Modern Retro Drums for Kontakt

NEW: now includes Drum Particles Kontakt instruments - Modern Retro edition, for even more power and flexibility

Read below for more info. Free for all registered customers, old and new.

Two kits that helped shape the sound of the 90s

Modern Retro Drums features 4 full drum kits sampled from:

  • a 1997 Sonor Designer kit played with sticks and hotords

  • a Tama Starclassics kit played with stick and brushes

The kits come with 4 sets of cymbals sampled from a Zildjian set (sticks and hotrods) and a Turkish set (sticks and brushes) and additional Cymbals (Sabian and Ufip) and 6 snares from Ludwig, Sonor and Tama, presented in 13 different versions.

These kits have been largely used since the '90s to craft some of the best selling music ever recorded.

Video - Limitless

Featuring Modern Retro Drums, BBassV and Model 7 Grand piano + a handful of guitar tracks.

Please watch in HD, otherwise the sound quality will be deeply compromised

Sounds and Patterns Video

Please watch in HD, otherwise the sound quality will be deeply compromised

Video - Making of the song Limitless

Please watch in HD, otherwise the sound quality will be deeply compromised

Audio Demos

This is a selection of audio demos for Modern Retro Drums. For more info on the demos, please hit our Soundcloud page.

Some demos are also presented in a Drums++++ version with the rest of the arrangement mixed very low so you can better enjoy the sound of the library.

All demos feature the drums purposely mixed inside the hosting plugin, hence using only the stock effects available in Kontakt.

The only processes applied to the drum sound after it exits the hosting instrument are: a brickwall limiter on the master (Fabfilter Pro-L) and the mp3 encoding.

Some of these audio demos are tracked from the BFD version of Modern Retro (marketed by Fxpansion), but the two share the same exact sample set, hence they testify the kind of sounds one can achieve.


The Room

After a through analysis of the best selling singles from the 90s we realized, contrary to our belief, that drums featured a rather large real room sound, even if sometimes very low in the mix. So we opted for an historical room in Italy that is not operating anymore as a recording studio. When we were granted access to this space, we had just a few days to setup and capture the drums.


The Drums

Another recognizable sign in music of the '90s is the importance in the mix given to the kick: if the '80s saw loud snares, the '90s where all about kick sounds, mixed rather up front and with a lot of work on both the "click" and bottom of the kick sound. For this reason, we opted for an extensive use of microphones on the kicks and we prepared the two kicks we had at disposal in no less than 13 different ways.

The 6 snares offer a range that goes from piccolo snare to lowly detuned and muted either using a cloth or various damping materials, resulting in 13 very usable sounds.

Even if slightly different in regard to recording technique, the single drums from each kit can be easily mixed since they share the same room, mics and positioning in the room.

Drummer for Kontakt - a custom engine

When we decided to support Kontakt we knew we needed to offer a custom interface for drums. Development took a bit under two years and now we are proudly shipping the first version.

The user interface is thought out to be easy and quick to learn and use while featuring the power-user tools some of us love to tweak when working with drums.


Behind the curtains of the engine allows us to:

  • feature up to 11 round robins - hitting a drum many consecutive times will never trigger the same sample twice in a row

  • give you the chance to easily build, mix & match the kit in both the 3D (DrumKit) and Mixer pages

  • manage RAM very efficiently with purge - no need to load separate .nki load just another kit

  • feature a full-fledged mixer with mute, solo, 4 insert effects: EQ, comp, transient and tape

  • insert a built-in global and channel-specific preset management

  • be MIDI mapping agnostic - we already built in support for a large number of articulations

  • color-coding for easy recognition of drums on Kontakt keyboard

  • feature up to 4 Room mic channels

  • give you up to 4 mixable Close mics on Kicks and Snare, 2 for hi-hats, rides and toms

  • grant drum-specific control on tuning, velocity curve and attack, hold and release times - instant damping, gating or creative effects

  • feature an exclusive ADH envelope on Room channels for creative effects

  • intelligently switch pan-pot and width controls in case of mono or stereo channels (and stereo Rooms get both width and pan for maximum flexibility)

  • insert channel-specific controls in the settings page, like hi-hat control, snare bleed, or cymbals/percussions management

  • ... and much more


The Style Player in Kontakt

We developed a custom Style Player for the Kontakt version.


In depth info is available in the walkthrough video above or read through for some more info.

3 ways of interacting with the MIDI Player

  • Play from the Kontakt interface: switch in realtime (and in Sync to the host, if desired) between multiple intros, main grooves, fills and outros.

  • Drag and Drop any pattern to the desktop or your DAW for further editing on MIDI tracks

  • Assign any pattern to a MIDI key on your MIDI Keyboard and play through in a "one-finger-drummer" fashion


Modify each pattern in realtime (and modifications are kept when assigning to a MIDI Key or dragging to the DAW) at the global or atomic level in terms of:

  • intensity

  • tempo (original, x2, 1/2x)

  • delay: both in ticks (960 PPQ) and musical terms

  • grid (used for quantize and swing operators)

  • quantize

  • swing

  • remap: used on some kit pieces (for example: remap all snare notes to sidestick or rimshots)

  • activate each single instrument group (kick, snare, hihat, toms, ride, cymbals, percussions)

  • You can randomize fills and main grooves while calling automatically a fill every 2, 4, 8, 16 bars (via the Player preferences panel)

  • All of this turns the 1119 available Patterns, organized in 19 Styles and recorded using a real drummer especially for the release using the same samples, into billions of possibilities at your fingertip.

Styles Galore

With 19 Styles and 1119 patterns, our focus for Modern Retro was in delivering a collection of bread & butter grooves and fills fit to the drum sounds: don't be fooled though, when we use the term "bread & butter" we refer to the highest quality french bread and danish butter one can buy in terms of quality and usability, so much that we crafted all of our product demos with those Styles.

The Styles are freely inspired by some of the most successful singles from the 90s and, again, we were amazed at how much creativity and variety we ended up discovering in those hit songs, to which we added our production style and the musical taste of a first-call session drummer.

Reverb, with class

The IR Reverb module in our engine currently features 36 unique proprietary impulse responses. These are originated from vintage plates, hardware and coveted real rooms, which, when used with drums, push the limits of what can be done with a single drum kit.


25 global mix-ready factory presets ease your way into using these drum kits, to which we add presets for each channel, including the reverb path.

... Or mix it your way

Each channel inside our Kontakt engine can be routed to a separate output, when properly configured in Kontakt, leaving you with the freedom to mix the drums using your own plugins or external outboards.

The drum kits

Sonor Designer 1997 Kit

  1. Ludwig 14x6.5 Maple Snare Hotrod

  2. Ludwig 14x6.5 Maple Snare Stick

  3. Sonor Designer 1997 14x5 Snare Hotrod

  4. Sonor Designer 1997 14x5 Snare Stick

  5. Sonor Designer 1997 14x6.5 Snare Hotrod

  6. Sonor Designer 1997 14x6.5 Snare Stick

  7. Sonor Designer 1997 Close Kick Felt

  8. Sonor Designer 1997 Close Kick Plastic

  9. Sonor Designer 1997 Floor Tom Hotrod

  10. Sonor Designer 1997 Floor Tom Stick

  11. Sonor Designer 1997 High Tom Hotrod

  12. Sonor Designer 1997 High Tom Stick

  13. Sonor Designer 1997 Hole Kick Felt

  14. Sonor Designer 1997 Hole Kick Plastic

  15. Sonor Designer 1997 Mid Tom 1 Hotrod

  16. Sonor Designer 1997 Mid Tom 1 Stick

  17. Sonor Designer 1997 Mid Tom 2 Hotrod

  18. Sonor Designer 1997 Mid Tom 2 Stick

  19. Sonor Designer 1997 Open Kick Felt

  20. Sonor Designer 1997 Open Kick Plastic

  21. Ufip China Hotrod

  22. Ufip China Stick

  23. Zildjian Crash 14 Hotrod

  24. Zildjian Crash 14 Stick

  25. Zildjian Crash 18 Hotrod

  26. Zildjian Crash 18 Stick

  27. Zildjian Fast Crash 18 Hotrod

  28. Zildjian Fast Crash 18 Stick

  29. Zildjian HiHat Hotrod

  30. Zildjian HiHat Stick

  31. Zildjian Ride Hotrod

  32. Zildjian Ride Stick

  33. Zildjian Splash Hotrod

  34. Zildjian Splash Stick

Tama Starclassic Kit

  1. Ludwig Supraphonic Snare 14x5 Stick

  2. Paiste Splash Brush

  3. Paiste Splash Stick

  4. Sabian Ride Brush

  5. Sabian Ride Stick

  6. Tama S. Phillips Snare 12x5 Brush

  7. Tama S. Phillips Snare 12x5 Stick

  8. Tama Starclassic Close Kick Felt

  9. Tama Starclassic Cloth Snare 14x5 Stick

  10. Tama Starclassic Damp Snare 14x5 Stick

  11. Tama Starclassic Floor Tom 1 Brush

  12. Tama Starclassic Floor Tom 1 Stick

  13. Tama Starclassic Floor Tom 2 Brush

  14. Tama Starclassic Floor Tom 2 Stick

  15. Tama Starclassic High Tom Brush

  16. Tama Starclassic High Tom Stick

  17. Tama Starclassic Hole Damp Kick Felt

  18. Tama Starclassic Hole Damp Kick Plastic

  19. Tama Starclassic Hole Loose Kick Felt

  20. Tama Starclassic Hole Loose Kick Plastic

  21. Tama Starclassic Mid Tom 1 Brush

  22. Tama Starclassic Mid Tom 1 Stick

  23. Tama Starclassic Mid Tom 2 Brush

  24. Tama Starclassic Mid Tom 2 Stick

  25. Tama Starclassic Open Kick Felt

  26. Tama Starclassic Open Kick Plastic

  27. Tama Starclassic Snare 14x5 Brush

  28. Tama Starclassic Snare 14x5 Stick

  29. Turkish Crash 15 Brush

  30. Turkish Crash 15 Stick

  31. Turkish Crash 18 Brush

  32. Turkish Crash 18 Stick

  33. Turkish Dark China Brush

  34. Turkish Dark China Stick

  35. Turkish HiHat Brush

  36. Turkish HiHat Stick

  37. Ufip Ride Brush

  38. Ufip Ride Stick


  • Kick: Hit - up to 300 unique hits and up to 11 round robin

  • Snare: Hit, Rim and Sidestick - up to 300 unique hits and up to 11 round robin

  • Toms: Hit, Hoop - up to 70 unique hits and 4 round robin

  • HiHat: Tip, Shank, Foot, Splash, Pedal - 6 openings each Tip and Shank position, 4 round robin for each dynamic

  • Ride: Hit, Bell, Edge - up to 36 unique hits

  • Cymbals: Hit - up to 24 unique hits

Each articulation features no less than 16 velocity levels, all the way up to 32.


  • Kick: AKG D112, Shure B52A, Audix D6, Sennheiser e902, Audio Technica AT4060 tube

  • Snare Top: Shure SM57

  • Snare Bottom: Beyerdynamic M420

  • HiHat: Shure SM81

  • Ride: Shure SM81

  • Cymbals: Shure SM81

  • Rack Toms: Beyerdynamic M201TG

  • Floor Toms: Audix D4

  • Overhead Stereo: 2 x AKG C414B condenser

  • Overhead Mono (Sonor): Beyerdynamic M260 ribbon (Sonor)

  • Overhead Mono (Tama): a mix Beyerdynamic M260 ribbon and Audio Technica AT4060 tube

  • Room Stereo: 2 x Neumann U87 condenser

  • Room PZM: 2 x Crown PZM30D condenser

Preamps and processing

  • Neve 1073

  • API 312

  • Millennia, tube and solid-state

  • Brunetti PAR400

  • recorded through a Studer A800 MKII 2" - 24 tracks tape recorder with Ampex 456 tape (pass through tape - no NR)

  • EQs and compressors (on mono overheads) were used lightly to leave room for further processing on your side

  • converters: Apogee AD16Xs with Big Ben master-clock

Now includes Drum Particles - Modern Retro Edition - FREE!

A no frills User Interface with just two simple pages:

  • Load a full kit Multi NKM or a single kit piece NKI

  • Select the controlling MIDI Channel

  • Load the preferred sound

  • Eventually:

    • Balance the microphones and optionally feed them into separate channels in your DAW

    • Set to taste macro and micro tuning, round robin, envelope and velocity-based interactions

    • Change the controlling MIDI keys in the Mapping Page

  • Done!

Some applications

  • Simplify workflow and reduce memory and CPU footprint when you do not need a full drum kit in the production you are doing

  • Drum triggering:

    • Easily assign more than one drum or sample to the same MIDI Key allowing for real time drum replacement or layering using any of the available drum triggering plugins

    • Use the embedded audio to Midi functions present on many platforms (Logic, Sonar...)

  • Stack as many drums as you want on a single Midi key

  • Create hybrid kits using our sounds or integrate other developers’ kits with our drums

  • Open up endless sound design possibilities having the chance to layer, re-direct, retune, change envelope on each drums separately

  • Finely tune the velocity response of each drum allowing you to better complement a live e-drumming or finger-drumming or to create velocity split stacks of different sounds

  • (Your own creative ideas here)

Quality you can tell

We released the first multi-mic drum library in 2003, with Scarbee.

We know drums. We know drum-sampling.

We know how to turn a drum recording session into a set of coherent, greatly playable sampled instruments. Not just a collection of sounds. This effort needs a lot of love for drums, time, ear, knowledge, dedication and experience.

Our drum samples have been used on countless tracks in the last 13 years, counting on an ongoing success still sprawling from our first library, Imperial Drums, re-released in BFD format through FXpansion at the end of 2013, our ever-growing product line and the large large number of companies we worked with along the years: Native Instruments, Ableton, Steinberg, Arobas, Cakewalk and Presonus to name just a few.

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Drum Particles Logo - NOW INCLUDES.png

89.00 USD

(list price 129.00 USD)

- this Instrument requires the FULL RETAIL VERSION OF NI KONTAKT 5.5.2 or higher
- this Instrument DOES NOT WORK with the Free Kontakt Player
- this Instrument may be acquired only in downloadable format, download size is about 15 Gigabytes, so expect longer download times on slower connections

Crossgrade from BFD Modern Retro (sold by Fxpansion) available for only 29.00 USD

for more info send us a request here


  • 15 GB compressed sample content size

  • 67499 samples

  • 4 full drum kits (2 sticks + 1 brushes + 1 hotrods)

  • 72 drum pieces

  • sampled in full detail: up to 300 samples per articulation and up to 11 round robin (Kontakt)

  • integrated, advanced MIDI player with 19 Styles, made up of 1119 patterns recorded by a top session drummer

  • recorded in an historic italian studio with choice mics

  • up to 4 close mics

  • 4 room channels: Overhead stereo, Overhead mono, Room U87 and Room PZM

  • warm and deep sound, recorded through an analog tape machine

  • advanced mixing and management (Kontakt) thanks to our custom advanced scripting

  • recorded at 24 bit / 96 KHz, released at 24 bit / 44.1 KHz

Kontakt Features

  • Read the dive-in manual for the Kontakt version here

  • custom 3D graphics with animation on kit and snare drum changes

  • build your own kit

  • very quick startup times

  • advanced RAM management thanks to purge

  • up to 4 Close and 4 Room mics

  • tuning, velocity curve and AHD envelope controls on each drum

  • advanced engine, shared with all future drum libraries

  • 25 global factory presets

  • up to 11 round robins

  • large number of velocity splits (always > 16)

  • 36 custom IR reverbs