EZDrummer - Multi Layer Drum Sampler Review

Remember what a buzz Toontrack first caused with the introduction of their drum sample library "Drumkit from Hell"? Of course that was just the beginning, and they surpassed all expectations with the release of gigantic sampled library spanning over 35 GBs worth of recorded drums and percussion with the release of Drumkit from Hell Superior. Unfortunately, it's not everyone's cup of tea to have such an enormous drum sample library around. The majority of people prefer simplicity, and this is where Toontrack's latest offering comes into play. Carrying the title of EZDrummer, this multi layer drum sampler is indeed very easy to use, and definitely a welcome addition to Toontrack's product family.

Unlike before, this time around I decided to spend more than few weeks with the plug-in I'm reviewing. So I've kept myself from writing this review until now, having spent literally hundreds of hours using the product. For the past three months, I've been using EZDrummer, and during that time I've been amazed time after time how effortless it is to use and how great sounding it is even with the presets and no additional processing. Over and above, the user interface is simple yet effective. EZDrummer seems to be living up to its name of EZ-ness ;)

Laying down a great drum track has never been easier - EZDrummer comes with a built-in library consisting of over 8000 midifiles containing infectious grooves. Naturally you can also add your own grooves to the list, and start building a collection of your own favourite fills and beats. Like DFHSuperior, EZDrummer lets you control the microphone levels, bleed from the overhead and ambience mics and panning each channel to your hearts content. Besides, the internal mixer allows you to work either in stereo or multitrack mode, so you can choose to mix all the channels by yourself if that's desired. However, it's worth noting that all the sampled sounds of EZDrummer contain slight processing so they sound good out-of-the-box, while DFHSuperior has unprocessed samples.

Perhaps the heart and soul of EZDrummer is TPC - Toontrack Percussive Compression - which has been realized really well. The drums sound good even though they're compressed. As well it might, TPC cuts RAM use and discspace required for the installation to a minimum. The only downside of EZDrummer is that it only operates at 16 bit / 44.1 kHz mode. However, it's always possible to upsample the drum track before mixing with the rest of the song (this is actually what I have done with the sample recordings offered below). Another great feature is the humanizing function that changes the velocities of the performance, so it sounds more authentic.

The installation of EZDrummer was quick and effortless. The same goes for the additional EZX expansion pack that came bundled with the plug-in (it's a Yamaha Club Jordan Cocktail Drum kit). However, the easy-to-use policy extends even further. There's a EZDrummer flash tutorial for you to watch, and after seeing it you can definitely agree upon how effortless this plug-in is to use. It really doesn't interrupt your workflow at all, and can actually enhance it, since you're able to come up with amazingly good tracks within few minutes of playing around with the plug-in.

All in all, I think Toontrack's EZDrummer will be a major hit among the home recordists as well as some professionals. I've already recommended it to numerous people, and I believe that anyone who has used this plug-in will gladly spread information about it - word of mouth is inevitable. The low-cost combined with excellent set of features is hard to beat, and I can't actually name any competitor who'd come even close to what Toontrack has here to offer. EZDrummer offers both flexibility for the more demanding recordists as well as simplicity and user-friendliness to those who want the most direct route to good sounding drum tracks.

As usual I've got samples for you to listen... this time 'round I decided to provide two sample recordings demonstrating the capabilities of this software plug-in. The first sample "EZDrummer in Production Use / Mastered Sample" showcases how you can alter the sounds of the sampled drums by operating EZDrummer in multitrack mode, and processing all inputs to your taste. The second clip "EZDrummer Raw Sample", on the other hand, features the raw output of EZDrummer. What you hear there, is what you get. There's no processing at all - only slight adjustment of levels.

- Markus (November 9th, 2006)


EZDrummer in Production Use / Mastered Sample [November 9th, 2006]
EZDrummer Raw Sample [November 9th, 2006]

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Link to Toontrack's EZDrummer Site