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Toontrack Dark Industrial EZX & EKX

EZdrummer & EZkeys Expansions By John Walden
Published June 2024

Toontrack's Dark Industrial EZX expansion for EZdrummer.Toontrack's Dark Industrial EZX expansion for EZdrummer.

Toontrack get gritty with their Dark Industrial expansions for EZdrummer and EZkeys.

Toontrack’s expansions for both EZdrummer and EZkeys offer an abundance of flavours for conventional sounds, be that for acoustic drums or acoustic and electric pianos. However, there are also some less conventional options and the most recent additions — the Dark Industrial EZX and EKX libraries — clearly fall into this category.

E To Z

Let’s start with the EZX. In keeping with the steampunk‑esque graphics, the expansion provides over 400 individual sounds originally sourced from acoustic and electronic drums, Foley sounds, effects and (as far as my ears can tell) a bunch of objects being hit. These have then been processed, re‑amped and remixed in various combinations. The sounds are grouped into various types including kicks, snares, toms, subs, claps, atmospheres, rim shots, effects, objects, clicks and various cymbal types. Some 31 ready‑to‑roll mix presets — wonderfully left‑of‑centre and experimental — have then been built from these and you can, of course, build your own presets.

The EZdrummer UI provides some very neat additional sound design options. For example, in addition to the usual kit piece channels, the Mixer panel includes channels for jangles, clicks, effects, subs and so on, and a very effective Parallel Compression channel that works brilliantly to add some additional beef. The Mixer’s effects options include Dirt, Filter, some global Pitch/Envelope options and the suitably quirky Ambience Warp knob that lets you add some additional ‘glitch’ to the mix. All of these can be automated to add some movement. The package is rounded out by a MIDI groove collection with grooves designed to showcase to each of the kit presets but, as the preset sounds are laid out in a similar fashion to a standard EZdrummer acoustic kit, you can easily make conventional MIDI grooves work with these sounds.

The ‘mad scientist laboratory’ look of the EKX expansion reflects the experimental style of the sounds.The ‘mad scientist laboratory’ look of the EKX expansion reflects the experimental style of the sounds.

The Dark Industrial EKX brings the same sort of philosophy by blending and processing combinations of acoustic piano and organ sounds with those from electronic and synth‑based sound sources. Some 80‑plus hybrid presets have then been classified into four categories: keys, pads, leads/basses and textures. Again, you get some dedicated MIDI grooves with options designed to work with each of these sound categories. A little more care is required here if you want to explore using other EZkeys MIDI with these sounds (a pattern from your Acoustic Pop library might not be the most appropriate choice to trigger a Dark Industrial texture, for example).

In Use

The sounds themselves are cool and quirky, and would work in gritty electronica, industrial rock/metal or soundtrack contexts (there are some Blade Runner 2049 and Stranger Things vibes to be had) and, as within the EZX, via the pop‑out Effects panel in the main Keys display, you get sound design options specific to this expansion. These include envelope shaping and the ability to adjust the blend between the synth and noise elements of the sound, as well as to modify the initial character of the transient via the Impact control. Finally, the Sound Shaping section provides low‑/high‑pass filtering, saturation/distortion (via the Color control) and Ambience. The exact configuration varies between presets. Again, all these controls are easily automated so you can tweak them in real time to add further sonic movement to your performance.

Very dark and suitably industrial, if your music has an experimental streak, the Dark Industrial EZX and EKX are genuinely fun to use.

As the Dark Industrial title suggest, the sounds within both of these expansions are intended to be more experimental in nature than some of Toontrack’s more conventional offerings. However, if your next musical production is more Nine Inch Nails or Depeche Mode than Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift, then a little Dark Industrial will be right on the money. Of the two, I suspect the EZX will perhaps have somewhat broader appeal as the hybrid drum sounds, while great on their own, also work brilliantly when layered with a standard acoustic drum kit to lend an extra dimension. However, used together, these themed expansions provide a very inspiring sound set for realising all those slightly twisted tunes in your head. Very dark and suitably industrial, if your music has an experimental streak, the Dark Industrial EZX and EKX are genuinely fun to use.


Toontrack’s Dark Industrial EZX and EKX provide an inspiring sonic palette with which to enjoy your inner musical darkness.


€89 each including VAT.

$89 each.