Micro Review: Channel Robot's Kick Factory (Kontakt)

Discussion in 'Production' started by lostnthesound, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. lostnthesound

    lostnthesound Burns Easily in the Sun

    Oct 19, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Washington DC

    Kick Factory: Kick Layering Made Easy...Almost.
    Kick Factory is exactly that: a means to combine (mix) two kick sounds and apply various processing to get a unique, cohesive layered result. The interface is simple enough: two channels containing kick banks (with independent volume/tune controls), reverb, three EQs (one per channel and one for "overall"), a light transient/envelope section and a compressor to top it off.

    Each kick has been thoroughly multi-sampled, so hitting your MIDI keys at different velocities results in a different kick timbre‚Äďa very nice touch for creating humanized variation within a sequence. There's also some presets, none of which really impressed me one way or the other.

    The reverb, eq, trans & compressor sections all sound quite nice, and can allow for either subtle enhancements/gluing to all out pumping/click madness. All in all, these shaping sections are pretty good, but not great.

    A Little Bit Too Simple
    While I can respect the minimal approach of the interface, it's the minimal GUI elements that really holds this instrument back. For example, the lack of description above each EQ section forces the user to discover their signal paths alone. To add, because each one looks exactly alike, it can be too easy to dial in the wrong EQ section resulting in a loss of the sound the user had been shaping...something I found myself doing more often than not.

    Perhaps the biggest issue I have with Kick Factory is the manner in which the kicks are accessed. Clicking on each kick tab results in a long (scrolling) fly-out window where you go through a list of kicks to choose from. Each time you open the menu, the list of kicks begins at the top instead of where the last kick you selected was in the list. This default behavior becomes annoying rather quickly...but nowhere near as annoying as having to actually click, scroll and select a kick every single time. I'm at a loss as to why the programmer didn't include basic up/down browsing arrows to enable a user to quickly go through each in order to audition quickly. Furthermore, you cannot even highlight the tab and then use the up/down arrows on your keyboard to navigate through the list of kicks. As previously mentioned when you click the tab you have to fight with the menu, so there is no means to browse the kicks without having to use your mouse/trackpad.

    I sincerely had high hopes for Kick Factory. On paper, it seems like any producer's wet dream for creating unique, thick kick sounds. In practice, the oversimplified layout and neanderthal-esque approach to browsing the different sounds really brought down the value. As someone who likes to work as fast as possible when inspiration strikes, the lack of a user-friendly sample audition/selection method really destroyed any chance of including this instrument in my workflow. Nothing sucks the motivation out of a session than having to constantly click, scroll, select...click, scroll, select. The goal of any good software instrument/plugin should be for the user to spend less time clicking/selectingand more time creating/listening. Sadly, I personally found Kick Factory to be too cumbersome to be effective.

    2.5 out of 5.
    Below Average. Save your money for something else unless you want to invest a lot of time (and patience) creating kicks.