Format: WAV CD-ROM
Score: *** 3/5 stars
This CD-ROM contains just over 1800 live drum loops, fills and hits for use with any sampler or MIDI + Audio sequencer that accepts WAV files. In an attempt to make finding what you want easier, the loops are subdivided into categories according to style and tempo: ambient at 120bpm, funk and 95 and 120bpm, hip-hop at 85bpm; and rock at 105, 120 and 130bpm.
A handful of further subdivisions differentiate loop variations (with cowbell, tambourine and ride) and fills (snare and tom) from the straight loops. However, some of these folders still have more than 80 loops in them, and the text file on the disc (the only documentation) does very little to make things easier here. In addition to the main loops, there are a total of 100 hi-hat/ride cymbal loops (some in each of the five tempos used) as well as about 40 different cymbal hits and rolls. This is a nice addition, allowing you to give any of the main loops a little variation so they follow your arrangement more closely.
My biggest concern with this collection is the sound of the production. The CD-ROM's text file claims that "some of the best equipment on the market" was used, but I found that many of the loops and hits sounded rather 'home-brew'. Furthermore, the publicity material on the www.drumslive.com web site mentions that the "raw and warm drum sound" allows you to "use compression and effects to suit your production". However, gating has been used ham-fistedly on the individual drum feeds during the recording process for many of the loops, making them sound processed and unnatural.
All in all, I felt that this collection wouldn't be a good choice for productions where an smooth, open, and natural sound was important. That said, I found the slightly lo-fi character of the sounds rather appealing in its own right, and I think Real Drumslive could act as a good 'lucky dip' collection for any contemporary style where character matters more than fidelity, especially considering the competitive price.
WAV CD-ROM £29.95.
Drumslive.com, PO Box 166, Paignton TQ4 7DJ, UK.