Friday, August 28, 2009

ToonTrack EZ Drummer 2.0 Review.

Recently I had acquired ToonTrack EZ Drummer 2.0, and have been using it for a couple of weeks straight. I have found some very good points to this package, but with my DAW version (Pro tools LE 6.8.1) I have found a work around. Here are the details.

To begin, ToonTrack is the leader in virtual drumming software.

The sound patches in their products are incredible in sound, and as close to the real thing as possible. But, if that isn’t enough for the inner songwriter in you, the good folks at ToonTrack went on and added different sections to their products. The different sections include a virtual microphone mixer and a loop browser with tons and tons of loops for us all to drag and drop into our musical creations.

Why not invite a professional drummer to play on your cuts? Some of the professional drummers that perform the hits, smashes, and loops in midi form for ToonTrack are Thomas Haake, Sterling Campbell, and NIR Z, just to name a few. These people are without a doubt the best at the style of music that they play. I just love the digital age!

The EZ DRUMMER 2.0 main kit interface.

Perhaps you might want to jump over to a ToonTrack EZ Drummer 2.0 video demonstration first, and then return for more of the finer details. Here is a link to the video. Be sure to click on the speaker at the lower right in order to hear the sound.

As the software plug in finishes loading (as an RTAS plug in) the user is taken to the “drum kit room page”. This screen is where the user can audition the individual drum kit pieces (snares, toms, cymbals, ect.), and the user also can interchange among the many other kit pieces from a drop down menu. Putting together your dream kit is a snap, and then it is on to the midi drum loops.

Choosing the loop that is perfect for your song is as easy as point and click. ToonTrack has created a very easy to use browser for finding and selecting the perfect loop. The user may audition loops on the fly, and then when the one for your work is located; it is only a drag and drop to completion. EZ Drummer 2.0 ships with tons and tons of loops in commonly used timings and styles.

Each loop is played in many different ways, such as with the high hat closed, open, half way, or with a ride. Each style is performed a little bit differently too, so finding a loop for the verse, and a slightly different version of that loop for the chorus is a breeze.

I (once again with my PT-LE 6.8.1) could not seem to drag and drop the loops into my tracks. However, I found a solution to that problem and I explain the fix HERE.

OK. You have found the drum loop that is just perfect for your next number one smash hit and then you placed the loop into your song. So now what?

Opening the mixer will allow the user to “fine tune” the drum loop as you want it to sound for your particular style of song. The sliders actually increase or decrease the individual microphones in volume. The microphones in EZ Drummer 2.0 are on the kick, two on the snare (above and below), tom microphones, overhead microphones, and room microphones. How is that for precise mixing? Rather amazing, if you were to ask me. I had no problem customizing my kit so that it “sat” in my mix perfectly. I found myself returning to the mixer again and again in order to tweak the microphone level settings, just to see, or hear, what would happen. I should also mention that ToonTrack has included some very impressive sounding pre-set settings in the mixer area. These settings are named “tight kit, ambient kit, basic kit, and the default kit) and they are great sounding by themselves, or perhaps you can use these settings as a starting place. Either way, it was nice to see that the folks at ToonTrack took the time to include this feature.

Adding fills with EZ Drummer 2.0 and then writing added notes with midi.

EZ Drummer 2.0 comes with tons of fills included. These loops are also midi files, and are added to your tracks with a simple drag and drop. After you audition the fills, adding the perfect one to your song is a breeze.

I found adding an extra drum hit here or there was not an issue at all. I used the Pro Tools midi tools, and added the notes where I wanted them. Believe me, it is that simple! ToonTrack EZ drummer 2.0 integrates seamlessly into Pro Tools LE 6.8.1. Way to go!

Wrap up…

Over all I found ToonTrack EZ Drummer 2.0 to be a great sounding package that was very easy to work with. The songs that I have added EZ Drummer 2.0 to sound incredible, and just like a well known professional drummer has done the percussion for me. Good bye to lame digital midi drum tracks, and a warm hello to ToonTrack EZ Drummer 2.0.

What are you waiting for? Get it!

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