Konkrete 3 is the third and, by far, the most complete incarnation of the series. What started out as some clever and experimental, but simply presented, electronic drum kits has developed into a truly remarkable drum machine sample library.
It’s a ‘Powered by Kontakt‘ library, so you don’t need the full version of Kontakt to use it, but if you do, you can load it into your library panel for easy access. It is also NI Maschine compatible, meaning you can have all sorts of fun playing and sequencing live and on the fly.
Konkrete 3 arranges its 90 kits into three folders: Konkretes 1, 2 and 3. So it incorporates all the previously released sounds. There is clearly a wide range of sources for the material on show here: analogue drum machines, field recordings, live sampling, circuit bending and general bashing of two objects together until it sounds interesting. And that’s all before a wealth of processing sculpts them into the sounds we have here in Konkrete 3.
The Konkrete 3 Interface
As with any SonciCouture library, a huge amount of thought has gone into creating hugely flexible, dynamic and expressive GUI controls. On the main instrument panel we an array of controls. To start with we have control over the level/volume, the panning, the pitch, the start point of the sample and also the saturation level. Then there are lo-fi options (sample rate and bit reduction) a filter (low pass, high pass and band pass), a multi-functional envelope control (basic amp, filter envelope, pitch and LFO), glitch controls, EQ, a compressor and effects (space/reverb and delay).
The effects are further controllable on the mixer panel, where you can choose your impulse responses and filtering for the reverb and time, feedback and tempo-syncing of the delays. The rest of the mixer panel is, well, a mixer with four bus channels, each with four inserts that can be chosen from bus compressor, transient master, tape saturation, distortion, low pass filter, EQ, cabinet and filter. A wealth of options for controlling the output of your chosen drum kit.
Another nice little feature is the third panel, the beat shifter. This is a six channel, generative drum machine that evolves its sequencing over time. Meaning that you can program a beat and, using the controls available, add subtle or marked differences as your track progresses. These controls include shift (which controls the likelihood of the position of the drum sound moving in the sequence), step (which controls how far to shift a sound), direction (which direction to move the beat), velocity (range of velocity on playback of the ample) and chance (which controls the general randomness going on).
For me, this function is perhaps most useful of you are using the Konkrete kits a secondary percussion element behind a more rigid beat. You have some really cool options, such as being able to freeze the pattern when it’s doing something you really dig, and also to save and load patterns you’ve made. Plus, there are some more basic controls such as the amount of swing, number of steps and also the speed of the beat you’ve created.
As alluded to earlier in this review, there really is a wide range of kits available. As well as the traditional drum machine tones associated with electronica, you have some more experimental/acoustic stuff that is perfect for anything from cinematic to folk music, depending on how avant garde you might be feeling.
How Does Konkrete 3 Sound?
The sound quality is great and, as I say, the range is vast enough (across all three incarnations of Konkrete included) to keep you happy in a number of different projects. SonicCouture have provided some really great sonic weaponry to add to your percussive arsenal, that includes some great usability and sound sculpting techniques at your finger tips. If you want a collection of new percussive sounds that goes way beyond drum machines and steers well clear of epic, this is a fantastic buy.