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For an artist who wants a good drum sound but doesn’t have all of the acoustic drum resources, the choices used to be very limited. Sonoma Wire Works just made things a lot easier with their DrumCore4 Ultra.
Now it works as a plug-in on pretty much every recording platform, from GarageBand to Pro Tools. For our testing purposes we were running it on Studio One 3 professional, which in turn was installed on a Mac. All of our content was shipped on a 120GB solid state drive. However, it is available as a download, but depending on your download speed, this might be a bit time prohibitive.
Loops were a big leap in getting realistic drum sounds into sessions where someone like a singer/songwriter wanted some drums that didn’t have the dated-ness of a drum machine, but eventually loops kind of felt the same way. What really makes any session sound good is the feel and uniqueness of drummers and their kits that give drum tracks their own character. What DrumCore 4 Ultra has going for it, is a list of name drummers (too many to list for this article), as well as the sound of their drum kits.
Running the plug-in, a new window opens that gives the selection of the particular drummer, and a preview option to hear the various versions. For artists that may not be familiar with the particular drummer, but wants just a “feel” selection choice, beats can be selected by genre, and it offers up suggestions as to what drummers should work best. But it goes a step further with a full editor suite to mix and edit the feel of each individual drum, such the velocity of a snare hit or a kick drum’s curve.
A mix section helps adjust the overall feel. Want a snare drum that really cuts? Just bring it up. In the past doing something like this with a traditional loop was practically impossible. There’s also an effects section, allowing adjustable compression, EQ and Delay. Now here’s where it goes into hyper drive; there are not only sound wave loops, but MIDI versions as well. So that means each Midi Loop can be edited to fit whatever musical situation. Like the loop, but hate the cymbal hits? No biggie, just move them to where you want them! Like the Matt Cameron drum loop, but prefer Stephen Perkins drum kit? The MIDI version allows this virtual drummer/drum kit combo to happen.
Overall, it’s super easy to dig into, as there is pretty much every time signature loaded, and with the selections able to handle any tempo, the sky’s the limit. Just drag and drop the loop into your tracks. The only downside is picking out what to use. For the recording artist who wants something that sounds and feels like real drums but runs into any of the logistical issues of trying to record real drums, this is the best and most flexible alternative option that’s not a sacrifice to the tracks. Studios that like to work with singer/songwriters should seriously consider getting this as it would be hard to play “stump the system” — it has every bell and whistle that could be thrown at a real drummer without any technical or creative bottleneck.
Plenty of options of drummers and kits, many editing/mixing options.