A FREE library which samples a vintage Ludwig kit with snare Rogers Dynasonic, Zildjian plates and Sabian ride. Rhythm parts are a crucial point of each composition: without a good groove that gives the right push to the song, you may lose valuable working hours and not get the desired result.
Big Mono is one of the few survivors in the matter of free drums library; with all the high quality competitors that stand on the market and that you can also retrieve pirated, is still convenient to use a free library like this for the rhythmic textures? We will discover the answer to this million dollars question within this test.
BIG MONO is a title developed by Analog Drums team, company active in the Samples Library market from about twenty years.
The library was recorded in mono in Auckland based York Street Studios, through an Emi Neve mixing desk, the award-winning brand founded by english sound engineer Rupert Neve.
Big Mono supports several samplers like Battery, Kontakt and EXS24, but the samples are also available in the classic WAV format, lacking in this case of programming and mapping possibilities on their own MIDI keyboard controller.
The title consists of a total of 254 samples, with a depth of 24 bits and a sampling frequency of 44.1 Khz. At download completed, you’ll get a .zip of 138 MB, and once extracted, you will have a quantity of material equal to 213 MB.
Each sample has several layers related to velocity, distinct articulations, and an instrument interface with volume, pan and tuning controls, and a section dedicated to presets, dynamic compression and sensitivity. We will see in detail all these features, placing our focus mainly on two key issues: how the samples sound (trite to say, but it is an essential aspect) and how you can treat them in the mix to ensure that emerge at best.
Technical and aesthetic analysis.
For clarity, we will proceed with order and we will treat separately the different components of the set, as well as they are grouped in the different folders. Let’s start with the kick samples and then we’ll continue with all the other components:
The sampled component is a 1970 Ludwig and has a size of 22 “x 16”. This component of the kit is provided with one articulation, the classic central hit, but features 12 velocity layers. The sound in most of the samples is of discrete quality, clear and powerful; the wide dynamic range of the samples allows them worthily emerge in various types of mix without the need of having to further processing. We have to say, however, that samples often come with a reverb tail a bit ‘too long, so if we want to play the kick simulating a double pedal and a faster BPM, the sound would tend to clog a bit’. Being of the rest of a vintage kits, already from the beginning is not recommended for more aggressive styles and grooves.
The kit provides a 1970 Rogers Dynasonic snare, the size is of 14 “x 5”. Available articulations are 6: two for the left hand (middle strike and rimshots, with respectively 16 and 8 velocity variations), two for the right hand (the same types of the left hand), and a cross-stick articulation with 8 velocity layers. The snare is one of the most compelling components of the kit, the sound is sharp and dry and peremptory, easy to stand out in the mix, even in very different stylistic genres together. The different combinations of the five articulations with its multiple dynamic types allow to get a very heterogeneous snare drum sound, which lends itself very well to more jazzy tunes in the most subtle variations and intimating, until much closer to the territories of the worlds pop and Rock music with full sound and scanned. The Rimshot articulations are made very well: in the coup led on the snare drum is very well feel the wand that touches both the skin and the circle, and the shot-effect to give color or to give an accent to a certain groove does his duty . The cross-stick articulation defines well the blow of the wand on the edge of the snare drum, and 8 dynamic variations ensure a fair extension of employment opportunities. Indeed a very versatile component and well-sampled.
These are two 1970 Ludwig, respectively 13 ” sized the tall and 16″ the low. They have two articulations each, two for the right hand and two for the left hand, both with center shot and 16 layers of dynamic variation. The tom sound is realistic and has good reverb, although the range of tunings is a bit limited. The kit dates back to 60/70, so also the absence of a third tom was predictable. Missing perhaps a little compression, we must then process them to give them that slight extra boost that will make them stand out in the mix, especially if you are working on several genres where heavy distorted guitars leave no room for more “intimate executions”. Because of these little defects, toms represent the real sore point of the kit.
It was used a Advedis Zildjian Mastersound sized 13 “. The articulations available are 4: closed, semi-closed, open and pedal. The first three have 16 velocity layers each, the pedal 10. After the snare, even this HiHat is full of surprises. The sound is very pervasive and with great support in all four articulations, but sounds are particularly valuable in the closed HiHat, semi-closed and pedal. A little less tidy the articulation in the open, which is a bit’ limited in dynamic range: despite the 16 velocity layers available, samples of this articulation tend to sound a bit ‘all the same. Apart from that, the HiHat is more than adequate and forms a very realistic pair with Dynasonic snare.
It is a20 ” sized Sabian HHX Evolution. It has two articulations (Bow and Bell), with 16 dynamic variations each. The 32 total samples dedicated to the ride range from very rapid attacks to the sweetest sound nuances, up to definitely sparkling colorings that can make this ride, wanting, almost a third crash. In the mix it is not difficult to find the niche of frequencies in which to place them.
Here we are dealing with a Zildjian K Crash 16 ” sized and with a Zildjian K Dark Crash 17″ sized . Both are available in a single articulation (Edge), with 8 velocity layers for each one. The K Crash sounds brilliant, ringing and with average decay time. The Dark K dark, warm and with fast decay. Both crashes are characterized by a rather complex and substantially very musical sound. However, some velocity layers in more certainly would not have spoiled; the sound is good but a bit limited in dynamics.
We start from a premise. Big Mono is a Free library. Considering this factor, the final evaluation can only be positive. The kit as a whole sounds good and can be exploited in various stylistic areas. Also due to the used battery type, the most closely recommended uses fall on genres related to the territories of the pop / rock styles and experimental music. The workforce is also suitable for more swing sounds and jazzy. Not recommended for heavier productions and definitely not recommended for use in electronic productions or destined for the Film Scoring. The biggest flaw of the library is included in the amount of ambient within the Decca Tree location used for reprising the kit: on many samples, especially those dedicated to the kick, the reverb tail is far too cumbersome. By contrast, the additional spots pretty well define the sonic details of the various components of the kit. The most disappointing aspect in absolute regard the sector of the toms couple, often largely lacking of bite and support. The main advantages: snare – hihat couple really well-matched, beautiful ringing crash and ride with intriguing sounds. And let’s remember once again that it is Free.