**** 4/5 stars
Unorthodox Audio are a fledgling sample library company, set up by composers Richard Norris and Mike Gunn with the aim of trying to "capture something wonderfully peculiar within each virtual instrument". So far, their range just comprises Superfly Drums and a virtual pipe organ called St James The Great Organ. What's already clear, however, is that the team are making their products very simple and affordable.
As you might have guessed from the name, Superfly Drums is intended to emulate the sound of funk drums from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Possibly the kind that were sampled to death by hip‑hop and dance music producers 20 years later!
To create the sound library, Richard's vintage Ludwig kit was recorded using appropriately vintage mics and preamps. Then, rather strangely, the duo created an electronic kit so that users can mix between the two within the Kontakt interface. The electronic kit probably isn't going to be used by hip‑hop, R&B, house or pop producers, as there are countless genre-specific instruments on the market already, but it does offer a quick and quirky way to add definition and tonal variation to the vintage sounds.
The interface itself is very basic relative to those of most Kontakt instruments. On the main page there are linear faders for the acoustic kick, snare, toms, hi-hats, and cymbals, and rotary faders for the electronic versions of each. Next to these is a global slider that ranges from acoustic to electronic, and a button that calls up the Pan page. The pan settings apply to both kits, but unlike the level page, there are individual controls for the three toms and the splash, ride and crash cymbals. The kit also features a reverse cymbal, which has its own pan control too.
Apparently Richard and Mike mapped the kit elements to aid intricate hi-hat play, however stereo and multi‑output General MIDI kits are also included, so that everything matches up when drum pads are used.
Unlike many virtual drum instruments there is no mixer for balancing close, overhead and room mic feeds, and there are no on-board signal processors of any kind. Nevertheless, a multi-output interface is included so that users can run each kit element through separate channels in their DAW and apply whatever processing they require.
Overall, the kit's sound is very good and stands up well next to far more expensive products. Keeping the interface simple has enabled Unorthodox Audio to charge very little for Superfly Drums, so although it's not quite as flexible as much of the competition, at this price there's little to complain about.