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Toontrack SDX: The Metal Foundry (Boxed)

Toontrack SDX: The Metal Foundry (Boxed)

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2 customer reviews

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Toontrack SDX: The Metal Foundry (Boxed) - Press Reviews

Reviewed by: Sound on Sound
September 2009
When I compared Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 2 with FXpansion’s BFD2, my one quibble was its relatively small number of instruments. However, two expansion packs have since been released: New York Studios and, reviewed here, The Metal Foundry (TMF). There are no prizes for guessing the musical target, and TMF comes exactly 10 years after Toontrack’s first ‘rawk’ orientated drum product, Drumkit From Hell.

Seven complete kits have been sampled for this pack and, by careful choice of kit and microphone combinations, they’ve been designed to cover ground from late ‘60s Zeppelin-esque classic rock to Slipknot-like nu-metal, with stops along the way for Kiss, Iron Maiden and Metallica. As you might expect, the attention to detail is exemplary: the full install requires 35GB of drive space and uses some 300,000 individual samples, although you can choose from a number of more compact installation options. As with other SD2 kits, multiple mics are offered for kick and snare, various overhead mic positions are available, and the bleed level between mics can be controlled. So it’s just like working with a recording of a real kit.

The end result of this detailed sampling is fabulous. There are enough sonic differences between the various kits to provide some variety, but as they’re all top-notch acoustic drum kits, depending on how you mix them they could just as easily find a place in other musical styles. The key factor, of course, is how they’re played, and once you’ve registered, a sizeable collection of MIDI loops can be downloaded from Toontrack’s website. There are some more ‘vanilla’ loops amongst this lot, but the up-tempo beats really do show off the samples in their intended genre. There’s some great playing, displaying both subtle snare work and head-crushing kick performances (although generally not at the same time!). It’s difficult to imagine a non-drummer being able to program anything that would approach the quality on offer here, and all the building blocks (intros, fills, variations and so on) required to build a complete performance are provided.

If you already own SD2, the Metal Foundry will provide an excellent source of new drum sounds that, while aimed at rock styles, would easily work in other contexts. Both the quality and quantity of the samples included in this expansion pack make it excellent value for money. If you don’t already own SD2, but classic and modern rock is your thing, then the combination of SD2, the excellent Metal Foundry samples and the equally good MIDI performances is something I’d recommend highly to all rock and metal heads.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewed by: iDJ magazine
August 2009
Drum sounds are possibly the hardest thing to truly nail in the studio; sometimes all you need is that extra compression, other times it’s the reverb that counts. One thing you can be sure of though, is that the source sounds need to be crisp, clean and heavy as possible!

Here’s where Metal Foundry SDX comes in. Boasting 300,000 sound files over seven drum kits, if you can’t find the right kicks, snares, hi-hats or toms on this, you’re never going to nail your drums. Seriously.

Curated by Meshuggah drummer Tomas Haake, this package covers all organic rhythm styles from jazz to heavy rock. You might ask why we’re reviewing it in a dance music magazine, and the answer is simple. No rhythm is sacred, especially when you consider the live sounding percussion on current dubstep platters or indeed the live arena that many producers of all genres are moving towards these days.

Recorded and produced at Atlantis Studios by the likes of Mattias Eklund (Toontrack Music), Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah) who recorded Toontrack’s original Drumkit From Hell.

The kit, like all good sample libraries, is split into handy categories… kicks, snares, hi-hats, toms, cymbal sets, rides and the all-important cowbells. Once you’ve picked your drums and loaded them in the Superior Drummer player you can audition, EQ, envelope, pitch, humanize and twist them completely with numerous effects.

A five-disc set, this will add another dimension to any producer’s sound. Superior Drummer was already impressive, now with this Metal Foundry bolt-on, it really does need checking out.

Excellent drum sounds for any computer based musician or producer.
Reviewed by: Music Tech Magazine
September 2009
Toontrack leads from the front in the multi-sampled drum kit world, and this latest expansion pack for Superior Drummer 2.0 is no exception. The five DVDs contain a total of seven drum kits that span 300,000 audio files of individual hits recorded from the various close and ambient mics. You get four install options, from a basic 3.5GB kit to the full 33.6GB library including all additional mics and bleed options. The range of kicks, snares, toms and cymbals far exceeds any of the other packs to date, reflecting modern metal drummers’ obsession with multi-piece kits. All these options mean you can create your own hybrid monster setup and fill the Superior interface with double kick drums and a mass of toms and cymbals.

Sound quality is faultless; although is may not have the subtleties of, say, the Jazz pack, you’re unlikely to notice when you’re flying through metal beats at 250BPM. A whole heap of presets are available compiled by a selection of pros, and most have an extremely close and tight sound that works well with insanely fast rhythms and fills. Custom MIDI files are also available as a download after product registration that really shows off the potential of the pack, with looks from Gene Hoglan and Dirk Verbeuren and further beats from Peter Fredlander.

This expansion pack is another astonishing achievement for the Toontrack team, proving that the platform is capable of reproducing even the most complex of setups and beats, while the sheer number of drum options available makes it extremely versatile.

Verdict: A huge library of expertly recorded drums and insanely heavy beats – a must for metal maestros.

Rating: 9/10
Reviewed by: Computer Music
September 2009
For the second SD2.0 expansion, Toontrack have gone back to their roots with a massive metal-focused kit recorded at Atlantis Studios in Stockholm. Naturally, there are two kick drums: for the right, you can choose from 12 different types, while the left one has matching drums for five of them. Turn on the Alternate option in the main kick’s control panel and the program will switch between the two drums with each hit. Sonically, there’s everything from tight, clicky and punchy, to big, beefy and downright boomy.

For snares, there are 14 on offers, and most are of the high-tuned variety, including the 7x13” Tomas Haake Engineering model and a Pearl Ian Paice 6.5x14”. For a thumping rock snare, the 6.5x14” Pearl Reference Low Pitched and 12x14” WFL Marching Snare do the trick. There are three rack and two floor toms, with around eight kits’ worth of drums to pick from. And for cymbals, you’ll find five sets of hats, four rides and a jawdropping 40 crashes, splashes, Chinas, and so on. Oh, and a cowbell! All we can suggest that might enhance the ‘instant metal’ experience would be a few layerable pads with the sort of processed ‘triggered’ drum hits that are common in modern metal, but you can always use an external sampler for that.

Mic channels include all the usual suspects, with points of interest being four snare mics, ‘snare trash’ (a 1940s mic), four ambience channels and a reverb ‘chamber’. There are some cool mixer presets too.

With the likes of name metal producer Daniel Bergstrand listed on the credits, it’s clear that Toontrack haven’t cut corners with Metal Foundry SDX, and the sound quality is fantastic. And while these kits are indeed great for metal, due to their punchy nature, they’re great for genres like pop, funk and rock too.

Rating: 9/10
Reviewed by: Future Music
November 2009
When we reviewed Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 2.0 drum sampling software a few months ago we were seriously impressed with the flexibility it offered. The process all starts with the initial selection of drums to fill each of the slots in your virtual kit. S2.0 comes bundled with a fairly decent selection (known as the Avatar kit) but it’s also possible to install SDX expansion packs that allow you to choose from an even wider range of drums and cymbals. The first two SDX packs offer two quite different approaches.

The samples on The Lost New York Studios were recorded at two of New York’s most famous studios, both of which have now shut their doors for good. Between them, the Hit Factory and Allaire Studios have hosed sessions with big names like David Bowie and Paul Simon, and it’s that classic pop-rock sound that Toontrack have captured by recording these samples in their live rooms.

It’s a slight shame that different drums were recorded in each studio as it would be nice to be able to pick and choose which room sound you use, but the recording quality is top notch and the sounds are outstanding. From the Allaire sessions you can choose a variety of kick drums from Gretsch, Ludwig and Slingerland. Toms are from Ludwig, snares from Ludwig and Rogers. At the Hit Factory, kicks and toms are GMS while snares are Ludwig, GMS and Trick. Cymbals at both studios are Sabian.

The Metal Foundry expansion pack focuses less on the room sound and more on the drums and drummers, making it an even bigger package than the NY SDX. The sounds are far more extreme, with an emphasis on heavy rock, metal and the dirtier end of punk and industrial music. There’s a quite incredible range of drums available to add to your kit, including the Sonor Tomas Haake signature range plus kicks, snares and toms from Tama, DW, Ludwig, Pearl and WFL. Cymbals mainly come courtesy of Sabian, with a handful from Paiste, Bosphorous and Zildjian throw in for good measure. The full list includes over 100 options and everything’s recorded with the same high standards as the rest of the S2.0 samples. If you can’t put together a decent metal kit out of this lot you should probably give up!

Metal Foundry’s credentials are further reinforced by the fact that big names like Tomas Haake of Meshuggah played a part in the recording process. The presets are instantly usable and come courtesy of a host of metal drummers and producers, most notably Dirk Verbeuren of Soilwork and the legendary Gene Hoglan of Dark Angel/Strapping Young Lad fame. As with the original S2.0 presets (and the New York package), the quality of the MIDI patterns here is astonishing and when combined with the vast array of samples it’s easy to create drum arrangements which sound as good as the real thing.

My initial feeling was that £125 was expensive for an expansion pack. The SD software itself carried a price of over £200 so once you factor in either of these packages you’re looking at a big investment. However, after getting to grips with the packs I soon realised that the quality (and quantity) of the sounds included really justifies the price. When you consider that the price of each expansion pack is comparable with a couple of good sample DVDs it puts it into perspective, especially since I’m unaware of any sample DVD offering anything approaching this level offering anything approaching this level of flexibility.

Stability: 10/10
Value: 9/10
Ease of Use: 10/10
Versatility: 9/10
Results: 10/10

Received the Future Music Platinum Award
Reviewed by: Drummer mag
May 2010
No prizes for guessing the flavour of our next Superior Drummer 2.0 expansion pack. Yup, it’s all about hard rock and metal.

Recorded at Atlantis Studios in Stockholm and name checking Meshuggah drummer Tomas Haake amongst others, Toontrack have taken their rawk responsibilities very seriously. This becomes instantly apparent in the size of the sound library: it’s a bit of a porker. The full install containing all the kit pieces and mic bleed weighs in at a pretty substantial 35GB spread over 5 DVDs. Of course there are options to install various cut down versions, starting at a more manageable 3.5GB, but for the full effect, a fast computer and lashings of ram/hard drive space are recommended.

Kit wise it’s a case of yet more desirable drums sorted into seven kits that vary from modest classic rock style set-ups to much bigger double kick drum and cymbal laden metal kits. Full kits include a Ludwig Silver sparkle and Amber Vistalite, whilst the individual pieces include some high tuned snares like the Pearl Ian Paice 14 x 6.5” and the lower, rockier Pearl Reference Low Pitched. Cymbal wise we are spoilt for choice with five sets of hats, four rides and a crate full of crashes, splashes, Chinas etc. I also liked some of the more unusual drums available, like the WFL Marching Snare and 6 and 8” Tama Imperial Star toms that make a nice alternative to the more standard kit pieces. If this is all far too much choice, there are some great kit presets to use as a starting point as well as some well put together midi files to download (once the pack has been registered) that really show off what the kits can do.

From a sound point of view, this pack hits its target full on, with well recorded kits that sound tight and focused, great for all those high speed beats and fills, but still retaining some great sonic character. In fact the whole pack has a great sounding vibe to it that makes it fun to use whether pounding out 150BPM blast beats or something funkier with a slower groove.

The Metal Foundry is yet another well recorded and expertly put together set of drum sounds that goes well beyond its intended genre to be useable in a wide range of styles.

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