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Cheap or free drum samples/player?

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Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:55 pm

My technophobic drummer mate, John, has a cheap electronic kit in his practice room, he coloberates with a mutual friend (we'll call him "Owen" 'cost that's his name ;) ) via the internet, recording live midi drum tracks for Owen's compositions. Owen uses EX-Drummer to send demos to John and this has made J very dissatisfied with the onboard sounds on his e-kit. Can anybody suggest a free or very cheap VSTi/Standalone drum suite that will produce decent sounds? This is not for the recordings (try to keep up.... Owen uses EZ-Drummer remember) but just so John can be playing more inspiring sounds when recording the midi tracks.

Thanks
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:54 pm

This is something I can give some help on for once!

Free-wise, you have MT Power Drumkit 2, MDrummer Small, Spitfire Labs Drums, IK Sampletank Free and Kontakt Player 6 to name the ones I've used before.

Kontakt/Sampletank obviously comes with standalone apps, and while Kontakt Player is good, Sampletank has a huge bug where short MIDI notes (such as those from my e-kit) fail to register. So in all good conscience, I really cannot recommend Sampletank.

The other three are VSTis only, but you can do what I do, and run them through Savihost which is a VST host that only hosts the one plugin. It's not licenced for commercial usage, so be warned - I only use that route for rehearsals/practice. MDrummer Small I think might actually come with a standalone app, I can't recall.

Of those three, the best is MTPDK2. Pretty realistic, and a good round robin algorithm. Spitfire Labs is good as well, but I can't stand the harshness of the ride cymbol. If those concerned are happy with that, then it's good.

MDrummer Small is only available in Melda's obsolete section, version 7. It's not very realistic, but comes with a selection of (as a guess) about 20 kits. There's no round robin, and it's mainly a drum machine with a drum pad mode for e-kits.

I'm a huge fan of MDrummer and I'm in the process of saving up for MDrummer Large which is MUCH better and has round robins in it. It's €249 which is far from free, but if you get it in a 50% sale, and sign up for the newsletter for a €20 discount, that'll really help bring it down.

However I like that machine-y sound. You might want more realism, in which case I most recommend MTPDK2. Simple, easy to use, and the most realistic of the free options.

As for cheap, there are a couple of options I know of that are equivalent in price to MDrummer Large. EZDrummer, Superior Drummer, GGD. Steven Slate, but all of these are probably out of the price range unless you get lucky in a sale.

TL:DR: Get Mt Power Drumkit 2
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:03 pm

Thanks Garrett, I will look at all those possibilities. John uses Audacity, which I plan to download so I can learn it a bit and help him out. His e-kit is a Roland TD11 which shouldn't be too shabby I'd have thought but J finds the onboard samples unsatisfying and feels he has been spoiled by hearing the EZ-Drummer demo tracks which he feels sound much better.
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:05 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Thanks Garrett, I will look at all those possibilities. John uses Audacity, which I plan to download so I can learn it a bit and help him out. His e-kit is a Roland TD11 which shouldn't be too shabby I'd have thought but J finds the onboard samples unsatisfying and feels he has been spoiled by hearing the EZ-Drummer demo tracks which he feels sound much better.

Quick warning: Last I looked it seems Audacity doesn't support MIDI input, only editing MIDI files. So if John was planning on hosting his VSTis in Audacity to play through, I fear he may be disappointed. It's free though so worth a try.
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby Rich Hanson » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:16 pm

Just a quick correction: I think you mean IK Sampletank Free (I think you may have mashed Samplitude into Amplitube!)

There are certainly some usable drums in Sampletank.
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:18 pm

Rich Hanson wrote:Just a quick correction: I think you mean IK Sampletank Free (I think you may have mashed Samplitude into Amplitube!)

There are certainly some usable drums in Sampletank.

Yes that's the one! I'll edit my post. Sampletank's free drum is ok sounding, but it doesn't work with my e-kit because of the bug I previously mentioned. I don't have a Roland kit though.
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby Rich Hanson » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:20 pm

What version of Sampletank did you try? I used to have a Roland kit that had no problems triggering it, which would have been Sampletank 3
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:31 pm

I've used Sampletank 3 as well. I'm using the Alesis Forge kit, and at least one other Alesis user has posted the same problem in a forum post I made in the IK forums.

They've investigated and the bug is that ST doesn't register MIDI notes under a certain length, which is why Alesis kits don't work well.

Roland by the sounds of it don't send the MIDI the same way...
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:55 pm

Audacity doesn't support VST instruments so it would have to be done via Savihost (if indeed that would work) but that is getting unnecessarily complicated. I'll start looking at alternative DAWs for him. I'd suggest Reaper as it's the one I know best but it's way overkill for his needs. Shame he doesn't use a Mac or he could use GB.......
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:58 pm

That sounds a good idea, although I will say I use Savihost all the time and find it very simple, and much quicker to set up than a DAW.
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:59 pm

As an aside though, if you're going to use a VSTi, or standalone app, you'll have latency issues. I tried with just headphones in my laptop just last Sunday and the latency was impossible to play with. Once I plugged in my Berry UMC204HD the latency was gone.

So you'll need to factor in a cheap AI into the cost.
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:53 pm

The TD-11 has USB midi which I'm hoping will be sufficiently fast that he'll be comfortable with it. The plan is for him to record the midi tracks so Owen can adjust the timing in post production. It would be a problem if latency is too much when playing along in realtime. At least he has a reasonably modern laptop and he will only be playing back a single guide track and recording the midi drum track.

I'll set something in Reaper as a proof of concept and we'll try it first.
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:54 pm

Hopefully I'm wrong, but my Alesis Forge also uses USB MIDI and when I play through a VSTi I find the latency awful without an ASIO interface.

You have nothing to lose by trying though, and again - hopefully I'm wrong for the Roland.

EDIT: I didn't realise you were recording MIDI as well, in which case Savihost is completely useless. My apologies!
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby The Elf » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:07 pm

If latency is ever an issue then ASIO4ALL is worth a try. IME in most cases it at least improves latency and in many cases reduces it to a negligible level.
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby nickcesarz » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:26 pm

One other suggestion would be GetGood Drums Lite! I have the full version and think these are some of the best drum samples available.
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:28 pm

garrettendi wrote:EDIT: I didn't realise you were recording MIDI as well, in which case Savihost is completely useless. My apologies!

No apologies necessary, I have quizzed John and, currently, he records to a portable recorder and transfers to Audacity to sort the file for delivery so all audio only. He want's to improve quality both for recording and in the room when playing. Owen actually uses "Addictive Drummer" not EZ, my mistake, so if we can get John set up to deliver midi files Owen can tweak to his hearts content.

I think I'm going to sort out a Reaper template with a simple setup including an audio track for J to drop the .mp3 track into and a midi track with a drum VSTi active. Then we'll see how he gets on with it. J is on Win10 but I am on a Mac so I can't test ASIO4ALL though I have heard good things about it. Will definitely try it if we have latency issues, thanks Elf.
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:30 pm

I use MT PowerDrummer hosted in Reaper via a standard midi cable into my focusrite and don't find the latency a problem. But then, I'm not a drummer and don't play very fast... ;)
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby OneWorld » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:12 am

I use MT Power Drums as well, great product, hardly uses any resources, has built in mixer but you cannot import your own samples
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:24 am

No need for sample import if the built on ones are decent.

BTW has anybody got an opinion of the sounds on the Roland TD-11? John is unimpressed, they sound ok to me but WTF do I know about drums, they're just the noisy things I'm compelled to drown out with my two 100 watt Marshall stacks ;)
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Re: Cheap or free drum samples/player?

Postby garrettendi » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:33 am

From what I hear the sounds on virtually all e-kit modules are poor compared to software samplers, hence why a lot play through MIDI to the computer (including me). Roland kits are better, but the buzz on forums/YouTube/Facebook is a lot of people prefer even stuff like MT.

I have heard that the Pearl Mimic module is comparable to software samplers, but that is one of the most expensive!
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