Music Tech Magazine
Back in 2006, Toontrack released the ground-breaking Superior Drummer software and, subsequently, the cut-down EZdrummer. For those who don’t know, these programs put a meticulously multi-sampled kit at your fingertips, complete with control over individual microphones so you can truly mould the sound. In practise this is a revelation, as you are no longer stuck within the confines of the original engineers’ mixing decisions. By using different combinations of close-mics, overheads and room mics, you can dramatically alter the sound to suit your mix. You can also load MIDI grooves, which opens up endless possibilities for re-energising your REX library.
In a further bid to offer the world’s greatest drum sounds and grooves, Toontrack has recently released two new expansion packs for the Superior and EZdrummer platforms.
First under the microscope is Funkmasters, samples of the sounds and grooves of Clyde Stubblefield and John ‘Jab’o’ Starks, two of the most influential drummers in modern music. They were the principal drummers for James Brown during the recording of his Sex Machine album and samples of their breaks went on to form the foundations of hip hop and DJ’ing.
The pack comes with two kits (Each of which loads about 300MB of samples into memory) and a large selection of MIDI grooves. The Jab’o’ kit has a very tight, compressed sound, with a popping snare and deep kick. Most of the grooves are intended for tempos of around 120–130BPM and the compact snare offers space for some intricate details, making this kit ideal for live disco-funk beats or up-beat acid jazz. Further compression can be added in the mixer section by applying the Vinyl effect, supplied courtesy of izotope.
The Clyde kit has a bigger, more aggressive sound, as the ringing snare, deep toms and cymbals are all slightly larger than those on Jab’o’ kit. This makes it more suitable for slower 80BPM hip hop beats. The grooves are absolutely stunning, ranging from simple funk shuffles to elaborate tom fills.
Funkmasters: Two great-sounding kits with a stunning set of grooves.