S2.0_screenshot_construct_72dpi

In a previous blog I talked about hooking an Alesis DM6 USB Kit up to Logic Pro and Superior Drummer, as someone fairly new to edrums I thought a little review might be helpful!

The moment I started using the DM6 I knew that it wouldn’t cut it when recording so started looking for alternatives, whilst Logic comes with some okay sound libraries for drumming they were just all a bit dead. The DM6 did ship with a Lite version of EZDrummer also from Toontrack. This is Superior Drummer’s baby brother whilst the upgrade looked good I wanted some more power, power that was packed into SD2!

SD2 can operate in a number of ways, as a standalone version (Toontrack Solo) or as a VST/AU Plugin. It shows up in both Logic and Garageband on my Mac, if using Toontrack Solo you will not be able to trigger using an edrum kit, which seems a little strange to me, I may be wrong? Anyway I use Logic so no problems there.

Getting Started

After parting with your hard earned cash on their website you get immediate access to a download of around 1.5GB, this is simply the start. This download gives you just enough to get going while they ship you the 5 DVDs with the full sample library! The initial setup gives you the program along with a super cut back set of samples, a couple of cymbals, one set of toms and a few snare sounds. There are also none of the presets or effects. However once you get the DVDs the sound installer runs and after about an hour everything is ready to go.

Construct

SD2 breaks itself into a few different windows accessed via tabs all doing different things within the plugin. The main construct window gives you a really nice visual representation of the kit, it also allows you to easily change the sounds via convenient drop downs on each piece of the kit. A few basic layouts are included in the presets and you have the option to customise with x-drums (virtual customised pieces you can also layer on top of other pieces). In total you can have 45 kit positions which could lead to some potentially insane kits.

Mixer

SD2 mixer is really impressive, looking very much like a typical DAW, 5 inserts per channel, 16 routable busses, phase reverse and mute and solo on all tracks. You also have the very useful option of a multi channel out, this means that instead of having a single stereo channel in your DAW you can have 16 individual channels allowing you to mix each part of the kit independently from within your DAW and apply different effects, EQ etc to those parts. An interesting feature is the bleed control. On each track you can set how much bleed you would like from the other mics. For example your snare bottom can get a little bit of bleed from the Kick drum, snare top gets a little toms, how much snare, kick, hats, toms do you want on your overhead mics? Each kit piece has an individual mic along with multiple overhead options including, standard overhead, ambient close, medium and far as well as a mono ambient bullet mic all recorded using Coles, U67 and C24 to name a few. You also get 5 insert effects created by Sonalksis including filter, EQ, gate, transient and compressor, the presets for each channel are a good starting place. Each effect opens in it’s own mini floating window much like any normal plugin within a DAW, you can also side chain your channels and busses within the effects! The mixer really is very powerful for a plugin, there really isn’t much you need to do in your DAW!

2 thoughts on “Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.3 Review

  • Wow – thanks for the great info! I’m curious … in your opinion, what would you suggest if I am just a casual drummer that won’t be recording anything and just want to get a few more drum kit options? I have GarageBand on my Mac. I didn’t see much mention of you having to buy extra cables, is everything just run USB into your computer?

    Thanks for any extra help!

    Jeff

     Reply

    • Garage Band is fine, also Superior Drummer comes with something called Toontrack Solo which is a standalone application which allows you to just play. In terms of plug and play it really depends on your kit and audio interface. Originally I was using a Alesis DM6 which simply plugged in directly to the USB port on the Mac. Now I use a Roland TD9-KX2 which doesn’t have a USB out only a MIDI out. This plugs into my audio interface (M-Audio Project Mix IO) which then in turn plugs into my Mac via Firewire.

       Reply

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I'm Will, a full time web developer, geek and musician. I develop using PHP and MySQL and spend most of my time working with WordPress or CakePHP. When I'm not buried in code I'm gaming, cooking or writing and recording music in my studio. I like sci-fi, pancakes and coffee and am totally prepared for the zombie apocalypse...

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