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Toontrack Stories

Toontrack Stories

Toontrack and Frank Filipetti span a vast array of musical genres with the latest Superior Drummer expansion.

There is no doubt that sampled‑based drum instruments such as Toontrack’s EZdrummer and Superior Drummer have made world‑class drum sounds available to the music‑making masses. While the core sound libraries Toontrack supply with both of these products provide plenty of variety, a well‑chosen expansion (EZX or SDX) can be a welcome addition if you are looking for drum sounds to suit a specific niche style. However, Toontrack’s latest SDX, Stories, is perhaps less niche and more multi‑genre in nature. That’s a deliberate design decision and, in no small part, is down to a collaboration with recording veteran Frank Filipetti. So, if you are looking to develop your Superior Drummer sound options with an emphasis on broadening your palette rather than digging deep into a specific musical style, is Stories a good candidate?

The Story So Far

While he started his professional life as a drummer, it’s Frank’s credits from behind the recording desk that are most impressive. Indeed, they read like a Who’s Who of music greats from the 1980s onwards. From Foreigner, the Bangles, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Survivor, Kiss, Al Di Meola, Rod Stewart, Madonna, George Michael, Maria Carey, Korn, Pavarotti and, just for good measure, the Broadway cast recordings for Monty Python’s Spamalot, his work has spanned classic rock, pop, metal and singer‑songwriter genres, as well as musical theatre productions and film. The concept behind the Stories SDX was to create a library of drum and percussion sounds that capture the key elements of these different musical worlds.

That’s obviously a big ask, but the technical data suggest the Toontrack team have given it their best shot. The SDX was recorded at the undeniably epic Power Station New England studio, a recreation of New York’s original Power Station, and features six different full drum kits plus additional snares, kicks and cymbals, all overseen by highly regarded drum technician Artie Smith. For good measure, a substantial collection of percussion instruments is also included, from timpani to handheld shakers. The recordings were made in three different acoustic spaces using a Neve 8068 MkII console previously used on numerous classic recordings, with a world‑class collection of mics and outboard. It clocks in at 160GB if you install everything (and ‘everything’ includes full surround‑sound 5.0 miking options). This is reflected in some of the presets, which can get up into the 8GB...

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