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British Drama Toolkit - unofficial voice your honest opinion / critique thread

SoNowWhat?

realised I can type here
If I have one criticism of BDT (and I don't own it yet, this is based around demo videos), it's that you very much have to write to the samples (you could make this argument for almost any sample library). As CH says in his contextual video he listens to the bowing and works to that rather than say having complete control over what happens and when. However, nobody ever said it was anything different to that and it was quite apparent to me from the start. I still like it and this is as much based on the actual sound of the thing. It's wonderfully intimate and seems to have some lovely textures. For $150 you're unlikely to get that sort of complete control in the current market.
 

Brian2112

Active Member
Make a Kontakt Multi

Step 1: load BDT
Step 2: load SSE in Kontakt slot 2 (same midi channel). Adjust volume 1/2 of BDT
Step 3: load your favorite piano.Again same midi channel. (Preferebly, Galaxy Vintage D with the Taj Mahal IR)
Step 4: rout the first 2 to QL spaces2 default program.

step 5: score the next 500 years of “Midsummer Murder Mysteries” -the show that you can’t watch all of in a lifetime yet they managed to film in the last 20 years. The great BBC paradox is yours to control!

Seriously, a great and inspirational library IMO.
 
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noises on

Active Member
Make a Kontakt Multi

Step 1: load BDT
Step 2: load SSE in Kontakt slot 2 (same midi channel). Adjust volume 1/2 of BDT
Step 3: load your favorite piano.Again same midi channel. (Preferebly, Galaxy Vintage D with the Taj Mahal IR)
Step 4: rout the first 2 to QL spaces2 default program.

step 5: score the next 500 years of “Midsummer Murder Mysteries” -the show that you can’t watch all of in a lifetime yet they managed to film in the last 20 years. The great BBC paradox is your to control!

Seriously, a great and inspirational library IMO.
Excuse my ignorance SSE?
 

gpax

Senior Member
So far I’m really liking it.

But I confess to investing in libraries which sometimes appeal for their narrow or niche focus, even if only used to elevate a project or two. What stood out to me was how the solo instrument approach was even more expressive and present than Orchestral Swarm (which got bumped in an existing project in favor of BDT, as did a couple of other layers). Even if just winds and strings, it’s an intimate complement to Tundra, Evos...

I think the videos are fairly naked and honest, if you watch them all, including the Sam Sim interview. But I can also see how different keyboards are going to color, if not frustrate some user experiences where BDT is built around velocity (and where seaming notes, ala a more legato feel, may be elusive to some).

I just went back and scanned the videos. Is there an option to set the velocity layers to compensate for disparate playing styles and keyboards?

My synth style keyboard seems perfectly suited, whereas my weighted hits a bit too heavy. Even Paul, Oliver and Christian encounter this if you watch closely, unleashing that top layer inadvertently from time to time.

But I spend my life in the midi editor anyway...
 

MatFluor

Senior Member
My honest assessment:

- Beautiful sounds
- Questionable playability

I don't need legato for this kind of stuff - it lives from the room to breath - and it's not it's intend to be a soloistic library. For that you have other options. The sounds are stellar, and I like the emotional content in there. Clear, close, very textural.
Playability - I said "questionable". I'm not a pianist, and currently I only have a Synth-action Keyboard (my StudioLogic SL88 is coming next month). With that, I find it hard to getting used to - hard to control. The loud layers are very loud, and the textural layers are very soft, so when you accidentally press too hard, e.g. a way too loud cello pops into your ears. You can do fade ins and outs with CC11 (Expression), and that's good enough for the textural usage I intend. It offers enough variety for me to be worthwhile, and for 150 bucks it's fair priced - we can discuss the normal sales price, but still. I have a hard time playing it fluidly, but my Nektar isn't the world best velocity-wise. I hope the Fatar will remedy it a bit ;)

What I miss:
- Adjustable layer "heights", to (as gpax said) compensate for bad velocities or playing
- A more streamlined volume progression, loud is so much more loud than the rest, makes it tedious to mix

I like it, love the colors and it's extremely close to my "composer voice", only that I don't have to hire musicians to record that, but I can make a cue with that, a little tundra, a little piano and maybe solo strings. Or simply sketch something out. For sketching alone - I wouldn't say "worth it", but if you use it as a tool in your toolbox rather than a "one click solution", for this price, there is nothing that can compare (except some hardcore underpaid students)

I didn't make a review video or whatever and god knows I'm not the most pro guy running around, so, take that with a grain of salt.
 

Rob Elliott

Senior Member
If I have one criticism of BDT (and I don't own it yet, this is based around demo videos), it's that you very much have to write to the samples (you could make this argument for almost any sample library). As CH says in his contextual video he listens to the bowing and works to that rather than say having complete control over what happens and when. However, nobody ever said it was anything different to that and it was quite apparent to me from the start. I still like it and this is as much based on the actual sound of the thing. It's wonderfully intimate and seems to have some lovely textures. For $150 you're unlikely to get that sort of complete control in the current market.
This is spot on. More than most libraries you have to play to these samples (Craig's suggestion of not playing to a click is also spot on - and less frustrating.) Think evo series with more flexibility. It is a bit of a one trick pony BUT what it does - it does very well. The $150 for THAT is quite fair IMHO. If you can keep your expectations measured in this regard, I think most will get wonderful use out of this one. Especially those under tight deadlines. ;)
 

prodigalson

Senior Member
This is spot on. More than most libraries you have to play to these samples (Craig's suggestion of not playing to a click is also spot on - and less frustrating.) Think evo series with more flexibility. It is a bit of a one trick pony BUT what it does - it does very well. The $150 for THAT is quite fair IMHO. If you can keep your expectations measured in this regard, I think most will get wonderful use out of this one. Especially those under tight deadlines. ;)
I agree. If this same library was released as Heavyocity's latest NOVO exp pack ("now with woodwinds!") the reaction would be different.
 

Lee Blaske

Senior Member
Here's another quick track I threw together last night just as an experiment to find out what BDT is good for (and also to find out what it might not be quite so good for). This piece is in the Americana-ish vein (don't know if that's taboo, since it's a *British* Drama Toolkit ;) ). Piano is from the Olafur Arnalds Toolkit. Everything else is BDT.

What I like about BDT in this context is the gentleness, fragility and vulnerability. The character is right. It's not so adept and controllable, though, for playing faster lines (which probably should be expected). BDT is most likely best suited for more ethereal or dramatic things moving and evolving at a slower pace. I think I'd choose different sampled instruments if I was doing the piece below for real. BDT might be useful for pads, though. Of all the instruments in BDT, I think the clarinet is the most agile (especially in the chalumeau Register).

 

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
Here's another quick track I threw together last night just as an experiment to find out what BDT is good for (and also to find out what it might not be quite so good for). This piece is in the Americana-ish vein (don't know if that's taboo, since it's a *British* Drama Toolkit ;) ). Piano is from the Olafur Arnalds Toolkit. Everything else is BDT.

What I like about BDT in this context is the gentleness, fragility and vulnerability. The character is right. It's not so adept and controllable, though, for playing faster lines (which probably should be expected). BDT is most likely best suited for more ethereal or dramatic things moving and evolving at a slower pace. I think I'd choose different sampled instruments if I was doing the piece below for real. BDT might be useful for pads, though. Of all the instruments in BDT, I think the clarinet is the most agile (especially in the chalumeau Register).

Would it be fair to say you could get the same BDT string texture and soft sounds from Olafur's Chamber Evolutions? I'm just thinking I might want to save up for that instead.
 

Xilef

New Member
Thanks for all the replies and inspirations to help answering my question on the second page!
I've now decided to not buy this library (for now) - for two (non-proofed) reasons:

1. I don't like the loud solo sounds and as I wouldn't use them for jamming they will only 'disturb' my workflow instead of enhancing it.

2. I have the feeling there are also nice textures in other Spitfire libraries out there which fit my needs a bit better.
 

MaxOctane

Active Member
Echoing @MatFluor, the lib needs a simple slider for adjusting relative volume of loud/texture layers.

Also, the velocity cutoff points should be directly editable. The tiny little graph where you can draw a velocity curve, that is super hard to use.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Having watched several non-SF walk-throughs of BDT now, I'm sort of wondering why SF didn't design the patches with slots, where you could choose which sample set(s) you wanted for the texture layer, the soft layer, and the loud layer and also have control over which velocity range triggered each layer and where you could also designate which layer(s) the modwheel controlled. I mean it looks like you could do this by loading individual articulations and writing a Kontakt multiscript (or use some third party multiscript designed to do this sort of thing) but it would have been nice if this flexibility had been built into the instrument. (And it doesn't seem like it would have been overly complicated to build such flexibility into the instrument.)
 

SoNowWhat?

realised I can type here
Having watched several non-SF walk-throughs of BDT now, I'm sort of wondering why SF didn't design the patches with slots, where you could choose which sample set(s) you wanted for the texture layer, the soft layer, and the loud layer and also have control over which velocity range triggered each layer and where you could also designate which layer(s) the modwheel controlled. I mean it looks like you could do this by loading individual articulations and writing a Kontakt multiscript (or use some third party multiscript designed to do this sort of thing) but it would have been nice if this flexibility had been built into the instrument. (And it doesn't seem like it would have been overly complicated to build such flexibility into the instrument.)
Completely agree about being able to adjust velocity transitions between layers. Maybe that will come in an update? (If you’re listening Spitfire).
As for the “slots” idea, that would be very handy but can you not achieve bespoke combinations from the single instrument patches? You were hinting at this but seems you want some additional flexibility in there.
 

Garry

Senior Member
Completely agree about being able to adjust velocity transitions between layers. Maybe that will come in an update? (If you’re listening Spitfire).
As for the “slots” idea, that would be very handy but can you not achieve bespoke combinations from the single instrument patches? You were hinting at this but seems you want some additional flexibility in there.
Personally, I think I'm holding out until this happens. I really like the library, and it very much suits the type of music I write, but I've noticed in many of the non-Spitfire videos, the top velocity sounds poking out too much; if I can control the velocity threads and amplitude of each, that would be perfect.
 
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