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Review: "Pro Pack" 9 Gig Apple Loops Collection from Zero-G

If you already have the Jam Pack series and Drums-on-Demand, this could well be the next loops collection you should buy. There are few duplicates and hundreds of unique loops you will love. After reviewing 100s of sound in this compilation, I think The Zero-G Pro Pack has created a great loops library. All samples are AIFF and are compatible with everything Mac.

Read on for a complete review of this massive collection of Apple format loops.

With any collection this huge, organization is important. The Zero-G Pro Pack has bundled its sounds into 43 folders, most of which are self-explanatory. (The folders represent the 43 different Zero-G collections from which these loops are taken.) Folders like Trance, Trip Hop, Super Funk, Breakbeat and Brass Elements (with its early Chicago and Motown brass section fillers) all competently deliver the expected; but they also supply wonderful surprises. For example, the string arrangements in Trip Hop make great classically romantic loops; Rock Vocals has a series of operatic soprano samples; African Voices has a series of unique hand clapping rhythms; and the Breakbeat folders include very cool ambient sounds and player noises in with some of the grooves. Few folders disappoint: Even folders that, to my mind, have loops they would be hard to work into a normal song, like Orchestral Flavors with its strings' room size that fail to match up to any other string instruments in the GB arsenal (which is why it is called Orchestral "Flavors" I suspect), its loops include extremely high quality orchestral hits, arpeggios, sound clusters and a variety of solo percussion hits. They are a joy just to listen to. For the most part, each folder holds a new world of sounds to discover and cherish. (For a complete list of folders, see: Zero-G Releases.)

Sometimes in compilations this large that cannibalize from earlier collections, there is wonderful variety without an ear to how each loop might potentially work with others in creating a unified sound piece. Not so here. Most every sound fits like a puzzle with other sounds within its folder. Zero-G did an excellent job providing useful loops in a logical library. I especially like the funk drumming, electronic grooves, and the wide variety of vocal samples. There are perhaps too many novelty loops and not enough bass grooves for my taste, but the novelties are all fun and well produced.

Which leads me to the sound quality of these AIFF files. Mostly, they are excellent. Occasionally, in the acoustic guitar loops, for example, there are clicks associated with either the playing or the recording that becoming annoying if they are indeed looped (and repeated) over time, minimizing their usefulness. But these occasions are rare. The Zero-G loop library includes some of the best-played, best-recorded samples I've heard. Every loop in Pro Pack for GarageBand is a pro-quality performance. There are dozens of musical styles to choose from. This package is simply wonderful for foundation tracks, arranging, and idea generation.

But users of loops beware. All loops run the risk of being overused, becoming stale. If you want your music to sound unique, you have to start from scratch. Still, I would recommend this collection if you want to create electronica (dance, techno, industrial), funk, R&B, and rock songs; if you want to sample some world vocals and hand percussion grooves; or if you need unique rhythmic grooves that defy categories and convention. Aside from some pretty good (altho limited) acoustic guitar strumming, there are few or no loops for folk, celtic, or other types of acoustic lead instruments, strings or woodwinds. It also has few jazz related loops (some drum grooves, hand percussion, and an electric jazz guitar that doesn't really have enough samples with which to construct a complete song). Regardless of deficiencies, this a wonderful collection for your library.

[Note: Zero-G guarantees that all lops are 100% copyright clean and can be used safely in any mix, even commercial, if the use is in a musical context. No additional licensing fees, no mandatory citations (although they wouldn't mind the plug). What you can't do: Offer the sounds to clients as part of any rental or library contracts, unless they have become part of a larger groove or loop wherein they are not solo'd or the main them; give the loops away; post them yourself on the Internet; resell the collection. If you are using Zero-G loops in a multimedia context and they become FX sounds, icon sounds, game noises, etc., then you have to go back to Zero-G and get an additional license.]

• Over 3900 drum and percussion loops
• Over 2300 instrument loops
• Over 1200 vocal loops
• Over 3000 atmosphere and special effects loops

Retails for £99.95 pounds ($169.95 / 149 Euro).

A complete list of Loops Categories, etc.:
http://www.macjams.com/article.php?story=20041029234435214

Zero-G Product description:
http://www.zero-g.co.uk/index.cfm?articleid=850


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