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Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion

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150 posts since 11 Feb, 2011, from Duluth

Postby sadkin; Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:43 am Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

Was looking at last months review in SOS about BFD3. I went to the website and watched the trailer and they make no bones about the fact that the drum samples are, as they say, 'cooked'. They talk about all the compressors, limiters and EQ's the signals pass through and are used throughout. I assume they aren't the only ones painting some of us into a corner, rendering their often sweet tones (when solo'd) useless when used in context of an eventual mix to a song the developers, engineers could never have possibly predicted.

I am just scratching the surface of researching all these different drum libraries/instruments.

Since I have Kontakt, using their "Studio Drummer" library has been fairly rewarding but I am curious who knows or has opinions on their favorite Drum instruments which are NOT 'cooked'? Addictive? Slate? other Kontakt drum libraries (like Abbey?)

Please, I am most interested in hearing thoughts on drum instruments and libraries which you know, use and have success with that are not dynamically processed from the get go.
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10225 posts since 18 Jun, 2008, from Melbourne, Australia

Postby ZenPunkHippy; Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:48 am Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

I think you'll find the compressors and other effects are applied as internal BFD3 effects - not during the recording process. It's possible to turn all the effects off if you wan't to work with the raw drum sounds via multi-outs in your host.

A bit more info in this thread:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-co ... -bfd3.html

150 posts since 11 Feb, 2011, from Duluth

Postby sadkin; Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:57 am Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

i don't have time at the moment to scroll through the other thread, but I will get to it ASAP.

See, I know that BFD comes with the DCAM tools (fairly high regarded, I recognize that) and using & applying those plug-in effects are completely up to the user but when you watch the trailer, they talk about and show all the dynamics tools used in the making of the library. That tells me that there is some limiting, compressing and eqing going on as the samples are being recorded as part of the initial signal chain. How can you remove that?
524 posts since 25 Sep, 2010

Postby bbaggins; Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:09 am Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

I went through a lot of drum solutions before settling on Toontrack Superior Drummer.

I'd previously used their Drumkit from Hell and DFH2 products and liked the fact that they were recorded clean, leaving it entirely up to me how I wanted it to sound. Superior Drummer was the successor to DFH, and SD2 was the successor to the original Superior Drummer. At each evolutionary step they added more stuff you could do (the built-in effects in SD2 are superb) but all the while maintaining the original philosophy of treating a sampled kit as if you'd recorded real drums yourself.

It also means you have to do more work, just as if you'd recorded real drums yourself. I subsequently tried many other drum products, and while they were initially gratifying - sounding great out of the box with minimal tweaking - I would ultimately find them limiting in some way. I kept coming back to SD2, which I felt hit the perfect sweet spot between raw and cooked.

Today, SD2 is part of my default project template because it's what ends up being used 95% of the time. I augment it with various Kontakt libraries because SD2 does lack a few things: hand-percussion, brushes (available as an add-on), a deep crash cymbal, and a big, deep kick.

But the versatility of SD2 is amazing. I've used it for everything from tight snappy country to big Bonham-esque classic rock to modern in-yer-face pop. It's the deep mic bleed and envelope controls that give it such a broad tonal palette. And I've never bought an expansion pack for it, just using the default kit.
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10225 posts since 18 Jun, 2008, from Melbourne, Australia

Postby ZenPunkHippy; Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:20 am Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

My comment above may have been wrong - it's difficult to tell with reading the full spec of BFD 3. This review of BFD 2 suggests some processing is applied, but it might have changed for v3:

http://www.recordingreview.com/blog/dru ... d2-review/

Try emailing support [at] fxpansion [dot] com to find out the answer for sure.

IMO BFD 3 is amazing software and the drums sound incredible, but I'm not a drummer so my opinion might be worth naught.

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1507 posts since 15 Nov, 2006, from Hell

Postby Burillo; Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:50 am Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

BFD3 kicks ASS. however, some users have major stability issues. i did have them too, but they since have been fixed and now BFD3 works perfectly for me. i never been happier with a drum plugin.
From Russia with love
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4526 posts since 8 Feb, 2003, from London, UK

Postby pljones; Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:44 am Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

If it's still in existence, http://naturaldrum.com/ is very nice for the quantity and quality as well as simplicity. Dry-ish but mixed down to stereo on each kit piece with some bleed built in.

I've never tried the Superior Drummer line as it always looked like too much of a work up setting up the kit to get the mics right, etc. I don't want to be a studio engineer, just a drummer. Natural Drum Kit just works. (And it's wav/flac samples.)

DrumMic'A is pretty unprocessed - they want you to hear the mics, not some post-mic signal chain, after all. (It nicely highlights the problems I expect with SD2 -- it took a long time to get something vaguely comfortable to play and it's still not quite right...)
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298 posts since 17 Aug, 2012, from Denmark

Postby sbj; Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:12 am Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

You could try these: There is a free version and two you have to
pay for (and more on the way)


From their website wrote:Sound
Many of our competitors offer the possibility to change drums and cymbals inside the plugins. We believe in keeping the drums the way they were recorded the whole way through to make them sound as good as possible. We do not believe in interchanging drums and cymbals because you will end up with different artefacts than in real life. If you were to change a drum on a real drum kit you’d have to re-record every hit to make everything sound correct. Most companies don’t do this, so when you drag in a new snare drum, you’re likely to hear a different snare buzzing in that microphone than the one you selected. Drummix also does not offer hit randomizing and non-cycling since we have a different approach. Rather than simulating alternating drum hits by switching between two different strokes on the same velocity, we prefered to put those strokes on different keys. This is easier to play, and it sounds great. On this particular drum kit we offer two keys for all main snare and kick hits. See the layout on the bottom of the page.
All our plugins are recorded with 5 to 10 different velocity layers for each sound.
“Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.” ― Mark Twain -
Sound C loud
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1640 posts since 5 Nov, 2009

Postby arkmabat; Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:19 am Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

What about drummica?
9299 posts since 20 Oct, 2007

Postby jancivil; Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:35 am Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

I see one trailer on fxpansion's main page for BFD3. While Rail Rogut does say they're compressed, 'ready to go', John Emrich talks about his thing is natural-sounding drums. Then someone talks about Ocean Studios and their board and Fairchilds, towards what end I'm unclear on. Then a drummer says it's about getting a good drum sound, past him there is engineering but for him it's all about the drums. I think I'm not going to be very conclusive about what it is out of that. Maybe you saw something else.

I've been using BFD2 for years and I have several expansion kits. I have never found the drums to be 'cooked'; typically you hear people complain the snares aren't loud enough or they lack bite or punch. Because they're just recordings of snares, I guess. I definitely prefer to have the things unenhanced by production so this suits me, I think I can say with some confidence that these are not cooked samples. I have yet to install my demo of BFD3, but I would be surprised if all of the drums are 'cooked' as you've concluded from a review and a trailer. If Rogut says the things he engineered are, he isn't lying I think. But this is new to their M.O. With certain exceptions, there is a version of Evil Joe that is 'ready to go', the camouflage kit for hard rock. But the regular bundle is not, however it is recorded in a way where these drums are def. more present than certain other things.
664 posts since 22 Mar, 2007, from Cape Coral, Florida USA

Postby Bubbamusic; Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:40 pm Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

beauchamp wrote:https://www.platinumsamples.com/index.php


Damn!! These drums sound great - the bomb. :D

Before I was rudely interrupted by that great sounding set of drum samples, I was going to recommend Ocean Way (they still sound great) and Steven Slate Platinum (very large variety).
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4526 posts since 8 Feb, 2003, from London, UK

Postby pljones; Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:00 pm Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

sbj wrote:You could try these: There is a free version and two you have to
pay for (and more on the way)

I'd be interested to hear from people who've tried these with eKits and whether the "switched hi-hat" is as bad as it sounds (I want a multi-position hi-hat, not a switched hi-hat!). The "5-10 layers" time "2 alternate hits" isn't bad - I'd rather the detail in the velocity sampling over alternates. Admittedly, I'd rather more detail than 5 layers but as a minimum I guess it's not too bad.
arkmabat wrote:What about drummica?

Mentioned earlier. I find it hard work myself to get a decent response for an eKit.
3670 posts since 15 Aug, 2006

Postby Funkybot's Evil Twin; Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:13 pm Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

I've done testing for both Fxpansion and Platinum Samples, and have a lot of BFD content from both as a result (note: I was a customer before I was a tester), so allow me to weigh in.

Of the Fxpansion content, BFD3 in particular, sounds amazing. It was a big step up from BFD3. I'm not sure if they used some EQ on the drums or not, but the content sounds great, and it's extremely versatile. There's definitely not any audible dynamic processing on the drums, and at no point have I ever felt like I was locked into a particular sound due to the processing. If anything, the kit pieces and the tunings might imply specific genres, but that's it. The cool thing with BFD3, is it covers all genres from country to funk to pop to rock and metal.

Now, the Platinum Samples packs are a bit different. Each tends to have "a sound," but that said, you can still really tweak them.

The Andy Johns pack was recorded through the electronics of a Studer A800 (bot not to tape itself), and into the Sound City Neve console using some EQ. No compression. This pack has a definite classic rock sound and tends to the brighter side of the spectrum. You can get everything from classic Stones, to Television, to close to Zeppelin with this pack.

The Evil Joe Baressi pack is much more of a hard rock sound. Think Tool's 10,000 Days as a starting point (in fact, he was the engineer on that). There were two different rooms here (I'm thinking Sound City and maybe NRG, but I'm guessing), and these sounds were recorded to tape with some EQ and other outboard. I'm not sure if these are compressed, but they're definitely punchy from the go, but at no point do I feel like I've been locked into using compression I didn't want. It's not like the rooms are slammed with compression and there's no way to turn it off. In fact, I don't hear any compression on the ambient mics, so again, I'm not sure if any was even used in tracking (but if it was, my guess would be on the direct channels).

There's also the Evil Joe Glamoflage pack, which is a single kit, which I believe has more processing on it, getting you more of a pre-mixed sound. This would probably be great if you were looking to step up from something like Session Drummer, but don't know how to mix drums.

The Jim Scott Rock drums are probably the most versatile of those sets. There are slick rock sounds (the Chili Pepper's kit), slick classic rock sounds (the Tom Petty kit), then more indie to generic rock type sounds (kits 1-7 if I remember correctly). This pack has the most kits and is broken up into 2 volumes, and also has the most channels. In addition to dry channels, this pack includes some Crush channels that have some pre-processed compression. You don't need to use those channels if you don't want, but you have the option.

Anyway, BFD3+Platinum Samples would cover most rock drum needs. The BFD3 engine is particularly cool with the Cymbal Swell modelling and Tom Resonance features, adding an extra layer of realism you're not getting elsewhere. So with all the above said, there might be some light processing on those packs, but they're still extremely tweakable. The sound comes more from the mic'ing, drums, and tunings than it does the processing. Check out the demos. If you like the sounds, you'll be even more impressed when you're playing them yourself.
3473 posts since 20 Oct, 2001, from my bolthole in the south pacific

Postby egbert; Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:47 pm Re: Best 'uncooked' acoustic drum software?

Coupla points - first, the mic selection used in the recording session imparts each mic's Eq and dynamic response curve to every drum sample. Every mic has a transfer function - mics selected for a particular job on a kit are rarely anything close to flat in their response across the audio spectrum and they also shape the envelope of the recorded sound.

These days the kick drum for example will have three mics - a sub-kick channel which is heavily biased toward the bottom end and it will be blended (to taste) with a dedicated kick mic on the batter head (from the outside or inside of the shell) - these kick mics egs Beta 52, Beta 91 and Audix D6 have massive Eq curves (eg 18 dB range from peaks to valleys) when close micing the batter head. To these two will be added a mic like a Royer 121 or Neuman U47 Fet as a "out" mic some way back from the reso head. All of these mics are coloring the sound significantly.

Another point - when you sit at a kit as a player or stand in a room with a real player on a kit you hear raw drums. Your ear is not 2 inches from any of the surfaces. You are hearing a blend of direct and reflected sound and the response of the room both in terms of the way it colours the sound spectrum and the reverb/reflections it imparts. The way to capture what you hear from a real kit most honestly is with a stereo pair of ribbons or condensers well back from the kit. The whole spot mic approach is necessary when performing/recording live with other instruments in the same space AND the "produced" sound that you typically get with spot mic approaches is a sound we all know from a million recordings.
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