By Craig Anderton
Granted, having that many loops might not mean much if you're in a rock band…or does it? Actually, you don't have to be a DJ/groove musician to use loops. They beat using a metronome or click track – a real drum and/or bass line can kick start inspiration a lot faster than that incessant "tock-tick-tick-tick." But you probably didn't want to spend $50 or so for a sample CD just to get a better metronome, which is why the sub-$30 price tag is pretty tantalizing.
And if you are into groove music, there's a ton of material here: Ambient, Big Beat, Easy Listening, Dance/Electro, Disco/House, Soundtrack, Hip Hop, Rock/Pop, Techno/Trance, Special Effects, Sound Effects, and Brazilian. All are recorded with 16-bit, 44.1kHz resolution.
So what's the catch? There are a few. First, these files are plain vanilla WAV files – no "acidization" or REX file-type time-stretching. Second, although the loops are royalty-free and can be used in commercial projects, the license agreement requires that "the created works visibly contain the reference MAGIX CREATION," which is a logo you can download from their web site. Okay, so let's say I use these samples in a soundtrack for a porn flick…do they really want to have MAGIX CREATION in the credits? But I digress.
However, if you create your works using Magix Music Maker Professional, Magix @udio and Video Office, Magix @udio and Video Office Premium, or Samplitude versions higher than 5.9, you don't have to include the MAGIX CREATION logo. And like most sample CDs, you can't sell it or trade it, although you can make a backup copy for personal archival purposes.
Now let's leave lawyer-land and get back to the sounds. They're all well-recorded and sit comfortably in a track. In terms of organization, this is all straight-ahead construction kit stuff – drums, bass, synths, guitars, pads, etc. (Some even have vocals, but by and large, I'd pass on those.) Within most loop categories, you'll find A, B, C, D, etc. versions of the various loops. These are variations on themes; for example, the A version might have a full drum loop, B a variation on the kick pattern, C with the snare and kick dropped out, and so on. This makes it easy to put together breaks and variations without having to hunt for other loops. Those needing to send off an industrial video soundtrack before the Fed Ex 5 PM deadline will find the organization helpful.
A very cool folder of Bonus Sounds provides 1.19GB of surprisingly useful sound effects (animals, traffic, city noise, etc.) and 213MB of drones, which are also a surprise – there are some extremely nice "beds" here for soundtracks and the like.
When you look at the sounds through a microscope, you might not find the same degree of artistry as, say, "artist" libraries from East-West, Sony, etc. But in terms of value, Magix Sound Pool 11 is simply unbeatable; some would find it worthwhile for the sound effects alone. It's a sterling collection of "bread and butter" loops that will, at the very least, fill a lot of holes in your existing sample library. And if you're just getting into sample libraries, you can't find a more cost-effective introduction.
But the proof is in the listening, right? Here are some MP3 examples I've adapted from demo WAV files included on the DVD. All are about a minute long, and encoded at 128kbps.
For more information, surf to http://site.magix.net/.../soundpool-dvd-brcollection-11/?version=standard
Craig Anderton is Editor Emeritus of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.