Hybrid Tools Vol: 3 is the third installment of the modern, high-tech sounding sample library line Hybrid Tools for Kontakt from 8Dio. This series is all about powerful sound design, brutally smashing kits and potent musical production tools. This time around we’re looking at new and exciting cutting edge sounds contained within loads of patches all wrapped up in a powerful engine called CHAOS (more on why later).
What’s in it?
For $249, Hybrid Tools Vol. 3 weighs in at 4.5GB and features 16 different core sound classes: Booms, Drastic Lines, Drones, Epic Bends, Epic Boom Kit, Levitation, Lights, Pulses (Slow), Pulses (Fast), Markers, Risers, Signatures, Taikos, Tonal, Unisons and Whooshes. There is a Main patch for all of these sound classes, but you can also choose to load up individual patches.
All of these are very sound-designish in nature so they are right in the ballpark of modern composers and sound designers who want new sounds with a hybrid flavor to them and new sound shaping functionalities at their fingertips.
An overview of the sounds in Hybrid Tools Vol: 3
Let’s take a look at the different sound classes, or patches:
Booms – Low and meaty stings, suitable for marking powerful accents in tracks. Quite a few of these could have been more like clean hits/booms however, as they don’t have as hard and clean of an attack and tail as I would like them to. Still very useful and high quality stings for marking important beats in a cue though.
Drastic Lines – Quite unique and large variety of sound-designish sounds that can be used in many situations.
Drones – Exquisitely varying drones that I can see myself using many times for trailer cues, game score ambiences, and all kinds of tracks that would need some nice atmosphere to them. Large deposit of airy, deep and atmospheric sounds right here!
Epic Bends – Nasty and growly bends. As with the pulses, these change with the tempo of the track. They can be sped up 2x or slowed down to half speed. I can see these come in handy whenever I need some mighty bending stuff.
Epic Boom Kit – This kit is quite awesome. It has defined cymbals, a variety of clean, low kick drums, processed snares, toms and other drums. The toms are really powerful! You can hear the kit here (along with a good overview of what you get when you buy this library):
Levitation – Airy, atmospheric and very reverberant. These are great for ending tracks or parts of a track as they grow fast in dynamics and fades out slowly. Quite cool sounds that are very useful.
Lights – Similar to the patch “Levitation”, these are airy and wide and processed sounds. Most of these have slightly more accentuated attacks than the rest of the more airy, reverberated samples.
Pulse (Slow & Fast) – Just what it sounds like; a large collection of rhythmic pulses/grooves. These are all BPM synced, and can be sped up 2x or slowed down to half speed. You can play these in a rhythmic way, or you can just hold down a few keys and let them drive on. 8Dio has a great video showing how one can use these grooves:
Markers – Short and airy whoosh sounds. I think these could have been included in the “Whooshes”.
Risers – A few long risers. In my opinion there should be a speed up button for this too as that would improve their usefulness. They are also all quite similar in their sound, so I’m not overly impressed by this small patch.
Signatures – The Signatures patch contains short sounds with character. Similar to Lights and Levitation, these are lush and airy, with a few deep, low-end layers.
Taikos – Standard taiko drum ensemble that are very powerful and useful for any epic cue. They have a slamming high end, a solid body and a dominant low end. There are also “Super Taikos” which have a bigger, harder and more processed sound than the regular Taikos. Add in some reverb for a nice long tail, go into the effects tab and squeeze up some of that high end and they’re good to go. One downside with this patch is that its dynamic range is quite limited to hard-hitting – would be very useful to have some sort of lower dynamics layers. Check them out here:
Tonal – Heavy sounds that are chromatic. There are two subcategories in this: Bass and Piano. The bass is a distorted, heavy and dark bass synth. The Piano is a mangled, hard and processed piano “hit” sound, which can be useful here and there. Play around with CHAOS engine, and you get some interesting, industrial sounds.
Unisons – These long samples start with a large and chaotic structure and develop into harmonious unisons as they reach their end.
Whooshes – A large collection of shorter whooshes. Many of these have tonal qualities, which gives a nice, unique transition for whenever you need it.
There is a handy REVERSE button for reversing all the samples, except for the Pulses and the Epic Bends. Also there’s a SPEED knob for slowing down to half speed, or doubling it up. This only works with Pulses and Epic Bends.
What about the effects? It is a sound-design plug-in after all?
No worries, there are a lot of useful effects in Hybrid Tools Vol:3. If you go into the Effects tab, you will find a list of effects: Key Control, Sequencer, Macro, Filter, EQ, Degrader, Trance Gate, Delay, Transform and Reverb. They have a lot of controls and most of these have a settings button (cogs on the left of the power switch), so there is a lot to tweak in here. I really like the warm, saturated sound of the EQ.
Whenever you activate an effect in the Effects tab, that effect will now be influenced by the CHAOS button if you press it. This can give really interesting sounds that you’ve never heard before.
What’s this CHAOS engine about?
Hybrid Tools Vol:3 is a great sample module for sound-design and distorted effects, but it also harbors a special engine called CHAOS. This built-in functionality is utilized with the effects in the Effects tab. You activate the desired effect you want, go to the main tab, hit the CHAOS button, and prepare for either a completely useless sound or the most awesomely dark and atmospheric drone you’ve ever heard – that’s the eventuality of entering the realm of chaotic randomness. I love this thing. Oh, and just hold down alt (on PC) and click the CHAOS button to reset it.
So what’s the not-so-good part? Everything has a flaw, right?
I would like the ability to drag the samples from the patches in Kontakt onto my sequencer to chop them up and process as I please, but in order to do this I have to go into the installation folder. I think this is a feature that should have been implemented as I love to work with the actual samples inside of my DAW. (EDIT: this isn’t possible at all in Kontakt apparently, so apologies to 8Dio! NI should definitely implement this)
Another thing I noticed was that many of these sounds were more sound-designish than musical, which is a bit on the downside for me. I was hoping that Hybrid Tools Vol: 3 offered some more natural and clean musical sounds for some of the patches, but the vast majority of them are whooshy, short and processed. However, this is what this library is all about – the sound design aspect of hybrid music and just cool sound design for whatever sound-related project might require it.
The percussive section of this library does get a high overall score, as there are many grooves to choose from, good and powerful kits and some great taikos for those massive epic parts in a trailer cue. But I would very much like to have more dynamic layers, or simply a larger dynamic range for some of the percussion.
Summing it all up
Hybrid Tools Vol 3 is a very sound-designish library with a really cool and intuitive interface, big-sounding drum patches, deep pulsing grooves, risers and markers, swishes, whooshes and more. Every single one of these samples can be tweaked in thousands of ways all inside of Kontakt using the Effects tab. The CHAOS engine can randomize these effects in order to create sounds that range from deep and enveloping, to completely useless, to extremely unique and useful soundscapes – so a lack of inspiration for hybrid sound-design is not present when dealing with Hybrid Tools Vol. 3.
The patches could have had better organization, as some of their sounds are awkwardly placed, and some patches have names that you don’t really get.
After just a few minutes of playing around with this library, you get brutal ideas and just want to sit down and compose primal fire in your DAW – I really love libraries that make you feel like that, and this is definitely one of those libraries.
So all in all, do I recommend it? Other than wanting a few more dynamic layers on the Taikos, a bit “cleaner” hits and booms, and a drag-samples-onto-sequencer feature, I’d say yes. If you’re a sound designer, a media composer or a music producer who want to slam in some great hybrid sounds in your project, you really can’t go wrong with this. The quality is there, the price is in the sweet spot and in my honest estimation, I can see myself using this library for many cues to come. Kudos, 8Dio!