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Virtual drum indecision (again)

 
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mixtape
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Joined: 04 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 10:23 pm    Post subject: Virtual drum indecision (again) Reply with quote

I'm sure I've posted some thread asking a related question at some point before, but if I have, it's well buried now.

As much as I feel I'm crushing it using only Analogue Drums' (free) Big Mono Kit, sequenced using (also free) shortcircuit, I'm finding myself hungry for a virtual drum experience with a bit more nuance and a much more drum-specific interface. I've looked at EZ Drummer/Superior Drummer before and been scared off by either the price tag or the thought of changing horses in midstream--I want a consistent drum sound on the album I'm working very slowly to complete. (And before someone suggests it, real drums/a real drummer are not practical options for me at the moment.) However...

1. I'm finally starting to earn some dollars again. Not many, but enough that I could maybe justify treating myself to... well, something, at least. It's been a bleak year so far.
2. It suddenly dawned on me, as it probably should have much sooner, that if I took the plunge now, I wouldn't actually be averse to redoing all of the drum parts on the tracks I've already recorded and mixed, because yes, I am that detail-obsessed. I find something oddly soothing in painstakingly programming drums hit by hit.
3. I found a really good deal on SD Blaze It, that makes it not-that-much-more expensive than EZ Drummer.

My original plan, now that EZ Drummer 2 is out, was to wait for version 1 to get nice and cheap and then snap it up, but I don't see a whole lot of copies of it floating around even now. So scratch that, probably. That leaves me with two questions, I suppose. One of them is of the can-someone-help-me-talk-myself-into-this variety. The other is, how much difference in functionality will I notice between EZ Drummer and Superior Drummer? Is it worth going all in on the slightly (for now) pricier program? Or would I get basically all I need from EZ Drummer anyway?

EDIT: Mods, move this if it actually belongs in Miscellany. I was mentally filing this one under "recording," perhaps mistakenly. Sorry.
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BearBoy
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not that this helps much with your questions but I think I'm about to pull the trigger on EZ Drummer 2. I don't think you'll find a cheap copy of the original as Toontrack were offering a free upgrade to v2 if you bought v1 after they announced v2 was being released.

How much have you found Superior Drummer 2 for?

Having looked at them both via YouTube videos etc, I think I'd be more suited to EZ Drummer tbh. Looks like there's too much to tweak in Superior Drummer for me and I'm looking for something less arse wearing than the drum machines I've been using for years.
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mixtape
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

$179 on Amazon, which I know is a killer deal. Right now I'm digging around trying to figure out if it will work with Cubase LE 5, because I know there's no way I'm switching DAWs in the middle of an album.
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olin
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As above, what I say probably won't be overly helpful, but I switched over to Superior Drummer from various not-so-great-but-tolerable alternatives lately and it's been worth it completely. I would also be extremely surprised if it didn't work with your DAW, as long as you can load VST's into a channel then it will work?
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mixtape
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I think so. From what I've been able to glean by googling around, the problems people have getting the two programs to work together relate to things I generally don't do anyway--triggering the samples with e-kits, trying to use more than one midi channel output, etc. My workflow right now is to create a virtual instrument track, pencil in the hits on the piano roll editor, then cut and paste bass drum, snare, toms, and cymbals to four individual VSTi tracks once I'm happy with the part and ready to start mixing. It's a little cumbersome, but I could do it in my sleep, and it looks like SD will help me do it better. Almost talked myself into it now.
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Sloan
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get EZ Drummer 2. everyone is fucking raving about it.
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mixtape
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are. And it does look pretty cool; some of those song creation tools and power hand controls could save me boatloads of time. What I haven't been able to find is a side-by-side comparison of EZD 2 and SD 2, because there seem to be things each one does that the other can't. SD 2, for instance, allows for much more rigorous mixing and tweaking of individual sounds than the original EZ Drummer, but does EZ2 offer some of those same kinds of features now too?

Basically, what's going to give me the best mileage in the long run with an older DAW and a year-old Win 7 machine that I will use until it dies utterly? If I'm overthinking this, it's because whatever I buy now is likely to be my drummer for the next 5+ years, and getting along with a drummer is... well, you know.
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BearBoy
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have just bought EZ Drummer 2 and am downloading it now.

Doubt I'll get much of a chance to play about with it until later in the week but if you've got any specific things you would like me to check out then let me know.
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Fran wrote:
I love how this place is basic as fuck.

ekwatts wrote:
I'm just going to smash it in with a hammer and hope it works. Tone is all in the fingers anyway.
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mixtape
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! I'd pretty much decided on Superior, since it seemed better suited to under-the-hood kinds of users, but naturally I hesitated too long and missed the sale. I'll be very interested to see how much EZD2 lets you monkey with the mixer settings on individual drums, once you get around to it. Also, what OS and what DAW are you using?

While I wait for another bargain, I did stumble across an even bigger free kit over at Drum Drops. They'll let you download any one of the sample packs for their Yamaha kit free when you create an account (and beyond that, it looks like their sample packs are only a couple bucks each anyway). I opted for the "all samples" pack, which gives you a lot of different velocities (16 on most things), three round robins, and three different mics (close, room, and overhead) on every piece of the kit. It's taking me forever to get all of that assembled in shortcircuit, but I have big plans for it when I do. It's taking some of the sting out of the missed opportunity for sure.
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm using Windows 8 and Reaper.

I'm pretty sure Toontrack have sales pretty regularly. I've almost picked up the original EZ Drummer or SD2 a couple of times previously when they've been on sale but, like you, dithered too long and missed out.
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Fran wrote:
I love how this place is basic as fuck.

ekwatts wrote:
I'm just going to smash it in with a hammer and hope it works. Tone is all in the fingers anyway.
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olin
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Joined: 18 May 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mixtape wrote:
Yeah, I think so. From what I've been able to glean by googling around, the problems people have getting the two programs to work together relate to things I generally don't do anyway--triggering the samples with e-kits, trying to use more than one midi channel output, etc. My workflow right now is to create a virtual instrument track, pencil in the hits on the piano roll editor, then cut and paste bass drum, snare, toms, and cymbals to four individual VSTi tracks once I'm happy with the part and ready to start mixing. It's a little cumbersome, but I could do it in my sleep, and it looks like SD will help me do it better. Almost talked myself into it now.


Have you considered using guitar pro just to tab out the drums? It may save some time from all the cutting and pasting.
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BearBoy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a "10 day" free demo of EZ Drummer 2 available now if you want to give it a spin: http://www.toontrack.com/product/ezdrummer-2/
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Fran wrote:
I love how this place is basic as fuck.

ekwatts wrote:
I'm just going to smash it in with a hammer and hope it works. Tone is all in the fingers anyway.
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mixtape
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the heads-up. The sale recurred, though, so I ended up with SD2 instead. Very Happy

And now to find out whether the installation process is really as legendarily awful as the internet says.
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BearBoy
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool.

Not sure about SD2 but I had no issues installing EZD2.
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Fran wrote:
I love how this place is basic as fuck.

ekwatts wrote:
I'm just going to smash it in with a hammer and hope it works. Tone is all in the fingers anyway.
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mixtape
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was surprisingly painless. I haven't figured out what to do, if anything, with the standalone player yet, but it's working great as a VST instrument. It sounds like drums--actual drums--without all the trickery I used to have to build in manually. This will make my life so much easier. Still a lot of exploring to do in the presets, mixer settings, and kit components, but definitely money well spent.
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