, it means there are a host of in depth sound design and creation tools we are unable to access, these being both visual and mouse driven in operation.
However as per Drumvolution’s predecessor, the saving grace of the product lays in a combination of the large quantity of available presets, and key switching assignements which allow for a reasonable degree of sound design.
At this point, I will point out that what follows is a section taken from my previous review of Evolution, simply because the keyswitching, use and general product methodology is identical within Drumvolution, and whilst not wishing to be accused of laziness there is little point in re-inventing or rather re-writing the wheel!
Drumvolution In Use…
So the 12 keys from C1 to B1, are designated to 12 drum sounds, however in conjuntion with the 1 to 8 knobs of Page 1 of the edit section, each individual drum sound can be changed and tailored to meet your personal requirements.
For example by tapping D1 you will hear the initial snare sound for the chosen preset, but you can slowly turn Knob 7 (sample) to step through a large variety of snare sounds until you find one you like. Continue tapping D1 and add some reverb, or a little Delay, or adjust Knob 5 (Sample/Drum) to mix between your chosen drum and a second or even third complimentary drum laer.
Continue this approach for each of the 12 drum voices and before you realise it you have completely changed and tweaked the original preset kit into something quite different, and more importantly something personal to you.
Keys C2, C sharp and D2 can be pressed to select between 3 separate tabs of the library, Drum, Transition and Layer, where again depending on which is chosen the knobs perform a different function. This is where access is gained to the other layers, so you can for example choose a kick from a TR808, then add another transient layer giving you say a sub, then select the layer key and add a white noise tail, then mix between all three until you’re happy.
Holding D2 Sharp while tapping one of the 12 drum voice keys will select a random drum voice from a selection assigned to that key, and pressing E2 will lock a drum voice to a key when pressed in combination.
Drumvolution includes it’s own step sequencer with pre-created patterns for each preset. These presets occupy keys F2 to E3 on the keyboard, F3 will stop the pattern playing whilst F sharp 3 will restart the pattern at the beginning of the bar.
Hit G3 and the sequencer is in record mode enabling you to add your own rhythms to the proceedings. G sharp 3 when pressed will reverse the currently playing pattern for as long as you hold down the key.
A3 copies the playing pattern into memory, then plays it again when patterns are switched. A sharp 3 when held stutters the first beat of the bar ideal for fills.
Pressing and holding B3 and then selecting one of your 12 drum sounds will chromatically spread that drum between C4 and C6, this is a great feature as it means you can create cool little melodies depending on the sound you use, or more conventionally can simply just add a bit of tonality to an otherwise dull fill!
I’ve never given much credance to inbuilt library sequencers simply preferring to perform this task within my own DAW, however Wave Alchemy’s implementation via key switching gave the feature a new dimension as a rhythmic sketchpad while composing. You can also record your doodlings into your DAW and go back and do some further tweakings and gradually build up your drum track that way.
There are certainly a wide variety of samples present within Drumvolution, everything from classic analog drum machines, acoustic, natural, found sounds, modular and more, the focus being on rhythm creation rather than drum emulation, and the included presets demonstrate this admirably.
As always I highly recommend checking out videos and sound demos on the web, but in this instance Wave Alchemy also have a demo version of the product available which is truly the best way to discover if Drumvolution is right for you, and as if this was not enough they also throw in a 7 day money back guarantee.
As an existing Evolution user, I could discern little difference between this and Drumvolution, both in sound and operational use, however the good news here is that as an existing owner you should have recieved or will qualify for a free upgrade to the new library, which is a further testimony to Wave Alchemy’s dedication to customer loyalty and satisfaction.
On the other side of the coin, if you do not already own Evolution then Drumvolution offers a generous number of accessible presets, and whilst we cannot fully interact with all the elements available to sighted users, it still remains a respectable choice for those wishing to make up and create their own collection of drum and percussion kits.
Drumvolution can be purchased from Wave Alchemy at a cost of £149.00
At the time of publication January 23rd 2019 it is on a launch promotion with 25% off for £112.00
Wave Alchemy offer the opportunity to try before you buy, at the following link
There is also a money back guarantee which lasts for seven days after purchase.
Drumvolution Product Page
Drumvolution User Manual
(c) Chris Ankin
January 23rd, 2019
The author accepts no responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of reading this article,or Any inaccuracies found within this review. All opinions or product functions stated are based soly on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product in combination with information gathered from official factual sources on the web or product manual.
About the Author
Chris Ankin has worked previously as a freelance review contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.