Stretch That Note | DruMM Series 1 & 2
Sample LibraryReviews : Sample / Sound / Song Library
DruMM is a drum module for Native Instruments’ Kontakt software sampler (version 4.2.3 or later) that uses its own GUI within Kontakt, and chains several of the sampler’s built‑in effects into several single, easy‑to‑use controls. Each module is available to buy either singly or bundled together as a series. Series one contains seven modules (the first being free when you sign up) and series two contains a further six.
Simply copy the files over to your regular Kontakt library folder, making sure to keep everything together, open the instruments folder and double-click on the kit you want. Visually, each module has a slightly different take on the same metallic, industrial style that works well enough, with all the controls laid out nicely, although some versions of the modules are easier to see than others. They also take up a fair chunk of Kontakt’s window space, with only two being visible at once without scrolling.
Although each module has a slightly different colour scheme, all are based around the same core controls. All the usual suspects are available: amp envelope, tune, pan, level. There are also three mode filters (LP, BP, HP) with envelope controls, and cutoff and resonance dials.
In addition to these, DruMM has some bespoke controls, the first of which is the ambience slider. This controls the send levels of reverb and delay and, in most cases, is surprisingly subtle, providing more of a tightly controlled ‘drum room’‑style effect than cavernous reverb or spiralling delay. Below that are the Phat, Crunch, Vinyl and Width controls that serve as the module’s main processing tools. The Phat control chains Kontakt’s multiband EQ, distortion and a limiter together, while Crunch uses a lo‑fi effect to adjust sample rate and bit reduction. Vinyl adds one of three selectable samples of (unsurprisingly) vinyl noise, globally, across the whole module, with depth being controlled by a slider below. The Width control adjusts the stereo width of either the selected sample or whole module, and, finally, there is also a smaller Crackle control that does the same job as the Vinyl knob with a couple of vinyl crackle samples.
All of these effects can be tweaked to edit individual drum samples or applied across the whole module and, in practice, they work well. The combination of the Phat and Crunch controls really fleshes out the kicks and snares, while the Crackle and Vinyl noises add some real grit and vibe if used sparingly.
It is, of course, easy enough, with some basic knowledge of Kontakt, to delve behind the curtain and tinker with the effects chains, but that’s missing the point slightly. For beginners, or those who would rather get on with banging out beats than fiddling with effects chains, DruMM streamlines some basic processing down into a few easy‑to‑understand controls. Whether these are to your liking or not may just boil down to a question of personal taste.
Sound‑wise, each module contains 60 samples spread over five octaves, with each octave organised into a mini‑kit of its own, comprising kicks, snares, hats and percussion. The standard of sample is pleasingly high and the style is squarely aimed toward the more urban‑based genres. The kicks are meaty, and the claps and snares are crisp and full‑bodied, while the percussion varies from module to module, including hand percussion and some turntable scratches.
Although each module is designed to be used as a stand-alone drum kit, layering modules together is very much the core concept that DruMM is based upon. The accompanying documentation mentions that all the samples have been processed (tinkering with specific frequencies and sample/polarity inversion, for example) to avoid phase cancellation issues when layered. Of course, it is possible to avoid such problems by ear and careful choice of samples, but it’s good to know Stretch That Note have gone the extra mile.
In practice, the layering process works very well: with some tweaking between modules, thunderous kicks and razor‑sharp snares roar forth, as well as more unusual percussive layering or drum effects. I found no instances of phase cancellation during my testing and it’s easy to create some truly punchy drums, so a little self‑restraint and reining in of levels may be required.
Of course, DruMM not being based on its own bespoke engine, there’s no quick way to swap samples to different MIDI notes from the front panel, so you’re stuck with the set kits for layering, without heading back behind the curtain and doing some tinkering with Kontakt’s mapping editor.
After spending some time making beats with both series of modules, one major niggle is that, after a while, the range of hits starts to seem quite limited. The number of open hi‑hat samples is quite small, for example, and there are no splash, china or ride cymbals included at all, as far as I could tell.
It could be argued that DruMM concentrates on its core urban palette (which it does very well), but I’d have like to have seen just a handful of cymbals and the like thrown in there somewhere for variation. I also thought that, along with the Ambience, the Crunch control was a little on the polite side too, never really letting the bit reduction too loose, even at its fullest setting.
Overall, I liked the DruMM modules, their core sample libraries are very good, and the GUI makes a nice change from Kontakt’s slightly dry interface. Stacking the modules together works well, and the single-knob controls are effective and easy to use. I’ve a few doubts about DruMM’s wider appeal, because of its urban focus, but if you’re a Kontakt user looking for some heavy drums with a slightly different, creatively quirky way of working, these modules are well worth a look, especially at the price. Oli BellBoth $40 to download or $8 per module.Both $40 to download or $8 per module. 0