Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars
I was very impressed when reviewing Soniccouture’s Electro‑Acoustic and Moonkits drum libraries for SOS. Both titles delivered a combination of classy sounds, innovative mixing options and three very creative beat creation tools. Soniccouture’s latest title — Sun Drums — is presented via the same impressive front‑end (different styling, but the same core features), and retains the emphasis of more subtle playing styles found in Moonkits but, unlike Moonkits’ brushes, Sun Drums is based upon sticks.
Like Moonkits, Sun Drums was recorded in Ray Davies’ Konk Studios. Classic Ludwig, Gretsch and George Hayman kits were complemented by WFLII toms, and a carefully chosen selection of additional snares, kicks, hats, toms and cymbals. The result is an 8GB library with some 100 preset kits (you can freely mix and match between any of the kit pieces), up to 110 velocity layers, round‑robin samples, and up to six mic channels per drum, including room, rear and overhead mics for crafting the perfect degree of ambience. The front‑end provides a tremendous degree of control over the sound of each drum, including pitch, volume, dynamics and attack/release, as well as a comprehensive mixing environment with some impressive effects options.
The preset kits are organised into four main categories. Three of these are style‑based covering hip‑hop/funk, contemporary/cinematic and breakbeat/D&B/grime/trap, and make good use of the various sound‑shaping tools to create something style‑specific. The fourth category — Studio Drums — presents kits that are perhaps a little more ‘as is’. However, it doesn’t really matter where you dip in; Sun Drums just sounds great. In the main, the mixes are pretty dry, as would suit many of the target styles, but the ambience mics provide plenty of flexibility on that front. Each preset also includes an example drum pattern based around one of the three built‑in beat creation engines. Of these, my personal favourite is the Beat Shifter. This is essentially a step‑based sequencer, but the various randomisation and pattern shifting options mean you can get endless variations out of even a simple beat. And, with the ability to drag‑and‑drop those to your host DAW, it’s easy to take those ideas into your wider workflow. Oh, and it’s also worth noting that, while Sun Drums has its own default MIDI mapping, you can create your own or, rather wonderfully, pick from a range of presets. These include an EZdrummer mapping preset so, if you happen to have a library of EZdrummer MIDI grooves, these can easily be used to trigger Sun Drums.
The front‑end provides a tremendous degree of control over the sound of each drum, including pitch, volume, dynamics and attack/release...
As with the earlier titles, Sun Drums’ front‑end is excellent. Add to this the fabulous underlying sample library, and this is a bit of a triumph. No, it’s not the cheapest drum library you might ever buy, but these are top‑notch acoustic drums with a dry(ish) sound that’s perfect for pop, hip‑hop, breakbeats or funk. Another classy product from a delightfully leftfield developer; Sun Drums is an all‑round sonic delight.