Impact Soundworks offers Heritage Percussion, a new FREE instrument for NI Kontakt (full version required).
Heritage Percussion is a collection of 13 hand percussion instruments from around the world. The instruments include a djembe and various rattles, claves, and shakers.
As far as the sound quality goes, the samples are very high quality and captured with up to five velocity layers. On top of that, each drum has a 10x round robin with selectable variation patterns.
Before you even get into any tweaking, you get the sense that making it sound real/natural won’t be an issue. It’s one thing to spend time shaping your sound but making countless tedious level adjustments just to make it sound human is a headache you don’t need; so, it’s a good start.
Impact Soundworks has revamped its drum engine and GUI for the release of Heritage Percussion. I don’t have any experience with the old interface to judge the level of improvement, but the new setup is clean and intuitive.
Each drum is mapped to a key on the Kontakt keyboard, with the djembe taking up several keys for multiple articulations. Re-mapping the drums is easy using the mapping tab; select a key on the GUI, or press one on your MIDI keyboard, then select the drum/articulation you want to assign to that key.
The interface shows each drum spread out across a floor, and clicking on a drum will allow you to edit various parameters. Along with basic settings like volume, pan, and tune, you also get envelope, filter, and velocity curve controls per drum.
Using the same 13 instruments, you can create a wide range of tones and textures with some simple editing. Everything you do in Heritage Percussion is very visual, making software like this less intimidating to beginners.
You can do some further shaping through microphone placement/blending and built-in effects in the Console tab. There are close mic and room mic controls, including level, pan, mute, and solo.
Once you have your basic blend right, you can choose from 35 effects modules to make things more interesting. The Console tab also gives you access to 30+ cabinet impulse responses with different dynamic/condenser/ribbon mic positions.
The thing I like most about Heritage Drums is that it can sound very intimate or very atmospheric, depending on your settings.
I had no issues downloading, although you will have to install Pulse download manager first. It’s FREE, but there is the option to make a small donation if so inclined.
Download: Heritage Percussion (requires Native Instruments Kontakt)