Sonuscore is well known for such virtual instruments as “Action Strings” and “Action Strikes”. Trinity Drums is a loop-based drum library for Kontakt which continues their style of instantly usable ready-made loops that sync to your host tempo and have a cinematic feel to them. But let’s have a closer look.
Trinity Drums is a Kontakt sample library of cinematic percussion phrases. The name Trinity refers to the way the content is broken down. The library is fairly small in size and doesn’t include any deep-sampled content.
The library comes with 117 Phrase-themes. Each theme consists of 5 Full phrases and 2 Single Hits, each broken down into 3 layers, the Low, Mid, and High. Sometimes these layers can also feature more unusual sounds from the respected frequency ranges. These layers can either be triggered as the full groove playing all layers simultaneously or each layer individually or various combinations of these layers. You can also replace individual layers between themes. The two single-hit variations are a good addition but lack any velocity layers or round-robins. They only work as one-time phrase-enders or here and there, not repeatedly used.
The 117 themes are divided into two sections, Cinematic and Modern.
These are then again divided into two categories, 4/4 rhythms, and Odd rhythms. There are much more 4/4 phrases than odd timings, which is kind of understandable, but unfortunate at the same time. The Odds include 5/4, 6/4, 5/8, 6/8, 7/8, ¾, 5/4, 6/4, 7/4, 7/8. While there’s a good range of timings, there are only a handful of phrase themes per odd timing. That’s regrettable, and I had hoped for more here.
Still, it’s nice to have at least some since they are easily overlooked in such loop libraries. There are phrases in 90, 100, 120 and 140 bpm. They will sync to the host tempo. However, there are some issues with this. More to that further down.
A Mixer, to adjust parameters for the Layers, and an FX tab, to apply different effects to each Layer, are also included in this Library.
How does it work?
Everything played on a controller will sync to the DAW as it normally is with loop-based libraries. But “Trinity Drums” does have something that separates it a bit from other similar products.
There is an option called “Phrase Sync”. It makes each of the phrases intelligently start off from the right position of the loop, depending on where the phrase, that was played first, is at the time. This enables something close to real-time performances. For example, first playing the high layer only and bring in the mid and low layers at a later time. It will still be perfectly consistent with the groove, and this seems a very useful feature to me. That’s not tall…
This mechanism also works within an individual layer, meaning if you play one of the Mid layer phrases and in the middle of the phrase start playing another Mid layer variation, it continues the groove seamlessly from where ever you were at the time in the previous phrase. This is however technically more impressive than sonically. But a very nice feature nonetheless.
“Trinity Drums” looks alright, the GUI is clear and not overly trying to impress. The themes can be quickly browsed with the arrows on the main page or selected from a list in a separate window. To my disappointment, the names of the themes don’t really tell you much, so you will have to test each theme to find what you’re looking for. This is a major minus point for me since it breaks the workflow and takes up a lot of time. Also, the interaction between the mixer and the FX pages isn’t quite clear and could be very confusing, especially for newcomers.
On the main page, you are presented with three waveforms. The visualize the layers of the selected Phrase-theme. By clicking the theme name, a list of all the available themes will be opened. When triggered a little tracker runs along with the waveform, visualizing the playback and loop position. The previously mentioned Phrase Sync function, which makes the layers match the position of the initially played layer upon triggering, can be turned on and off below the tree waveforms.
The “Mixer” tab lets us adjust the levels and panning of each layer as well as a special Boost knob that adds punch and aggression to the sound. If you are familiar with the punish knob in Heavyocity’s “Damage”, it’s a very similar effect. Sadly this feature isn’t as well crafted as the one in the previously mention library and sounds pretty unsatisfying to my ears.
In addition, we can dial in some delay and reverb as send effects. They sound average, and I would recommend using your favorite plug-in on a send effect if you are looking for specific results.
There is another important feature on the Mixer page. The possibility to exchange different phrase layers between different themes. Making your own Phrase-theme combinations is a very cool option on principle. However, you can’t choose just any phrase-layer. Instead, you are provided with a selection of compatible layers from other themes. It would’ve been nice to be able to do this on the main page as well, and it’s a mystery to me why this feature is so hidden.
The effects view gives you a range of different effects to be applied to individual layers. EQ, distortion, compression, transient designer, basic filter, and lo-fi processing. No presets are provided for these, and everything is off by default. While it’s possible to go crazy with the effects, they are still your quite basic selection and lack a bit in possibilities when compared to some other similar products. The last tab lets you adjust the delay and reverb settings, also nothing special here.
Trinity Drums virtual instrument in general doesn’t sound bad. There is some noticeable variation between the different themes. The cinematic category sounds more traditional and organic while the modern more electronic and mechanical. Some presets seemed in the wrong category to me though.
As I mentioned in the beginning, there is a slight issue with the tempo-syncing. While everything sounds reasonably good when playing a phrase that is slower than the project’s tempo, it doesn’t sound very good the other way around. The library uses Kontakt’s time machine pro to time-stretch the entire phrase to the lower tempo instead of doing this the Rex way in segments.
This results in immediately recognizable artifacts and poor sound quality of a stretched-out audio file. So I don’t really recommend using phrases in a higher tempo than your project.
I can see this used on many tension cues for TV and such, it’s a usable library, easy and fast to use, apart from the preset selection. The sound is convincing enough and has reasonable quality. The Phrase-sync option is a very welcome feature that will speed things up for people on a deadline.
I miss a feature to create random internal effect presets with the push of a button, or the ability to mutate the existing sounds. Since the library has a whole internal FX page, it would’ve been nice to see the makers utilize this section themselves at least somehow and not just leave everything turned off.
The current price is 179,- €, which to some might be too much considering it’s “just” a bunch of loops. However, the way they are broken down into stems/layers and having the phrase-sync feature, definitely add some value, compared to “just” loops.
The phrases sounded good. Nearly all of them are usable out of the box, so I can still appreciate this library for specific needs. Maybe not for major trailer work or film score, but quicker turnaround projects and sketching and source of inspiration for sure. The price seems a little steep for what one gets’s though. Especially considering the quality of Sonuscore’s previous libraries.
More Details: Trinity Drums