Propellerheads Reason Drum Kits
By hcadmin |
This ReFill Brings Muscular Acoustic Drums to Reason
By Craig Anderton
If I say "Propellerheads," you probably think "Reason"... or "ReCycle" if you're into looping, or "ReBirth" if you remember the first of the virtual instruments. But you probably don't think "bitchin' great drum kits that absolutely leap through the speakers and kick butt big-time."
Well, that's the deal with their Reason Drum Kits refill, designed to work with Reason's NN-XT sampler. I've been working on a song I'll be performing at the NAMM convention, and I just wasn't happy with the drums. I have a bunch of drum sound samples, but I remembered a couple people telling me that the Reason Drum Kits were really special.
Well, they are. This isn't to say they're better than everything else that's out there; I haven't tried everything else that's out there. But when I loaded one of the refill's rock kits into the song, I knew I needn't go any further because the sound was perfect: Lively, realistic, articulated drums that raised the energy level and sound quality several notches.
What It Is
Reason Drum Kits comes on a DVD-ROM. With the original 1.0 version, the main attraction is 17 drum kits (four rock, four pop, seven soul/funk, and four three miscellaneous: brushes, mallets, and no snares). These are big kits that take quite a while to load, but what's way cool is that they're available as stereo mixes – great for quick auditioning -- or as kits with multiple outs. Of these, you can choose close mics, all mics (including overhead and ambience), and no ambience. Yes, you can adjust the ambience any way you like.
There are other goodies, too: sets for ReDrum (a nice thought, but no match for the mondo NN-XT multisampled versions), patches for the RV7000 reverb and Scream distortion, style templates saved as Reason song files, MIDI files with various grooves, individual instrument patches, individual drum samples, some really great demo songs to show you what's possible with this refill (or make you feel bad yours don't sound as good)…you get the picture. This is a very complete package.
And now Propellerheads has just released Reason Drum Kits 2.0, which is designed specifically for Reason 3.0 and includes Combinator patches, more kits, and the like. The price is still $129 list, which as far as I'm concerned qualifies as a great deal. One of the standout additions is 13 producer kits, which feature the Reason Drum Kits 2 sounds combined with effects and other sound-shaping options from name producers. Good stuff. As soon as I get a hold of Version 2, I'll do an update here.
The Secret Weapon
What makes the drum kits stand out is serious multisampling – Propellerheads calls the process "hypersampling." Even drum hits with the same velocity play subtly different samples. Rolls don't sound like machine gun fire, instead you hear a real drummer using two hands.
But hey, a sound bite is worth a thousand words, so check out this audio example to play a song loop featuring the "Jimmy" rock kit from version 1.0.
Craig Anderton is Editor Emeritus of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.