SUB51 – Mechanic Drum Loop Library
SUB51 have in a relatively short space of time, carved out a reputation for producing quality, affordable niche sample libraries. in particular there take on various classic drum machines have added desirable FX and controls to sounds and kits that have been sadly neglected when it comes to access via Komplete Kontrol , with applications such as Native Instruments very own Battery application offering no parameter access at all.
Certainly such classics as the TR606, TR808, TR909 and Linn Drum are all present within Battery, but lack of NKS control means little can be accessibly accomplished with the dry kitsounds, other than a global FX wash treatment, or opting for multiple instances on individual tracks, which can be resource hungry.
SUB51’s approach has been to again deliver those timeless beat boxes in the Kontakt format, and add a good deal of extra flexibility with features such as individual level controls, pan, reverb, delay, compression, saturation, filters and bitcrush fx to name a few.
Notably, they have taken the time to make these parameters show up with accessibility in mind, not just in the libraries own GUI, but so that they appear within Komplete Kontrol mapped to the hardware knobs when scanned into the user side of KK.
Their new release, Mechanic takes the same product strategy but on this outing applies it to the area of loops, with a collection of contemporary tempo synced and sliced loops that can be used to adorn your own tracks, either front of house, or subtly chilling in the background.
Mechanic requires the full version of Kontakt 6.2.2, it will not run for more than 15 minutes in Kontakt player, and takes up just over 350mb of space on a hard drive when un archived.
There are 100 Kontakt NKI loop files, and currently a bonus of 9 further NKI files, which provide extensively mapped kits which include classic drum sounds.
The package uses wav files, but there are also REX files for those wishing to explore this format.
Komplete Kontrol Plug-in Edit Controls…
As Mechanic is not an official NKS product, there is nothing to report on the browser side, the usual rules apply for scanning in a Kontakt library on the user side.
Once done, it’s a case of finding the presets via Vendor which will be Native Instruments, then product that being Kontakt and finally locating your related presets in the numeric then alphabetical order (more of which later).
Rather than list every page as we generally do, listing the controls should suffice to advise on what’s on offer here.
Low Pass Filter Cut-off, Low Pass Filter Resonance, Low Pass Filter Gain,
High Pass Filter Cut-off, High Pass Filter Resonance, High Pass Filter Gain,
Lo-Fi Sample Rate, Lo-Fi Bits,
Saturation Gain, Saturation Warmth, Saturation HF Roll, Saturation Output,
Transcient Input, Transcient Attack, Transcient Sustain, Transcient Output,
Envelope Curve, Envelope Attack, Envelope Hold, Envelope Decay, Envelope Sustain, Envelope Release,
Compression Input, Compression Ratio, Compression Attack, Compression Decay, Compression Output,
Limiter Input Gain, Limiter Release, Limiter Output,
Reverb Pre-Delay, Reverb Decay, Reverb Low Shelf, Reverb High Damp, Reverb Stereo, Reverb Send, Reverb Return,
Delay Time, Delay Feedback, Delay High Cut, Delay Depth, Delay Rate, Delay Saturate, Delay send, Delay Return,
Phaser Depth, Phaser Speed, Phaser Phase, Phaser Depth, Phaser Speed, Phaser Phase,
All of the above controls are present, and spread over seven pages of parameter mappings, for each of the 100 NKI loop preset files.
Additionally, there is currently a bonus content folder, which includes a further 9 NKI files, which hold drum kits rather than loops, the controls here include all of the above as well as extensive volume, pan and pitch controls over eleven pages, both the Kick and Snare also have attack and decay control.
There is little extra that could be requested when it comes to access of the Mechanic NKI files. They all do exactly what they say on the tin, in essence simplicity and flexibility is order of the day here.
In terms of the beat content, SUB51 have I think avoided being too genre specific in terms of the style of rhythm loops found within the library. Certainly there are classic electro and hip-hop beats aplenty, but you would be hard pressed to label something as dubstep or techno.
Instead because of the tempo sync status of the loops, you can happily ramp the tempo up or down to match your project, even if the preset name does reflect it’s original design bpm.
To this end and in conjunction with Mechanic’s extensive FX sound shaping abilities, you can use the loops to add rhythmic interest as a background to a more solid up front beat, or conversely use them as a primary loop.
This flexible approach allows them to work really well across many styles of music from ambient chillout, to the aforementioned hip hop, the trick is to make them work for you creatively rather than many traditional sample loop packs which can be somewhat rigid, meaning they can potentially influence what you create.
Mechanic Access Tweak…
Mechanic is supplied with a folder of Komplete Kontrol snapshot files that mirror the content of the standard NKI files.
In terms of accessibility many of us are aware that often third party snapshots can be problematic when scanned into Komplete Kontrol, in as much as that they can throw up ‘missing content’ dialogs which are difficult to resolve.
Given this, I would suggest that the KK snapshot files are removed from the central library folder to avoid duplication when scanned into the KK database, this way only the NKI files will show up and load reliably each time.
One further tweak which users may wish to consider, is to rename and prefix the existing NKI file names with ‘Mechanic’ using a suitable OS utility. By doing this when you look to find the presets in the long list of Komplete Kontrol Kontakt presets, they will be grouped together under the letter ‘M’ which will make them easy to locate.
Mechanic is yet another very affordable product from SUB51 which can be used to add that little extra spark of rhythmic interest within all sorts of music.
The extensively mapped parameters which SUB51 are always committed to including, means that we do not miss out on any of the product sound control features, and Mechanic certainly exploits some of the FX niceties to be found within Kontakt 6.
Mechanic from SUB51 can be purchased directly from their website, the usual price will be £19.95, at the time of review, an intro price of £14.96 was applicable.
(c) Chris Ankin
The author accepts no responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of 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 or 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.