Drum Loops HD & Percussion Loops HD – drum loop library apps from Go Independent Records

drum loops hd logoDownload from iTunes App StoreI’ve mentioned a number of times on these pages how much I’d love to see a BFD Eco or EZDrummer type virtual drum app scaled for iOS. At present, I tend to use a combination of apps to create my drum tracks; DM1, Cubasis and SampleTank with Cubasis including both drum loops and MIDI loops to trigger samples and SampleTank have a decent set of drum samples and some pre-supplied performance loops to trigger them.

These all work very well in their own way but what I’d realty like is a multi-sample environment (expandable with different samples, whether acoustic or electronic), a suite of (expandable) MIDI performance loops in different musical styles and a system within the app for arranging these MIDI loops into a sequence prior to exporting either MIDI or audio into my DAW (heck, it might even be nice if it could respond to MIDI clock).

Drum Loops HD covers a range of musical styles played on an acoustic kit.

Drum Loops HD covers a range of musical styles played on an acoustic kit.

While samples triggered by MIDI sequences are one route, the other way us non-drummers can build a suitable drum track is by chaining together a suitable set of drum loops. In the world of desktop music production, there is a whole industry that has evolved to supply this need and drum loop sample libraries exist to cater for almost any genre you care to think of.

You could, of course, import these loops into your iOS device from your desktop computer and, indeed, some iOS DAWs (Cubasis included as mentioned above) include a small selection of audio drum loops. However, if you want a collection of acoustic drum and percussion loops designed for iOS from the ground up, then you might want to give two apps from developer Go Independent Records a look; Drum Loops HD (UK£6.99) and Percussion Loops HD (UK£5.99).

Drummer in an app

Both Drum Loops HD and Percussion Loops HD are built on the same basic principle.

Drum Loops HD - simple to use - just audition and then copy/paste.

Drum Loops HD – simple to use – just audition and then copy/paste.

In addition, you get two versions of each loop; ‘modern’ and ‘vintage’.  The modern version is generally cleaner and reasonably dry while the vintage version has a little more of a room sound apparently recorded with an additional set of vintage room mics around the kit. Both, however, sound good and, as the drum kit and recordings sound very consistent across all the different styles, there is no reason at all why you couldn’t mix and match loops between styles.

In total, Drum Loops HD contains approximately 1000 loops and fills spread across 8 different styles. These cover ballads, pop/rock, funk/hip-hop, dance/DnB, soul, brushes, 6/8+shuffles, jazz and tom loops. There are also some crash cymbal and ending loops plus one-shot samples for both the main (pop) kit and the jazz kit. You could use these latter items to build your own sampled kit if you wished providing you had a suitable sampler app or sampler option in your DAW. All the samples are presented as 44.1kHz, 16-bit stereo audio; not 24-bit but then I suspect they were recorded at higher sample rates/bit-depths and then re-sampled to the final format simply to keep the app as compact as possible (storage space obviously being an issue under iOS). That said, replayed through a decent set of studio monitors, the loops sound crisp and clear. I’d have no problems from an audio quality perspective in using these loops in my own productions.

Going loopy

The user interface for Drum Loops HD (UK£6.99) couldn’t really be much simpler. Having picked a style from the menu of options, you are presented with a list of loops organised by tempo. From the list you can then start auditioning loops (which will loop their playback) to find something suitable for your needs.

Drum Loops HD loops appear in the Cubasis Media Bay once imported and can be dragged and dropped into your project.

Drum Loops HD loops appear in the Cubasis Media Bay once imported and can be dragged and dropped into your project.

Having found a suitable loop, you then simply press the ‘copy to pasteboard’ button and this sends that particular loop to the iOS pasteboard. You can then switch over to your DAW and – providing is supports suitable paste functionality – import the loop to place on a suitable track. I had no problems with this process with Cubasis and Go Independent give detailed instructions for Garageband, Auria and Music Studio on their website. If you use a different DAW, you might want to check that it’s compatible before making a purchase.

Building your complete drum track – with different drum patterns for verse, chorus, etc. and with a few fills and a suitable ending just requires you to repeat the same process and, while you have to do this one loop and/or sample at a time, it isn’t such a difficult process (and a damn sight quicker than either recording a real drummer or programming your own loops).

With the main loops and fills on one audio track and some cymbals added on a second track, building a complete drum track doesn't take long.

With the main loops and fills on one audio track and some cymbals added on a second track, building a complete drum track doesn’t take long.

There are a couple of obvious constraints with this process (aside from the fact that these are audio loops so that you can’t edit the actual performances). First, unless your DAW includes some tempo-stretching functionality, you are stuck with working in the tempos supplied by Drum Loop HD. Thankfully, these cover a good range in most of the styles (for example, from 80 to 170 bpm in the Pop/Rock style) so this is not such a big deal. Second, you are also stuck with the drum mix provided. On the whole, I thought the drum balance was pretty good and you could, of course, get creative with the EQ or other processing if you do want to move the sound in a different direction.

Overall, my impression of Drum Loops HD is very positive. When you just need to built a ‘real’ drum track as a bed for a song idea but with a minimum of fuss, this is a neat option for iOS musicians and, providing you have the storage space to leave the library in place (about 850MB), it’s nice to have it available for whenever the muse strikes. The playing is really solid throughout and, while there is nothing to extreme in terms of the performances (which I think is a good thing by the way and it widens their possible uses), there is enough character and expression to give a sense of a ‘real’ drum kit. Being able to add in fills or additional cymbal crashes is also very useful. As a bread and butter acoustic drum loop library, Drum Loops HD is excellent value for money.

Perc of the job

percussion loops hd logoDownload from iTunes App StoreThe Percussion Loops HD app (UK£5.99) follows exactly the same format. The loops and samples are organised into 9 styles – ballads, pop/rock, funk/hip-hop, dance/D&B, soul, smooth loops, 8-6+shuffles, urban and jazz and, again, there are a series of individual samples covering congas, djembe, chimes, shaker and tambourine. Most of the loops themselves are 2 bars in length. In total, there are several hundred loops and just over 400MB of content.

In terms of the loops, congas, shakers and tambourines dominate and, for most of the styles, three different loops are provided for each of these at each tempo. Again, this creates plenty of opportunity to mix and match between styles. Equally, you can lay a touch of percussion up against one of the loops from Drum Loops HD if you own both apps to add some colour to your overall rhythm track.

Taking a pasting

Rather interestingly, both apps provide Audiobus support. You could, of course, use this functionality as an alternative means of transferring loops into your DAW if you wished or if the DAW doesn’t support the copy/paste process. While this might be a bit of a pain as you would have to record each loop into your DAW individually and then cut it up to loop correctly and line it up with the projects bar/beat grid, it would get the job done.

Percussion Loops HD follows exactly the same format - and also sounds very good indeed.

Percussion Loops HD follows exactly the same format – and also sounds very good indeed.

Having experimented with the apps during my own testing, I did wonder whether Go Independent might add a couple of extra features that could make the transfer of the loops to your DAW even easier. For example, at present, if you trigger playback of one loop within either app while another one is already playing, the first loop stops playing immediately and the second one takes over.

It would be great if there was an option for playback of the second loop to be ‘primed’ and then only kick in as the first one finished. In this way, you could create a performance based on triggering loops in turn, slotting in rolls as you required and, with Audiobus feeding that performance to your DAW, providing the playback of the loops was smooth and seamless, the bulk of the drum track could be created in one pass. I’ve no idea if this is technically possible (or how much extra development work it might require!) but it would be a great feature to have.

The second thing that struck me – and this is a general comment, not something aimed specifically at Drum Loops HD or Percussion Loops HD – is that iOS could do with some more options for tempo-stretching of audio loops. I know one or two apps do this already, but a dedicated app, or seeing the feature added to a few more of the leading DAWs, would be most welcome. I don’t always want to write my music at fixed, whole number tempos J

In summary

As a basic – but board – palette of drum and percussion loops, Drum Loops HD and Percussion Loops HD provide a lot of content at a fairly modest price. The performances are very solid and the audio quality is of a perfectly useable standard. And while the process of building a complete drum track from the loops within your DAW does require a little bit of back and forth between apps, it really doesn’t take too long to get the job done and the results are well worth the little effort involved. If you are looking for a library of acoustic drum and percussion loops to support your own iOS song writing and recording process, Drum Loops HD and Percussion Loops HD are a good place to start.

Drum Loops HD

Percussion Loops HD

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    1. The idea of using apps like Cubasis, DMI, and SampleTank in combination to create drum tracks is a really innovative. You are right that amalgamation of different compatible drum loops is the best way for non-drummers to create meaningful drum tracks. The information on how to go loopy and take a pasting is also made simple and useful! Thanks so much for sharing!

    2. IMO this is best sounding “traditional” Drumkit. Played on the same kit over all styles, with clever editing, a drum track is made swiftly and I can concentrate on playing music.
      There are many sampled solutions, midi/audio, with zillions of kits, bits and pieces to
      fiddle around and tweak the sound to oblivion.
      But when it gets down to drumming, it’s not the sample, it’s the drummer.
      Hats off!

    3. stereoguy says:

      Thanks u for article guys.
      I got a question have u ever used drum kits from this guys?
      Recently I ‘ve found them and thinking about buying smth from them.

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