Today I want to checkout Urban Arsenal 2 from Native Instruments, one of their Kore soundpacks they sent over for review.
You may wonder why I chose to go with part 2 first instead of part 1…well I figured part 2 was the newest and probably improved on a lot of things they received feedback on from the first Urban Arsenal.
It’s a Kore soundpack, meaning it can use the free Kore player so you don’t need to buy the full versions of the plugins to use it. However, if you do have the full versions then you get some extra tweaking abilities.
So what’s up with Urban Arsenal 2?
The whole idea behind Urban Arsenal 2 is to provide all the tools and elements needed when producing urban music, all in a nice simple package.
You don’t need the full version of Kore, Kontakt, or Massive to play the sounds in this collection, it runs in the free kore player.
This makes it very attainable for many who don’t have or may not want to purchase the full plugin versions.
(as a side note, I’m a huge fan of the kore soundpack system. It let’s folks build up a library of great sounds and access some of Native Instruments popular sound engines without owning the full versions. While you don’t get the full tweakability of the plugins, you do get sounds made with the same sound engines, very good setup in my opinion)
This collection includes everything from drums and loops, to pianos and synths, bass, guitars, and anything else you can imagine using in an urban production environment.
Again, it’s all neatly organized for quick access in the free Kore player.
- Content: around 1gb of sample data. 29 drum kits, 80 Kontakt patches, 87 MASSIVE patches
- Format: Kore and Kore Player ( Kontakt and MASSIVE patches can be opened in their respective plugins as well)
- Price: $119
Most “made for Hip Hop” instruments are kind of cheesy, how does it sound?
This collection is incredibly versatile. It’s not a collection of precomposed “hip hop” riffs and loops. You get actual instruments, that you play yourself. The idea behind the content is to provide quick access to sounds that fit well in an urban music context.
Everything from the instruments sampled, how they were sampled, and how everything was processed lends itself well to urban music. In my opinion not just hip hop, but other forms of urban music like electronic, house, dubstep, grime, etc.
Some of the dubplate sounds, give you that classic “from vinyl” sound. Not covered with fake vinyl fx, but just that slightly less pristine sound many urban producers are used to. They also processed some of the sounds through tape.
The synths are fat, the basses are deep, and the drums are bangin…I mean…really, they hit pretty hard.
The brass is thick and bright, the strings are silky smooth, everything is recorded to sound pristine.
They even sampled some classics like the Studio Electronics SE-1 (crazy for bass), Moog Voyager/Minimoog, Alesis Andromeda, the Prophet 600, Juno 60, Waldorf Pulse, and the Korg MS-20. They went straight to the source and sampled instead of simply emulating these synths, giving you a more authentic sound.
So is Urban Arsenal 2 worth having?
I really think so, I was really impressed by the library as a whole. I was a little skeptical at first, but once I started going through it, it’s very easy to see how one can use this as a complete tool for urban production.
I like the fact that everything is tweakable within the kore player instrument, as well as deeper editing abilities for those with the full plugins.
I was most surprised with the usefulness of the drums…I’m very picky about drums but I think these stand up against most libraries available, defeating many drum specific companies.
I’m going to give this collection a 4.5 out of 5 subs. It’s really good, but there are a couple of things I would like to see…maybe for volume 3?
More brass and woodwind sounds please, these are very popular in current urban music trends and hip hop in general, so I would have loved to see them flex the Kontakt engine a little more and provide a deeper selection of brass and woodwind sections, as well as some solo instruments.
To be a complete urban workstation, which it definitely is…beefing up in this category would make it pretty much flawless in my opinion. These sounds are NOT cheesy, they are useful, fat, and inspiring. Not to mention they are fun to play with.
I”m very impressed by the diversity and usefulness of the sounds, and I just don’t think a complete “urban workstation” experience could happen any other way than with the Kore platform. The fact that the developers are building upon all the technology that NI is known for, right under one roof…makes for a very complete library.
A “Sample only” product lacks some of the freshness and experimentation that virtual synths like MASSIVE are known for, whereas we all know urban music incorporates real musical instruments and samples, so the highly capable Kontakt engine provides the proper structure for those instruments. Best of both worlds I think.
All in all, it’s a very useful library, one I think every urban producer and even non urban producer should own. At a price competitive with single drum libraries and construction kits, you get a full workstation ready with sounds that you’ll actually use.
Go watch the videos or peep the demo sounds at Native-Instruments.com
leave me a comment below, let me know what you think