(Reviewed by John Verity)
Downloaded, installed and registered painlessly via the Toontrack website, EZdrummer 2 was soon up and running in my DAW. For the purposes of this review I also auditioned the programme standalone, triggered by keyboard and a MIDI drum set.
Both approaches worked seamlessly, with both Cubase, and Harrison Mixbus recognizing the plug-in instantly.
The screen/GUI labelled ‘Drums’ shows the currently loaded kit – The five (5) complete kits and additional instrument choices included in EZdrummer 2 are divided over two separate sound libraries – one Modern setup and one Vintage set-up.
See it in action here: Groove!
Before looking into it properly, I was under the (false) impression that EZdrummer is meant to be an extremely stripped down version of Superior Drummer 2. I was very wrong. The approach is very different here – granted, it is simpler but it is nevertheless sophisticated. For the composer it will doubtless become an essential tool, and in the education sector we will find the programme invaluable in the classroom, studio and performance area.
Level 2 learners will find it accessible, and at level 3 and above students will doubtless explore its intricacies in creating ever more professional sounding pieces.
EZdrummer 2 contains several useful features when working with MIDI drum grooves. Tap or record your rhythm to find a matching groove, search by filters or browse the traditional way in the conveniently laid out MIDI browser.
I was able to drag and drop chosen drum (MIDI) parts directly in the program – or let EZdrummer 2 do it for me from the library provided - If you drop a groove in the Song Creator (see illustration), it will list all files with a similar feel and style.
And balance each microphone - including ambience in the mixer:
More here: Demo
The ‘Power Hand’ is an ingenious tool. You can “communicate” with your ‘drummer’. Use the Power Hand to instantaneously change the leading instrument or the Amount or Velocity knobs to control the complexity and velocity in your selected groove – while it’s playing.
Check the demo: Power Hand!
So, all in all I was amazed by EZdrummer. As I said at the start of this review I was surprised at the complexities available – though the programme is never over-complex to operate, I found it a pleasure to work with.
Appropriate for learners at all levels, and likely to be applied successfully in a whole range of composition and performance units, in addition to production units in music technology programmes. Highly Recommended.
The drum samples for EZdrummer 2 were recorded at one of the most meticulously built recording facilities in the world; Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios in London, England. Combining some of the most sought-after and rare vintage consoles, outboard effects and microphones with the best of the best in state of the art recording technology, the studio serves as a perfect combination of how old and new can come together in perfect harmony.
The main recording room at the British Grove Studios is large, ambient and perfectly crafted for drum production. The high ceiling, the dense walls and carefully designed diffusers produce a natural and sonically balanced reverb that allow the drums to be loud and present in your mix without ever taking over.
The sounds were recorded by a true industry great; the multi award-winning Chuck Ainlay. Having engineered in excess of 200 albums, worked with some of the world’s biggest recording artists of all time and been involved in numerous gold or multi-platinum releases, his track record speaks for itself. Some of the most notable collaborations in Chuck’s impressive career include Willie Nelson, Dixie Chicks, Dire Straits and Travis Tritt. To name a few.
TWO SET-UPS. FIVE KITS. PERCUSSION.
EZdrummer 2 comes loaded with a modern set-up, a vintage set-up and a percussion library featuring the most traditional pieces for classic song writing.
THE MODERN SET-UP.
The modern library includes drum selections from DW, Gretsch, Yamaha, Ludwig, Sonor, Tama and Brady, all recorded through Neve 88R and EMI TG12345 consoles as well as various chains of vintage and modern outboard.
THE VINTAGE SET-UP.
The vintage library is based around two classic Ludwig kits and recorded through an extremely rare REDD.51 console. In fact, the example in British Grove Studios’ possession is the only known available in the world.
The percussion library is grouped in three categories: one shots, shakers and tambourine with selections of cowbell, snaps, claps, maracas and tambourine. With the intuitive controls in EZdrummer 2, a perfect percussion beat is literally just a mouse-click away. If you activate a percussion pad, it will instantaneously add a fitting pattern to the groove you are currently working on.
To ensure unparalleled realism and dynamics, each instrument was multi-sampled and processed in different tempos, preserving the subtle nuances of the pre-hits essential in making especially shakers and tambourines come to life.
Great sound will get you far, but you can’t base a drum track on sound alone. You need the drummer – the groove, the feel and the human touch. Ensuring that all these pivotal traits were ready at a mouse-click away, all the grooves in the EZdrummer 2 MIDI library were performed on e-drum kits by session drummers before conveniently organized in song structure parts. The material covers a wide range of styles, tempos and feels. With the revolutionary functionality in EZdrummer 2, your songs will never go without a perfect, personalized groove again.
EZX SOUND EXPANSION LIBRARIES.
What’s YOUR sound?
The ever-growing selection of sound library expansions for EZdrummer and EZdrummer 2 offer meticulously recorded, mix-ready drums for a wide range of styles. All engineered by top names and recorded in some of the world’s finest acoustic environments.