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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

TOONTRACK Superior Drummer 3 £305

Toontrack makes big claims for Superior Drummer 3. Is it a plug-in? Is it a virtual drum machine? Martin Delaney says no, it’s a drum DAW…

Toontrack has updated its flagship product, Superior Drummer, and while I admit it’s not something that’s been on my radar – in fact, I’ve never heard of it before – I’ve discovered that many of my fellow producers are fans, especially those involved in soundtrack composition, needing fast access to a large library of high-quality sounds, detailed programming, and possibly a bit of Surround, too. SD3 runs standalone, or as an AU/VST/AAX plug-in. It’s built around recordings of seven acoustic kits recorded at Galaxy Studios in Belgium (“the most quiet recording space of this size in the world”), by renowned engineer George Massenburg.

The kits are from Gretsch, Ayotte, Pearl, Yamaha, and Premier, and the core library includes 230GB of 44.1kHz/24-bit samples, with an additional 350 or so drum-machine sounds. Beyond the kits themselves, SD3 features a built-in MIDI editor, MIDI beats ready to use in the form of ‘grooves’, a full-featured mixer with effects, macro controls, and audio-to-MIDI conversion. SD3 is available as a download, but if the download size scares you, for an additional €189, Toontrack ships an SSD with the library preinstalled, which is how it arrived here for review. There’s no need to drag the library over to clog up your computer, it runs fine off the SSD – this convenience meant I could do much of the review on a humble MacBook Air.

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About MusicTech

2017 has been an exciting, innovative year for new music-making technology, from machine-learning plug-ins to laser-guided microphones and from scientifically crafted, point-source monitors to boutique synthesisers, the past 12 months has offered up new variations on classic gear and inventive new creative tools for making and recording music. We pay tribute to the best gear of the year in our roundup, with our winners compiled by a fusion of reader votes and our expert panel. Elsewhere this issue, we have the second part of our new A-Z series with Gear4Music, chat to MPG Award-winning mastering engineer Mandy Parnell and Grammy-winning producer and engineer Mark Rankin, and cast of our eye to the future with tutorial content in the latest iterations of Live and Reason. Additionally, you’ll find all the latest reviews from the likes of Toontrack, Dynaudio, Sonokinetic and more.It's been an excellent year for the music-technology industry, and MusicTech as a magazine. Here’s hoping 2018 will be equally as fruitful… enjoy the issue.