Spaectrum Arts is a new sample library developer from France and was founded in 2014 by Aleksi Aubry-Carlson and Bruno Berdah. Percussion Hits is the first release of this young company and comes as drag & drop .wav file and also as library for Native Instruments Kontakt.
- 316 unique .wav files in 44.1khz – 24bit .wav (no compressed samples)
- 7 Custom Scripted Instruments for Kontakt 4 & 5 (full version of Kontakt needed)
- Sample/Instrument Categories: Main, Bends, Distance, Impact, Lighter, Reverb, Reverse
- Watermarked library
- $49 (plus VAT for EU customers)
The installation of Percussion Hits is really easy and straight forward. After having purchased from the Spaectrum Arts website, you receive an e-mail with a link to the download section. After downloading, simply copy the complete folder to a location of your choice. In this folder you will find all the samples, Kontakt files, and documentation. This library doesn’t support the free Kontakt Player, and it will not show up in Kontakt’s Libraries tab. You can access via the Files tab or through the Quick Load menu (if you’ve got it set up).
What is Percussion Hits?
Well, as the library name already declares, it’s all about percussion hits and impacts, designed for cinematic or video game music. Spaectrum Arts have recorded Bass Drums, Toms, Snares, Cymbals, Metal Sheets, Chinese Cymbals, Tambourines, and tons of other percussion instruments, designing completely new hits from these sources. The manual lists 99+ recorded instruments and/or instrument combinations that form the sample base of this library.
The .wav files (which are also used by the Kontakt Instruments) are intended to be used as simple “drag & drop” for the DAW of your choice. This is also an advantage if you don’t own the full version of the Kontakt Sampler. You may map them in another sampler, pitch and manipulate them as audio files in your DAW, or do with them whatever you want to. Many sample developers these days tend to use the compressed Kontakt format .ncw, which can’t be used that easily in any DAW or another sampler, so this feature is a lovely and most welcome addition.
The Kontakt Instruments
Besides the pure .wav files, Percussion Hits also contains 7 custom scripted Instrument patches for both Kontakt 4 & 5. The patch names are the same as the sample categories’ folders:
- Main (contains all the following patches in layers that can be keyswitched in a single patch)
- Bends (kind of fly-by impacts or wooshbangs)
- Distant (impacts with a longer reverb tail)
- Impact (dry heavy impacts with a small reverb tail)
- Lighter (mid/hi impacts with a small reverb tail)
- Reverb (impacts with very long reverb tails)
- Reverse (reverse impacts)
The Kontakt GUI is clear and straightforward. On the top left is a reverse button with which samples can be reversed. Unfortunately, this is global only, meaning that if it is on, all the samples in the patch are reversed. On the top right is a one-shot release slider. In fact, here you can select the trigger mode for the samples (which, by default, is set to 0ne-shot). Press the key and the sample plays automatically until its end, regardless of when you physically release it. On release mode, the sample stops immediately upon the release of the key.
The most prominent part in the middle of the GUI is taken up by the tuner panel. Each slice represents a key and a single sample, where each sample may be tuned separately, within a range of ± 2400 cents. By pressing the “shift” key while adjusting the pitch values, you can increase the precision with which you tune. To reset all the settings, simply click on the Reset button on the panel’s bottom right corner.
On the bottom left. you will always see the name of the sample that is currently triggered. This is really convenient for the user, as the naming corresponds to the names of the samples in the samples folders. Last but not least, there is also a small EQ section. While using the EQ knobs, you can press the “alt” key to display the parameters values, and again press the “shift” key to enhance your tweaking precision.
How does it sound?
The sound of Percussion Hits is brilliant and powerful. Every sample is well crafted and perfect for professional productions. Have a listen as Spaectrum Arts‘ own Aleksi briefly runs through the library in this video:
If you are looking for a sample library full of impacts and hits, Percussion Hits is the library to go for. With the $49 price tag, it is a no-brainer. What I most like is the fact that the samples can be used independently outside of Kontakt. So if you don’t have Native Instruments Kontakt, you can still go for and benefit from this library – I myself always prefer this. I also like that Spaectrum Arts does update Percussion Hits. Released back in February 2014, it has since received 3 updates with new sample content, script improvements and new features. This is a product policy that is not found often in the world of virtual instruments.
What I would like to see, however, is a small FX section on the Kontakt version where you can trigger FX via keyswitches: gates, delay, reverb, lofi or distortion. Perhaps in a future update?