If you’re reading this, chances are you’re an electronic musician or game composer looking for new chiptune sounds. In which case, Byte Riot might be the sample pack you’re looking for.
This review will go over the ins and outs of the Byte Riot expansion from Native Instruments. We’ll discuss its features along with some pros and cons.
What Is Byte Riot?
Byte Riot is an expansion pack from Native Instruments brimming with samples and loops from retro game consoles. It also includes presets for other NI products like Maschine, Battery, Massive, and Monark. In total, you’ll find over 1000 sounds in this collection.
The samples themselves come from iconic consoles like the Game Boy, Commodore 64, and Sega Genesis. The presets for Massive and Monark were also inspired by retro gaming sounds.
What Are Native Instruments Expansions?
Expansions are packs with loops, samples, and presets themed around a specific genre or artist. In this case, it’s a chiptune theme. They work in any DAW and expand the capabilities of your Native Instruments software products.
Who Is This For?
The way I see it, there are two groups of people who would be interested in Byte Riot:
- Electronic musicians, beat makers, and DJs who are Maschine owners
- Video game composers and chiptune enthusiasts
Like most Expansions, Byte Riot will appeal the most to Maschine users. It has several Maschine-exclusive features that you can’t access unless you have the right hardware and software.
That said, the package includes hundreds of other samples, loops, and presets that don’t require Maschine. So game composers and chiptune enthusiasts can still enjoy everything else on offer.
I fall into the latter group. I’m a classically trained musician who mostly writes music for tv and video games. Maschine doesn’t fit into my workflow, but I can still find uses for all the other samples and presets.
How to Get Byte Riot
If you own Komplete 13 Ultimate or higher, congratulations! You also own Byte Riot.
But if not, you can pick it up as a standalone product for just $49. Or if you want a never-ending supply of sounds, get it with either Komplete 14 Ultimate or the Collector’s Edition.
If you only ever made one software purchase in your musical career, this should be it. The Collector's Edition is the most comprehensive collection of virtual synths, sample libraries, and effects plugins you could possibly ask for.
What Comes With Byte Riot?
Byte Riot is a huge pack that includes the following:
- 305 Construction Loops
- 361 Drum Samples
- 269 One-shots, Synth Notes, and Sound FX
- 83 Drum Kits for Maschine & Battery
- 59 Synth Presets for Massive & Monark
- 220 Other Maschine-Exclusive Features
Let’s take a deeper look at what comes inside.
Samples, Loops, and Sound Effects
This pack includes an expansive collection of construction loops and one-shot samples. All these sounds can help you build a solid foundation for whatever track you’re working on.
Likewise, the drum samples and sound effects have a genuine retro sound.
For me, the “Synth Notes” are the most interesting. You can drop them into any sampler like Kontakt, modify as needed, then play them like any other synth bass or lead.
Synth Presets for Massive & Monark
I already enjoy using both Massive and Monark on various projects. So truth be told, the synth presets are my personal favorite part of Byte Riot.
There are 59 in total:
- 32 Massive Presets
- 27 Monark Presets
The presets range from the expected “video game-y” leads to more wild and exotic sounds. All in all, there’s plenty to love here.
Massive is one of our go-to instruments. This powerhouse synthesizer is an uncompromising sonic monster. It's perfect for creating piercing leads, fat basses, and anything in between.
Monark is a virtual recreation of the legendary Minimoog Model D synthesizer. It captures every nuance of the original, and is a must-have for fans of vintage synths.
Drum Kits for Battery & Maschine
This expansion includes dedicated drum kits for both Battery and Maschine. You get 83 in total:
- 43 Battery Kits
- 40 Maschine Kits
Most of them use the same sounds from the samples folder. But it’s nice to have them organized into kits.
Other Maschine-Exclusive Features
Like many Native Instruments expansions, Byte Riot will appeal most to Maschine owners. You get plenty of projects, patterns, and other presets:
- 10 Projects
- 150+ Patterns
- 43 Drum Synth Presets
- 17 Sample Instruments
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t use Maschine. So I can’t give any more insight into these features.
Byte Riot Pros & Cons
There’s plenty to love about this product. But it’s not exactly for everyone.
- Huge collection of sounds
- Samples are authentic
- Synth presets are awesome
For starters, Byte Riot comes with a huge collection of sounds. With the 1000+ loops, samples, and presets, you can easily find inspiration for many projects.
It’s also apparent that a lot of care went into sampling the sounds. They all sound authentic to the 8-bit era.
The presets for Massive and Monark are also fantastic. Nuff said.
- Lack of appeal for users without Native Instruments products
For what it is, I can’t think of anything negative to say about this expansion. As a standalone product, it offers a lot.
But so much of Byte Riot’s value comes from its integration with Maschine, Battery, Massive, and Monark. If you don’t have access to any of those programs, you might be a little disappointed.
Alternatives to Byte Riot
This isn’t the only chiptune sample pack out there. Here are a few alternative drum kits, sample packs, and synths worth checking out:
So… Should You Get Byte Riot?
Byte Riot is a fantastic sample pack that any electronic musician should add to their arsenal. And even if you don’t own every compatible product from Native Instruments, you can still use most of the loops and samples in any DAW.
If you’re still thinking about it, stop torturing yourself and just get it. It’s relatively affordable, and you’ll be happy you got it.
Still Not What You’re Looking For?
Byte Riot has loads of great loops and samples. But if you’re looking for actual chiptune synths and instruments, check out picks for the best chiptune software for 8-bit and 16-bit music.