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Addictive Drums-Jihad On Toontrack And Steven Slate

Ruprect —  December 12, 2012 — Leave a comment

Addictive Drums sample
Around a year ago I decided that I wanted a badass virtual drum instrument, my only problem was deciding which one of these gizmos to buy. They all claim to sound great, cure cancer, aids, AND enhance your performance in the bedroom.  But with all of them having such enticing marketing it was very difficult knowing which one would suit my needs best. So I did what most technologically advanced humans would do in my situation….I fired up Google and started reading. I suddenly found myself spectating a ridiculous battle between the customers of Toontrack and Steven Slate Drums. With all of the hype surrounding these 2 manufacturers I thought that surely ONE of them was indeed the savior of humanity. I ended up purchasing Superior Drummer 2.0 and I’m glad that I did. It sounds very good and serves its purpose, but most of all my girlfriend approves. However, it was a little tough on the wallet, and I’m now asking myself if I could have spent half that and still came out as the supreme ruler of the universe and the bedroom?

Comparison Shop For Addictive Drums

Enter Addictive Drums by XLN Audio

When King Brandon gave me the keys to the Ferrari and told me to take her for a spin( install Addictive Drums), I was slightly skeptical. It’s not that I had heard bad things about it, but more along the lines that I hadn’t heard much of anything  at all. After a relatively painless install I started to dig in.

Beat Player

Right off the bat XLN scored big points in my book by including a built in beat player loaded with a smorgasbord of beats and fills. The best part about this feature is that it’s built right into the UI. I no longer have to take the time to draw in MIDI data in order to start tinkering with sounds. After I got a beat going( which took 1 second and a mouse click) my ears were pleasantly surprised by the…..

Quality Of Samples

They sound BADASS right out of the gate. I then started flipping through the presets to get a feel for what the XLN guys are up to. Pardon my French, but HOLY SHIT!!! Big bonus points again, the presets not only sound great and nail the vibe the titles imply, but they span a wide variety of genres and styles. I was particularly  impressed by how they transformed an acoustic sounding kit, into a full blown House kit by using the filter section and built in distortion insert.

Addictive Drums Rock

Addictive Drums Metal

Addictive Drums Indie Rock

Addictive Drums Fusion

Inserts And Built In Processing

When it comes to features in a virtual drum instrument I expect a lot. If I don’t have the ability to send individual pieces of the kit to their own respective channel strips in my DAW, then I don’t want it. Likewise, if there isn’t any inserts available within the instrument itself I feel ripped off. I’m selfish, I want both. Fortunately it delivers in spades on this front as the built in inserts and fx section although limited, is very, very good. Unlike most virtual drum instruments the fx are laid out in a way that takes away the guess work and limits you in the best possible way. You basically get 4 plugins in the insert section per kit piece: compression, eq , distortion , and a saturating limiter.  There is also a master fx send that has all of the previously mentioned inserts with the addition of tape saturation and a high and lowpass filter.

Compressor

The compressor sounds so good that I rarely used anything else when working with Addictive. It’s simple and it works very well. Light taming and total destruction are both easily achievable.

Distortion

The distortion unit is by far my favorite insert within Addictive. It has 4 different modes ranging from gentle harmonic content, all the way to full blown bit crushed madness. The coolest thing about this particular plugin is that you can control the frequencies that are affected by it. I found that  slightly distorting the top end of a kick drum was a very effective and unique( at least to me )  way to bring clarity  and presence to the kick track.

EQ

The eq insert is easily my least favorite of the group. It’s not that it sounds bad, it’s the fact that there are only 3 bands. Most of the time that is all I needed as the samples are great and don’t really need too much tweaking, but I would’ve liked to see at least 5 bands. In the rare case that I found myself wanting more bands I just used the eq in Cubase. Luckily using the multiple output mode is a breeze and takes maybe 5 seconds.

Saturation

The saturating limiter is an interesting little plugin that is subtle, but will ensure that your levels remain in check when engaged. I had much more fun playing around with the…

Tape Saturation

tape saturation located in the master fx send. This is a super gnarly tool for taming some of the high end off whatever elements of the kit you send to it.

Demolition

Nowadays in the virtual drum arena it is common place to have control over the tuning of individual kit pieces. It’s nothing new, and honestly nothing I’ve ever really been too excited about. Most virtual drum instruments that I’ve encountered give you a pitch knob and some kind of filter to further demolish the samples with. Addictive Drums is no different in that regard except that they give you a lot more control. Instead of giving you 1 pitch knob, they give you 2. I didn’t think too much of this at first glance, but once I started playing with both pitch knobs I was able to come up with some very cool sounds.  I found that with the 2 pitch knobs I was able to completely annihilate the drums if I wanted to. I think that people into House and other kinds of Electronic music would be able to come up with some wicked sounding stuff with Addictive. They also give you a volume envelope and a very intuitive high and lowpass filter. I really like this filter because it’s just an adjustable slider that is brainless “Brandon: No wonder Ruprect likes it!”and effective.

Ease Of Use

Everything about the way it is laid out makes perfect sense and within just a short period of time I had a clear understanding of how everything works. It’s about as easy as you can get.

Bottom Line

I’ve had an absolute blast working with Addictive Drums. When I first heard these samples in our control room I immediately wanted to write some music so I could start mixing them. They inspired me and I don’t get excited much. These samples have reminded me that although Coke and Pepsi are both delicious colas, Dr.Pepper tastes pretty damn good too. In my mind this is the best virtual drum instrument for the money out there. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants uber high quality drum samples for one Hell of a price. Ruprect out! :beerbangX:

 

Brandon’s Thoughts

1)  Addictive Drums sounds absolutely great and is a fun alternative to the other big boys in drum sample land (Superior Drummer 2.0, SSD4, BFD2, etc).  While the price is lower, I’m not seeing anything remotely “less” about it.
2)  The thing that REALLY stood out to me was Addictive Drums MAKES me want to make stuff.  Noise, I mean.  There’s something very inspiring about it.  Idiots who love buzz words would call it “musical’.  (Yeah!  No shit.  A drum sample pack is “musical”.)  The speed in which you can come up with unique sounds is hyper cool in the super fast way that I often have to work.
3)  I loved the space in the drums.  This is something that not all the drum sample packs get right.  I want the 3D thing that happens with mics 10′ from a drum kit in a big, badass room.  It’s a hard thing to be put into words.
4)  We’ve been blending Addictive Drums into much of our electronic productions.  That space thing I was talking about is outstanding blended under our 808s, 909s, etc.  Very fun!
5)  I’ve heard a rumor multiple times that Addictive Drums don’t sit well in a mix.  I can assure you with absolute certainty that this is the biggest load of horse shit I’ve heard this week (and I read another thread arguing about bit depth yesterday).  These are absurdly useful samples and if you can’t make a great song with these, it ain’t the samples fault.

 

Brandon’s Conclusion

I can think of no downsides to using Addictive Drums exclusively.  The honeymoon is over for me with most of the other drum samples out there and there’s something REALLY fun about Addictive Drums that maybe the others don’t have.  Then again, it could just be that Addictive Drums is new to me.  With that said, “new” isn’t something we see often in home recording land.  The “new” part of Addictive Drums comes from the way they’ve succeeded in making a tool that is inspiring……and even “musical”.  10 out of 10 for me regardless of the price.

 

Saved Comments


Jeronimo Mora – 12-17-2012, 10:29 PM
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The funk fusion clip sounds great! I thought the rock and metal sounds were nothing special though. Of the big manufacturers, Slate is pretty much go to for those kinds of sounds. At least in my opinion.

In my productions though, I tend to purchase samples from local studios and producers. Usually, I fancy their drum sounds more than I do those of Toontrack etc. Especially for the heavier styles of music. Other than slate, most of the drum samples out on the popular market frankly don’t cut it for metal. There’s only one EZdrummer expansion I thought sounds up to par. Everything else is ok at best.

My two cents.

brandondrury’s Avatar
brandondrury – 12-18-2012, 12:11 AM
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Whether your tastes are Playboy or Juggs is always a personal thing. I can say that the Addictive Drums sounds are well worth checking out. More importantly, the way in which the software is done gets creative juices flowing This may not be a huge deal in more rigid/objective genres, but for a songwriter/producer kind of gig, there is enormous power in the thing that’s executed in ways that the bigger boys of drum sample land fall a little short in sometimes.

I guess it all comes down to what you are after, but I can’t think of a reason why any home recorder shopping for drum samples should rule Addictive Drums out. It’s prime time stuff.

Brandon

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fHumble fHingaz – 12-18-2012, 12:19 AM
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Yayyy!!! The little fella gets a go!….

Thanks for putting these up – I’ve been using AD virtually since they were first released (2008?). In fact, the song in my signature was inspired by an AD preset (“Boomroom”, I think)…
…(& since my sig doesn’t show here, here’s the song):

I have all the other major drum instruments, and for the most part, they are all very, very good.

Ultimately though, for inspiration, songwriting, ease of use, & just plain going mental with nutty sounds, I keep going back to AD… Not to mention, it has a fairly small footprint on your hard-drive, because they a proprietary data compression format.

For any doubters – rather than just writing AD off, why don’t you download their demo? It’s fully functional – the only limitations are that it has only snare, kick & hihat samples… which is a pretty damn good deal. XLN Audio – Addictive Drums

Awesome soundclips! Is that your guitar playing Ian/Ruprect? Top job!

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Ruprect – 12-18-2012, 04:27 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by Jeronimo Mora View Post
The funk fusion clip sounds great! I thought the rock and metal sounds were nothing special though. Of the big manufacturers, Slate is pretty much go to for those kinds of sounds. At least in my opinion.
Thanks dude! For some reason getting the devastating stuff right is the hardest thing for me. I’m completely confident that Addictive could dish out crushing drum sounds in more capable hands.

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Ruprect – 12-18-2012, 04:31 AM
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Yayyy!!! The little fella gets a go!….
Oh yeah! It’s time to get the party started!

Awesome soundclips! Is that your guitar playing Ian/Ruprect? Top job!
Thanks a lot! Yeah those are some ideas I threw together for the review. BTW I love those drum sounds on that song you posted. The mix isn’t too shabby either!

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kakeux – 12-18-2012, 08:34 AM
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Nice article and pretty nice guitar playing!

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rvs0002 – 12-18-2012, 09:29 AM
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With the price drop on EZ Drummer and the add-on packs, I recommend getting EZ plus Metal Machine, which was done by Andy Sneap. It is (in my opinion) the best going for rock and metal right now. Especially kills in the cymbal and tom area, which is where some of the other packages lack. It’s also versitile enough for other styles with a little eq’ing (and I mean a little) because it was just recorded so well that the samples just translate.

I upgraded my machine about 6 weeks ago and haven’t even bothered installing my Slate Platinum samples yet, and those were a staple for me for a long time.

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Lostwars – 12-18-2012, 09:33 AM
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I do a lot of commercial production and like most people here – I just like to make music. I have had no issue giving XLN all my money for Addictive Drums. I really enjoy playing my Roland kit with AD, especially the Retro and Jazz kits. I’ve tried Abbey Road Drums by NI and Toontracks offerings…they just don’t have the same “feel” as AD. Of course, theres always Steven Slate, which has the UGLIEST interface known to man. If I could get SSD in the AD interface instead of its gross standalone – life would never be the same.

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axxessdenied – 12-18-2012, 09:37 AM
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Hmmm. I’ve got SSD4 platinum already… But, AudioDeluxe.com has addictive drums on for $85 right now…. Going to download the demo and check it out.

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m24p – 12-18-2012, 11:23 AM
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It looks nice, but it costs more than I spent for Steven Slate Drums Platinum, and only slightly less than I spent for EZ Drummer and Superior Drummer combined. Maybe I’ll wait for a really really good sale.

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rol123 – 12-18-2012, 12:17 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by brandondrury View Post
Whether your tastes are Playboy or Juggs is always a personal thing. I can say that the Addictive Drums sounds are well worth checking out. More importantly, the way in which the software is done gets creative juices flowing This may not be a huge deal in more rigid/objective genres, but for a songwriter/producer kind of gig, there is enormous power in the thing that’s executed in ways that the bigger boys of drum sample land fall a little short in sometimes.

I guess it all comes down to what you are after, but I can’t think of a reason why any home recorder shopping for drum samples should rule Addictive Drums out. It’s prime time stuff.

Brandon
This is EXACTLY the reason I am upset with SD as compared with AD. To my ears, the samples in SD ( in general) sound more realistic, (especially metal foundry)….. BUT the navigation and search for grooves in SD KILLS my creativity. In this respect, it is NOT superior at all. And that’s really really bad.
It takes so much effort and time to scroll through the SD grooves window as compared with AD to find what I want.

In AD, lets say I want to see all Rock beats in 4/4 time. Click click click. Done. Then I choose what I like out of all of these and throw them into an audition window to save for later. Done. Easy. Very Easy. Now I am already adding these to my project while I would be still looking in SD. That’s the Damn truth, so help me.

As far as the sample quality goes, I have a/b these two programs for a long long time. AD samples are very very good, but it depends I think regarding what u r using them for. For grungy/squashed/distorted/lo-fi/ garage it’s AD hands down for me. For Rock/metal AD is very very good, but to my ears the nod definitively goes to SD.

Bottom line..you CANNOT go wrong with AD. Toontrack need to do their homework.

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Smurf – 12-18-2012, 12:24 PM
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I have been a AD user – owner since day one really, and think they kill all the others. A lot of folks say that they sound “flat”, but I feel that these are the easiest ones to fit in a track & to get to sound just like you want/need, since they are not over processed like all the others.

For REAL quick drum tracks, Cakewalk Session Drummer2 – 3 with the Smart Loop sounds are the way to go IMHO.

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mcmCPH – 12-18-2012, 01:24 PM
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Great writeup and lots of examples – nice work! I’ve been looking for the right drum virtual instrument as a singer/songwriter, will give it a go , thanks.

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widnikprod – 12-18-2012, 01:26 PM
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Addictive Drums is the absolute best to me. Why do I say that? Because I don’t have time nor desire to bother with chasing and thinking about is something better than this, when as soon as I heard the sounds and the midi files I was sold. The preset are very usable with a little tweeking to suit the song I may be working on perfectly. As stated about the names of the midi files are very discriptive so you can immediately find something that gets you in the ballpark. I’m sold and a friend of mine who is the producer of a few #1′s swears by Addictive. So do I.

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m24p – 12-18-2012, 03:11 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
A lot of folks say that they sound “flat”, but I feel that these are the easiest ones to fit in a track & to get to sound just like you want/need, since they are not over processed like all the others.
That’s quite a bold claim. ALL the others are over-processed? Which sample libraries are you referring to, here? Have you used Toontrack’s Avatar kit, for example?

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Miro – 12-18-2012, 03:34 PM
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who is playing in that ‘Addictive_Drums_Metal’ sample?
thanks

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Food Library – 12-18-2012, 08:21 PM
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I only have the demo if AD and have been recording with it for a year (I’m so broke I’m boiling bass strings) and it’s been great. I primarily write metal tunes and love ‘em. Haven’t tried any of the others so I don’t know how they compare but I don’t see any reason to switch. Beats the hell out of what I used for 10yrs before I found these. Acid music studio and individual sample sthat I pasted one by one. **shudder** The dark ages.

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brandondrury – 12-19-2012, 11:43 AM
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A lot of folks say that they sound “flat”,
I have absolutely ZERO idea what that means, but I’m guessing these people have never recorded a real drum kit in their bedroom. Do that twice and then try out Addictive Drums.

Brandon

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Ruprect – 12-20-2012, 05:42 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by Miro View Post
who is playing in that ‘Addictive_Drums_Metal’ sample?
thanks
That would be me good sir.

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ediblecastle – 12-21-2012, 06:42 AM
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gonna try out the demo. ugh. i hate having to install installer programmes. and now the XLN online installer that I’ve just downloaded, insists on downloading and installing itself again. how silly. but by all accounts AD is nice and intuitive? so looking forward to playing around with it…

just quickly tried em out. sound good! but yeah, the UI is great. So much better than fiddling around in kontakt player with Studio Drummer

chckn8r – 12-21-2012, 12:09 PM
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I’ve been singing the praises and hallelujahs of AD for years now (I’m not even the religious type). For anything that I have to do quickly AND sound good, AD is my go-to library.

They’ve got the interface and USEABLE presets / loops that I seem to allow me to dial in a quick good sounding kit that sits in the mix without much fuss at all.

My second go-to is Studio Drummer – lots of great sounds and similar in approach to AD.

I’ve got pretty well all the main libraries (BFD, SS, EZD, Superior Drummer…), but always seem to go back to those top two in my list.

I don’t know – AD just seems to work without much fuss … for me at least.

—————
I tapped this out using my fat thumbs on my iPhone, so please excuse the spelling “corrections”.

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IMF OnSite Recording – 12-22-2012, 11:21 AM
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Was going to get EZ Drummer (Been using cakewalk session drummer 2 long enough) because I want a decent drummer prog to go with X2.. now im thinking of Addictive Drums.. but I am wondering because EZ Drummer comes with a lot more sounds vs addictive drums doesnt it? AD only has 3 kits from what I heard… I guess it’s a tradeoff of features vs sound library.. and most of the gadgets in AD I can accomplish on the track itself anyhow.. so its a close one for me.

EDIT: Although I can see this being incredible for easily modifying my 808′s as well…

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chckn8r – 12-22-2012, 11:42 AM
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There are additional kits you can get with expansion packs, but the three it comes with combined with all the mic placement and included effects processing (which are actually quite good) really expand what the three base kits offer.

Scrolling through the presets is fun just to get ideas on what you can do on AD and other drum libraries. Pretty imaginative – especially when you get into the heavily processed patches.

—————
I tapped this out using my fat thumbs on my iPhone, so please excuse the spelling “corrections”.

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m24p – 12-24-2012, 01:59 PM
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Anyone try out the melda one? They have a stripped down free version.

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IMF OnSite Recording – 12-24-2012, 05:21 PM
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It all looks great but I am stuck on having 1 midi note trigger multiple kicks\snares… can it do that?

 

Ruprect

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Ruprect once went carless to chase his guitar tone obsession. This same mindless pursuit of tone has led him to an equally brilliant chase of mega recording glory. He assists Brandon Drury, the super human who runs RecordingReview, and when Ruprect shakes or rolls over Brandon allows him to give his opinion to the world.
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