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Soundiron Antidrum Machine Review at Sample Library Review

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Antidrum Machine is not just an instrument, but a toolbox for sound design. There is a lot crammed into the interface, but its biggest strength is a huge offering of raw sounds all at the ready for advanced manipulation.

Antidrum Machine from Soundiron is a massive collection of unusual sounds – mostly (though not exclusively) of the percussive nature. With all of the content from Antidrum 1-3, Cathedral of Junk, Luftballoon, Luminabells, PVC Beatbox Ensemble, and Snow Drums, this library serves as a one-stop shop for odd sounds that you won’t find in any other product: shouts, toy drums, shoes squeaking, lightbulbs buzzing, and actual human flatulence (yes, seriously), plus hundreds of others. 

Thoughts

Antidrum Machine takes the risk of packing all of its main controls into one main interface panel. The tools provided give you a lot of ways to customize the library’s output, but they can seem a bit overwhelming and tricky to navigate due to the density of buttons and knobs.

The interface has some slight variations per the different .nki categories (Ensembles, single effects, dual layer, and ambience), but they all contain the same essential controls. The picture above shows the interface for the “Ensemble” instruments, which spread a variety of different sounds across the keyboard. Clicking the “Settings” button on the left side opens up a mapping editor, which lets you assign different sounds to different keys if you aren’t satisfied with the default mapping. You can also edit midi input settings or randomize the mapping completely if you’d like!

Every patch, however, contains the Source, LFO, Filter, and ARP along the bottom. The first tab is source, which provides envelope controls and overall volume for specific sounds that you can choose with the dropdown menus above. There are also knobs for pitch, pan, and treble/bass EQ. It’s worth noting that the pitch goes all the way down or up to 3 octaves, which gives a lot of possibilities for sound design. The built-in LFO allows you to modulate things like treble and bass EQ, volume, pitch, pan, filter cutoff, and a few others. It is tempo synced automatically with depth, rate, and attack free to manipulate. Sine, triangle, sawtooth, square, and random waveforms are available!

Several filter types are available, and you can choose different ways to modulate it such as velocity or mod wheel.

Resonance and Frequency are also manually adjustable, with a small step sequencer below. Finally on the far right there is a simple arpeggiator/step sequencer so you can create looping rhythms.

On the “Dual Layer” and “Ambience” patches, there are 2 of each of the above controls, and a fader to crossfade between the 2 sounds you’ve chosen. If you want to blend a shoe squeak with a toy glockenspiel, this is a good way to make it happen.

As with most Soundiron products, the 10-slot FX rack with 18 different modules is available on top of all of the other main interface controls. Presets can be saved and loaded if you find an FX chain that you really like as well! It’s hard to talk about “the sound” of a library that’s a collection of such a massive amount of different recordings.

Quality of recording is standard Soundiron level!

Quality of recording is standard Soundiron level. This product takes a “jack of all trades” approach, by offering insane amounts of overall content, but without really focusing on the details of anyone in particular. There is only one microphone position available for all sounds. Depending on the size of the sound source, there are varying amounts of room sound in the sample. For example, my personal favorite sound, the shouts, have a lot of baked-in room sound/reverb that you can’t do much about. So, if you’re looking for minute details, this library might disappoint in that area. However, this is easily outweighed by the pure variety of samples.

The real magic of Antidrum happens when you start playing with the LFO and Arpeggiators

A good way of looking at Antidrum Machine is not just as a musical instrument, but as a toolbox for sound design. In my opinion, the biggest strength of this library is the amount of raw sound sources that can be used a base for more advanced manipulation. For example,

I used a “PVC Didgeridoo” sound and turned it into a gritty electronic “braaam” for a trailer track. Laying out the ensemble patches and just going through the variety of sounds up the keyboard triggers a lot of ideas for more creative approaches to music and sound design. Of course, there are lots of sounds that fulfill a specific musical role, such as the toy drum set or music box. But the real magic of Antidrum happens when you start playing with the LFO and Arpeggiators on some of the recordings you won’t find anywhere else.

Facts

Antidrum Machine contains 21,038 samples and weighs in at 8.1 GB installed. There are a total of 39 NKI Kontakt instruments with thousands of sound sources. There are 18 effects modules in the built-in FX rack.

All samples are 24 bit / 48kHz. This library is compatible with the free Kontakt Player, and required version 5.6.8 or higher.

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