In this game I come across a lot of drum kits and although I would like to name so many more there are only so many slots on this Special Edition of BEAT MAKERS TOOL KIT: The BEST 13 Drum Kits in 2013 list. The list is composed of what I consider the best of the best for the year. For the most part you’re sure to find some dope breaks and some really dope vinyl / boom-bap sampled drum kits with “vintage” just dripping off of them. There may be some surprises and even a couple of unknown’s but overall I’m sure you find these following selections represent a substantial amount of boom-bap and a good mixture of breaks that would certainly make one hell of a Beat Makers holiday stocking stuffed to the limit.
Before we get into the list I have to say that the list is based on various criteria (bang for the buck, popularity, under-dog status, sound etc), but it’s mostly based on what I like and/or what I’ve used most this year. Simple enough. Lets get to it.
1. The Unkempt Breaks Collection (MSXII Sound Design)
No good drum library should go without its fair share of good breaks. There are the classics and then there are the new, all original classics in the making. The Unkempt Breaks Collection is one such collection.
As I mentioned in June “MSXII Sound Design meticulously and painstakingly recorded these breaks in a totally pro environment. The sort of studio that most of us will never see te inside of. These breaks were “Recorded on an SSL Duality through Universal Audio 8110 + Avalon 737sp mic preamps. Microphones used include Shure Beta 52 & SM57, SE 4400, Schoeps CM, Coles 4038, and an Avantone CV-12.”
2. The 60’s Funk Kit (MPCSamples.com)
The 60’s Funk Kit is one my favs for its realistic approach to drum programming. It is a multi sampled kit that allows MPC heads (it was rumored to be coming to Maschine heads soon) to really get a good feel for the dynamics of a real drummer. What that means is that if you hit the pad soft you get a different sound and dynamic than you get if you hit the pad harder. This gives you, the beat maker, more flexibility in his drum programming. Still in all, it sounds like vinyl samples.
To quote my review earlier this year “How does it sound? In a word… Great! I fell in love instantly with the warm sound of the drums in The 60s Funk Kit. The thing that hit me most was the density of some of the kicks and the realistic spring ring in some of the snares. I totally appreciate the feel of the close miking. Meanwhile, the cymbals and toms seem to benefit nicely from overhead miking. Although I’m certain the dynamics of the kit was achieved by using both techniques.”
3. Blap Kit Vol. 4 (!llmind)
BLAP King, !llmind is undoubtedly the most revered drum kit designer / producer in the game right now. His Blap Kit Volume 4 is standard, or at least it should be, for anyone’s drum library. As stated when the kit dropped “It goes without saying that Illmind’s series of drum kits are must-haves for any hiphop drum library and stash. Blap Kit Volume 4 is no exception. ”
4. Blap Kit Vol. 3 (!llmind)
!llmind focused on heavy thump and crispy cracky snares on this Blap Kit Volume 3. The drums contained are actually extracted from real songs that he’s produced for the likes of 50 Cent, Kanye West, Common, Scarface, Little Brother, Ludacris & 2 Chainz.
!llmind says “Over the years, I’ve made close to 3,000 beats, and each one of them is unique in their own right. I’ve collected, created, layered, and processed so many drums, but carefully handpicked this special collection for Volume 3. This collection is probably the “crispiest” one yet. These are some of my favorite drums, all with a focus on “snappy” snare attacks and thumpy/mid-low kick drums. I hope they inspire you to create amazing beats!”
5. Blap Kit Vol. 5 (!llmind)
Although I dig all of his kits, 5 is one of my favs, obviously. As stated in the review earlier this year, “One thing we all know about !llmind is that he is a complete black out artist on the beats. [TRUTH!] But another thing is apparent… His drum kit game is market leading and “crazy-go-nuts-&-bananas.” So it is always a treat to see another BLAP KIT drop. As such here drops Blap Kit Vol 5.”
Some names carry with it an air of unmistakable quality. One such name is 9th Wonder. From the days of Fruity Loops and Little Brother classics all the way up until now with his Maschine Studio and a slew of A-List hits in tow, 9th Wonder’s production skill is widely revered as top-notch. I personally place 9th somewhere between J Dilla and Pete Rock. But no matter where you place him at in your list of legendary beat makers, there is no doubt that his drum game is sick and distinguishable above all. That just may be the hallmark of a dope beatmaker… when their drums define a certain style that is synonymous with their name. To that end, this is The Official 9th Wonder Drum Kit – 9th Wonder Treats. If you have drums that claim to be 9th Wonder drums prior to this it’s not likely. These drums are direct from 9th himself. Your library should not be without them.
7. Beat Machine (Dope VST)
Nothing is better than a surprise top contender for the “The BEST 13 Drum Kits in 2013.” That is exactly what we have in Beat Machine, a VST drum machine geared towards boom-bap & hip-hop production. Dope VST presented me with the chance to check out Beat Machine and I have not stopped using it since. Along with my QuNeo controller I’ve virtually exclusively used Beat Machine for over a month now. I swear its the shortest length between logic’s vanilla foundation and dark boom-bap that I’ve ever taken. Just load the VST and start bangin’ out beats. So you may ask why there is a VST on the “The BEST 13 Drum Kits in 2013” list?! Well, it’s listed here because it’s jam-packed with really warm sort of dirty, dope boom bap kits.
As I mentioned in the review last month, “With the advent of so many drum samples being sold and catering to hip hop, Beat Machine‘s 500 drum kits, 100 premium legendary producers kits, over 1000 drum samples eq’d to boom bap perfection are worth the price of admission in itself. That price being $99, Beat Machine looks and sounds like a great value.”
8. Boom Bap Legends (The Producer’s Choice)
Inspired by the legends of Boom Bap, hence the title Boom Bap Legends, this kit is a salute to the Generals of hip-hop production (J Dilla, Pete Rock, DJ Premier). They key to this kit is as much in the processing of the sounds as it is in the sound selection.
According to TheProducersChoice.com, “The kit captures the signature styled drums used by J Dilla, DJ Premier & Pete Rock by using the same filtering techniques, creative EQ & compression, and drum machines as the legendary producers.” This is one of my fav’s and we even gave a copy away over the summer to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. Dont let your library go without this one.
9. Boom Bap Nostalgic (The Producer’s Choice)
More Boom Bap for the restless boom bap connoisseurs amongst us. This BOOM BAP NOSTALGIC – KONTAKT LIBRARY is an instrument made for Kontakt and it comes with all the bells and whistles that one would expect from that of vintage gear. It comes with 3 Full Drum Kits (namely Gritty, Punchy & Raw), 1 Patch of Noise, Crackles & Vinyl Hum and 1 EMU SP12 Bass Patch. All of this at your disposal inside of your favorite DAW via Kontakt which also means you get the niceties of Native Instrument’s superb Kontakt interface loaded with nothing but vintage boom-bap goodness. What I love about this kit is that it gives a certain classic vibe with modern flexibility to the beat maker that may not have access to or that are simply not up to the hassle of vintage gear like MPC 60’s and S950’s.
TheProducersChoice.com says “These samples have that gorgeous, warm crackly goodness that only comes from real, vintage processing using the Akai MPC60 and Akai S950. These legendary samplers added that sexy 12-bit crunch to this library!”
10. The Drums !BFKW (!llmind)
These frickin’ drums are huge! But unfortunately, you may have already missed them. But for those that were fortunate enough to get a copy they now are the proud owners of a small piece of !llmind’s stash that only a choice few can say they own.
The Drum Broker described the kit as, “76 drum sounds (kicks, snares, hi-hats & more) in WAV format. All drum sounds were sampled into an Ensoniq ASR-10 AND Akai S-20 at 33khz/12-bit for maximum warmth + punch! NO reverb or delays added make layering easy and more flexible. NO compression or saturation/flat “pancake” sounds.”
11. Dirty Drum Breaks Vol 2 (Timmy Rickard)
Timmy Rickard is the modern-day incarnate of the legendary funk and soul drummers of the 60’s and 70’s. Timmy works hard at backwards engineering the recording environment (including gear and instruments) that incubated the sound of those eras.
“In this collection you’ll find him hard at work with even more high quality analog gear, producing breaks oozing with warmth, character and grit – all traditionally recorded using a single overhead microphone for true mono drum breaks with more punch, more clarity and more presence, for that completely authentic retro sound.” You can find this must have kit on either MPCSamples.com or HipHopDrumSamples.com. Either way, you should have these drums in your possession.
12. Infinity Kit Vol 2 (MPCSamples.com)
The Infinity Kit Vol 2 is what I would call extremely slept on kit. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t have the A List celebrity boom-bap producer credibility. Maybe its due to the niche that it caters to in MPC heads. However it goes, the name says it all. The infinity kit is made for you to easily layer the included drum samples for the express purpose of creating infinite combinations of drum sounds.
As the review earlier this year says, “I see why this kit is named the infinity kit. There are infinite possibilities and combinations. Not to mention, volume 2 is compatible with volume one which doubles the possibilities. The auto-magical engineering process used to create this kit is leagues ahead of most kits simply because it takes real knowledge and skill in sound design to do similar kits on your own.”
13. Organic Drum Kit (Xclusive-Audio)
X from Xclusive-Audio hit me up a few months ago with this really fresh kit, Organic Drum Kit. In his words “It’s a hip-hop kit focused on creative acoustic style drums,The kit comes in 24-bit wav & Maschine format.” This massive four-part download was bear to download but it was well worth it once it finished. This kit is very well put together for those that want a clean, crisp but banging acoustic flavored kit. If you want a nice break from vinyl boom-bap sort of sounds but are still looking for something that bangs and cracks this is the kit to grab.
As described by Xclusive-Audio “This kit also come with a HUGE percussion section, ranging from: shakers, congas, bongos, tambourines, frame drums, goblets and various percussion sounds. To top it off we also included 100 original drum loops that you can draw inspiration from.”
Tempest vs MPC60 Free Drum Kit (Boxed Ear)
Certainly slept on, Boxed Ear’s Tempest vs MPC60 is the clash of the titans from Roger Linn’s design feats. Obviously, this kit never made it to the BBoyTechReport pages but that’s not because it wasn’t worthy, I simply got busy and couldn’t get around to it. The concept is dope. The idea of using Dave Smith’s & Roger Linn’s collaborative box, the Tempest, as source material and processing it through the king of the hill MPC 60 is nothing short of genius. It sounds pretty dope too. Don’t let this one slip thru the cracks. If for no other reason besides the fact that its free… but Im sure you’ll find it’s analog goodness pretty useful.
Boxed Ear describes this kit as follows “Two classic drum machines, both designed by “the father of the drum machine” Roger Linn. The MPC60 is a sampler first released in 1988 and is considered one of the major contributors to the development of hip hop music. The Tempest is a modern analogue/digital hybrid drum machine released in 2011 in partnership with Dave Smith Instruments. ”