This is our first Sample Pack Review as part of our wider reviews section. Now reviewing and recommending other peoples sample packs when we sell our own may seem a little odd, but here at ND we don’t care about that kind of thing. Whats more important is sharing the best stuff out there with you guys! We have a lot of stuff we are going to write about and recommend but this first one’s proper interesting – a brand new sample pack company, quality packs that are right up our street and have an inventive way of doing things.
Who are Cr2?
Cr2 have a rich heritage as a record label. They are a long standing and well-loved London based label that has been around for about 10 years. Their sound has always been more the main-stream side of Dance music and their move into sample packs is a recent addition to their business, so I have to ask how does this label history translate into sample packs? This brings me neatly onto my first point that this is something of a trend lately – record labels becoming sample pack makers and it’s not always ended up in high quality packs..
You can understand why theres a boom in samples, it’s a good way to make some money when your a working artist already creating sounds. So we’ve ended up with a lot of new sample pack makers alongside the Sample Magics and No Dough Samples of this world. That’s no bad thing but one thing I have noticed is that we have definitely ended up with a lot smaller packs, packs that are little more than re-mix packs being sold as sample tools. This is something that as time goes by has been troubling me. As you know with our own packs we really push to make big studio tools, tools that fuel an album, not just a single re-mix.
So, that said how does Cr2 stack up?
What is most refreshing about Cr2’s entry into the field is they seem to hold the same ideals as we do, I have been really impressed by their pack structure and content so far. Obviously these guys are professionals in turning out incredible music but the skill-set to make a great sample pack is quite different again as you are working with ideas and giving people fuel for creativity rather than the final product. Every single one of Cr2’s packs so far have shown a commitment and flair for getting it right. So far they are a great addition to the swelling ranks of pack makers and with this pack at least you know your getting a tool which can take you in many different directions and with flexibility to create a good variety of music.
Simply put it’s really good. Solid, not over produced or overly effected, two big mistake I see a lot which make it difficult to use in your own project/context. The sound and style is on point for the Analogue House theme of the pack and it has a very tidily-produced edge to it. As you would expect from a label with the history of Cr2.So they all sound warm, tight and neat. You will get a lot of joy chopping this kind of sound up and adding further processing yourself, which for me is a vital thing in a good pack.
The best section in the pack
For me the best stuff in this pack is in the drum loops section. They nailed a really chunky and full drum-sound here. Plenty of variation in the loops is offered as well, so if you want to dig deeper and start chopping things up, which you really should do, you will find this pack totally suited to that. If you find the perfect beat and want it without the kick, it’ll probably be in there too which earns this pack some serious usability points. Next top reason this pack is worth checking out is the Music loops section, once again this is full of useful stuff. This is where the melodic flair of the label and producers really comes out, it’s packed with stuff that brings your track to life, and it’s all produced in a way that makes it perfect to rip apart re-sequence and really make it your own. Top stuff – all key labelled of course – which helps makes life nice and easy.
They also included a section of song-starters which I thought a good idea. This is a folder of loops of all types of loops and midi files to boot, all from the same composition and intended to work together. I don’t always go for that whole construction-kit style of sample pack as I find it quite restrictive musically and often it can lead to a pack having LESS content rather than more. But by having a small additional section of well-matched song-starters it does make a good addition to an already strong pack.
Another handy element to this pack is the inclusion of midi from most of the loops, the bass-line and the music loops. I always like this, sometimes the sound just isn’t right but the melody is perfect, or needed tweaking just a little bit and having the midi file makes that process a lot easier.
So in summary, we really like this pack, but I have to mention one final inclusion in their pack format that’s noteworthy. They have included a selection of video production tutorials with this pack. As you know here at No Dough Music we do a LOT of music production blogs and try to share a lot of technique and so on. So this really strikes a chord with us, in each pack you will find 3 or more video tutorials on how some of the elements in the pack were made. Every day’s a school day guys. This is a great one to buy.