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Welcome to Pro Tools Expert a huge community for users of Avid Pro Tools for both music and post production. With over 3 million visits a year, we’ve grown to be the place to come for training, resources, tips tricks and news. We offer advice for users of all versions of Pro Tools both current and legacy formats. We’re independent and are not affiliated with Avid or their associated companies.

Entries in drums (53)

Drumbank's Top 5 Drum Virtual Instruments

If you missed Podcast 112 then you would have not heard us talking about this email from community member El Sidius. 

Thanks for inspiring me over the last 2 years in getting more deeply in love with what I already love and that is music production. Without you I would have never finished my degree in audio technology.  

Since then I have found the strength and motivation to set up a new community dedicated to drum programming and virtual drumming software. Drumbank will offer the community everything to know about drum programming, specially authentic realistic drum programming from tutorials, tips and  tricks to software news, events, tailored midi drum packs and in the not so distant future, other exciting ventures which will be announced soon.”
We were thrilled to read this email and want to do everything we can to see El Sidius’ idea flourish as he seems to pay it forward. So we asked him to share his Top 5 Drum Viritual Instruments. Here’s the response.

Drumbank’s Top 5 Drum Virtual Instruments

It’s every bands dream to have a reliable, hardworking and committed drummer who doesn’t turn up late to every rehearsal session usually hungover and stinking of whiskey and cigarettes. While this is a very broad stereotype, in some cases it’s not far from the truth. Add to the fact that hiring one to play for you is even more of a pain in the backside, let alone recording one. “What’s a condenser?…Who’s Glyn John?…Why does his snare sound like a tin cat?”

Fortunately, If you really cant be bothered to find the answers to these questions, help is at hand by means of drum sampling software instruments. Sampling drums is nothing new. In fact if you listen to the song ‘Amen Brother’ by The Winstons and fast forward to about 1:26 you’ll instantly recognise the “famous loop” used on hundreds of early hip hop, drum-and-bass and Jungle music that inspired a youthful generation for decades to come. So what am I actually going on about I hear you ask? Fast forward about twenty years and you will see that it’s all in the software.

At it’s heart, drum samplers are powered by the individual sampled sounds of the drum and cymbal hits mostly at different velocities. It’s these velocities that adds realism to your beats. A real drummer would never hit the same drum at the same force, power and attack more than once. While this is the basis of any drum sampling software instrument, they also offer the songwriter and producer the ability to “go in deep” and shape/contour the sound suitable for your mix. Modern drum samplers offer monolithic mixing options. Anything from controlling the room /ambient microphones to even  mixing in/out the “bleed” and spill on each individual drum, like you would in a real drum recording session.

Naturally, it’s these artefacts that make the overall drums sound more realistic and organic. Add these to your drum programming ability and humanization skills and you’ve got yourself a “real” drummer in your music without any actual human contact. Of course, extensive sample libraries exist that can be used with sampler plug-ins like Kontakt and others sample players but they do not offer an all in one solution like dedicated drum virtual instruments offer. While these features are expected by today’s top producers and professional songwriters, software manufacturers are quite forgiving to most of us bedroom musicians by offering presets and templates for us to quickly load up without losing focus on the actual song we’re writing. The recorded samples in most drum samplers come pretty much pre-mixed and sometimes you don’t even have to do a lot to have yourself a decent sounding drum kit. While these features are a given, CPU power isn’t and most samplers are very RAM hungry, so the way this is overcome is by software manufactures offering RAM saving features that help your computer deal with all the sample stress without having to upgrade to the latest tech. Although most modern DAW’s include a drum sampler built-in, it never feels as satisfying to use as a dedicated third party drum sampler. In this article, we run down five of our favourite Drum VI’s. They are in no particular order as each one is different and suited to a particular user. 

Click to read more ...

Show And Tell Review Of Plug-in Boutique Big Kick

Russ checks out a new plug-in from Plug-in Boutique, Big Kick that offers the chance to create huge kick sounds by mixing samples and synth kick drums to create synth kick parts or enhance existing performances.
Russ takes a look to see if this new plug-in from new developers Plug-in Boutique is enough to get them noticed and even more importantly good enough to add to your music production toolbox.
Find out what he things and listen to the samples in this full show and tell review.

Saturday Freebie - Pro Tools Power Filter Tutorial - Transform Synths And Loops: Video

There’s over 500 vidoes in our members only premium content section, but watch this Pro Tools video tutorial for free - the Saurday Freebie.

About Pro Tools Power Filter Tutorial Transform Synths And Loops

In this free Pro Tools video tutorial Russ shows what can be achieved by using filters on synths and loops to transform tracks.

Watch Over 500 Pro Tools Video Tutorials

Members get access to over 500 video tutorials aimed at Pro Tools users. Click here to join and get full access.

Get 200mb Of Free Loops From Loop Loft

Our friends at Loop Loft, makers of some of the coolest loops on the planet, are opening up their Rarities vault and offering 200mb of loops for FREE.

The loops range from Old Skool right through to Retro Dance Machines, rarely do you find a pup in a Loop Loft collection.

You’ll need to give your email address but they promise no spam.

Loop Loft spend their time recording original content using some of the hottest talent on the planet such as Omar Hakim, Simon Phillips and Eric Harland.

To grab your FREE loops then click here

Source: Loop Loft

Xfer Records Update Nerve To 1.1 For AAX Support - Review Soon

The uber clever and super nice Steve Duda at Xfer Records has updated Nerve, a beat box on steroids, to version 1.1 with 64 bit AAX support.

In addition LFOTool and Cthilhu are also AAX. Being a super nice guy he has sent us a copy to review… watch this space.

Another small developer who never sleeps the list of updates are long;


  • 64-bit support (VST/AU/AAX).
  • ProTools AAX32 and AAX64 support (ProTools 10.3.5 or later).
  • Drag-and-drop pattern button (A-L) to export MIDI to host.
  • Drag-and-drop pad to host (source wave file).
  • Drag-and-drop pad + Shift + Control + Alt: render all to a new wave file in host.
  • Drag-and-drop pad + Control + Alt: renders pattern of dragged pad as wave file.
  • 16 stereo outputs.
  • Pre-calculated 4-band parametric EQ per-pad.
  • Pre-calculated plate reverb per-pad.
  • Pattern randomize (‘R’ button).
  • Pattern hybridize (‘H’ button) creates new patterns based on existing loaded patterns.
  • Option to follow Host notes note-length / note-offs choke the sound.
  • Type-able values for all controls (text entry appears with double-click).
  • Mouseover help for all controls (when mouse is hovered for 1 second).
  • “MIDI Note Off Chokes Pads” option now stores gate values to Sequencer.
  • Option Menu: “Gate Only alters Hold time” (to maintain other envelope length.
  • Improved panning law.
  • Command: Explode Loop to All Pads - converts a loop pad to all 16 pads as one-shots, with pop-up to choose between ‘stretched’ render, or raw loop.
  • Command: Generate Pattern from Loop Timing - Creates notes + Late-Graph offsets for a loop file, based on the loop slice points.
  • Command: Convert back to OneShot (so One shots can be stretched-to-tempo with the various settings / loop-stretching algorithms).
  • Alternate OpenSoundControl build + template, for Lemur users.
  • Alternate TouchOSC build + template, for TouchOSC users.
  • Alternate Korg PadKontrol build which automatically detects and connects to the PadKontrol.
  • Screen redraw improvements (hardware accelerated graphics).
  • Support for dragging from Cubase Media Bay, fixes for dragging files from StudioOne browser.
  • MIDI Key names in piano roll support, for hosts which allow it (e.g. Reaper/FL Studio/ StudioOne).
  • Additional MIDI CC controls.
  • Dozens of bug fixes.

The updates is free. Nerve 1.1 can be found in the Registered User Forum. A comprehensive list of changes can also be found there. More info and demos here

Using Parallel Compression On A Drum Buss In Pro Tools

In this free video tutorial Russ shows the advantage of using parallel compression on a drum buss. This video is a sample of over 500 paid for videos on Pro Tools Expert, subscribe for just £20 a year for full access.

More here

Ideas On How To Fix Live Recorded Drums In Pro Tools 

As part of our FREE Pro Tools video tutorials James takes a look back at an older session which was recorded live. He shows you some of his tips and tricks to bring a lifeless drum sound up to date.

Toontrack Rock Warehouse SDX - Show & Tell

Neil takes a look at the recently released Toontrack Superior Drummer 2 expansion pack
“Rock Warehouse”

• Engineered by Randy Staub (Metallica, Nickelback, Mötley Crüe)
• Recorded through a rare Neve AIR console (originally one of the three consoles custom-built by Rupert Neve exclusively for AIR Studios)
• Approx. 20 GB of raw, unprocessed drums
• Three complete kits
• Two extra kicks, three additional snares, three sets of cymbals
• Additional percussion pieces: tambourine and cowbell
• Extensive rock oriented MIDI library performed by Ryan Vikedal (ex-Nickelback) 

Using Waves MondoMod In On Synths, EDM And Dubstep 

Using Waves MondoMod In On Synths, EDM And Dubstep

In our series of FREE Pro Tools video tutorials Russ shows 3 ways to use the Waves MondoMod on synths in EDM and dubstep.

Custom Drum Maps In Structure

In our series of Pro Tools video tutorials Russ shows how to create custom drum maps in Structure so you can simply convert any MIDI parts imported from other drum software.

Sign up for a membership here

Toontrack Release Metal EZX Drum Expansion

As part of their annual November Metal month Toontack have just released the Metal EZX Drum expansion library.
For those who know their Metal this pack has been brought to you by a most awesome alliance of some of the biggest names in the Heavy Metal production business, Daniel Bergstrand, Mark Lewis and Jason Suecof and not forgetting an equally awesome MIDI library featuring the playing of Dirk Verbeuren

Heres what Toontrack have to say about it:

What happens when you put a massive, all-new drum recording in the hands of three of the most in demand producers in modern metal, let them bring it to their own studio environments and equip them with an unparalleled set of audio shaping tools? You not only get a collection of nine custom drum kits – you get a rampant battery armed for complete audio destruction. A nine-headed behemoth that leaves nothing but rubble behind. Nothing.

Click to read more ...

Exclusive Loop Loft Hunter Harland Bunker Sessions £49.00

Exclusive Loft Hunter Harland Bunker Sessions And Pro Tools Sessions for just £49.00, sales tax may be applied in some European countries.
Two modern-day legends.  One amazing recording studio.  Thousands of incredibly soulful, funky and “live” grooves recorded by Charlie Hunter and Eric Harland.  The Bunker Sessions Bundle brings together all 3 volumes of this critically acclaimed series with over 13 gigabytes of content with the Deluxe Edition.

With six complete sessions ranging in styles from funk, hip hop, latin, cinematic, jazz and rock, The Bunker Sessions Bundle gives you total control over the grooves with format options including AIFF (Apple Loops), WAV, REX2 and Stylus RMX stereo loops, as well as the option for 13 channels of multitrack stems, allowing you to mix, eq, compress and effect every element of the drum kit, bass and guitar.

Deluxe Edition with Pro Tools Exclusive Session Templates
Exclusivel to Pro Tools Expert you will also get Pro Tools .ptf tempate sessions for all 6 sessions with effects using the stock Avid plug-ins, additional tracks for guitar, keys and vocals, as well as reverb, delay and chorus all ready to go so you can get creative straight from the start.

For video and sound demos click here

Slate Trigger 2 Show And Tell Review 

Russ takes a look and listen to the new Slate Trigger 2. Find out what he thinks in this extended show and tell video.

Steven Slate Drums Release TRIGGER v2.0 In AAX 64 Bit For Pro Tools 11

Slate Digital’s TRIGGER 2.0 has a phase accurate multi layered triggering engine. This means that in one instance of the plugin, you can trigger 8 stereo samples simultaneously such as a close mic sample, stereo overhead sample, and a stereo room mic samples. Or, mix many direct mic samples to develop your own custom sounds. This multi channel triggering functionality allows the user to recreate the sound of natural drums with real multitracked samples.

Each sample layer has parameters for customization such as velocity and dynamic control, attack, sustain, release and independent levels. Other features include 2 detection modes, MIDI in/out, automation of detecting parameters, up to 127 different articulations per instrument, up to 127 velocity layers per instrument and up to 127 alternation hits per velocity layer, and a unique “Leakage Suppression” function. Trigger Platinum also contains a transient triggered gate that is the ultimate tool for cleaning up drum tracks with excess leakage.

  • Extremely accurate drum replacement
  • Leakage suppression
  • Transient driven Gate
  • Eight stereo layers of samples
  • Converts audio to Midi
  • Comes with Steven Slate Classic Platinum samples
  • Mac: AU 32/64, VST 32/64, AAX 32/64, RTAS
  • PC: VST 32/64, AAX 32/64, RTAS

Price - $199.00

Show & Tell Review Of Loop Loft Simon Phillips Drum Loops For Pro Tools & More! 

Russ does a show and tell review of the awesome Loop Loft Simon Phillips loops. This is a special edition that also includes a Pro Tools session template. Go here to buy them now at a killer deal.

Exclusive Loop Loft Simon Philips Loops And Pro Tools Sessions £49.00

Exclusive Loop Loft Simon Philips Loops And Pro Tools Sessions for just £49.00, sales tax may be applied in some European countries.

Session Tracks from The Loop Loft features master drummer Simon Phillips (The Who, Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani, Mick Jagger, Toto etc.) laying down groove after groove, inspired by some of rock’s greatest moments, from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin to ZZ Top. No MIDI, no machines - just REAL DRUMS played by one of the best drummers in the world.

Throughout 34 ‘Drum Sessions’ across a wide range of tempos, Simon Phillips turns in a dynamic performance across a variety of rock styles from Brit hard rock to Texas blues. Each ‘Drum Session’ contains all the parts you’ll need to create your song (Verse, Chorus, Fills etc). Simply choose a drum session that matches your tempo and feel, then drag and drop the parts into your sequencer software and arrange as you like to create professional drum tracks in seconds. Mix and match loops from different sets and use the full single-hit collection to add crash cymbals, kicks or extras to the loops to increase realism or build your own custom kits. 

Deluxe Edition with Pro Tools Exclusive Session Templates
We are offering The Loop Loft’s Deluxe Edition with all the WAV, AIFF, REX2, Redfill, Stylus RMX and the multitrack files and exclusively to Pro Tools Expert you will also get Pro Tools .ptf tempate sessions for all 34 sessions with effects using the stock Avid plug-ins, additional tracks for guitar, keys and vocals, as well as reverb, delay and chorus all ready to go so you can get creative straight from the start.

Click to read more …

Fxpansion BFD3 Review Including Show & Tell Video

FXpansion’s BFD drum VI has been a much loved part of the music production landscape for several years and so version 3 has been long awaited, if for no other reason for our community than that Pro Tools users now get AAX 64 bit to use with Pro Tools 11. Pro Tools Expert have been fortunate enough to have been given a pre-release copy of BFD3 to test and get fully up to speed with, so that once it hit the streets we could give you an extensive written and video review.

What’s New?

Apart from the obvious visual and format changes, now VST, RTAS, AU, AAX 64bit and standalone, there have been some changes to terminology and workflow. Here are the highlights plus a link to a full document on the changes.

  • New audio data
    BFD3’s new factory Core Library contains 5 new kits, one of which is recorded in a separate studio in 3 versions with sticks, brushes and mallets - 7 kits overall. In total, the library has 118 new kit-pieces.
  • New articulations: Snare Rim Click Hi Hat Splash and Bell Tip Tom Rim Shot and Rim Click
  • Lossless-compressed data
    BFD3 features a built-in lossless audio decompression system - the BFD3 factory data is supplied as a special proprietary format, .BFDLAC (BFD3 Lossless Audio Compression). This means that the audio takes less space on disk and uses less resources when streaming from the disk. The compression results in files that are 3x smaller and are decompressed with minimal CPU load. Equivalent data/detail settings use a third of the RAM that would be used by BFD2 - the BFD3 audio data would be approximately 160GB in size without using any compression.
  • Notable changes in terminology; Kit-pieces are now called Drums, the Kit-piece inspector is now the Drum editor
  • Interface changes - Extendable interface
    BFD3’s interface can be extended horizontally to achieve a larger working area. Note that the interface is not scaled to be larger - it simply offers a larger area of the mixer, FX slots and Groove Editor on-screen at once.
  • Layout changes
    BFD3 features a Browser on the left side of the interface, replacing the pop-up ‘modal’ chooser panels in BFD2. It is permanently visible except when using the Key Map or Automation panels, or it can be hidden when required.
  • The Kit page and Mixer page are now consolidated into a single main page - the top is switchable between the Kit display and Effects Editor while the lower part features the mixer channels.
  • The Drum Editor is shown at the right of the interface and can be hidden when required.
  • The Key Map panel has a substantially different layout, allowing more flexible methods of making assignments.

Click to read more ...

FXpansion BFD3 Show & Tell Review 

Russ gives a full show and tell review of the new FXpansion BFD3 drum VI. See what he thinks and also check out his written review.

50% Off J3T Drum Tracks Multi-Track Drum Loops September Give Away

Here is an amazing deal. We are offering 50% off a huge package of great drum loops from Jonathon Howells. Not only will you get nearly 9 gigs of loops and samples but you will also get a voucher worth £80 to have J3T Drum Tracks record you live drums on two of your songs for the price of one.

All of this for just £20!

This is what you get in the Drum Loops give away….

  • 8.8GB Library (Zipped to 5.5)
  • Styles: Rock, Pop & Funk
  • 90 8 bar loops with fills
  • 90 Fill-ins
  • 72 song endings
  • Over 1270 bars that are all 100% Loop-able
  • All loops can be cut and duplicated to to create a range of time signatures
  • 13 wavs & aiff stems (Mics placed around the kit) for each drum loop
  • Tempos ranging between 60-160 bpm
  • All loops can easily be time stretched in most DAWs
  • Audition mp3s for each loop
  • Individual hits library of the whole kit (13 stems per instrument)      
  • All loops can be cut and duplicated to to create a range of time signatures

Click to read more and grab this deal

Community Tip - Drum Mixing Tip

With the support of iLok, more tips & tricks from the community. Here is one from Lee Abraham….

When mixing real acoustic drums, use an EQ filter to cut off the top end of your snare, toms, hats and ride mics; let the overheads handle that top range. It will bring focus to the top end frequencies as they will all be coming from the stereo overheads rather than a variety of different mics. It can also produce a better sound if you have used cheaper overhead mics. Try cutting away at 12k, 10k (even 9k) to see which works for you.

If you would like the chance to win a stormtrooper iLok, courtesy of iLok, send in tips you think no one has thought about.  Please don’t just send shortcuts which are easily found elsewhere, or pull ideas from the manual; instead, be creative about your tips & tricks. Please use the Contact Us page to send us have your tips.