acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
ObsoleteAcc99
Banned
22486 posts since 5 Sep, 2001

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:10 am

Hi, yes i do have all of the above, but only 2 were direct purchases - ez and xln (sales drew me in).

They others were all part of a bundle and were all bought well after the other 2. Jamstix is the anomaly cause i bought the windows version day one, never used it, but decided to crossgrade to mac when it came out, cause why not? Plus it's a great developer, really good customer service.

I have all this stuff and i have never used it. Superior is still shrink wrapped. It's the crossgrade from EZ drummer one but superior is superior. But obviously if i sell them i will bundle them.

XLN interface i really like and seems to have good sounds, i bought a few extra kits on sale. i really like the XLN pianos, it's the one i use mostly for my erm pianos.

The reason i had bought ez drummer and XLN was because i thought well i might as well be covered for acoustic drums, even though myself i do EM, cause my singer best friend that i do all original stuff for is into mellow kind of pop. The EDM drums just don't cut it in this case. I've heard his latest album he did with another producer and i can see the entire thing is acoustic drums, and he wants to write one with me in that vein (but he thinks my songwriting skills are better than the previous guy :blush: which is why he wants to do this - we have done 5 songs before together in 2005, he's actually my best buddy but i was sick for a long time so he went to another producer :oops: )

Anyway now the time has come again, and this is what i have in my arsenal. i really AM trying to minimalize, but none of my hardware synths cover acoustic drums.

I also have whatever is included in komplete 8 standard but besides kontakt5 and reaktor5 i haven't planned on installing the extra komplete instruments (which is why i also haven't upgraded) - i haven't even installed the kontakt factory library as for me it's a waste of 50 gigs of ssd space, i never use it.

I bought a few multitrack drum kits from loop loft, they let you mix and compress each stem to your liking. Good rhythms. Complete drum parts that can make an entire song. Only thing i don't have to worry about is timing issues or phase issues :) I paid like $40 for four packs, was a bargain, a huge sale last year.

So we are starting our fist new song this saturday, and until i learn the acoustic drums plugins 100%, i will use loop loft for the first track then learn the plugins in my own time for future tracks.

remember as i have openly admitted before, even with EDM, drums are my weakest area. Which is why i ask for advice here.

For someone who wants to program all original acoustic beats for pop and POSSIBLE soft rock, which of the instruments i have would you start with? I was set on XLN but i didn't even realise that i had strike from the air pack (i want to sell the whole pack but they don't do transfers so i am stuck with it), and jamstix has some sort of intelligent rhythm creator.

Basically jamstix is nfr, air is nfr, and GA4 is tried to absolute vst bundle, which i will keep till my last breath. So having those three, is there anything XLN and toontrack could offer me, or should i just sell them since they are indeed transferrable?

If you are familiar with any of these products, what music genres they excel at, and their ease of use in rhythm creation, i would really love the advice. Much appreciated!

BTW this will be the first time i ever create an original song with acoustic drums.. when i had my studio i recorded drums day in day out but they were from professional drummers, as i was recording bands. those days are long gone, i have my small (yet nice) room, it all has to be done on the mac. Cheers

dopet
KVRist
92 posts since 13 Jul, 2005 from Longview, WA

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:30 am

Hey Buddy!

I use EZ drummer 2 and XLN all the time for my acoustic drums. I have used them in styles ranging from acoustic 'pop' to 'electro-pop' to mellow-ish instrumentals, etc. Basically, I use EZ drummer 2 as the brain and just trigger the XLN drums. Whatever one thinks of the EZ drummer drum sounds, I think they did a great job of making editing (adding,changing beats, etc) super easy. I usually start with my own midi drum loops and drag them into the ez drummer time line and start tweaking them from there. If you haven't dove into the 'play editor' in EZ then you must. Right away!

I had a chance to use Jamstix once or twice. It was an older version (2 perhaps?). I thought the interface was a little difficult to get around on, but really liked the idea of the different 'drum brains'. The virtual players have a mind of their own (which is why you would use the product), but lets just say they weren't good 'listeners' to my playing suggestions. :) This could all be user error of course, but I remember just cutting out parts of the performance we liked and stitching the pieces together elsewhere.

I have to run, but I hopes this helped a little. Feel free to ask more questions. :)

Anthony

ObsoleteAcc99
Banned
22486 posts since 5 Sep, 2001

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:48 am

thanks much Anthony, but I don't have EZ drummer 2, i have 1. I never upgraded to 2 because the upgrade price was more than duble what i paid for version 1 outright on sale ($39) and i believe V2 will eventually be on sale for much less than the upgrade was. So all the features you use i think are new things in V2. right now I am not looking at spending a dime more than i already have..

i also just realised that GA4 doesn't have AAX so that's out of the running as i have no desire to muck around with multiple outputs through a wrapper like patchworx.

I forgot that i have steven slate 4 as well :dog: I got 3 on some group buy here and then upgraded. Again, never used.

It's for sale in the MP.

I do see EZ2 has an aax, as has superior, jamstix, XLN and of course strike.

I am looking at an all in one.. using one plugin to control another is never my cup of tea. I get confused with all the mess on screen (i'm not young anymore lol).

ok let's say EZ2 is out of the running cause that would require more significant investment.

Let's start with the one that can do everything, obviously the DRUM quality is of importance too. It has to be a well balanced product.

Any way i look at it I am keeping those three i mentioned as 2 are nfrs (ie they are nfrs for anyone who buys them) and groove agent is not an aax and is with my absolute pack anyway. Yes I am willing to use halion, the grand, retrologue in a wrapper in AAX but not a drummer. It's just too complex with mess, especially since i like processing each drum on it's own output. :)

I think i am very happy with the sound of XLN and it can play midi as well as having a bunch of grooves. I have nothing against using my midi piano roll in pro tools to do programming either.

I don't have ANY superior expansions but tons of ezdrummer ones. There were just so many sales after sales and i thought someday i would make great use of them. I have never even authorised any of them! :oops: But i do know they can all be used in superior.

I would presume that EZ2 on the programming side, would be more up to date than superior. Ez also had some great pop kits expansions i got on sale. Really suitable sound wise. See why i am so confused? I am even mumbling in my own topic as i'm stuck.

I want to start, with out of WHAT I HAVE ALREADY, the *easiest* to program vs sound quality. ie the one you would pick only out of what i have listed as that's what i have.

Scotty
KVRAF
1916 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:03 am

Theo I have most of what you own. Jamstix is stuck on 3.6 since the last ice age and despite his excellent support it needs an overhaul. Groove Agent is powerful but it isn't intuitive to use. I spent a lot of time with BFD 2 and worked with BFD 3 and it turns your creative head into an engineer mode just by looking at the gui. It can do anything imaginable regardless. The Native Instruments stuff is also very good but the ready to mix sounds and ease of use that you find in Addictive Drums is superior. IN terms of midi drum kits, I have done a few projects that I sketched out in Addictive Drums using their loops augmented with some programming. I had a drummer 3000 miles away send me a polished midi track using v-drums triggering Addictive Drums on his Roland V-drums. There is a template for many of the Roland and Alesis and Yamaha kits that make this kind of work pretty easy to manage. I don't own Ez/Superior Drums so I can't offer a direct comparison but they appear to have a very similar workflow. Good drum programming is also a growth area for me so I spent a lot of time looking at options. Just my thoughts....
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bobbackwards
KVRist
111 posts since 9 Jul, 2005

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:14 am

Jamstix is my "can't do without" plug, I am a user since version 1.

Cons-
Not everybody likes the native sounds

The ui has some quirks and not everything is super intuitive

you need to invest a little time learning how JS works i.e. there is some learning curve

Buts-
you can "drive" another vsti from JS (I know it includes maps for ezd) and I do quite like the sounds and have all the packs available. The sounds in JS are all pretty dry so you can shape em' how you want, but ymmv.

You have a great deal of control over just about everything that the drummer does and can seriously alter any "standard" beat, i.e. highly customizable beats

Doesn't all music software have a learning curve?

Pros-

JS creates beats that sound like a real human drummer.

Lots of "style" packs for cheap if you are lazy or drummer challenged

Huge variety of drummer styles out of the box i.e. no need to buy "midi" packs for different styles

Tons of options and control over your drums

Easy to use for quick song "sketches"

Tons of available sounds for cheap $

I am not in any way associated with JS just a long time user...BTW version 4 is coming very soon but I know you said you don't want to invest any $.

BERFAB
KVRAF
6117 posts since 25 Mar, 2004

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:35 am

I have all the stuff you have listed. XLN is the most used of all. However, I have upgraded to XLN's AD 2, which I find much better than AD 1. Easy to use, great MIDI library to get beats going, and a very nice set of editing tools. Plus, very easy to browse kits with beats without leaving the AD2 front page. I do this for inspiration all the time.

If you have Komplete 8, you also have Battery which has an enormous amount of kits and samples covering ALL genres--from acoustic to electronic to military ordnance (yup, cannon fire and big gun sounds included). Battery itself is an easy to use sample-trigger interface where you can get crazy with creating any kind of kit you want. Editing tools included. [Another trick with Battery: You can easily drag and drop an entire collection of REX loops (I just did this with the producer's loop collection from Loop Loft) into Battery so that they are easily triggered from the keyboard. Because they're REX loops, they're auto-synced to any BPM, and depending on the size of your keyboard, you can have instant access to 25/61/76/88 loops at a time.]

Also, pretty sure that Studio Drummer is also included with K8. This is a Kontakt instrument that has some excellent acoustic studio kits (mix ready) and an enormous library of MIDI beats in a variety of genres. MIDI format can also be switched to accommodate Superior Drums and other formats.

The Steven Slate stuff is very good as well, and meant to be "mix ready." However, this means that many of the kits and samples are already pre-processed, so you have to go with their sound out of the box. On the plus side, the full program contains something for just about every taste, but tweaking is very limited. Also, the SS sampler is a very capable MIDI playback machine and has a few tricks of its own. The most useful for me is a built in library of other formats so you can trigger the SS kits using the MIDI loops from other developers' programs.

I have tried to use EZ and Superior, but find that it's just not that "EZ" to get a great sound out of them. Others swear by them, though. Your mileage may vary.

Cheers
-B
Berfab
So many plugins, so little time...

ObsoleteAcc99
Banned
22486 posts since 5 Sep, 2001

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:55 am

sorry my AD is the latest, v2.

I don't want anything mix ready BTW.. as unprocessed as possible for me.

Thanks all for the answers, i have to read them all thoroughly when i am less tired and take it in then. See you in the am, (well it's already 6am :hihi:, so afternoon some time)

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wagtunes
KVRAF
17214 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:10 pm

I echo what Bobbackwards said. I just Jamstix purely because you can't beat it for making realistic sounding beats. I then take the MIDI file and pump it into Battery 4. Best drum tracks I've ever made hands down. I do not like Jamstix stock drums but with so many good sounding drums out there, it doesn't matter.

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bharris22
KVRAF
1590 posts since 3 Mar, 2010

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:19 pm

+1 for Jamstix. I still don't have my head around exactly how to use it most efficiently, but I know that I can just put in a code such as I(ntro) V(erse) C(horus) V C E(nd) and come out with a usable drum track including fills and transitions. It sounds great, and, as noted, can be used to drive other drum libraries.

Scotty
KVRAF
1916 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:31 pm

You take off the processing on the kits in AD2, the only thing that is burned into the sound is the room, mics and mixing desk. As Evil Dragon points out there is some compression on the samples but that is for control not sound shaping as far as my ear can tell. Other than than that you can shape the sound to taste. The post effects in AD is where you can add creative touches and then swap through the presets you can see how the sound is shaped and tuned. You can learn a lot from just working through the presets and seeing how the sound shaping is achieved to get a different sound from the same kit in the same room. Incidentally the layering of drum pieces is handled by using the extra kit piece slots. It isn't elegant but it works.
TheoM wrote:sorry my AD is the latest, v2.

I don't want anything mix ready BTW.. as unprocessed as possible for me.

Thanks all for the answers, i have to read them all thoroughly when i am less tired and take it in then. See you in the am, (well it's already 6am :hihi:, so afternoon some time)
Last edited by Scotty on Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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EvilDragon
KVRAF
18683 posts since 7 Jan, 2009 from Croatia

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:35 pm

As unprocessed as possible. That's Superior. Both EZD and Addictive Drums contain processed samples (in both cases, they have been compressed using somewhat lossy compression - AD has raw samples, but compressed, EZD contains some post-processing, and then compressed).

Learn Jamstix, it will help you tremendously in getting the groove feel human and as it should be. Use it to drive anything - in this case, my recommendation would be Superior.


The only other drum plugin (AFAIK) that has unprocessed samples is BFD. Oh, and NI's drum libraries (after you disable all the internal mixer effects).

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wagtunes
KVRAF
17214 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:45 pm

EvilDragon wrote:As unprocessed as possible. That's Superior. Both EZD and Addictive Drums contain processed samples (in both cases, they have been compressed using somewhat lossy compression - AD has raw samples, but compressed, EZD contains some post-processing, and then compressed).

Learn Jamstix, it will help you tremendously in getting the groove feel human and as it should be. Use it to drive anything - in this case, my recommendation would be Superior.


The only other drum plugin (AFAIK) that has unprocessed samples is BFD. Oh, and NI's drum libraries (after you disable all the internal mixer effects).
Hey Evil, Superior is really that good? Better than Battery 4 and all the Kontakt drums?

I'll check it out if you really think that highly of it.

Got a link?

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EvilDragon
KVRAF
18683 posts since 7 Jan, 2009 from Croatia

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:25 pm

IMHO Battery is better at electronic drums. Kontakt drum libraries that NI did are very good, but the flexibility that Superior offers is really, really huge. You can stack kitpieces from different add-ons, mix and match stuff, it's really flexible. The only other software that is as flexible is BFD.

Just check out demos on Toontrack website.

xx JPRacer xx
KVRAF
2001 posts since 25 Jun, 2008 from Montreal, Canada

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:52 pm

Jamstix driving Addictive Drum. Jamstix could take some time to learn, but when everything click in place you'll find it indispensable. Version 4 is coming soon with a better/cleaner interface (much needed IMO). The only negative point for me are the fills, wish do had more controls. But like I said v4 is coming soon.

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wagtunes
KVRAF
17214 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: acoustic drums.. ez/superior vs XLN vs Groove Agent 4 vs jamstix vs Strike

Post Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:06 pm

xx JPRacer xx wrote:Jamstix driving Addictive Drum. Jamstix could take some time to learn, but when everything click in place you'll find it indispensable. Version 4 is coming soon with a better/cleaner interface (much needed IMO). The only negative point for me are the fills, wish do had more controls. But like I said v4 is coming soon.
Is there an ETA on version 4?

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