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EZ Drummer 2 - disappointing


arthurhenry
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I am new to EZ Drummer 2 and hope those more familiar will be able to tell me I'm getting something wrong! I am using it primarily to program my own parts due to the nature of my projects, but the library of pre-recorded groove may well become useful later (I have tried it as an experiment, but so far there has been nothing close to my requirements).

I find the following things infuriating and extraordinary, considering they were possible on drum machines 35 years ago:

1. When a groove that has been programmed and saved, with the chosen sounds, is called up again, all the sounds change (despite being "saved") when a different kit is chosen. This means for example that it's not possible to create a track with a rock kit for several bars then a Latin percussion break, or to play your original part and "overdub" a percussion instrument from another kit. It's necessary to program both parts separately, then open EZ Drummer twice in the DAW - once for each kit. I find this incredible.

2. All programming has to be done in real time. Fine to a point, but if, for example a hi-hat moves to the wrong beat when quantised, it can't be grabbed and moved - the hi-hat track has to be deleted and redone. Fast tempo fills can't be "built" by placing drums where needed, instead the tempo has to be slowed down to a speed which allows for manual, real time tapping in, then sped up.

3. If, after a track has been transferred to the DAW, there are any extra parts you want to add, they can be composed and added in, but, when EZ Drummer is open in the DAW, the click is disabled, so any new compositions have to be done by guess work.

4. The knobs which adjust volume, pitch etc. are very difficult to adjust with precision and there doesn't seem to be any way of typing values in. Holding the mouse with two hands and trying to move it a thousandth of a millimetre is very time consuming!

So have I got all this wrong? Am I looking at it in the wrong way? Or is it just very user unfriendly and way behind what might be expected of 21st century technology.

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3 hours ago, arthurhenry said:

I am new to EZ Drummer 2...

Good evening, AH ...

S'been a while since I used EZ Drummer 2, but here's how I do the things you're doing. I don't know how you're 'programming' your grooves; I use the DAW for that. I couldn't even find where to try it in EZD, so...

A picture is worth, it is said, a thousand words, so here's a picture...

Clipboard01.thumb.jpg.b626c3a97502c2e95483be54de07362a.jpg

 

I hope that you can see, in my DAW (Reaper...), I've set up two drum tracks, each with an instance of EZ Drummer 2 added. Each track has a MIDI pattern, in 'piano roll' format, which I quickly cobbled up, using the DAW Editor (the window with the piano keys...). I took the time to add the drum affectation to those keys, which show me where each element of the kit is to be found.
I've set a different kit for each instance; I could have chosen any kits in stock, but I've not a Latin kit with this version; the principle goes for any kits, however. I've uploaded the resulting render, so you may hear the two kits playing in turn. Yes, the beat is a simple one, just for demo purposes; it only took me a couple of minutes. Does this help at all..?

EZ_Drum_01_1-002.wav

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Thank you so much for this. I have been taking a different approach and trying to program complete tracks in EZD itself.  With your method, are you hitting record in the DAW, tapping your drum parts in and then tidying them up afterwards? What's the advantage of using the piano roll, rather than just opening a track for each drum? Sorry - all this is new to me!

Edited by arthurhenry
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1 hour ago, arthurhenry said:

Thank you so much for this. I have been taking a different approach and trying to program complete tracks in EZD itself.  With your method, are you hitting record in the DAW, tapping your drum parts in and then tidying them up afterwards? What's the advantage of using the piano roll, rather than just opening a track for each drum? Sorry - all this is new to me!

I would suggest using the piano roll as you can put hits on (or off) the lines. It's quicker in the long run as once you get a beat down, you can just copy and paste it for the relevant sections. Then put in the cymbals as and where you like as well as fills.

Set your snap to something like an 1/8th or 1/16th then you'll be able to use the piano roll to put fast fills in more easily if you want to programme them yourself.

Trying to tap them yourself will take much longer to edit in my experience from having done it.

Happy to help you out if you like.

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3 hours ago, arthurhenry said:

Thank you so much for this. I have been taking a different approach and trying to program complete tracks in EZD itself.  With your method, are you hitting record in the DAW, tapping your drum parts in and then tidying them up afterwards? What's the advantage of using the piano roll, rather than just opening a track for each drum? Sorry - all this is new to me!

I basically use three methods, depending on the part I want and the time I have to do it in. The easiest, and quickest, most of the time, is to play what I want on my electronic kit, directly into the DAW. One needs a MIDI-compatible kit for this, and to be able to drum.
The second method, for the simpler stuff, is to use a keyboard (I have several, but for 'quick'n'dirty', a tiny M-Audio Keystation Mini32 does the job, on my lap. I tap out the pattern I want, in real time, and go back over it to add stuff I couldn't do, such as a hi-hat.
The best way, in my opinion, is to use the piano roll, and 'draw' the patterns individually. Often enough, I'll do a 'real-time' keyboard base, for the bass drum and snare fundamentals, then go into the piano roll and add ghost notes, hi-hat lifts, whatever... The piano roll addresses all the kit, all at once, but the output can be spread out to many tracks, one for each element of the kit, if the Vst has a 'multi-track' option. I can use one MIDI chanel for all, or split into many MIDI channels if I wish
I have several drum Vst's, and usually 'default' to Superior Drummer 3, but use this same technique for just about all of them. I'd make exception for M-Drummer, which has a different way of working at its core, whereby it'll compose darned good rhythms on its own, so I usually just let it rip (for jazzier-style stuff; it does that quickly and easily, with a result that pleases me...).
For myself, I see no need to do anything of the sort in the drum Vst, as I'd have to learn so many different ways of composing and editing. Doing it all in the DAW gives me just one method to use, and Reaper has all the editing functions I need (cut/copy/paste, edit velocities, quantising or 'humanising' and more...). I also have the option, using the DAW, to have as many tracks, mixing as many kits or percussion elements as I wish, with individual control over the elements. Using 32-track output, for instance, I can add a slap-back delay to the snare alone, or a subtle phaser effect to the cymbals. I can add a track to have orchestral drums, for adding tympani, and ethnic drums for Japanese Taiko-style, or a Middle-Eastern Darbuka. I'm pretty much allergic to Djembes, however (I've attended too many festivals where they featured boisterously..!).

If you've any better system, please share; I'm always willing to improve and learn stuff. Hope this helps.
 

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I only used EZ Drummer briefly but from what I remember of the tutorials they were really pushing using the VST interface, I seem to remember a slogan claiming that "you'll never need to use the piano roll again", which for me is not a selling point. I eventually settled on Superior Drummer 2 (also toontrack) which is exclusively focussed on the sounds. Like Douglas, I program parts in manually (keyboard/mouse) directly into the piano roll. This is just the most intuitive for me and lets me program very complex parts that I'd have no chance playing in on the midi controller. Like Douglas, I try to do eveything at DAW level and am very skeptical of VSTs that try to shackle you into them for basic functionallity.

I'm not sure what you looked at before settling on EZDrummer but Addictive might be worth a look - it doesn't have the flexibility or sound library of Superior Drummer but it has loads of very useable presets that make it very easy to get going.

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I’ve been using EZDrummer since it came out and last month looked at updating my plugin to EZDrummer 2. I downloaded the demo and had a quick play, but it just didn’t seem like there was much to gain, apart from access to newer libraries, f anything, it slowed me down as it had loads of new features that I’ll probably never use!

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52 minutes ago, bobbass4k said:

...Addictive might be worth a look...

AD is very good if you're happy programming in the manner of a 'beat box', letting the tempo run and pressing the keys to get the element to sound at the right time. Very quick'n'easy, but rather too 'mechanical' for my tastes. The sounds are good, though.

Edit : A closer look makes the latest version more interesting; I'll install and try it out with the 'live' kit. AD2 seems to have many improvements, so it's a 'maybe', then.

43 minutes ago, paul_5 said:

...updating my plugin to EZDrummer 2...

The real upgrade from EZ Drummer would be to take the leap to Superior Drummer 3; the difference is enormous. Very wide control of all elements, whilst retaining the option of using the fine 'default' kits. Well worth the upgrade price, in my view.

Just sayin'.

Edited by Dad3353
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm a long time user of ez drummer. 

1. Its a vsti. Emphasis on the "i". I think its commonplace on a sample based library to have to use 2 instances if you want to use 2 different kits. If this is an issue for DSP you can always commit on one track and freeze it. (Ableton term)

 

2. IMHO THE plugin piano roll has little use past dragging in patterns drone the browser. If your creating your own beats, which I do 90% of the time, use tge daw piano roll. 

 

3. Not sure I understand this. But I beleive if you are using the daw piano roll. I don't see how the click can be disabled.

4. Ever found this an issue, but There's often a shortcut for nudging tge values or incrementing a knob. Try holding ctrl or alt whilst moving the mouse or tapping the up down arrow on tge keyboard. 

 

Hope this helps

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think using multiple tracks for different instruments within a "part" is pretty normal, not just for drums either. If you were doing it for real and you had a drum kit and then some other percussion for another section, you might still want them on different tracks anyway, so you can treat them differently. Sometimes I have different VSTs for left and right hand for a piano part, if the bottom end of the piano VST seems like it needs different settings.

Two copies of a virtual instrument with different settings is normal - loading presets isn't an instant thing and you don't want it happening during recording or playback. For a drum VST you're probably talking about loading samples etc. There are ways to make a single midi track play multiple VSTs but I would say it's easier to go with the flow and do it the way the software is expecting.

I always program all the midi parts in the DAW, never in the plugin.

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I'm just awaiting delivery of an e-drum kit from Thomann to use with EZDrummer2, and I'm currently downloading the whole 230GB 😳 of Superior Drummer 3 as we speak. I figured, in the long run, it's probably going to be easier (not to mention more fun and satisfying) to actually teach myself some basic drumming techniques, than spend hours programming beats. 

I know this doesn't help in any way to answer your questions. I just wanted to join in. 😆

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14 minutes ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

I'm just awaiting delivery of an e-drum kit from Thomann to use with EZDrummer2, and I'm currently downloading the whole 230GB 😳 of Superior Drummer 3 as we speak. I figured, in the long run, it's probably going to be easier (not to mention more fun and satisfying) to actually teach myself some basic drumming techniques, than spend hours programming beats. 

I know this doesn't help in any way to answer your questions. I just wanted to join in. 😆

230GB!!!!?!?!?!?!?! :o

Are you sure that you're not trying to download NASAs database, or CIA files, or list of U-turns made by BloJo?

:D

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16 minutes ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

 I'm currently downloading ...Superior Drummer 3 as we speak.

That's nothing!

I'm downloading Haughty Drummer and Smug Drummer , so :P 

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22 minutes ago, Teebs said:

That's nothing!

I'm downloading Haughty Drummer and Smug Drummer , so :P 

Does it come with ‘fighting drummer’ - the one that kicks off when playing Stones covers?

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17 hours ago, adamg67 said:

I think using multiple tracks for different instruments within a "part" is pretty normal, not just for drums either. If you were doing it for real and you had a drum kit and then some other percussion for another section, you might still want them on different tracks anyway, so you can treat them differently. Sometimes I have different VSTs for left and right hand for a piano part, if the bottom end of the piano VST seems like it needs different settings.

Two copies of a virtual instrument with different settings is normal - loading presets isn't an instant thing and you don't want it happening during recording or playback. For a drum VST you're probably talking about loading samples etc. There are ways to make a single midi track play multiple VSTs but I would say it's easier to go with the flow and do it the way the software is expecting.

I always program all the midi parts in the DAW, never in the plugin.

routing individual drums within the plughi to output seperate tracks is entireley possible. this allows individual processing of each chanel with only running the VST once

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