Vi-Elements Core Kit Review
Over the years of recorded music, the world has come to know some outstanding beat keepers. Neil Peart (Rush), Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band), Rob Gardner (Guns N’ Roses), Rick Allen (Def Leppard) are just a few that pop off the top of my head. In our garages we all may not have a super-human drummer like these guys, but in today’s world of vst and sample kits, we can do our best to have them in our bands. Meet Vi-Elements. Based out of my former home of Virginia Beach, is the sampling division of Studio G Productions. The company recently released its first sample library entitled “Core Kit.” This Kontakt library (full version not required, Kontakt Player 5 and up) is packed with over 20GBs of sampled acoustic drum goodness to add to your productions no matter the genre you dabble in. Let’s dive in it like Trey Songz says (he’s from Virginia too).
When you first look at the drop down menu, you’ll immediately notice that the kit is divided into 11 sections (Kicks, Snares, Toms, Hi-Hats, Rides, Crashes, Splashes, Bashers, Other, General MIDI, and Tweaked Instruments). Also, in the multi’s menu you’ll find cymbals, general MIDI, kicks, kits, snares and toms.
Once you load up any of the .nki files into Kontakt you’ll notice the beautiful GUI. At the bottom there are 2 tabs, map and mix. The map tab gives you all the info about the sample you’ve loaded including root pitch, articulations, mics used, any add-ons to the sample, the MIDI note the sample is assigned, and many other pieces. One thing I love about the map tab is you can change which note the sound plays on. This is key when you have someone using an instrument like Maschine, or they want to play the drums across their keys. Maschine instantly roots pads to note C3. Say you have got 4 instances up and running on your pads with kick, snare, hat, and tom. Making all these notes C3 is just like loading up any wav sample. This is key to all finger drummers.
The other tab, the mix tab is exactly as it sounds. Here you can mix the mics recorded in each sample. You mostly find a lot of these samples were recorded with 4 mics and the placement varying pending the instrument. The mix tab has EQ for each mic (low and hi), attack, sustain, and pan. You can also mute and solo mics as well. In addition there is reverb built into the channel, giving you extra control to develop your sound. In the reverb section, placed left of the main mixer, you have the control to decide which mics and at what positions you will place into your sound, as well as size of the reverb and pre-delay. I must say that this is one of the cleanest and most straight forward GUI’s for a Kontakt library I’ve seen in quite some time.
The Core Kit not only looks great, but it also sounds great. The Core Kit was recorded using some top notch acoustic drums at different 2 different pitches from brands like Sonar, DW, Yamaha, Zildjian, Sabian, and Ludwig. With its extensive MIDI mapping, you should absolutley have no trouble hooking up electronic drum kit, or using triggers on an acoustic set, and not get amazing results. I’d have to say that the kick section is the standout of all sections. You get such a natural sounding kick, and with the multi-samples, you can really get a great backbone groove going punching throughout your music. The DW Collectors series kick is one that must be checked out immediately. In addition, the snares inside of Core Kit are of a great variety and sounds. No matter if you are doing sample replacement, or programming, the snares will give you that instant pop you are looking for. With most of the snares mic’d from both top and bottom, the right amount each can be tweaked in the mix tab to get the results you’re looking for. My personal favorite is the hats. While there is only the Zildjian, it has so much life. Especially when using and electronic kit, the pedal reacts so naturally with minimal latency to truly give you a natural feel.
In a very saturated market of drum samples, Vi-Elements took on its own lane and have provided producers an excellent weapon to add into their arsenals. This is great for not only studio musicians using e-kits to get that perfect sound (without using a million mics and pres), but also for the live drummer hooked into your trigger. Make it easy on the front of house sound engineer and use the Core Kit. Also in the future, there will be expansions available for Core Kit, which I cannot wait to get my grubby mitts on. On a scale of 1-16 pads (1 being in a fist fight with Chris Brown and 16 being nailing Dre’s verse on “No Diggity” by Blackstreet) Core Kit “Clipse’s” at 14 pads! You can purchase your copy in the link below. It’s available as a download OR you can have it shipped to you on a 32GB flash drive (I really want that flash drive!).
James Jaxin (@jaxin414)
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Product Review Specialist MaschineMasters.com