It’s Dangerous Drums is a sample pack released by German EDM DJ/producer Marco Scherer, and based on the sound of acoustic drums “morphed with synthetic drums and mangled through tubes, diodes and all kinds of dirty gear”.
Consisting of 20 drum kits, each containing 16 individual hits, It’s Dangerous Drums comes pre-sorted in all the current software sampler/drum sampler flavours including Maschine, Kontakt, Battery and Geist. All of the different kits include one or more example files as MIDI or native format to get you started and show off the kits’ contents.
Dipping into the kit list quickly underlines that the drum sounds on offer here are well put together and work as cohesive drum kits. Everything fits together well and the production values are pleasingly high. I do think the kits lack slightly in the hi-hat department, with more emphasis on bigger sounds like processed toms and larger metallic impacts. Saying that, the kicks are excellent: deep and punchy, with just the right amount of distortion or processing. Snares are also good, ranging from crisp to crunchy with some added bite, and the tom and slightly wilder hits add some interesting texture to the percussive palette. Style-wise, this collection is obviously steered towards the electronic genres (dubstep, breaks and EDM spring to mind immediately), but I think it would also find favour within open-minded drum programmers from across the musical spectrum.
I have to say that, overall, these kits are probably slightly less ‘dangerous’ than the title suggests: yes, there is some big processing going on, but everything still stays within reasonably polite sonic boundaries. If you are looking for white noise or drum hits that are clipped and distorted to hell and back, you may have to be prepared to mangle what’s here a bit more.
Effects-wise, each of the kits makes good use of both reverb and delay plus some distortion and heavy compression — or, as the accompanying description puts it, “compressed to death!” In addition to the processing there is also a fair bit of layering going on, with sounds stacked and blended. Although it’s mostly pretty good, not all of the sample layering works for me: some of the cymbals get layered with a lower impact like a warped snare, stick or tom which, personally, I think limits their usefulness. That said, I do like the way the drum sounds retain an essence of their acoustic roots, rather than being blended into run-of-the-mill electronic drum hits.
I would also have liked to have seen a little more effort in the sample labelling, with each named as ‘kick’ or ‘snare’ rather than with a generic marker name taken from the kit’s title. It’s just a little detail, but it would help identify everything much quicker.
Niggles aside, I liked what It’s Dangerous Drums offers. The kits are well balanced and sound suitably big, if perhaps not quite as dangerous as I was expecting. Offering 20 kits all ready to go in multiple formats at a rather tiny price, It’s Dangerous Drums may prove to be a good, low-cost impulse purchase for producers across the board who have a percussive ear. Oli Bell