DM–307 comes in a cca. 4.5 GB bundle of various drum kicks, snares, hihats and sound effects. It is in general a drum machine made for Kontakt with all the possible effects that Kontakt comes with.
There are thousands of samples split into 7 main genre styles which are part of 3 larger groups (Kits, Loops and Kit grooves). It appears that Heavyocity went for a broader spectrum of users now, offering a lot of content for EDM producers as well as film composers. Here is a brief overview of the 7 main styles.
1. Drum N Bass
6. Latin Organic
7. Industrial edge
Inside each category and subcategory are all the patches you will ever need. Heavyocity really did a good job on placing each patch into the right category. In terms of content you can compare DM–307 to Native instruments Battery 4. They both share around 4 GB of samples and both enable you to modify each sample but unlike Battery you cannot add your own to DM–307. This of course isn’t Heavyocity’s fault; it is just the limitation of Kontakt and its scripting engine. You can change midi patterns inside the Kontakt which is a nice feature. If you own a full version of Kontakt than you can refer to Studio Drummer to understand what midi patterns can do.
A huge part is also the multis that you find inside the DM–307. These consist of two major groups; Performance and Production multis each giving you a little more to play with than others. It is especially good if you are in a hurry and need to come up with some good drum patterns which are provided by various artists such as Jason Graves, Kevin Riepl, Mendo, Pirupa and others. Content wise DM–307 doesn’t disappoint and, in my opinion, Heavyocity made sure to include plenty kits to play with.
It is specific. You can tell these loops were chosen by Heavyocity. Like with all their previous products, Heavyocity has that powerful and recognisable sound. Depending on how you look at it, this can either be a good or a bad thing, especially if you are not into pre-made samples. Luckily for you, all individual samples come with the package.
The quality of the samples is simply amazing and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything less. You can make all sorts of genres with it and it will sound good and up to date with modern styles. Sure there are plenty of patterns that sound dirty (I guess that is the trend these days) but all in all samples are clean which, of course, is what you want. If you own Damage (an earlier Heavyocity product) than you know that Heavyocity doesn’t disappoint in this department either. In fact they really excel in this department.
Like with Heavyocity’s recent products, Aeon and Damage, you will get a very clean and powerful graphic interface. All the functions are there along with their signature Twist and Punish with a new addition, the so called Grid – a 5 layered sequencer drum machine. Drum machines aren’t anything new in Kontakt but in all honesty they were really poorly designed or they lacked simple functions. If you own a full version of Kontakt then you can also load a script by yourself and you will see what I am talking about (Factory -> Sequencing -> Drum computer). Heavyocity took a different approach and completely redesigned the drum computer to look more like a proper drum machine and the best part is, it really works like it is supposed to work. Let us a take a closer look.
The 5 layers consist of 5 main groups (kicks, snares, percs, fx and hats) which you can turn on and off by either controlling individual sample (pattern placement) or enabling and bypassing the whole track pattern via key switch in a 16 step sequencer. The latter is a good feature when making a drum pattern to quickly make variations. You can also bypass the whole grid the same way. I will talk more about that in a minute.
Each of the 5 groups can be edited individually by clicking on the desire name so you will have option to load different drum kick, snare, hat or other FX inside each group. You also have the option to set velocity for each sample, use the “Humanise” and the “Swing” knobs for further customisation. It won’t take you long to get used to making drum patterns inside the “Grid”.
The steps and the speed (rate) are controlled with the knobs on the right side of Grid, giving you possibilities for more control. Below the grid you will find the Chainer which is comprised of 8 one bar patterns (pre determined if you are using a certain patch) that you can modify to your liking.
Since the whole grid is basically a one bar pattern (though you can transform it using “rate” to fake more bars), Container enables you to link each bar in order that you specify beforehand. Of course if you do not wish to use the Chainer you can always turn it off.
Below or let’s say slightly below and to right “Chainer” you will find control for the key latch which is actually what you will be using a lot, pattern display (with the function to turn it off), retrigger and input quantisation.
Now the downside of the whole “Grid” is that you cannot translate the pattern into midi for further customisation (at least, I cannot find that function) so you will have to make changes inside the Grid and the effective way to use Grid in you DAW is to use the bypass function (that is at least how I find it to be of more use).
The Effects, key triggers and more
Like I have mentioned before, all of the effects are available from the start and are not hard to find, though I had some issues with some of the GUI colours since my eyes cannot determine some of the shades used in the GUI (light and dark orange). This of course is Heavyocity’s fault but I am just putting this out there just in case someone else has the same colour-blindness issues.
Again, their signature “Twist” and “Punish” are available once you click the “Grid” at the bottom right corner (if a grid button is highlighted) and they will affect either an individual sample or the whole pattern. Trigger FX are controlled via key switched but you have the option to modify each FX individually at the top of the GUI (T-FX button).
The EQ and filter settings are also found at the top of screen and you can also either control the individual sample which noted as a key on your keyboard (C1 and up) or you can tick the “master” button and control the whole pattern.
The important part I would also like to mention is that the GUI is very CPU friendly, loading a patch feels like a breeze and it will effectively improve your workflow. The multis are somewhat a different story. Since you load quite a lot of patches at the same time the lower spec machines might have some issues with effectively running performance and production multis.
I have to say that I really enjoy the GUI of DM–307 as it is eye friendly (I use this word sparingly) and very fast for an advanced Kontakt code.
Ease of use
At first glance you might be a bit lost but the GUI (due to the slick design) won`t surprise you and you should be able to master the “Grid” in a day or two. The most “getting used to” process will take place while you learn to use the “Grid” in your DAW since midi cannot be translated to your sequencer.
All in all, like most Kontakt libraries, the DM–307 is mostly plug and play.
DM–307 will set you back for around $299 bucks which, depending on how you look at it, can be pricey or not. It is roughly the same value as Native instruments Battery 4 (as an individual product) in terms of price and content you get.
The main difference is that you also get a fully featured drum machine with its own sequencer which Battery 4 lacks, so the choice is basically on what you prefer. If you don`t feel like having a drum machine or Kontakt (it works with free version of Kontakt) then this probably isn’t for you but if you do prefer the above than by all means the DM–307 is a complete solution to modern EDM and hybrid scoring.
The new Heavyocities product DM–307 is by far one of the best drum machines made for Kontakt and Kontakt player and all though the price might be a bit steep it is a right choice for any composer or EDM producer if one preffers Kontakt to other software based drum machines!