Saturday, November 17

Kick Toolkit Review!


The kick is the backbone of dance music. Defining both style and genre by it's sound and rhythm, from the straight click of minimal tech to the bouncy thud of hip hop. So needless to say a great kick is vital to any production. Personally, I've been collecting old analog drum and rhythm machines for a number of years and one I've always had my eye on is the Jomox M-Base. The latest incarnation, the M-Base 11, is capable of classic 808/909 kicks and much much more, with a frequency range down to 10hz! Of course the real issue with using this drum synth is the need of a sequencer, and if your like me and prefer making beats in Reason, that's an issue (midi out in Reason 7?). But that's where the new Kick Toolkit ReFill from Robb at Reason Patch a Day comes in! Featuring over 300 samples recorded directly from the M-Base 11, 38 specially designed drum kick effects Combinators, 11 mini-combis with dedicated front panel controls and a boat load of tuned kick synths - all for $5!

After picking up the Kick Toolkit ReFill and spending an afternoon lost in rhythm nirvana I had to ask Robb a few questions about this refill:

You've been working on Reason Patch a Day for over 4 years! First off what made you decide to do a commercial refill now and why the Jomox MBase 11 Analog Bass Drum Module as your sound source?

"It was really a case of the device leading the project. I had been wanting a MBase 11 from the minute I had read about it, and when I finally got my hands on one, I was blown away by the sounds I was able to get out of it. Since I'm constantly "feeding the blog," it made sense to put together some kick samples for Reason Patch A Day, but the more time I spent using the Mbase, the more I thought the samples could stand on their own.

My original plan was just to package them up as a sample library, but given my love for Reason, I decided that I could add some personalized effects and make it a refill. I'm sure I cost myself some potential customers by focusing just on Reason, but I wanted to support the community that has supported my blog for so long."

The Kick Toolkit comes with over 300 samples that cover a lot of sonic terrain - from classic analog sounding kicks to the short click kicks that I love. I've been playing around with the raw samples loaded into Kong for the last few days and was quite pleasantly surprised out how well the kicks fit with Kong's built in snare and hat modules - when creating these kicks did you visualize how they would sound with Reason's built in devices?

"Not really. My goal was just to concentrate on the kicks themselves. The kick drum is the foundation of a lot of electronic music, so I figured that if people had a solid foundation to start with, they'd find ways to add to it with other sounds and drums.

I was a little worried, at first, about having a set of kicks that didn't have kits built around them, but when I did some experiments on my own, I quickly realized what you had discovered. It's surprisingly simple to just add a good snare or hi-hat to the kicks in the refill, and it all just works."

The samples themselves are recorded at 24 bit resolution and sound fantastic! On the Reason Patch a Day site you mention using no outside processing, out of curiosity what's your studio set-up?

"It's pretty minimal. When I first started using Reason, I got my hands on a first generation M-Audio Oxygen and a Quattro, but found that I did most of my work on a laptop, away from home and any dedicated hardware. I've slowly swung back around to having a dedicated studio space, but I still do the majority of my work in Reason with a mouse, as opposed to a keyboard.

I have a pile of old drum machines, some keyboards, a couple of microphones, a Mobile-Pre, and a collection of various sound toys laying around (stuff like the Casio VL-Tone, Stylophone, an original Beep-It, a Bliptronic, a Korg Monotron and the Monotribe, etc.), but usually once I've sampled what I like, those boxes don't get used much.

The device I probably use the most is my Microtrack II. It's a small digital recorder that can accept a signal from a mic or a couple of formats of line-in and I use it for a lot of my sampling, given that I can literally take it anywhere. It sounds great for the price and hasn't failed me yet. I did most of the recordings directly from the Mbase into the Microtrack II and I think the results were great.

I suppose what I really should do is clean up my studio and get everything wired up. Maybe that'll be a good New Year's Eve project. "



Kick Toolkit Specs:

Kick Drum WAVs: Over 300 unique kick drum samples created using the Jomox Mbase 11 Analog Bass Drum Module, a single voice analog synthesizer fine-tuned for producing a variety of bass drum sounds. Each kick was created specifically for this refill and was sampled at 24-bit resolution, with no outside processing, for the cleanest possible signal and sound.

Effects: The Kick Toolkit Refill contains 38 effect patches, using Reason's Scream, RV7000, Pulverizer, and other effect units.

Mini-Combis: One or two device Combinators designed specifically for the purpose of manipulating and sculpting kick drum patches and samples. Each Mini-Combi has been programmed with front panel control ranges designed for its limited task to make final tweaks fast and easy. A number of Mini-Combis have also been included to provide presets for devices that do not normally allow for loading and saving patches (ex. BV512 Vocoder). 11 mini-Combis are included, along with 43 additional presets, providing help with compression, equalization, and other general purposes.

At $5 USD picking up the Kick Toolkit ReFill is a no brainer. Seriously this refill will give you enough low end sample fodder for months to come, not to mention the great Combinators and effects devices. Check out some of the beats I came up with while playing around with Kick Toolkit along with sounds from the Reason Factory Soundbank and Nucleus Soundlab's BFD Core ReFill:



1 comment:

Patch-A-Day Robbneu said...

Thanks for the excellent post, Lewis! Your demo video is fantastic and I appreciate the truly kind words about the work I did on this small refill.

If anyone has any other questions, please don't hesitate to let me know, either here, over on Reason Patch A Day, or on the Props User Forums.

Thanks again, Lewis!