Review: Boutique Drums Renegade by Musical Sampling

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Boutique Drums Renegade is a power punch of aggressive drums (and much more!) that hits hard with an edgy modern sound right out of the box. Not just a drum library, Musical Sampling’s latest release is a superbly playable toolbox of percussion, guitar, synths and sound design.

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Review: Boutique Drums Renegade by Musical Sampling

Musical Sampling have been rolling out various incarnations of their Boutique Drums product line in quick succession over the past year or so. In the process it has evolved from live kits focused on specific genres to more wide-ranging and heavy hitting packs that also include a good amount of sound design elements. Recently, we had the trailer music friendly Medusa and now comes Renegade with a flexible sound that can cover a range of requirements, from EDM to nu-metal and much in between.

Boutique Drums Renegade sells for $179 from Musical Sampling

Thoughts

Although there is a healthy dose of extras on offer it’s still all about the drums with Renegade. The main drum patch gives you access to the kit with all the parameters nicely laid out on a single page.

Renegade Drum Kit

Immediate gratification has being the hallmark of the Boutique Drums series and nothing has changed there. It has four ‘baked in’ mix presets with no options to further tweak them. However, that’s kind of the point and there is enough variation between them that if none of them work for you,  you probably need a totally different drum kit anyway. Rogue is dry and punchy (the hi-hat is very left panned as a result), Faction is your standard workhorse, Juggernaut is roomy and Anarchy is ultra processed, super compressed, smack you in the face brutality. Each mix can apply either to the whole kit (using the Global Mix Preset section) or on a per drum basis (click below the drum icons for a pull down or use the arrows). In this way it’s a cinch to build your own custom mix.

Mix Selection

The basic sound of the kit is powerful and punchy, with a real snap in the attacks. The kick has a decent amount of click and the snare gets pretty fierce at the highest velocities. However, the varied mix presets make it very flexible, so it can cover pop to nu-metal. I also found the lower velocities to have a great tone, especially the snare which gets nicely tubby. The articulation list is pretty much as expected with kick, snare, rimshot, cross stick, three toms, ride (with crash), ride bell, two crashes, five hi-hat states and the trademark BPM synced hi-hat grooves. Each has a volume control and assignable output.

The mapping is very intuitive and the kick, snare and toms have duplicated keys which always makes rolls and fills so much easier to play. The eighth-note hi-hat grooves are shown in green in the image above and were sampled at 90, 120 and 140 BPM, so pick the closest to the host tempo and it will sync up with barely any artifacts  (the Groove Speed control selects half and double time also, should it be required). As on the other Boutique Drums libraries we get grooves for each hi-hat state, plus a modwheel controlled crossfadeable option. The only other GUI feature to mention is the Humanization, which can offer three degrees of random timing offset if your DAW quantisation feels too robotic.

The rest of the Percussion folder is an exciting goodie box of useful musical treats. There are 6 Analogue Kits which push things into distinctly more EDM and electronica realms, alongside gun and prepared piano foley and some decent pulses at various tempos. This broadens the appeal to composers working more for underscore who may find less frequent use of the main drum kit. There is little to no GUI action on these, bar the modwheel for volume and some patches with a reverb knob.

Rogue Pulses – 120 BPM

The standout part of this section for me is Concussion Hits 2. We saw the first batch of them in Medusa and these build upon that, providing a superb toolkit of hit types all the way from subs to crashes. They are well mangled, but often retain the shadow of the clean drum kit sounds they once were. This makes them excellent for layering with the main kit, as well as working great for feature impacts. The addition of cc1 to control release time is a very nice touch, enabling the hits with long tails to be cut off with precise timing. Every sound is laid out in a single patch making it quick to audition sounds and also enabling sound designed percussion patterns to be easily constructed. They are also included (along with a few risers) as WAVS for those that prefer to work directly with the audio.

Concussion Hits 2

On top of all that we have two more folders. The Analog Synths collection comprises 16 patches that cover bass, leads, pads and more. Tweakers will be left disappointed with barely a reverb knob to turn, but they all sound very polished and inspiring. Bottom Line 2 offers a take on the first variation of it from Medusa and does what many more complex patches cannot do, which is give us a really quality workhorse sub bass that the modwheel can subtly open up.

Bottom Line 2

Finally, we come to the Guitars & Bass folder. The Distorted 8-String GTR and Distorted Bass GTR provide simple, straight pulses with fairly high gain. They move from palm mute to fully open with the modwheel and include a final one shot chug on the highest velocity to enable a neat ending to any sequence. Key switches (shown in orange) flick between normal, half and double time at both 90 and 160 BPM.

Distorted 8-String GTR

Although there are a number of wonderful guitar libraries out there with intriguing sounds and unusual phrases, sometimes all you need is a dirty, simple chug and this is where these patches are a real life-saver. For lighter moments the Double-Tracked Nylon GTR and Single-Track Nylon GTR are similarly useful. They only have a 90 BPM option and the mod wheel fades volume instead, but it does include a reverb and in use I found it excellent for adding a tonal percussive quality to compositions.

The Boutique Series continues to evolve and goes from strength to strength. Renegade is less like the more stylistic kits of Ruby, Jolene and Penny and more akin to Medusa, with it being at the more processed and harder hitting end of the spectrum and including a good portion of sound design. It is more drum kit-like than the ensemble style Medusa though and will find use in more genres as long as you like your drums to really pop! Renegade is powerful with tons of attitude and whilst the low velocities sound great, look elsewhere for soft and gentle drums. The extra sound design elements, synth patches and guitars are far more than a bonus add-ons and provide both inspiring starter sounds and workhorse utility patches. The lack of customisation options for them might be an issue for some, though I found the patches very appealing straight out of the box and plenty can still be done with third-party plugins of course. The only potential downside is if you don’t really want or need the extras it might feel fairly expensive for a single drum kit with 4 fixed mixes.

All said, Boutique Drums Renegade is another high-end, big impact, flexible, and playable sample collection. It will have a broad appeal to both media composers and producers of commercial music. I love the no-nonsense approach that keeps music making fun and really delivers a powerful, modern sound.

Facts

Musical Sampling Boutique Drums Renegade is 4.5 GB compressed to NCW format and requires the full version of Kontakt. It consists of a single multi-sampled drum kit with 4 mixes and 31 sound design patches. It also includes WAV files of the hits and risers. All samples are 48khz/24bit and it downloads as a watermarked library via the Continuata Connect download application.

Boutique Drums Renegade sells for $179 from Musical Sampling

 

Demos of Boutique Drums Renegade by Musical Sampling

 

Videos of Boutique Drums Renegade by Musical Sampling

Contributor Sam Burt reviews Boutique Drums Renegade by Musical Sampling
“Boutique Drums Renegade is a power pack of aggressive drums (and much more!) that hits hard with an edgy modern sound right out of the box. Not just a drum library, Musical Sampling’s latest release is a superbly playable toolbox of percussion, guitar, synths and sound design.”