Toontrack SDX Buyer’s Guide
Toontrack are renowned for producing the highest quality virtual drum software using top engineers, drummers, studios and gear. Their latest virtual instrument ‘Superior Drummer 3’ caused waves in the music world of titanic proportions.
More than just a drum production tool, Toontrack Superior Drummer 3 is an entire virtual studio which provides an extensive and unrivalled set of options to creatively craft and design your drum sound without restraint.
But of course if you already own Superior Drummer 3 you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.
One of the the things that makes Superior Drummer 3 such an invaluable tool for music producers, is the vast range of SDX expansions that Toontrack offer to help you create your dream kit. Throughout June and July Toontrack are giving you the chance to save 35% off all SDX expansions. So we thought we’d take an in-depth look into these expansions and help you to decide which ones are for you.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
Although one of the stand out features of the SDX series is its versatility, Music City USA stands out from the crowd as being arguably the most versatile. The Music City SDX presents big, warm and genuine drums that you can hone, mould and shape to fit in any style of music – from country to pop, rock and soul. Music City USA was recorded in the main room of the Sound Kitchen studios, a room widely known for it’s big and warm sonic qualities. If you’re looking to expand your arsenal of SD3 drum kits, but don’t know where to start then this is the SDX for you.
In their 9/10 review, Computer Music said:
“another excellent effort from Toontrack that´s suitable for country, rock, funk and more besides.”
The Metal Foundry SDX is one of the most comprehensive recordings in Toontrack’s history. With The Metal Foundry, you get seven unique drum kits spanning 300,000 sound files of raw, single hit drum recordings, not to mention the abundance of individual drums you get to ensure The Metal Foundry has everything you need to forge your ultimate metal drum kit.
With kit presets designed by some of the most exciting engineers and artists in today’s scene (Devin Townsend, Fredrik Thordendal, Daniel Bergstrand, Jocke Skog, Pelle Gunnerfeldt) The Metal Foundry ensures you have everything you need to get incredible drums straight out of the box.
With five complete kits, a total of 17 snare drums, 31 cymbals and five hi-hats – all captured on 26 separate channels and spanning a staggering 63 gigabytes of raw, unprocessed sounds, the Progressive Foundry SDX is packed full of incredible drums. But you don’t have to worry about quality being sacrificed for quality. As is the case with most Toontrack releases, every single minute detail has been intensively scrutinised to ensure you’re getting only the very best sounding virtual drums available.
With 63 gigabytes of raw power, ready for you to harness, mould and shape into your mixes, the Progressive Foundry SDX is a must-buy for any SD3 user looking to make progressive metal, heavy rock or mix anything from tight to ambient drums.
The Rock Foundry SDX is the most recent SDX release and highlights the Swedish developer’s desire to continually build on their success and ensure each new release is better than the last. The Rock Foundry SDX features a staggering 65 GB of raw, unprocessed drum sounds recorded by arguably the most notable, influential and sought-after engineer/producer of our time: Bob Rock.
With seven individual kits from brands such as Ludwig, Ayotte, Gretsch, Dunnett, and Yamaha, plus dozens of individual drums, The Rock Foundry SDX brings plenty of top-level drum sounds to the table. The Rock Foundry SDX was recorded at Bob Rock’s choice studio; The Warehouse in Vancouver, BC, and designed to give you the most flexible selection of drums, ambiences and options possible giving an incredibly broad palette of raw material to use to craft drum mixes within the powerful framework of Superior Drummer 3.
If you’re an SD3 user looking to produce rock music, then this is the SDX for you.
The Metal Machinery SDX features the original recording that was used as the foundation for arguably the most popular set of metal drum sounds on the market; the Metal Machine EZX. What makes it different from the EZX version is that the SDX sounds are raw and without post-processing, meaning the source material was recorded directly at the studio.
It comes with fundamentally the same collection of instruments but includes a broader variety of mic selections as well as a custom bank of kit presets. With the SDX you’ll also be able to utilise the raw power that Superior Drummer 3 brings to the table, and ensure that you’re getting the best sound possible out of your drums. This library comprises of three full kits, a wide assortment of cymbals and a total of seven snares drums, all recorded using the ‘creme de la creme’ in recording equipment.
The New York Studios Vol.1 SDX is the first volume in Toontrack’s project of capturing the three most famous drum rooms in the New York area – studios that changed the face of the music industry and that bear witness to some of the most groundbreaking recordings in modern pop and rock history. Avatar Studios, in which this library was captured, has won several industry awards and is known for having one of the most exceptional acoustic environments in the world for drums. Since its inception in the 1970s, it’s hosted bands and artists like Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Journey, Kings of Leon and The Clash.
The sounds were recorded by engineer duo Neil Dorfsman and Pat Thrall together with drummer Nir Z. Between them, they have won several awards and over the past three decades worked with a wide range of top artists such as Meatloaf, Celine Dion, Nick Lachey, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Beyoncé, Björk, Kiss, Joss Stone, Genesis, John Mayer and Chris Cornell. In total, you get approximately 20 GB of raw, unprocessed drum sounds captured in meticulous detail in one of the most acknowledged drum rooms in modern music history.
The New York Studios Vol.2 SDX sees the trio of Neil Dorfsman, Pat Thrall, and Nir Z team up once again to follow-up on the success of Vol.1 and set the bar even higher. This time around the drums were recorded at the Allaire Studios and The Hit Factory – two of the most heralded drum rooms and notable New York studios ever.
These two landmark facilities have hosted the who’s who of popular music for decades – anything from David Bowie to Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones and Paul Simon. Since the recording of these sound libraries, however, both studios have tragically closed their doors to the public, and thus, the legacy of their signature sound lives through their respective body of work, but now also vicariously through these very drum recordings. This means you’ll be extremely hard pushed to find these drum sounds anywhere else!
The New York Studios Vol.3 SDX is the final instalment in the New York Studios series of Superior Drummer 3 expansions. This time around the recording studio of choice was the world-renowned Avatar Studios in New York. Avatar Studios is known for having one of the world’s finest acoustic environments for recording and has won several industry awards. Since its inception in the 1970s, it’s hosted bands and artists like Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Journey, Kings of Leon and The Clash.
The drums were recorded through a Neve 8068 console and signal chains of modern and vintage studio gear by an engineer/drummer team that has decades worth of experience behind the console and in the tracking room. Between them, they have worked with artists covering the whole gamut of genres, from classic rock (Kiss, Meatloaf, Bruce Springsteen) to soul (Joss Stone, John Mayer) and modern pop (Beyoncé, Katy Perry).
Can’t decide which New York Studios title is for you? Get them all with the New York Studios Bundle!
If vintage drum kits are what you’re after, then you’ve come to the right place. The Indiependent SDX presents an impressive collection of vintage drums recorded at a true landmark in the ever-shifting rock and indie scene of Seattle, WA – the Avast! Recording Co. With the Indiependent SDX, you get a whole host of vintage drums from the ’40s through to the ’60s and five full kits sampled with sticks (Gretsch, Slingerland, WFL, Ludwig and Sonor) and one full kit sampled with mallets Gretsch).
The Indiependent SDX is possibly the world’s most genuine and unique collection of drum samples – handpicked for indie music but reaching farther, beyond the divides of a specific genre. In their 9/10 review, Computer Music said:
“The detail in the samples is astounding, the kits sound wonderfully natural (although we’re still not totally sold on the calf-skinned Slingerland), and 16 mixer channels give an incredible level of control. One of the best SDXs yet, for sure.”
The Custom and Vintage SDX features extensive stick and brush recordings of a unique collection of drums and cymbals, designed to give everyone from top producers down access to the cream of custom and vintage drums, built by craftsmen from the 1920s right up to the exceptional instrument makers of today.
This allows you to encapsulate the raw essence and vibe of some of the most memorable drum sounds in history. The Custom and Vintage SDX was recorded through a classic EMI TG mixing console at the noted 2 kHz Studio in London, England. This unique piece of equipment is considered one of the best sounding ever made and has been used in numerous legendary recordings of the early seventies, like The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”.
The Custom & Vintage SDX is the definition of classic, rare, custom and vintage drums recorded to perfection in one of the finest acoustic environments ever built.
Toontrack went to Nashville’s Blackbird Studio to record the ultimate Jazz library but walked out with something far bigger; drums that transcend the narrow confines of a genre and rather define an era – an age of music spanning from Jazz, Blues to Hip Hop and Rock. Having a massive selection of instruments as well as Blackbird Studio’s stock of 1400 Microphones, 35 channels of Pultec EQ, 24 channels of Fairchild compression and hundreds of outboard mic/pre channels including Telefunken, Neve, API, RCA and Chandler at their disposal, Toontrack were able to create the drum library for any Jazz producers looking for a new drum library.
Although the Roots, Sticks SDX is versatile enough to work in many different genres, Jazz and Hip-Hop are the two genres where it truly excels. Arguably more so than any of the other SDX expansions.
Roots, Brushes, Rods & Mallets is effectively the twin sibling of Roots, Sticks as both were recorded on the same kits with the same gear in the same studio, but the key difference is what was used to play the drums. As the title suggests RBR&M was recorded using drums struck by various Brushes, Rods & Mallets. This gives you a slightly different timbre of sounds to Roots, Sticks and allows you to choose which title you want based on what you want the drums to be struck with. If you can’t make up your mind then why not get both with the Roots Bundle!
In their 5/5 review, Sound On Sound said:
“If you’re serious about your drum samples, Superior Drummer is definitely up there with the best, and for jazz musicians looking for some utterly convincing drum sounds and performances, the two Roots SDX packs both sound wonderful. Highly recommended.”
What do you get when you place one of the world’s most noted rock producers in the world-famous Warehouse Studio in Vancouver with mint condition drums tuned to perfection and arm him with the best dynamic, ribbon and condenser mics money can buy? The Rock Warehouse SDX. All of these recordings were then put through chains of rare vintage outboard and then saturated by one of only three existing Neve AIR consoles.
The recording was engineered and produced by Randy Staub. With mixing credits on some of the best selling rock albums ever (Metallica‘s “Black Album”, Nickelback‘s “Silver Side Up”, Avril Lavigne‘s “Under My Skin”) and a catalogue that spans close to 300 productions, he is undoubtedly one of the most prolific and noted producers of the past decades. Add to that the touch and feel of sampling drummer Ryan Vikedal (ex-Nickelback) and the result is undeniable.