Cheetah MD16 Sound Cartridges
Though by no means lacking in onboard sounds, the Cheetah MD16 range of machines has, until recently, offered no means of expanding its base of forty-one voices covering basic kit sounds, Latin percussion and a couple of special effects. With the release of three new cards, however, MD16 owners now have access to a further eighty-five voices which expand the potential of their machine dramatically.
The cartridges are not all loaded with the same number of samples: Total Percussion has thirty-five, Electro Kit has twenty-four and Kicks, Snares, Toms & Hi-hats has twenty-six. There is also a substantial difference in price between Electro Kit and the other two.
Anyone familiar with the quality of the onboard sounds of the MD16s will no doubt be expecting the samples on the sound cards to be broadly similar, and indeed they are. But of course, when you move away from the more 'standard' sounds included on the machine itself, personal preference is bound to become a factor and colour your judgement.
That said, I can't imagine any one of the samples on these cards proving unpopular - unless you've grown weary with 808 or 909 sounds (and I wouldn't blame you if you had), examples of which are included on the Electro Kit cartridge. To set them off, this collection also includes a very useable Synth Bass voice, a nice rounded Orchestra Stab and an almost perfect Distorted Guitar Chord guaranteed to spice up any rhythm track.
A much more ambient feel is introduced on Kicks, Snares, Toms & Hi-hats - most of which have been recorded with effects to a greater or lesser degree. I particularly liked the Ambient and Monster Snares and the superbly unruly Bonzo Kick which appears to have a hi-hat tacked onto the end of it (or perhaps just left there). The toms are also impressive; beautifully dry and nicely tuned, they would be at home in any mix.
Of the three cartridges, I think my favourite is Total Percussion. Here you'll find all the voices you'd have liked on your MD16 but have had to do without. A full set of Low and High Conga voices - tone, heel and slap - together with Triangles, Guiros, Marimbas, Ocarina, Finger Cymbal - the list is long. Both tuned and untuned voices are covered and there's a nice selection of more off-the-wall sounds such as Anvil, Plate Hit and Spike - all highly useable in a percussion track.
The sound quality of all eighty-five sounds is uniformly excellent and well up to the standard of the existing MD16 voices. And of course, the sound moulding possibilities opened up by the machine's comprehensive programming facilities may be brought to bear on the cartridge voices in exactly the same way it is on the onboard sounds. The prices are perhaps a little on the high side, but if you use an MD16 as your primary percussion source, extending its sonic capabilities through the addition of one or more of these cartridges would make a lot of sense.
Prices : Electro kit £69.99 inc. Vat.
Total Percussion Plus and Kick, Snares, Toms & Hi-hats £129.99 inc. Vat.
More From : Cheetah International Ltd, (Contact Details)
Review by Nigel Lord
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