Ambient Dubstep is part of Loopmasters' rapidly expanding artist series of sample libraries. Put together by Bristol-based producer Phaeleh, this pack is available to download in various formats.
Starting off with the 240 24-bit loops (all at 140bpm, apart from one!), these are split into folders containing bass, drum, FX, music, pad, percussion and vocal FX. Bass loops (of which there are 50) are grouped by key and, although they only use a few different sounds, they do a pretty good job of covering the collection's low-end requirements. I particularly liked the nice deep, 'creamy' sub-bass loops which still retain some of the 'dub' influence that seems to be draining fast from dubstep as a wider genre. If you're after those trademark bass wobbles, however, you are going to be disappointed, as there are only a few on offer, which is surprising.
The 60 or so drum loops included are well put together, with an unexpectedly strong, 'skippy' UK Garage/two-step feel. All the beats are quite stripped-back and sound solid enough, but for me they slightly disappoint, slightly lacking in depth and character. I felt similarly let-down by the percussion loops, which, apart from a handful of the more live-sounding ones, also seemed a bit lacklustre. Perhaps the best loops on offer here are to be found in the musical loops folder, consisting of atmospheric synths, classic-sounding arpeggios, nice string runs and mellow electric piano. The majority of these loops have some form of effects processing, including tasteful, haunting reverb and nice tremolo on the EP.
The other major chunk of content is taken up by 57 multisamples, which are, once again, split into subgroups covering bass, drum hits, drum kits, guitars, synths and synth stabs. As well as just the samples, this particular pack also includes all the multisamples, ready to use. Speaking of multisamples, each instrument contains between two and five samples, which, although not exactly generous, does the job well enough.
The bass section covers a nice range of tones, from deep subs and punchy synth bass to more complex filtered sweeps. Moving through the folders, the synth-based multis are also rather good, offering a nice range of styles from vintage-sounding pipe organ-type leads, through atmospheric pads and metallic keys, to chilled-out electric pianos and swept pads. I actually think many of these patches have a classic synth-style feel to them that doesn't really seem to sit with either the dubstep or ambient labels of the title, but perhaps warrants a rather broader electronica tag.
Putting aside the rather misleading title for a moment, this sample set includes some very useful material, especially the multisampled instruments, which would benefit productions in all flavours of electronic music. Combine this with the pack's very competitive price point and Phaeleh Ambient Dubstep is well worth checking out. Oli Bell
Download £24.95 including VAT.