WAVE REPORTA U G U S T   9 9

 

PREVIEW

REVIEW  Weitere Auszeichnung für das MONSTERPACK 

MILLENIUM SPECIAL OFFER !!! Nach dem "PLATINIUM AWARD" von "Sound on Sound" hat das Monster-Soundpack soeben eine weitere, bedeutende Auszeichnung bekommen: den "KEY BUY Award" vom amerikanischen KEYBOARD Magazin. Hierüber freuen wir uns besonders, da die US-Keyboard weltweit in Fachkreisen   d a s    Magazin schlecht hin ist, für Ihre außerst kritischen und gnadenlosen Testberichte bekannt ist und diesen Preis nur "für die Top-Produkte der jeweiligen Kategorie" vergibt.

Nachstehend finden Sie den kompletten Testbericht in englischer Sprache. Zuvor möchten wir noch kurz darauf hinweisen, das das Monsterpack in den USA für umgerechnet rund 72 Mark verkauft wird und dieser, im Vergleich zum deutschen Verkaufspreis deutlich höhere Preis, wurde in der Preis-/Leistungsbeurteilung mit dem seltenen vergebenen Rating "10 von 10 Punkten" bewertet.  - In Deutschland ist das aus 8 randvollen CD-Roms bestehende Paket noch um über 30% günstiger zu haben (empf. VK DM 49,95) - aber "11 von 10 möglichen Punkten" gibt´s ja bekanntlich nicht :)

KEY BUY AWARD Masterbits /Data Becker Software's
Monsterpack

from KEYBOARD (USA) - August 1999

Eight CD-ROMs filled with WAV files for techno, house, hip-hop, dance, rock, pop, new age, ambient, and classical music, including separate discs of vocals and sound effects. Soundbrowser playback software for Windows included.

Selection: 9
Sound Quality: 8
Documentation: 5
Bang for the Buck: 10

$ 39.95
VK-Preis in Deutschland
z. Zt. noch DM 49,95 !

Masterbits USA, 888-678-2487, MBITSUSA@aol.com, www.masterbits.com 

Never have we seen so much for so little: Pay 40 bucks and Masterbits will set you up with eight CD-ROMs packed with 5,450MB of sample data - 10,294 WAV files, plus playback software for Windows! Are they giving it away because it's crap? No way, Ray. Monsterpack delivers loads of excellent-quality stuff at an unprecedented price. It´s such a great deal, there was no way we couldn´t give it a KEY BUY award.

Rhythmic material is logically organized on each disc within folders according to tempo. Your arranging work will be greatly simplified because only eight specific tempos are represented throughout the library (not including some one-shot samples): 60, 80, 90, 100, 120, 130, 140, and 150 bpm. Typically two or three tempo folders appear on each disc. It's great that the Monsterpack developers took the time to equalize tempos up front.

Particularly cool on the Techno disc are the gated chords, which often seem to have been created by modulating a sustained chord through an envelope-follower or vocoder fed by complex and interesting drum patterns. There are also samples of individual drum and percussion hits, vocal effects, and radio communications -- including some NASA snippets for which permission will need to be obtained if you intend to use them for profit.

On the House disc are chord progressions and lines played on electric piano, organ, synth, and other instruments, along with incoherent vocoded stuff as well as male and female vocalizations -- some scats and others with lyrics. Included are orgasmic female moans and squeals, for those scoring X-rated films or looking to add spice to a track.

Hip Hop excels in the scratch realm. The scratches, which run up to more than 30 seconds in length, are intricate, expressive, and entertaining. Ditto for the 391 hip-hop drum loops, including heavily processed beats, scratchy LP-lifts, wild electronic shuffles, and in- your-face acoustic tracks. Accompanying the drum loops are 23 equally diverse drum fills. This material comes from Masterbits' soon-to-be- released Akai CD-ROM Hip Hop Trax. We're also told Monsterpack includes what could be considered a "best of Masterbits" collection -- along with plenty of totally new stuff.

As you'd expect, the drum patterns on Dance make you want to get up and move your feet, and the bass lines ooze attitude. Besides vocal samples done by a tough female rapper, there are male and female lyrical and rap tracks.

Some of the organ licks on Rock/Pop do just that: rock. Drum loops and bass lines kick butt too. Other instruments include acoustic and electric guitars, sax, and brass. There's so much treasure to be found, such as beefy, slowly evolving electric guitar chords, short guitar- string-squeak effects, and full-length cymbal samples. No vocal tracks on this disc, though; you'll have to sing yourself.

Haphazardly mix some of the female operatic solo lines with orchestral strings and percussion from the classical section of Classical and New Age and you may find you've created an instant horror soundtrack. Or throw together a few screechy sustained solo violin notes and a pyrotechnic run or two and you'll have everyone running out of the room. Included in the orchestral percussion folder are rolls on snare and timpani, which are must-haves for this genre. Technical editor Mitch Gallagher was bummed, though, that violas, cellos, and basses weren't included in the solo strings folder, only violins, and that some "solo" tracks were really ensembles. Most of the "new age" material would be better classified as world music, covering numerous Latin and Middle Eastern flavors.

Raps, reggae chants, spoken words, more NASA communications, processed vocals, and singing male, female, choir, and children appear on Vocals. On the Special FX disc, you get all sorts of noises: people at the airport, auto traffic, helicopters, industrial machinery, 3-D sound effects, wild guitar effects, and so on.

Chances are slim you'll find an audition interface as cool and useful as Monsterpack's Soundbrowser with any other library of sounds. It allows you to play an individual sample once through, or up to four samples simultaneously, each continuously looping independently of the others. If two loops are of equal tempo and style, they'll stay pretty much in sync. Soundbrowser will even play WAV files on other CD-ROMs - though not those in Sonic Foundry Acid format.

Included in the sample information displayed by Soundbrowser are duration, file name, whether the sample is mono or stereo, sample rate, bit resolution, and tempo; you also get to see a waveform illustration for each loaded sample. Onscreen buttons allow you to mute, pause, and clear individual tracks, or delete all loaded samples at once. For auditioning samples from different discs, there's a utility for quickly copying loaded sounds onto the computer's hard drive. A search routine automatically finds files according to tempo, style, and instrument. In a few cases we heard some extraneous noises, such as high-pitched whistling, with some samples. According to Eckhard Kreft of Masterbits, Soundbrowser "makes some noises, especially on low frequencies." When we played those same sounds on a PowerMac using SoundApp Fat, the whistles disappeared.

Although Soundbrowser includes online help, Monsterpack comes up short with its documentation. (You'll find a strange license agreement in the Monsterpack booklet, but Masterbits assures us it was intended to apply only to the Soundbrowser software, not to the sounds themselves, and can safely be ignored.) It's too bad key info often isn't divulged, and some chord voicings are mixed, so you may have to wade through the virtual cornucopia of sounds to match pitched material. But if you can't get too much of a good thing -- at an amazingly rock-bottom price to boot -- come and get it. "There's a ton of raw material here," Mitch concluded. "There's no way not to get your money's worth out of this package." Indeed, in Monsterpack, Masterbits has a frighteningly good deal.

Mark Vail

Weitere Informationen: MONSTER-PACK-Hauptseite | weitere Testberichte  | Probesamples

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