Through the years, Beta Monkey sample releases have been embraced by the audio industry in music production, film, and broadcast audio. We've also been fortunate enough to have our drum loops packages reviewed by the most notable and trusted audio and music-making publications in the world. And, these fine publications have all agreed with what thousands of Beta Monkey customers already knew about the quality and value of our drums.
Read on for specific reviews and links to publication sources.
August 2012 MusicTech Magazine Review: Drum Werks XXII: Ska Drum Grooves
MTM Verdict: "...Expertly played ska beats that are packed with natural groove and character"
The fine folks over at Music Tech Magazine gave us another solid review for the latest round of releases this year, notably the Reggae and Ska Drum Loops from our "L.A. Returns" Sessions.
What did they have to say about these tasty go-to collections? A few excerpts (you'll have to go out to the local newsstand to buy a copy if you want to read every last word) from the review:
"Luckily, live drum specialist Beta Monkey Music has brought in one of L.A.'s top session drummers and produced a tasty pack of 631 ska-inspired loops."
"The massive folder of fills is an excellent resource for padding out any drum arrangements..."
"This is a flexible and well played collection that's packed with natural rhythm..."
For the full review, visit MusicTech Magazine.
To preview and order, visit Drum Werks XXII Ska Grooves.
January 2011 MusicTech Magazine Review: Drum Werks XIV: The Brazilian Kitchen
MTM Verdict: "Great value, original-sounding Brazilian drum grooves with plenty of natural swing."
With BPMs ranging from 75 to 150, there's a surprising amount of variety in the loops, with swishing shuffles alongside upbeat, rolling snare grooves. The live, open drum sounds have little in the way of processing, with each individual instrument tuned to resonate like a set of traditional Brazilian drums.
Overall, the playing is tight but with plenty of subtle variations, swing and natural-sounding groove to make it feel live... if you want to build up a natural-sounding arrangement with almost zero repetition, then this is a great collection.
For the full review, visit MusicTech Magazine.
November 2010 Recording Magazine Review: L.A. Series (Drum Werks XV, XVI, XVII, and XVIII)
Drum Werks drum loop libraries represent the essence of Beta Monkey's special approach to this material- no frills, just great content, all at very affordable prices. These four volumes, the latest in the series, are referred to as the L.A. Rock Essentials Sessions, and represent a variety of loops and grooves all recorded in a single session with a single kit, so you can mix and match grooves and samples without having to worry about mismatched sounds due to mic'ing shifts or other variables.
Each library is sold as 16-bit WAV, 24-bit WAV, or 16-bit AIFF; the WAV files are Acidized with tempo information for quick import to Sony ACID and other DAWs that read such metadata, and the AIFF loops are in Apple Loop format for easy integration with GarageBand and Logic. Loops are generally four to eight bars long; I like having these longer chunks to work with, as they make for more interesting and less "loopy" tracks. Intros, fills, grooves and variations, are all neatly and consistently labeled. When you buy any of the first three volumes, you're given access to a download of 354 individual single-hit samples of the kit used to create them.
Volumes XV and XVI especially are meant to go together; XV has sets at 60, 80 and 120 BPM, and XVI has sets at 50, 80, 100, and 160 BPM. The 80 BPM material on the two volumes is different and there's no overlap; recorded at the same sessions, there was simply too much of it for only one volume, so it was divided up over the two for space reasons. Apparent "holes" in the file numbering for these sessions vanish when they're combined in one folder. These are straightforward rock grooves with a lot of variety, recorded and edited cleanly on a solid kit with a little bit of room ambience (but not so much that the drums can't mesh with other tracks in a mix).
Volume XVII, "Signature Rock Grooves", has a different format than the previous two; it has a dozen sets of drum tracks, each one named to hint at a famous rock song whose overall sound and style is emulated. Examples include "When the Led Breaks", "LaGranZZ", "Hot4Teach", and "Highway To Heck". These are great fun! They're not exact copies of the originals, but evoke the feel and style in a way that will connect to listeners on a deep level.
Volume XVIII is called "Piccolo Grooves" and features the same kit as above but with one substitution: a 13" x 3" steel piccolo snare, with a snappy, aggressive tone that really cuts through a mix. 60, 80, 100, 120, and 140 BPM groove folders are provided. I like the in-your-face attitude the piccolo gives these loops, and this library not only has more loops than the others but also features a folder of 264 single-hit samples right on the CD-ROM, not only of the snare but the other elements of the kit. I consider this library my favorite.
But they're all winners. Beta Monkey has again produced clean, useful, no-nonsense drum libraries that any rock producer can get into. At these prices, why not pick up a couple and take your drummerless productions to the next level?
Visit Recording Magazine for more information.
March 2010 Keys Magazine Review: Double Bass Mania III and IV
The initial feedback we received from editors was extremely positive. While certainly not a "metalhead" magazine by any stretch, they were so enthusiastic about these two discs that they found a way to bring us into the latest edition.
As soon as we can get a translation of the reviews in German, we will get it posted. But, if German is your native tongue, then be sure to grab the latest issue and have a go with some of the sets from the actual discs. Guaranteed to anger the neighbors, frighten young children, and scare off a host of annoying critters!
Visit www.keys.de for more information.
March 2009 MusicTech Magazine Review: Drum Werks XIII: Funky Motown
Recording live drums can be difficult at the best of times, but Beta Monkey has spent years building up a large selection of affordable drum packs in different musical styles. The latest is Drum Werks XIII, which focuses on funk, funk-rock, R'n'B and soul.
This pack contains no fewer than 492 original drum loops and 42 individual multi-velocity drum and cymbal hits. To keep the price down you can select from either 16-bit or 24-bit ACIDized WAV or AIFF files, which fit neatly on a single CD. This is an excellent method of delivering content as you're not paying for additional formats that you don't actually need and probably won't use. For those of you who do prefer a little additional tweakability, though, REX2 versions of the beats should become available in the not-too-distant future.
The recordings themselves are based loosely on the classic Motown sound, with dominant, pooping snares and deep kicks set loud to cut nicely through the mix. However, with the careful application of compression you could easily bring out the more subtle hi-hats, cymbals, and rolls.
There is a great variety of material on offer, with folders of beats ranging from 60-150 BPM; D'n'B aficionados will surely love the re-creations of classic funk breaks. All of the grooves and fills are taken from the same recording session, so they can easily be swapped around to build up variations or an entire arrangement as required without affecting the feel.
There's no point in denying that this is a low-budget pack and it lacks the kinds of bells and whistles that commonly furnish more expensive alternatives. We can assure you, however, that you'll be hard-pressed to find more professionally recorded live funk grooves for a mere £22.
Source: MusicTech MAGAZINE March 2009 - www.musictechmag.co.uk
November 2007 MusicTech Magazine Review: Pure Country IV: Nashville Brushes in 3/4 and 6/8
Although there’s certainly no shortage of drum loops to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult laying your hands on more genre-specific material, especially when you want a real kit played by a real person. Fortunately, Beta Monkey has turned out a particularly useful line of drum loops, many of which focus on particular styles – jazz, country and metal being just three – that are often overlooked by other samples developers. At just $30, the libraries are also extremely competitively priced, making even the occasional ‘dabble’ easy to justify.
Pure Country IV follows on from the success of previous Pure Country releases, although this time the focus has been shifted towards 3/4 and 6/8 brushed grooves. Despite its relatively low cost, the recording quality is superb, capturing the lightness and detail of the brushes, a neatly rounded kick drum, and just enough ambience to give the kit a sense of life and roominess. Pleasingly, the recordings have also been kept relatively clean (an important part of the Nashville sound), and this provides plenty of scope for you to add compression and EQ as you see fit.
All of the 300+ loops are clearly labeled, with count-ins, variation grooves, fills and so on. Tempos range from 52–165BPM. We also enjoyed the multi-sampled hits, which we quickly arranged into some useful programs for our EXS24 sampler. It’s also interesting – despite the ‘country’ tag – how transportable these grooves are to other genres, making Pure Country IV well worth a look if you’re a fan of brushed playing in general. MC
Source: MusicTech MAGAZINE November 2007 - www.musictechmag.co.uk
June 2007 Recording Magazine Feature/Review: Beta Monkey Double Bass Mania II: The Beast Returns!
A great write-up from Recording Magazine, one of the industry's best. The author makes some interesting observations about what sets Beta Monkey apart from the crowd...read on!
Beta Monkey Music Double Bass Mania 2 By Paul Vnuk Jr.
Double Bass Mania 2 is the newest drum (not bass!) loop collection by Beta Monkey Music, and its subtitle, “The Beast Returns” should give you an educated guess as to its content (in their words)—Brutal Metal Loops.
Format / Medium / Compatibility: Double Bass Mania 2 (“DBM2”) is available directly from Beta Monkey Music’s web site (www.betamonkeymusic.com) in either16-bit WAV, 24-bit WAV, REX2, or Apple Loops (AIFF) format (chosen at time of purchase).The loops arrive on a single compact disc housed in a standard DVD case and (based on your above choice) should work fine in the current lineup of DAW/Loop programs for Mac or PC, including ACID, Cubase, Reason, Live, SONAR, Logic, Garage Band, and so on. We received the 16-bit WAV files for review.
Content / Organization: DBM2 contains over 800 loops in a wide range of tempos and also includes 75 additional multi-velocity samples and a folder of breakdowns, one-shots and extended fills. DBM2 drum loops are organized into folders in the following tempi: 75, 90, 100, 110, 120, 140, 150, 180, 200, 200+, 220, 280, and 300 BPM. There are also folders for the above-mentioned one-shots and multi-samples.
The loop files are primarily labeled as “grooves” or “fills” with additional prefixes and suffixes that refer to tempo, kit piece, and musical phrasing. For example: “110_RC_Groove_02f “ translates to “110 BPM Ride Cymbal Groove number 2 with a fill”.
Documentation / Royalties and Licensing: While there is no booklet, the CD contains both .TXT and PDF files of creative suggestions, file nomenclature, legalese, letters of thanks, the Beta Monkey catalogue and the how, why and where DBM2 was made. DBM2 contains the usual “Lawyer Speak” End User agreement, and they sum it up nicely in English as: Use the loops in your musical compositions only, do not use them either altered or unaltered in commercial product (i.e., other sample/loop libraries).
Sonics and Craftsmanship: All of this library’s grooves were taken from the same sessions and recorded on a single kit. The kick drum tones are well defined, tight, and punchy, the snare tone is thick, and the cymbals are crisp and full. The sonic balance of the kit is good, and while the obvious focus is on the power of the kick and snare, and the crash placement is tasteful, I do wish the ride and hi-hats could have been a bit hotter in the mix.
Ambience-wise there is enough hint of the room so the loops sound natural, but not so much that adding your own additional verb would cause a problem. I was very impressed with the tooling of the loops. They are expertly cut and tightly quantized, which is very important for proper manipulation and playback in loop based programs like Live or ACID. The loop points are smooth and with few exceptions the drum and cymbal transients blend seamlessly.
Like most libraries these loops have a tempo threshold of roughly 20 BPM down and 30 BPM up before they became compromised with artifacts or sound unbelievable, but thanks to the abundant tempo choices this is not likely to pose a problem. (Speaking of tempo, this may be the first library I have reviewed with BPMs in the 300 plus range!)
Style: The “metal” genre covers a lot of territory from slow and heavy to speedy and furious, and this library keeps up quite well, and while Double Bass is its name, that’s not its only game. There are meat and potatoes hard rock riffs, machine gun snare work, cymbal mayhem and thundering tom fills too. As long you stick to logical tempo choices (for example, not throwing 75 BPM loops and 300 BPM loops into a 180 BPM song), most every file will play believably into the next, and with the additional one-shots and multi-sampled hits, crafting fist-flying, stick-twirling, head-banging anthems should be a synch! (Excuse me...cinch.) I can’t shake the name Tommy Aldridge from my mind as I listen to these loops, it’s like the Beta Monkey boys trapped his soul in these beats—think early Ozzy, Whitesnake and Steve Vai.
Summary: Given the sheer number of drum libraries in the world, it is surprising that there are very few which focus solely on this musical style and do it so well. At a paltry $30, even if you are not in the metal-client capital of the world, adding this flavor to your drum library is just a fun no-brainer. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have the sudden urge to watch some re-runs of MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball...
Price: $29.99. More from: Beta Monkey Music, www.betamonkeymusic.com.
February 2007 Music Tech Magazine Feature/Review: Beta Monkey Double Bass Mania
Beta Monkey Music Double Bass Mania: You don’t have to look very hard at all to find every sample you could possibly ever need if you like to make techno and electronica in your studio, but for those into the rock and metal genres, finding something suitable to keep the beat behind your latest composition can be a much trickier prospect. Fortunately, Beta Monkey Music has the solution in the shape of this stunning collection of fast and aggressive breaks and blast beats.
Of course, see more of what Music Tech has to offer each month at www.musictechmag.co.uk. Great British magazine with a monthly DVD.
November 2006 Recording Magazine Review: Beta Monkey Music Jazz Essentials
Beta Monkey Music Jazz Essentials by John Rossi III
Jazz Essentials (Drum Loops for Traditional Jazz) is a collection of pure Jazz drum loops, executed over a vide range of tempos, played on classic acoustic Jazz drum kits.
Delivery/Format/Compatibility and Installation:
The Jazz Essentials collection is delivered on one CD-ROM in ISO 9660 standard format compatible with both Macintosh and PC computer platforms. The product is available in three loop formats: ACIDized WAV loops, Apple Loops, or REX2 loops. You specify which format you desire when ordering; the ACIDized WAV version is reviewed here. All loops in all versions are recorded at 16-bit/44.1 kHz. Jazz Essentials contains no autoloader program so, unless your computer is configured to automatically display the contents of the disk, it will await your manually opening, browsing and selecting the content you want to use. No loop playback software is included, so you are required to supply an application that can work with one of the supported loop formats in order to use these sounds to their fullest potential.
Jazz Essentials is organized as 17 loop folders, each containing loops associated with a cohesive theme, played at the same tempo. Within each folder a substantial number of loops are organized by section. Each folder contains a count-in loop, one or more roll filled loops, at least one intro loop and one ending loop, and a wide variety of verse loops (each with its own subtle phrasing nuances and rhythmic variations). There are four 100 BMP themed folders, four 120 BPM themed folders, two 170 BPM, three 250 BPM, three 295 BPM and one 350 BPM themed folder. In addition, folders containing multi-velocity one-shot samples of all of the drums and cymbals from the kits used in loop development are included. There are no licensing restrictions for use of these loops in any musical arrangement.
Jazz Essentials is not for everybody. A thorough understanding of Jazz rhythmic structure and drumming techniques is probably necessary to get the most out of this outstanding traditional Jazz drum loop collection. Casual listening to the verse variations in a given theme, for example, might belie the fact that there are any differences at all between the loops. Careful listening, however, uncovers the subtle phrasing nuances that account for the differences. In fact, it is this degree of subtlety that makes this collection thoroughly usable in the hands of somebody who understands the Jazz idiom.
In addition to the subtle differences in phrasing, the loops are offered in 4, 8, 16 and 32 bar segments that make this loop collection unique in the world of Jazz-oriented drum loops. Another thing to note is that all of the loops in this set are of traditional Jazz. There are no “Latin”, “African”, or other ethnically flavored rhythms included here. I’m not a Jazz soloist, but I was able to produce a few very convincing tracks using these loops with Sony ACID Pro 6, taking advantage of ACID’s loop building structure to develop the rhythm tracks (these drum loops and a few very compatible Jazz upright bass loops), and then adding backing piano and solo sax using ACID Pro 6’s linear multitrack capabilities. In all, once I had mapped what I wanted to do, these loops were easier to use than I initially thought they would be.
These loops will allow anyone with sufficient determination to build a drum track that sounds like it was played by a live drummer. The greater the degree of the user’s proficiency with Jazz structures and phrasing, the more natural this loop collection will be to use. The bottom line is, if I can use them, somebody that actually knows what they are doing can really use them.
December 2005 Remix Magazine Review: Beta Monkey Music Drum Werks V
We just happened to be flipping through Remix and caught a review of Drum Werks V - short but sweet review of one of our most versatile and popular discs. Half the price, twice the loops!
MINIREVIEW: BETA MONKEY DRUM WERKS V5
By Jason Scott Alexander
This independent sample shop has been churning out slamming acoustic-drum-groove discs at near-breakneck speed for more than two years. Specializing in 100 percent acoustic material, Beta Monkey's economy-priced libraries, to date, have covered everything from double-bass hard rock and metal to country, blues, pop and hip-hop. In Drum Werks V5, the skilled BM team sets its sights squarely on sizzling, energy-soaked rock, alt-and power-pop grooves presented in a toolbox manner. What you get are more than 570 MB of 16-bit WAV loops (738 in all) including beats, fills, intros, endings, hi-hat and ride cymbal patterns, and one-shots arranged into tempo-based folders. Confidently casual and polished-feeling throughout, these folders span 12 different groove genres, from 75 bpm classic rock to straight and occasionally swung 100 to 50 bpm range rock and pop to straight and shuffled 180 bpm blister grooves. What's more, a folder containing a copious amount of multi-velocity single hits awaits assembly into a complete drum kit for augmenting the provided grooves or rolling your own.
The loops come just as I like them, intimately raw and under-processed, preferring to leave the treatment to mixdown. The really cool thing about this disc is that every groove, fill and hit is sonically matched, pristinely recorded off the same kit and taken from the same recording session. This makes for a cohesive library of uniform ambience front to back, where you can mix and match elements from not only within a single folder but also across the entire disc. The smart inclusion of cymbal swells, tom variants and several intricately played hi-hat and ride cymbal patterns (with and without snare backbeats) for each groove genre makes creating a complex and dynamic-sounding arrangement possible. Whether building a contemporary pop track from scratch or looking for brilliant session drumming to remix, Drum Werks V5 is a go-to loop collection for ballsy, realistic results.
For more information about Beta Monkey, visit www.betamonkeymusic.com.
September 2005 EQ Magazine Review: Beta Monkey Music Alt and Modern Rock III Drum Loops and Samples
By Craig Anderton | August 2005
"Another acoustic rock drum loop CD? Yes, but you get 11 construction kits (614MB) with groove and one-shot endings, and 83MB of individual hits for $25.99.
The 24-bit sounds are crisp and well recorded, with enough room ambience to give some "air", but "dry" enough to accommodate adding reverb. There is no overkill compression or EQ, either. The loops are logically arranged as grooves and fills; while there is no documentation, the loop names are intuitive.
The style is rock, but there is one folder each for shuffled, triplet, and funk grooves... these are extremely usable loops that slide right into rock tracks, and minimal processing gives you lots of latitude. If you already have rock drum CDs, this one offers no revelations. But if you need rock drums, you can't beat the value for money."
July 1, 2005 Review - Sound on Sound Magazine July 2005
Five stars for Drum Werks Vol. V? Too much! We really have to start raising our prices if everyone keeps saying such nice things...
Drum Werks Volume 5 *****
Beta Monkey Music are a US-based company specialising in competitively priced drum loop collections. Their various titles are mostly aimed at rock, pop, and blues styles, but the catalogue also includes libraries suitable for country, rap, and hip-hop. The library under review here is, like most of the other titles, based around a collection of 16-bit Acidised WAV files. In this case, the CD contained some 700MB of acoustic drum loops and single hits. The loops are organised into a number of tempo-based folders (ranging from 75bpm up to 180bpm), while separate folders contain collections of one-shots and single hits.
The titles of the various folders give a good idea of the loop styles available: 'Funky Rock Swing', 'No Nonsense Rock', and 'Alt Rock Grooves', for example. The playing is excellent throughout - where required it is straight and powerful, but there is also plenty of more intricate stick work to be found in the more funky or shuffle-based loops. Both the recording and subsequent editing also seem to have been well done. The sound is crisp, with nice biting snares, plenty of sizzle to the cymbals, and a solid kick-drum sound. The loops seem to have a little processing applied, which gives them a nice natural ambience, but, thankfully, this is not overdone, so it was easy enough to add a little further reverb if required.
The real strength of the library is the range of loops provided. As well as the usual one-, two-, and four-bar patterns and their variations, there are some really excellent fills, intros, endings, and breakdowns provided. This really does make it easy to construct a complete drum track with a minimum of fuss, including all the necessary elements needed to glue the basic sections together and enough variation to make it sound 'real'. This is further enhanced by the excellent collection of single hits. While these could easily be used to construct a multi-velocity drum kit within a sampler, they can also be used to ornament a loop-based track. The various cymbals, in particular, are good and all sorts of crashes, swells, and choked hits are included. The loops also have a fairly consistent sound across the folders, so it is easy to mix and match material for further variety.
I'd have no problem using these loops for any style of rock, from nu metal through grunge and into more pop-orientated indie styles, but they could also work in funk, blues, and straight pop. The other remarkable thing is the price, particularly as this includes worldwide shipping. Indeed, Beta Monkey also offer various bundles, bringing the price per library down even further. This is an absolute steal - so much, in fact, that I ordered half a dozen more libraries myself! These arrived very promptly and are now being put to good use in my own studio. Excellent value for money and highly recommended.
Review can be found online at Sound on Sound Magazine.
Check out what Recording Magazine had to say about our Drum Werks Vol. V in the April 2005 issue of Recording Magazine:
"These drums are all one kit, recorded very cleanly in a damped but not totally dead room. All the emphasis is on getting the sounds down as simply as possible, leaving sweetening to the recordist. For any given tempo there can be a couple of dozen different grooves with different elements emphasized or left out, plus halftime and doubletime loops, intros, fills, and enough extras to assemble a very convincing drum track. Special attention is paid to hi-hat and ride patterns, with tons of variety presented for each tempo.
Those little touches combine with the overall clean and clear sound of these drums to make Drum Werks 5 a real treat for engineers who like to put their own audio magic on instrument tracks rather than having them arrive all dolled up and ready to go. Beta Monkey has a wide variety of products organized by style and data format; check out their website for more details.
Oh, one more thing: did we mention this library costs well under thirty bucks? Instant no-brainer!"
Mike Metlay - Recording Magazine
Read more praise about Beta Monkey's full line of loop and sample discs from the following sources:
What are people saying about our stuff? We get tons of emails thanking us for the quality stuff we put out. We can't include them all, but we try to pick the ones that really show the enthusiasm and dedication our customers are known for. And, let's face it, our customers tell more about our products than we could ever dream up. Read more testimonials from actual customers and users here.