BOX FACTORY BY FRACTURE SOUNDS
Fracture Sounds are back with a bang, or should that be a boom, whatever descriptor we opt to use, this latest release is entirely percussive in nature, involving a concert hall, a large collection of various sized cardboard boxes, and multiple stick types with which to hit them with!
You could be forgiven for perhaps thinking that the notion of sampling and releasing a sample library based on the sounds and timbres produced by cardboard boxes is merely a playful and very early April Fool from Fracture Sounds, however I can confirm that it’s not a joke at all, and the end samples are quite astonishing given the results of their extensive box bashing antics!
The sounds are distinctive, and a refreshing alternative to the more usual metallic based found sound libraries. Box Factory instead provides us with an extensive collection of multi miked drum hits with varying pitch ranges, from thunderous low booms, punchy mids, and on up to the clicks and clacks of the high frequencies.
One of the key philosophies behind the library was to produce something less run of the mill, and put something just a little different into the hands of modern composers who might be looking for a variation to the arguably over used industrial meltdowns that are so beloved of many an action trailer.
Box Factory runs in Kontakt 6.6 and above, or the equivalent free Kontakt player, and is NKS ready for use within Komplete Kontrol.
The 3GB installation size is in the NCW lossless compression format, reduced from the original 5.5GB uncompressed samples.
The product uses NKI files as it’s preset source, and there are a total of 23 covering all articulations and ensembles.
Download & Installation…
Download comes courtesy of an archived zip file, which is perfectly accessible, this is then extracted and compiled to your location of choice.
Authorisation through Native Access using the supplied product license concludes the installation process. A rescan of Komplete Kontrol then adds Fracture Sounds and Box Factory to your existing browser database on the factory side of Komplete Kontrol.
Komplete Kontrol Browser & Plug-in Edit NKS Parameters
Knob 1& 2 – Vendor & Product
Knob 3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Type: Percussion, synth Misc
Knob 6 – sub Type: Other, FX, Percussive, Sweeps & Swells
Knob 7 – Character: Acoustic, Distorted, Processed, Riser
Knob 8 – Presets: x 23
Plugin Edit – NKS Parameter Mappings
Page One – Sculpt & Microphone Positions
Knob 1 – Punch
Knob 2 – Decay Trim
Knob 3 – Saturate
Knob 4 – Squash
Knob 5 – Close Mic
Knob 6 – Mid Mic
Knob 7 – Far Mic
Knob 8 – Perspective (custom)
Page Two – Ensemble Stack, FX & Feel
Knob 1 – Ensemble Stack Size
Knob 2 – Looseness
Knob 3 – Spread
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Stereo Width
Knob 6 – Reverb
Knob 7 – Dynamic Range
Knob 8 – Sample Start
Fracture Sounds have mapped the essential parameters found within the user interface, however the problematic section where NKS was concerned has been the rhythm section of the UI, this has resulted in the omission of this feature in this first iteration of Box Factory.
This has already been acknowledged by the developer, and a possible address may come in the guise of pre configured rhythmic snapshots in a future update.
Making these inbuilt step recorders entirely accessible has always presented somewhat of a challenge where NKS is concerned, not least due to the ballooning number of parameters and page extensions they demand.
The rhythm section within Box Factory records note data on several layers including, number of steps, velocity, filter, swing and sync rate, but these are generally all nuances that as a workaround could equally be captured within your chosen DAW with a little imagination if placed in loop mode, but admittedly it’s often nice to have some existing rhythmic patterns to help get you started with the creative process.
As an aside, using OCR (Optical Character Recognition), I did manage to scan the UI,hit enter and turn on the rhythm engine to at least hear it’s potential in action.
I was also able to change the sync rate using the same method, I then saved this as a user snapshot for later recall. This suggests to me that at least these controls have the potential to be bound to NKS control knobs to permit some degree of use for us.
Box Factory – Lifting The Lid…
When we break down the elements of ensemble percussion, we can generally look at there being three distinctive sections, in many ways as we would a traditional band or even an orchestra.
The instrumentation represents the frequency range it occupies within the spectrum of sound, and the lower pitched deeper sounds are often less busy, commonly serving to punctuate the bars and beats.
The role each instrument plays will genrally become busier as we move through their natural frequency ranges.
A standard drum kit as we know will have the kick drum, snare, Toms and hats fulfilling these roles, and similarly this is the case with the sounds we find within Box Factory.
There are some wonderful thunderously low taiko type booms, punchy and perky mid range tom like hit sounds, both of which are embellished at the top end with the smaller box hits providing that busier top layer.
The presets are categorised and supplied in a number of different versions, such as Natural, Aggressive, Gritty and Snappy which indicate the type of processing that has been applied to the samples.
These variations are repeated across the low, mid and high instrument ranges, with the relevant samples being mapped within their sonic range to just the white keys.
There are also a number of more subtler sounding brush patches for each section.
The inclusion of the three available microphone positions enable you to effectively dial in your choice of mic location, from the more intimate and detailed close, to the Far mic that reveals the openness of the concert hall recording venue.
There is also a Perspective control which makes it very easy to find your perfect sweet spot with a single knob, this being a blended transition between all three of the microphones.
The Ensemble Stack control is a useful feature, which serves to increase the perceived number of performers as the title suggests, and further adjustment of the looseness parameter can emphasise this further still.
The Punch, Decay Trim and Sample Start controls allow you to accurately tailor your hits, the Decay Trim is particularly useful if you want to eliminate the majority of the natural baked in hall ambience in favour of your own preferred choice of reverb.
Cinematic One Shots…
Fracture Sounds have included presets created by movie sound designer Karel Psota and trailer composer Benjamin Squires, which further demonstrate the capabilities of the samples with an impressive collection of epic hits and risers.
the 70 samples used here are as a bonus also provided in wav format, so you can conceivably scan them into Komplete Kontrol where they will be available for further editing within the KK sample module.
I was impressed with the dynamic range and variety of sounds that Fracture Sounds have managed to coax from this humble assortment of 40 cardboard boxes, and it’s also great to see a developer, pardon the pun, thinking outside of the box in terms of their release portfolio.
Certainly there are one or two disappointing accessibility aspects with Box Factory, again this is not due to the developers willingness to address the issue, indeed Fracture Sounds are in fact very mindful of the needs of the visually impaired, and I know they were scratching their heads as to how this could have been implemented within the constraints of the NKS environment.
Given these limitations, understandably some will feel there will be pros & cons when considering the bang for buck between the number of presets and overall accessibility of the library.
Regardless of these considerations however, Box Factory does offer something genuinely different and unique in it’s sound palette, which for some may be tempting enough to be worth the investment.
Finally, for those concerned about the environmental footprint of a sample library, I have it on good authority that all of the contributing carboard boxes were
ecologically recycled at the end of the recording sessions 🙂
Box Factory by Fracture Sounds can be purchased from their website at the introductory price of £89.00 until October 8th (usually £119.00)
Box Factory Product Page:
Box Factory Walkthrough:
Further audio examples can be found on the Box Factory product page linked above
(c) Chris Ankin
September 23rd, 2021
The author cannot accept any 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 solely on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product and/or gathered from official factual sources such as the developer, web or supplied 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.