EZDrummer – Boxing Clever
EZDrummer from Toontrack is a fast and ultra reliable way of creating professional sounding drum grooves for your production tracks straight out of the box. As a drum sampler - EZDrummer sounds fantastic, the GUI is top notch, looks great and there is nothing complicated about the way EZDrummer works at all. Getting started, in simple terms, is as easy as loading the plugin into a host channel – choosing a preset kit – selecting a groove from the midi pattern window and pressing play to audition the sounds.
Building a linear drum part for your song using EZDrummer involves: Auditioning and choosing your grooves, intros, outros, fills e.t.c. then use a drag & drop method to flesh out the midi files as an extended drum part in your DAW. You can then edit the midi parts to create variations if need be – mix the kit parts using EZDrummer’s dedicated mixer and you’re done! EZ! Of course, there are many more dimensions to explore in EZDrummer especially its custom kit design options and multi-outputs for processing the individual drum sounds through a host DAW mixer, but in essence, that is the workflow in a nutshell.
Kit Pieces: EZDrummer as a VSTi is reflected through 3 feature user interfaces: Default Drum kit window - Grooves Window, which stores the midi groove/pattern lists – and the plugin’s Mixer. When first loaded the default kit consists of 5 drums 4 cymbals with room and overhead mics. Individual kit pieces are auditioned by clicking in the instrument areas and on the edges of kit pieces to audition rimshots and sound variations where applicable. Or, by pressing the relevant key on a midi controller to trigger the drum sounds. EZDrummer allows you to create custom kits by changing the sounds of individual kit pieces and saving them as user presets. On the edge of each kit piece in the interface is an arrow which indicates a drop down menu. Use this menu to choose the different sounds you want on each drum. For the kick drum, for example, you could choose a different size of drum using a different type of beater. The enhanced professional sound quality of EZDrummer is generated through the several thousand expertly crafted multi-velocity samples of kit pieces taken from leading brand names, like: Rogers – Tama – Ludwig – Sabian - Zildjian (and more) – which provide a full and complete dynamic range to this remarkable VSTi instrument.
Grooves: In the Grooves interface of EZDrummer there are a whole bunch of midi pattern libraries representing thousands of captured professional performances translated into midi files. There are a host of different genres in each midi library, and, depending on the EZX(Expander) packs you own, the range of genre varies from Pop/Rock – Funk – Ballad – Metal – reaching across into the fields of Electronic and Latin percussion. The detail of the midi patterns comprising the EZDrummer midi library is a producer’s dream. Each pattern pays close attention to the dynamic in the rhythmic phrase and towards a performance nuance by including ghost notes and live performance hit velocities. There are a refreshing amount of different time signatures with many different interpretations of the groove, such as: 6/8, 3/4, 7/8 – either played straight, with swing or with shuffle. Each EZ midi library is completed with tons of fills to decorate the phrase endings.
EZDrummer also provides 2 sweep dials at the foot of the interface: Humanize & Velocity dials. The setting of these dials introduces a random element to the number of ghost notes and additional hits included in the rhythmic cycle of a midi pattern while also increasing or decreasing the hit velocity density and amplitude of the hits. Again, these sweep dials add further detail and production options when working with EZDrummer. Finally, when you drag and drop the midi patterns from EZDrummer to the DAW channel – all velocity information you program with a midi pattern is fully retained ensuring total replication of the performance.
The Mixer: EZDrummer has a dedicated mixer interface which provides 9 mixer channels for all kit pieces including seperate channels that adjust the ambience of the room and overhead mics. Interesting to note that the snare sounds from the default kit in EZDrummer have 2 dedicated channels (top & bottom) with an adjustable mic bleed control affecting the amount of bleed from the bottom snare sound and from the overheads. There are a limited number of mixer presets available from a drop down menu to the upper left of the mixer interface that switches the mixer interface into a variety of different panning and mix states. However, you can randomly generate mixer states by clicking the ‘randomise’ button - useful when looking to get a feel for a final mixdown.
The mixer also allows channels to be grouped together by a simple shift & click on the number of channels required to form the group. Once created, the actions applied to a fader on one channel will affect all faders within the group. However, the pan of each channel within a group remains independent and can be adjusted seperately, which is cool. Finally, the mixer channels can be assigned to 8 seperate stereo outputs and routed to the mixer of a host DAW where the individual kit sounds can be processed using the host DSPs or third party plugins. All in all, EZDrummer’s mixer is detailed enough to create a flexible mix environment.
As a drum sampler/VSTi plugin - EZDrummer, with its ready to go finished drum sounds, provides an incredibly simple creative workflow for drum part tracking. The immediacy and speed of workflow enhances its qualities as an excellent song writing tool.
Further, all of its samples load into memory so there no clicks or pops on playback and the sound quality will always sit well in any professional mix. For those in need of more processing power within the plugin itself I would recommend you check out Toontracks big brother of drum sampler/romplers – Toontrack Superior 2.0! Either way, EZDrummer is a cool piece of kit and coupled with the numerous EZX expansion kits supplemented by Toontrack over recent years it could easily develop as THE ultimate ‘go to’ plugin in your production tool kit.
Whether professional or hobbyist - since the launch of the product in 2006 you must have of heard of EZDrummer? – if you haven’t - welcome to planet Earth!
EZdrummer® Facts & Features
• 7000 sound files at 16-bit / 44.1kHz equivalent to 5Gb of uncompressed wav files.
• Instant access to more than 8000 midi drum patterns with prelistening, quick browsing and drag’n’drop functionality.
• Same extensive layer depth on all drums and cymbals as in EZdrummers big brother Superior Drummer®.
• EZdrummer® ranges from entry level usability to pro handling
• Features multiple microphone control
• TPC II reduces system requirements to a minimum
• Operates in General MIDI
• Internal mixer allows stereo and multitrack routing into the host through one single plug in
• Preset mix modes for quick sound changes
• Interface visualizes the drums loaded and combines auditioning and kit construction
• Drums recorded at Avatar Studios, New York by worldclass drummers and producers
• The humanizer function combines drum hit randomizing and non-cycling
• Velocity sweep allows instant changes to MIDI data, extending groove context relevance
• Possibilities for the user to add their own MIDI files to the library
For more information about EZDrummer go here…
Brought to you courtesy of Soundwrx Digital