Review: Klevgrand Slammer
For unusual beats, you could sample household items or strike drums in strange ways, but if you’d rather leave that to the sampling experts, Klevgrand has you covered.
Klevgrand Slammer Hero image
⊕ Well-sampled sounds
⊕ Good amount of control over each sample voice
⊕ Quirky and fun user interface with entertaining level meters
⊖ Can’t trigger/audition sounds from the plug-in interface
⊖ No ability to load your own samples
This easy to use and inexpensive 12-voice drum instrument is excellent for creating kits that range from the unconventional to the downright trashy.
Price Plug-in: $39.99/£29; iPad: $15.99/£15.99
Advanced sample-based drum instruments such as Superior Drummer and BFD do a stunning job of replicating the sound of a live-played acoustic drum kit recorded in a top-notch studio. However, we don’t always want such a sheen of perfection on our drum sounds. If you want a trashier sound, then assembling a drum instrument in a sampler using sounds of your choosing is a common solution. Still, if you want it to sound convincing, you need multiple velocity layers and articulations, and setting up such things is frustrating if all you want to do is get on with making some beats. If this sounds like a familiar scenario, then Klevgrand’s Slammer, a new drum instrument for AAX, AU, VST and iPad, could be just what you’re looking for.
Slammer provides twelve sample-based voices, each of which can host one of the 30 multi-sampled sounds packaged with the instrument. The multi-samples are recorded from a range of different sources. Some are regular drums that have been struck in unusual ways, for example, a kick drum that’s been struck with a hand-held mallet, or a tom struck on its body by a stick (and that’s just a stick, not a drumstick!). Others are a bit more unusual, such as buckets, Teflon trays, shovels and crowbars. While 30 sounds may not sound like a huge number, each multi-sample includes velocity switches and different articulations, amounting to over 2000 individual samples wrapped up in Slammer. Also, the limited choice means you avoid getting lost in selecting sounds rather than making beats, although the ability to load your own samples would have been awesome.
Each voice has a set of controls that allow you to sculpt the multi-sample assigned to it. There’re level and pan controls, low and high shelving EQ, velocity response, and you can adjust the pitch and the prominence of the transient and decay phases of the sound. You can also dial in how much of the signal you want to send to the built-in reverb and dirt processors.
On the reverb side, you can control the decay time and overall level, and choose from six different reverb characters, although some of these are pretty similar to each other. The dirt processor provides a warm and smooth saturation/overdrive effect, with four different tonal characters and control over the amount of distortion and “squeeze” (essentially compression).
Things are rounded off with broad-brushed bass, middle and treble controls, a selection of presets, and a master section with the most original level meters we’ve ever seen. These entail a pair of yellow sleepy eyes that open wider and become more orange the louder the signal! This quirky, slightly cartoony styling is carried throughout the instrument and is particularly noticeable in the illustrative images assigned to each multi-sample. In the main view, these images are arranged on the grid of drum voices, and you can interact with each cell to adjust volume and panning. Somewhat surprisingly, though, you can’t trigger the voices by clicking in their cells.
All in all, then, Klevgrand Slammer is a quick, simple and fun way to create trashy, splashy, off-the-wall drum sounds.
- macOS 10.10+ or Windows 7+
- AU, VST or AAX-compatible 64-bit host/DAW
- 12 slots each hosting one of 30 multi-sampled sounds
- Per-cell volume, pan, pitch, transient and decay controls
- Built-in reverb with 6 reverb models
- Dirt processor for adding saturation and overdrive
- Global 3-band EQ
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