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Fallout Music Group Hybrid Studio Taiko

Kontakt Instrument By John Walden
Published December 2022

Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars

Fallout Music Group Hybrid Studio TaikoLike many of their products, Fallout Music Group’s latest release — Hybrid Studio Taiko — is very much aimed at media composers. HST is not, of course, the first taiko sample library (and nor will it be the last) but, compared to some of the obvious competition, it does have a number of interesting design features.

The library is tightly focused. It’s based upon a fairly compact selection of taiko drums of differing sizes. And, while there are plenty of round‑robin and velocity layers, as well as centre, off‑centre and rim hits to enable nuanced performances, the compact drum selection means that the entire library is also compact. At around 1GB of 24‑bit/48kHz samples, it is a resource‑friendly option. These samples are presented in four Kontakt presets, with the main ‘full’ preset complemented by ensemble presets for each of the low and high sounds plus a separate preset for the solo (non‑ensemble) sounds.

An additional factor in this compact nature is that all of the source recordings were close miked, with no additional room mic options to provide ambience. The underlying sound is close and tight, without the boomy decay you find in some big drum libraires. However, as the very intuitive UI provides both plate and hall reverbs amongst its effects options (alongside high‑ and low‑pass filters), you can easily control the degree of ‘space’ you require.

...with the Hybrid blend, some well‑chosen reverb, saturation and envelope controls, HST delivers some excellent (and epic if you want it) sounds...

However, it’s the ‘Hybrid’ element that is perhaps the most interesting. All of the underlying samples have been subjected to a sound‑design process based around synthesis and saturation/distortion. You can blend between the tight studio sound and this hybrid version via the two main faders within the UI to create whatever balance you wish. In use, this is really cool; blend a combination of the studio and hybrid samples, add some reverb, and things can get suitably epic. And, on the epic front, the macro‑style ‘Wrecking’ knob lets you dial in further energy via a combination of distortion and compression. The UI has further useful sound customisation options including individual attack and release controls for each layer, while clicking on the Studio or Hybrid labels provides access to layer‑specific saturation and EQ.

FMG have made some very clever design choices with HST and the sum of the whole belies the seeming simplicity of the parts. The underlying studio samples sound great ‘as is’ but, with the Hybrid blend, some well‑chosen reverb, saturation and envelope controls (the Release controls make it very easy to dial in the drum decay to suit the tempo or intensity of your overall project), HST delivers some excellent (and epic if you want it) sounds with an absolute minimum of fuss. Hybrid Studio Taikos is also sensibly priced. Well worth auditioning.