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.
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.
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.
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!