Box Factory is a unique cinematic percussion library geared towards professional composers and producers alike, featuring a huge 40-piece ensemble of cardboard boxes, masterfully sampled in a concert hall. Built for the free Kontakt Player.
About The Instrument
We assembled six performers and 40 boxes of different shapes and sizes in a concert hall, and curated 13 unique ensembles ranging from large to small boxes with a range of stick types and performance techniques. The sound of Box Factory is familiar, yet totally unique. It is presented in a way that will feel at home if you’ve used any other percussion library – you can approach in the same way as you would toms, taikos and snares – yet it offers a certain organic, raw and tactile sound that is unlike any conventional percussion instrument. Whether used as the sole percussion instrument in a composition (as is the case with all the demo tracks on this page), or layered with other drums, the diverse tones and flexible sound-shaping controls offered by Box Factory will be an essential sonic ingredient for anyone looking to freshen up their percussion palette.
We returned to the same concert hall where we recorded Glacier Keys, Frozen Percussion, Dulciano, and many others. Using a selection of 32 top shelf microphones from Neumann, Coles, DPA and Senheiser, we captured the ensembles from multiple perspectives in the room. From these recordings, we created four distinct mixes – Natural, Aggressive, Gritty, and Snappy – giving you a diverse palette of sounds to complement any musical style.
Natural – This mix is the closest sound to the source recordings. With just some gentle processing to enhance and polish the raw recordings, the Natural mix is perfect for those situations where an organic, un-hyped sound is required.
Aggressive – With a carefully selected processing chain, the Aggressive mix turns up the heat and adds some extra dirt and girth. The heavy compression and saturation in this mix bring out the ambience in the room mics, and this can be manipulated further with the ‘Punch’ and ‘Decay Trim’ controls to yield a wide range of results.
Gritty – This mix chain uses some pretty unusual processes (including running the signal through a bass amp!), and offers a very powerful sound with some real mojo, and a particular emphasis on the mid-range. The Gritty mix is our personal favourite.
Snappy – While the Aggressive and Gritty mixes are focused on hyping the raw recordings so they sound larger than life, the Snappy mix is the opposite. This mix offers short and snappy hits with sharp transients and a less roomy sound. With an emphasis on dynamic range, the Snappy mix is super responsive under the fingers and feels great to play.
Each of the four mixes include three individual microphone perspectives (Close, Mid and Far). These signals can be blended with ease using the ‘perspective’ slider, or controlled with greater precision using the separate microphone faders, letting you dial in the perfect amount of ambience, whether you want a dry ‘studio’ sound, or a spacious sound which sits at the back of a mix.
For Box Factory, we have built an intuitive Kontakt interface from the ground up, featuring some powerful new features for controlling and customising the included articulations, but with a familiar simplicity that should feel right at home if you’ve used any of our other libraries.
Sculpt Your Sound
When you first load the library, you’ll be presented with the Main Page, which houses all the essential controls for dialling in your own sound.
Punch – This shapes the attack of each hit, emphasising the transient and creating a punchier sound.
Decay Trim – In some situations, the natural reverb tail from the samples may be less desirable. The Decay Trim control allows you to reduce the natural room decay, resulting in a tighter sound. This is especially useful if you want the large spacious sound of the Far mics, but without the long reverb tail getting in the way during fast playing.
Saturate – From subtle tape warmth to aggressive distortion, this control can drastically change the flavour of each hit. The saturation is applied to each voice separately (rather than to the whole output) which results in a ‘cleaner’ tone shaping effect which doesn’t break apart when multiple boxes are playing together.
Squash – This adds compression to the signal, to add glue and cohesion to the ensemble. The compressor’s settings have been carefully set up under-the-hood to match the source material perfectly, letting you easily dial in the desired amount of compression with a single knob. Unlike the Saturate control, the Squash control is applied to the whole signal.
These controls are very powerful when used in combination. For example, pushing the Squash and Saturation on their own will add grit and character to the hits, but could result in the room tails building up or the transients getting lost, so combining these with the punch and decay trim controls lets you tame the room and add the transients back. This gives you a lot more sound sculpting control than could be achieved with external effects alone.
The Ensemble Stack feature allows the ensemble size to be increased by layering RR samples together. The Looseness control adds random timing variation between each stacked sample. At the lowest setting, each sample is played at the same time; at the highest setting, the ensemble will play with looser timing. The spread control randomises the panning and pitch of each stacked sample, resulting in a larger and wider ensemble.
For many users, the Main Page will be all you need to jump in and start creating music with Box Factory. For those users who want to take the library even further, we have provided an advanced Setup Page, which allows you to tweak each articulation in various ways, edit the instrument’s mapping, and even create your own custom patches that are tailored to your needs and workflow.
The controls on this page allow you to remove articulations, add new articulations (even multiple instances of the same articulation), and change the key mapping. Using the articulation settings panel, you can adjust the volume, pan, stereo width, low pass and high pass filters of each articulation instance. You can also save your articulation mapping and settings as presets which can be loaded into other patches. For more information on using the Setup Page, please see the in-depth instructional video below.
The Rhythm page contains a step sequencer for easily creating tempo-synced rhythms. Velocity and lp/hp filter cutoff can be controlled per-step by dragging across the interactive tables. When the Rhythm Engine is engaged, pressing a key will play the inputted rhythm using the articulation assigned to that key.
On top of the ‘standard’ instruments included in the library, we recycled the raw cardboard box recordings into a set of designed drums. These warped and mangled instruments feature multiple RRs and velocity layers, making them fully playable instruments, adding a whole new dimension to the sonic palette offered by Box Factory.
Epic Sound Design 1-shots
To push the envelope even further, we pursued the talents of Hollywood sound designer Karel Psota (Jumanji, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, Wonder Woman 84) and trailer composer Benjamin Squires (Spider-Man: Far From Home, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World) to create a selection of 70 hard-hitting cinematic one-shot samples. Incredibly, these sounds were created from 100% Box Factory source material, and perfectly complement the playable instruments offered in the library. The one-shots are categorised into booms, hits, whooshes and risers, and are accessible from a special version of the Box Factory engine, featuring a built-in sample editor for adjusting the timings and contour of each sample.
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