Thrash DI Review

This month, Bobby got around to reviewing the new sample library from Sample OddityThrash Di. From their website:

Amp up this direct-input sampled guitar and let fly with metal mayhem! You will need a decent amp sim to fully take advantage of this instrument. Thrash DI also includes The Riffmaker, a powerful and versatile step sequencer built to construct brutal riffs.

 

 

 

 

Installation

Installation…. with these sample based libraries it seems a thing of the past! With this particular product, all you do is extract the RAR file onto the hard drive or space where you normally keep your samples and that’s pretty much it! Load up your sequencer of choice, create a new instrument track assigned to Kontakt, navigate to the folder and your done!

Patches

Sample Oddity give you a total of nine patches to play with. Whilst this doesn’t seem like much, each patch is loaded to the brim with a great range of sounds and effect.

Thrash DI Dives and Rises – This one is for all your guitar dive bombs (the sound of a plectrum scraping down the entire length of the guitar neck).

Thrash DI Harmonic Sweeps – A very interesting patch containing fast guitar sweeps playing harmonics. Whilst I like the idea of this one, I just don’t know what or how I could use it. This doesn’t make it a bad patch (although I did find one sample that started about ½ second late), but I just don’t know when I would use this.

Thrash DI HP all PW Speed – I presume that HP stands for Hammer / Pull (not the brown sauce…) Again, this is a preset that I would have little to no use for personally, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sound good! All of the hammer ons and pull off’s sound good, are well recorded, and could add a bit of life to a guitar solo.

Thrash DI Main – Brilliant. Love this patch. On the higher notes it contains just straight recordings of single notes, but where this patch really comes into its own is on the lower notes. A very well programmed ‘chugging’ guitar sound can be created with ease. Press the key down and it plays back a down stroke sample, release the key and it plays an upstroke sample. Press the key down and hold it and it plays back a sustained chord. This is a great patch, very useful for adding a quick ‘chugging’ guitar sound to your track!

Thrash DI Noises – A good patch containing a lot of fret noises. Again, great for adding an authentic touch and feel to your guitar midi programming.

Thrash DI Pinch Harmonics – A pinch harmonic is when a guitar player plays a note, and allows his thumb to briefly touch the string after playing it with a plectrum. This makes the note sound an octave higher than is played. These samples are very well recorded. Pinch Harmonics is difficult to get consistently correct across a range of notes, but these samples are very well played.

Thrash DI Riff Maker – A very cool step sequencer where you can adjust up strokes, down strokes, longer held notes, harmonics and pitch. A very cool way of programming guitar riffs and chord based patterns.

Thrash DI Slideups – Very similar to the main sound, but the note has a slide leading up to it rather than played normally.

Thrash DI Tremolo – I feel that this patch name is a bit confusing. People have various ideas of what tremolo is, and in this instance the sound is more like ‘speed picking’. The sample played is a plectrum going back and forth over a string very quickly.

The problem that I am having with the concept of this sample library is that there are a lot of patches designed to help you map out a guitar solo using midi. You can create some very realistic guitar solo’s using the mixture of dive bombs, hammer ons, vibrato, palm muting, harmonics and other guitar effects that are included, but this is where the problem lies for me. As a composer, I would not have the patience to map out a guitar solo to make it sound authentic.

If I wanted a guitar solo, I would plug my guitar in and record it. But what about the composers that don’t play guitar I hear you scream? My feeling is that If you do not play guitar, or even understand the techniques used, then it is going to be very difficult to know where a real guitarist would add a hammer on, a pull off, an upstroke instead of a downstroke, e.t.c. All of these are nuances that a guitarist will add naturally to a solo or guitar recording. Whilst it is great having sample libraries that cover most articulations and phrasing aspects of an instrument, I would not use this software to create a guitar solo. And If I did, it would take me FOREVER for it to sound authentic and realistic.

Interface

 

The interface is quite basic, utilizing two simple panels.

Main houses a range of controls and buttons.

On the right hand side of the main panel there are three buttons dealing with ‘style’. These buttons include light vibrato, heavy vibrato and slide – you can use the buttons on the interface or the upper set of keyswitches to switch between heavy vibrato, light vibrato, or slideups, and whichever articulation is currently selected will play on velocities over 119. A good feature, but it just takes a while to play a guitar solo in using your keyboard and get used to pressing down harder when you want to add vibrato or a slide.

Effects is fairly obvious! It contains a basic delay effect, a filter, and some controls for amp simulation. Sample Oddity make no apologies for the amp simulation, and highly recommend that you use Thrash DI in conjunction with a suitable amp simulator (in my case I used Guitar Rig).

Sound

Something that really struck me with this particular sample based library is that it could be used for sound design. Take some of these patches, a bit of filtering, a bit of delay, a bit of reverb, and you have something completely different. Some of these presets can be manipulated to sound very dirty and dark, and could give your compositions a new lease of life!

All of the samples have been well played, and well recorded. They have applied minimal processing to the sounds, allowing you to shape them afterwards, especially with amp simulation.

This library can obviously be used for the heavy rock genres as well. Don’t be put off by the name ‘Thrash’, as this library can be used to good effect for anything from heavy metal, hard rock, 80’s ballad rock and hardcore!

Conclusion

Personally, I am not going to use this library to create ‘thrash metal’ or ‘hard rock’. I am going to use some of the interesting patches as leads for a dark orchestral song, or use the effects as ‘ambient’ style drones. You can certainly create some interesting and unusual sounds that will give your compositions a twist with a bit of creative thinking.

The library is well recorded and put together, but I feel that this is a package aimed at ‘song’ composers rather than ‘soundtrack’ composers. It has some great choices of samples, and the creators have really thought about how to make a library that covers all aspects of guitar playing when you turn the amp to 11!

Written by: Bobby Cole

Bobby Cole is a professional music composer from the UK. He blends orchestral and electronic elements creating evocative, epic and dramatic music. He composes for film & TV,and has composed music for MTV, DC Comics, Hell's Kitchen, History Network, National Geographic Channel, Cartoon Network and many more.

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