Monster Cookie Tins

v1.0 Documentation and Instrument Guide


Monster Cookie Tins brings the magical sound of cheap decorative cookie containers to your keyboard! Here are a few things to keep in mind before we start:

  • Installation: The archive with the files uses .rar compression, so extract it with WinRar (for Windows) or UnRarX (for Mac). Keep the folder structure intact, and drop it into your library.
  • License: Use these sounds however you like in your personal projects, as instruments or sound effects. Don’t repackage them or resell them. Sound good? Easy enough.
  • Kontakt 2-3 vs. 4: There are separate folders for K2-3 and K4. The K4 instruments are optimized and tweaked slightly for best results in the more modern version of the sampler. A few of the instruments (notably the TinString and Tinthesizer) sound slightly different in K2 than in later versions of the software, due to the way Kontakt changed its handling of the Tone Machine function. This is really only an issue if you are migrating a composition from using K2 to a later version.

1| Tins

At the heart of Monster Cookie Tins lay these seven instruments. Each of the tins features several articulations with multiple velocity levels and 10x round robin strikes. These articulations are laid out in zones that span several keys apiece (either C-E or G-A) and trigger the same set of round robins. Why, you ask, would I do this? Simple: so you can easily play repeated strikes or rolls.

Key 'zones' for the Royal Dansk tin

I sampled each of the tins in a variety of ways: played with the lid on and off, struck on the rim, the side (or multiple sides), and sometimes even the lid itself. It turns out that such tins are really rather versatile percussive instruments. The wide variety of shapes and sizes yielded a broad palette of new musical colors. They also have provided me an excuse to acquire more tins (full of cookies) in the name of ‘research and development’. I’ll have to eat the cookies so I can use them as instruments, of course. It is a hard job, being a sample developer.

Big Winter

This tin is so named because of the large picture of a pastoral winter scene depicted on its surface. There are also pictures of the other three seasons, but I started calling it the Big Winter Cookie Tin and the name stuck. It is truly a monster, measuring 12″ in diameter and roughly 7.5″ in depth. Striking on the bottom produces a timpani-like tone when played softly and a more gong-like splat when hit hard.

Cardinal Tins

I found several tins depicting cardinals on them, each differently sized and shaped. The Cardinal Rectangle, Cardinal Square, and Winterberry tins all feature these colorful birds. That has nothing to do with how they sound, and indeed each has a distinct character.

  • Cardinal Rectangle: This shallow, flat tin measures only 1.5″ deep but is 9.5″ long x 4″ wide. It produces a variety of short atonal percussive sounds.
  • Cardinal Square: Measuring 4.75″ deep and 3.5″x3.5″ otherwise, it is actually rectangular too, but I had to differentiate them somehow. Perhaps I chose a poor way. Nonetheless, it has a tone not entirely unlike a cowbell. It has little in the way of sustain.
  • Winterberry: This is the most tonally pleasing of the Cardinal tins, and is of a more traditional cylindrical shape. It measures 4.5″ in diameter and 6″ deep. The lid doesn’t fit tightly, which gives an interesting character to the sound produced striking it there. Its two tonal sounds were produced striking it just under the rim on the side, and on the rim itself (which yielded a higher pitch).

Carousel Horse

I was surprised by this tin’s exotic tone. Striking the base with the lid off produces a sound similar to a tiny Hang Drum with less sustain. It works really nicely in repeated quick patterns. The Carousel Horse tin is 6.5″ in diameter and 2″ deep.

Forest Inn

Not many things in the world depict a moose carrying a pine tree, but this tin does. It is a bit larger than most of the tins, at 8″ in diameter and 3.5″ deep. It produced several tonal pitches and has a bit of sustain. The tone is a bit deeper than the others.

Royal Dansk

This is the crown jewel of cookie tins. The label states that the cookies it once contained are ‘luxury wafers’. I am inclined to agree. They were delicious. It also produces the widest variety of sounds of any of the tins, making it a true gem. With the lid off, it yields a clear and long lasting bell like sound when struck on the side and allowed to resonate. Striking on the rim of the lid with the lid on yields a richly dense and higher pitched sound. The Royal Dansk is a cylinder measuring 3.75″ diameter and 7″ tall.

2| Goodies

The source sounds from the tin recording sessions proved quite useful in producing a selection of pads and chromatic instruments. I manipulated them in a variety of ways, using tools like PaulStretch and NI’s Deep Transformation FX in Kore.

  • Mandotin: This instrument combines the Royal Dansk’s tonal hit spread across the keyboard with a timestretched version of the same hit run through Kontakt’s Tone Machine module backing it up. CC1 changes the sustain from a shorter and less present state to a more stringlike pluck.
  • Tinthesizer: Formant shaping provides the character in this instrument when you use CC1 to morph the sound.
  • TinString: A delicate plucked string sound. CC1 subtly de-vibratos the plucks. For some reason this instrument sounds fuller in Kontakt 2, and more tinny in K4. Both have an interesting character, though.
  • TinTone: Here I stretched two of the tonal hits (the Royal Dansk’s and one from the Winterberry) across a short range to produce a chromatic instrument. I hope to acquire more tins to fill out the range more.
  • TinDrones: This series of pads uses vastly timestretched versions of the percussive hits to form cool atmospheric stuff. Play with CC1 to morph the sound.
  • Monster Hits: These surprisingly big hits are downpitched versions of several of the tin strikes that were further manipulated in PaulStretch.  They sound pretty epic, and the one is eerily reminiscent of that noise from Law & Order. Don’t know how that happened, but there you have it. RRx10 on these.


Thanks for buying Monster Cookie Tins. I hope you have a great time using the instruments and that they inspire you to go out and enjoy some delicious cookies today!

-Joel S.