Quantum Leap’s Stormdrum2, or SD2, is a set of virtual instruments made from excellent quality sampled sounds that will benefit professional sound designers as well as those looking for a way to add professional sounding effects and atmosphere in video/audio project studio environments that don’t really have the tools to do high-end recording and mixing. The sounds are all recorded under ideal conditions and, in many cases, have already received the benefits of excellent reverb and other effects. While this may limit their appeal to sound designers who have the tools to do this themselves and may prefer to start with dry sounds, for most smaller project studios, these sounds are far better than can be achieved in-house.
Primed for Play
SD2 comes with the EastWest’s PLAY audio engine, a 64-bit sample player (Win/Mac) that takes samples (short recordings of live instruments) from its libraries of sounds and, using up to 16 channels of MIDI data, creates musical expressions ranging from single notes to complex compositions. SD2 is just one of the many libraries that are available for the Play engine. When you add additional PLAY libraries, they all use the same engine. The engine provides a bright, clear sound. It can be used as a standalone application, or as a plug-in for various digital audio workstation software. I used it as a plug-in in Apple Logic 8 and it worked as expected. The two main sections of the PLAY engine are the Browser, where you find and load sounds, and the Player, where the sounds are tweaked with resonance filters, reverb, delay and stereo spread controls.
The sounds in SD2 are nothing short of amazing. There are six categories: Drum kits and Related, Ethnic Drums, Ethnic Metals, Midi Perf Multis, Sound Design Percussion, and Woods and Shakers. In the Drum kits category, "Black Kit Basic," a killer basic drum set with all kinds of possibilities, is based on the drums on Metallica’s "Black" album. The "Ethnic Metals" collection includes various metallic instruments from around the world, including bells, bowls, cymbals, gongs and many others, including such rarities as an 80-foot metal bridge. The excellent "Ethnic Drums" and "Woods and Shakers" are mostly African and Asian in origin, a nice change from the usual Latin and Indian sounds in most collections. The Midi Perf multis are collections of sounds from various EastWest/Quantum Leap collections that are designed to work with the included "Midi Performances" (a collection of Midi performance data that can be used or altered for cinematic soundtracks).
The bottom line is that if you are doing any kind of post-production sound design, this is an essential collection. The quality is excellent and the sounds are extremely fresh.