King Klavé Sounds, an Afro-Cuban Soundpack for Sensory Percussion
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King Klavé Sounds is a library of Afro-Cuban percussion samples and kits that we produced at Sunhouse HQ in collaboration with Amaury Acosta (aka, King Klavé) drummer, producer, composer, and electronic artist known for his band (U)nity and for his work with Pino Palladino, Candido Camero, Kimbra, José James and many others.

For the pack we extensively sampled:

  • Batás - Iyá, Itótele, and Onkókolo
  • Bongos - Macho, Hembra
  • Timbales - Macho, Hembra
  • Claves - Son, Cedar, Rhumba
  • Congas - conga, quinto, tumba
  • Other percussion instruments - Cajon, guiro, ogene, shekere, timbale bells, cha bells, cowbells, jam block

Also included in the pack are loops on the batás, bongos, congas, and timbales, recorded by Amaury.

After you install the pack, you'll find its 1,889 original samples in the Afro-Cuban Percussion folder and they power the 21 kits that come with the pack. The kits include hyper-realistic playable Sensory Percussion models of batás, congas, ogene, timbales, as well as hypnotic polymetric cycles meant to emulate full cuban percussion ensembles (sometimes with a twist), and five kits made by King Klavé, featuring chord cycles and vocal chops from throughout the Sunhouse Library.

If you're a Sensory Percussion user, head over to the Sunhouse Downloads page to grab the pack.

Amaury Acosta performing on the Space SONGO kit

The Recording Process

The sounds for the pack were recorded primarily in two sessions at Sunhouse HQ in Queens, New York. In the winter of early 2019 Amaury came by the studio with his congas, timbales, bongos, cajon, multiple sets of claves, bells, and shekere.

On that first night we used a pair of cardioid condenser microphones to capture the stereo-image of his setup, and then close miked the instruments with an additional condenser and dynamic mic.

For the timbales, Amaury recorded many gestures. In addition to playing the head, he recorded multiple velocities of dampened hits, fingers, muffs (using his hand to strike and mute the drum at the same time), rimshots, shell hits, and stick-shots, as well as abanicos (double-stroke roll flares), and a groove on the timbales and bells.

Similarly, on each of the congas we recorded multiple velocities of open tones, bass hits, slaps, heel-toes, muffs, as well as four different loops.

Then it was time to record the claves. Amaury brought several pairs of custom claves from Cuba: a son clave, a cedar clave, a rhumba clave, and a high pitched clave. We recorded two velocity layers (of about 10 hits per layer) on each of the claves.

We recorded the gestures of the cajon, shekere, and guiro, but when it came time to record the bongos, the macho head snapped almost immediately! So we vowed to complete the bongo recording in the future, as well as add batás, which we did a few months later.

At the next session, we recorded extensive gestures on both heads of all three batás: Iyá, Itótele, and Onkókolo - open tones, muffs, and flams. Amaury also recorded loops for the grooves: Ñongo, Cha Cha Lokafun, Iyesa.

Amaury recording the batas

Then we recorded the bongos: finger slaps, slaps, open tones, heel-toes, rolls, and a loop called the Marcha.


King Klavé Congas

Drum 1 is a model of the tres dos (or middle) conga, with open tones mapped to center, a heel-toe cycle mapped to the edge, open and closed slaps mapped to the rimshot center and rimshot edge, bass hits mapped to damped, and muffs mapped to the rim. Drum 2 is a model of the quinto (or high conga) and it has a cycle variation of a Tumbao pattern (heel-toe-slap, heel-toe-open-open), like drum 1, there are open tones mapped to the center zone, slaps to the rimshots, bass hits to damped, and muffs on the rim. Drum 3 is a mapping of a tumba drum: there are open tones mapped to the center, bass hits mapped to edge and damped, muffs mapped to the rimshots, and another cycle varation of the Tumbao mapped to the rim. Drum 4 is a pitched down mapping of the tumba drum, so that it is in the frequency range of a kick drum.

Timbales and Congas

Drums 1 and 3 are timbale mappings (hembra and macho), with cow bells and cha bells mapped to the rims. Drums 2 and 4 are conga mappings similar to those in King Klavé Congas, but with bells mapped to the rims.

Conga Bells Claves

These mappings are similar to the drums in King Klavé Congas (quinto, tres dos, and tumba), but have claves and bells mapped to the rims of each drum.

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Greg Fox on the <em>Conga Bells Claves</em> kit with added chords

Cuban Perc

Cuban Perc has a cajon mapping (with guiro and claves on the rim) for Drum 1, drum 2 is a cycle of guiro scrapes with a 6:5 polymetric shekere cycle mapped to the rim. Drum 3 is a randomized collection of macho-timbale hits that are pitched up if you play buzzes. Drum 4 is a composite sound of shekere, timbale, and conga - each sample has been pitched down considerably and the composite sound is EQ'ed to sound like a bass drum.

King Klavé guiro kit

Drum 1 is a creative mapping of gestures from all three congas in the pack. Drum 2 is a clave with an expressive EQ (controlled by timbre and velocity), and a dubby oil-can delay.

Afro-Cuban cycle, Afro-Cuban cycle 2, batasTimbalesCycle, Afro-Cuban groove, guaguanco, 6/8 Cycles, and Columbian Rumba Cycle

These seven kits all contain cycles programmed to emulate Afro-Cuban grooves. Simply strike drum 2 or drum 3 (depending on the kit) repeatedly to play the cycles. Drums 1 and 4 are typically snare and kick mappings.


This kit is realistic mappings from the batas samples. Drum 1 is the Iya's small head, drum 2 is the Itotele's small head, drum 3 is the Itotele's big head, and drum 4 is the Iya's big head pitched down 10 steps.

bongos kit

Drums 2 and 3 of the bongos kit are macho and hembra bongo mappings. Drum 2 is comprised of finger slaps, heel-toe cycles, open slaps, closed slaps, and finger hits on the macho, while drum 3 has open tones from the hembra, as well as two different Tumbao cycle variations.

Afro-Cuban drum machine

This kit is an interpretation of what static samples from a "world music" drum machine preset would sound like with the expressive control of Sensory Percussion.

space batas

Drums 2 and 3 of space batas are mappings of heavily effected bata cycles, while drums 1 and 4 are snare and kick mappings.

Space SONGO, Guarapachangueo Chords, Papas Rellenas, Malecon Triste, and playa

These kits are all designed by King Klavé himself! They include percussive sounds and chord mappings from throughout the Sunhouse library, bridging many different soundpacks, as well as sprinkles of Afro-Cuban percussive sounds (generally mapped to the rims and rimshots) from this pack.

Amaury Acosta (aka King Klavé) is a Cuban-American Drummer, Composer, Producer & Electronic Artist from New York City. He brings an authentic blend of Jazz, Hip Hop, and Afro-Cuban Music with his playing.

Amaury has played and/or recorded with: Pino Palladino, Candido Camero, Kimbra, Jose James, Paquito D'Rivera, Wynton Marsalis, Iggy Pop, Keyon Harrold, Marcus Strickland, Casey Benjamin, John Ellis, Joe Sanders, Boris Kozlov, Charles Tolliver, Chris Smith, Ben Williams, Robert Glasper, Kris Bowers, John Ellis, Pedrito Martinez, Isreal “Cachao” Lopez, December Bueno, George Cables, Chris Turner, Burniss Earl Travis, Armando Gola, Taylor Mcferrin, Sean Jones, John Hicks, Mark Whitfield, John Benitez, Arturo O'Farril, Yosvany Terry, Taylor Eigsti, Jaleel Shaw, Jeremey Pellt, among many others.

Amaury is a Sunhouse, Latin Percussion, and DW Drums endorser.

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