Anyone using Superior Drummer 3 for Electronic/Hip-Hop music?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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KVRAF
3734 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:47 am

Toontrack's Superior Drummer 3 is mainly targeted for acoustic drums and genres like rock, metal, jazz, etc.

I was wondering if anyone is using SD3 for producing drums for electronic, hip-hop, modern pop/alternative genres. If so, I would appreciate some suggestions, or just a general discussion on this topic.

For example: Do you rely completely on MIDI grooves or program beats on your own in SD3? Do you import external samples in SD3?

If there are specific videos on this topic that you know, it would be great if you can share the link here, as well.
Context: I have acquired a lot of drum plugins lately and getting spoilt for choice. SD3 is relatively new and I have got a little familiar with it after watching the videos on Toontrack's website. It looks pretty powerful and is not CPU intensive either, so could well be the only main drum plugin for almost everything I want to do. Since I don't produce hard core rock/metal type of music, I thought there might be people here who would be using SD3 beyond its intended capabilities and could share some tips and tricks.
Thanks! Hope the topic is interesting enough. :phones:

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KVRian
745 posts since 22 Feb, 2014

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:10 am

No, I'm not, though I'm sure it can be done if you're an SD3 virtuoso.

Most EDM has electronic drums from drum machines, synths, and samples which are often layered. Hip-Hop is more easily doable in SD3 -- depending on the style you're going for. Classic hip-hop often sampled drums from soul/jazz/funk/disco records, whereas modern hip-hop is more drum machines. This video should be helpful for either EDM or hip-hop since a big kick/bass drum sound is fundamental for those genres.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4QR5CExcqQ

FWIW, I make beats by playing them on pads, using MIDI patterns, and sequencing sliced up drum loops/samples.

KVRist
63 posts since 8 Oct, 2018

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:52 am

Are you using the main SD3 library? What do you have in mind sound-wise? I't can be tricky to get it to sound right. The "built in" ambiance is enormous, which makes it suitable for big-beat drums, but maybe not so much for dry hip-hop beats. But:

Try lowering the velocity for all playing drums. The character of a drum sounds different over the whole velocity-range. For soul/funk sounding drums full force isn't necessarily better..

Turn down ambiance-mics. Transient-shape away some of the "wetness" works to (you can also shorten the envelope in some and/or all mic-channels). Some light mid-scooping can make stuff sound a bit drier.

Explore the close mics and bleed. Sometimes you find interesting colors in the bleed channels. Phase-relations between channels can sometimes bring out interesting colors to. It's a bit hard to give concrete examples unfortunately, I often just go by ear..

Also saturation, compression, other coloration, and liberal use of fat on the drum bus, of course. :wink:

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

3734 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:30 pm

@telecharge: Thanks for your helpful suggestion. I think I watched this video, but I will do it again. Toontrack makes fantastic tutorial videos. I am just a beginner at SD3, but I am liking the workflow. (I also have EZdrummer 2, which feels kinda redundant, so might as well let it go.) My music right now is in a little undefined territory, but I am trying to making alternative stuff, where drums are layered (acoustic and electronic) to make a strong beat. Hopefully I will be able to figure it out with these new tools that I have got now.

@Breach The Sky: Thank you, those are great points. I am using SD3 Core & Avatar libraries and have some EZXs that I think would help me to get the sound I am looking for. I am looking for a hybrid acoustic-electronic sound, so I think layering is must. SD3 has some neat features for layering drums from Toontrack products and importing own samples, which is great.

As for ambiance of the core library, good point, but I have only installed the Part 1 Basic Setup, so hopefully it will be easier to get rid of any hindering ambiance. I will need to experiment with mics and bleed stuff, as I am not much familiar with these things, being used to drum samples.

Yeah, saturation and compression are indeed a significant part of the modern sound.

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KVRian
920 posts since 31 May, 2017

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:12 pm

I use SD3 for hip hop and electronic stuff a lot but I mostly just use it as a sound module and play stuff live or sequence it within my DAW. That said some of the midi loops can be useful especially as a starting point. The thing I like about hip hop and electronic music is that there is a lot of freedom to be creative and do things your own way so it’s hard to say how you should use SD for your own music. At the end of the day it just gives you really good sounds to use however you’d like.
I love the dry kits most for hip hop and some of the electronic stuff is actually really cool and unique too. I probably wouldn’t use the electronic kits as my main drum sound but they’re great for layering.

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

3734 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:06 am

@Local Man: Thanks for your suggestion. I agree, the sounds in general are excellent and worth it. I have never used MIDI loops before, so it's a difficult pill to swallow, but I now know that MIDI is a big part of Toontrack and drum programming in general, so I can consider it as a good starting point, as well as when I need to get it sounding more authentic. SD3 does give more flexibility compared to EZD 2, so I will start using SD3 more and more and see how it goes.

KVRist
261 posts since 25 Jan, 2010

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:27 am

LoveEnigma18 wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:47 am
Toontrack's Superior Drummer 3 is mainly targeted for acoustic drums and genres like rock, metal, jazz, etc.

I was wondering if anyone is using SD3 for producing drums for electronic, hip-hop, modern pop/alternative genres. If so, I would appreciate some suggestions, or just a general discussion on this topic.

For example: Do you rely completely on MIDI grooves or program beats on your own in SD3? Do you import external samples in SD3?
I used it for my own version of dnb, i also write electrorock and working on an illbient release at the moment.

I use the midi grooves are a starting point and modify the beat so it works with the track I am working on. I will cut hi hats from one MIDI groove and paste it. My drum knowledge is limited, but do whatever I can to make a beat sound good. I guess it is similar to sampling but I have full control of the drum sound from the beginning.

I do the same for the drum kits. I start with a kit that sounds for what I am after and replace the toms and/or snare, kick cymbals as needed.

Toontrack has a lot of how to videos on their youtube channel. I watched a few at the beginning the rest was just trying things out and making happy accidents.

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KVRian
920 posts since 31 May, 2017

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 7:35 am

LoveEnigma18 wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:06 am
@Local Man: Thanks for your suggestion. I agree, the sounds in general are excellent and worth it. I have never used MIDI loops before, so it's a difficult pill to swallow, but I now know that MIDI is a big part of Toontrack and drum programming in general, so I can consider it as a good starting point, as well as when I need to get it sounding more authentic. SD3 does give more flexibility compared to EZD 2, so I will start using SD3 more and more and see how it goes.
One of the coolest things about the midi grooves in SD3 and what really sets it apart is the Tap2Find feature. With that you can play in a drum beat and it will show you a list of midi grooves that are similar to what you played. It can be very handy. Let’s say you’ve got a beat in your head but you’re not great at getting it down perfectly on the keyboard, then this should really help. It would also come in handy if you’re trying to get a similar vibe to a popular song you like. It’s kind of like sampling but without sampling.
Now it’s not perfect mind you but it can be pretty cool to mess around with.

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

3734 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:29 am

smd12 wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:27 am
I used it for my own version of dnb, i also write electrorock and working on an illbient release at the moment.
That's great to know. Best of luck with the release. Would be nice if you can share the link in this topic once it is out. :)
I use the midi grooves are a starting point and modify the beat so it works with the track I am working on. I will cut hi hats from one MIDI groove and paste it. My drum knowledge is limited, but do whatever I can to make a beat sound good. I guess it is similar to sampling but I have full control of the drum sound from the beginning.

I do the same for the drum kits. I start with a kit that sounds for what I am after and replace the toms and/or snare, kick cymbals as needed.

Toontrack has a lot of how to videos on their youtube channel. I watched a few at the beginning the rest was just trying things out and making happy accidents.
Thanks for the tips. I am going to do the same thing. Don't have enough time to watch everything, so I have understood some basic things about SD3. Will be interesting to work with MIDI grooves and modify them to make them my own.

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

3734 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:32 am

Local Man wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 7:35 am
One of the coolest things about the midi grooves in SD3 and what really sets it apart is the Tap2Find feature. With that you can play in a drum beat and it will show you a list of midi grooves that are similar to what you played. It can be very handy. Let’s say you’ve got a beat in your head but you’re not great at getting it down perfectly on the keyboard, then this should really help. It would also come in handy if you’re trying to get a similar vibe to a popular song you like. It’s kind of like sampling but without sampling.
Now it’s not perfect mind you but it can be pretty cool to mess around with.
Exactly. I love this feature too. :tu: I am going to use it exactly as you mentioned. I think I am not going to find the exact grooves that I want, but I can drop/perform a MIDI to get some good suggestions and customize them as needed. There's a song I am working on where I programmed drums using Battery 4 and other NI drums, so I will take that MIDI and work with SD3 now to see how I can take it one step further.

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KVRist
225 posts since 9 Jun, 2020

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:21 am

I use EZ drummer for dance music, as a sort of sample loop creator:

Drop a midi pattern into EZD and tweak the sounds to taste. The pattern doesn't matter much at this stage.

Drag to the DAW and turn into an audio file.

Slice it up like you slice up any other sample, like the Amen break for example. Create lots of patterns and pick some.

Which makes it good for drum n bass and other breakbeat based music, alongside other percussion loops and classic drum machine patterns, and has the advantage of not having any obvious copyright issues.

I would quite like SD3 but haven't bought it for price reasons. But I suspect that it would be easier to create patterns in SD3 than EZD, but you'd still need effects like time stretched drum sounds, so you'd still end up mucking around with audio files in the DAW. I find drum pattern sequencing to be quite constraining because everything I've seen steers you towards creating 4/4 eight bar loops. Except the DAW.

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

3734 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:01 pm

@Double Tap: Thanks. Nice idea about audio slicing. I think the genres I work on does not need that, but good to think about this workflow as well. FL Studio has Slice X, but there are some neat slicing options for audio clips in Playlist itself. Great for layering in the form of audio, too.

Regarding SD3, I think once you get it, there will be no reason to use EZD2. I mean if you don't want to use the extra features, you can use it just like EZD2, and when you need more, it's readily available. On my PC (Core i7, 16 GB RAM, samples on HDD), there is negligible difference between CPU usage and sample loading times for EZD2 and SD3. If nothing else, just the scalable GUI itself is enough to prefer SD3 over EZD2 on my 2K screen. There are some useful features like "Cached" and "Use 16-bit samples" in SD3 that helps with RAM usage. At some point, I will think of increasing the RAM to 32 GB and getting an SSD for the samples, but it is not a bottleneck.

It would be better to get SD3 at a cheaper price on the forum here or at Toontrack's The Pub forum rather than crossgrading from EZD2. This way, you will have no dependency over reselling either if needed. At least that's what I did.

You might have already thought about all this, but just in case. :)

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KVRist
225 posts since 9 Jun, 2020

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:06 pm

LoveEnigma18 wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:01 pm
@Double Tap: Thanks. Nice idea about audio slicing. I think the genres I work on does not need that, but good to think about this workflow as well. FL Studio has Slice X, but there are some neat slicing options for audio clips in Playlist itself. Great for layering in the form of audio, too.

Regarding SD3, I think once you get it, there will be no reason to use EZD2. I mean if you don't want to use the extra features, you can use it just like EZD2, and when you need more, it's readily available. On my PC (Core i7, 16 GB RAM, samples on HDD), there is negligible difference between CPU usage and sample loading times for EZD2 and SD3. If nothing else, just the scalable GUI itself is enough to prefer SD3 over EZD2 on my 2K screen. There are some useful features like "Cached" and "Use 16-bit samples" in SD3 that helps with RAM usage. At some point, I will think of increasing the RAM to 32 GB and getting an SSD for the samples, but it is not a bottleneck.

It would be better to get SD3 at a cheaper price on the forum here or at Toontrack's The Pub forum rather than crossgrading from EZD2. This way, you will have no dependency over reselling either if needed. At least that's what I did.

You might have already thought about all this, but just in case. :)
Thanks - I'd not realised Toontrack had a forum, I'll check it out :)

KVRian
1344 posts since 2 Mar, 2005

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:58 pm

A lil bit off topic, but I use Addictive Drums a lot for my Hiphop drums. They have some great dry kits and though it may not be as deep funtionally or great sounding as SD3, it works like a charm.
Komplete 12 Ultimate, Falcon, Omnisphere 2, IK Total Studio 2 Max, Dune 3, Sylenth, Synthmaster, Thorn, Tal Sampler, Addictive Drums 2, Izotope Tonal Bundle, Reaper, Reason, FL Studio, Alesis Fusion 8HD

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

3734 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:14 pm

Saukar30 wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:58 pm
A lil bit off topic, but I use Addictive Drums a lot for my Hiphop drums. They have some great dry kits and though it may not be as deep funtionally or great sounding as SD3, it works like a charm.
Yeah, I do have the Addictive Drums 2 Vintage Dry ADpak and it's excellent for that dry sound and a little variety. :tu:

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