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Superior Drummer 3

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by steadystate, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. #1 steadystate, Feb 12, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
    steadystate

    steadystate
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    I recently got the opportunity to try SD3. The interface and workflow are vastly improved, and the new features are great. But...

    The core library is disappointing. I've read reviews of how awesome the samples are, but I find them lacking compared to many of the SDX libraries for SD2. The toms, especially the floor toms, sound like they are being hit by an old lady, even at max velocity. Were they afraid they'd hurt the heads? No power whatsoever in many of them. And little to no pitch bend. The small concert toms are not tuned nearly high enough. The new tuning algorithm sounds good, but not good enough to extend the range to extremes. In order to get a mega-power hit on many toms, you have to simulate one with amplitude and pitch envelopes. Too much work for a simulated result.

    Many of the drums also have nasty ringing; the kind of ringing that would make me immediately retune or dampen. All in all, I'm not sure what these world-class experts were thinking. The effects have been increased in number from 5 to 35 IIRRC, but the quality of most I tried was shit, especially the reverbs. I guess I've been spoiled by Fractal and UA. They would have been wise to allow other VST plugins in their effects slots.

    It seems I'd wind up using drums from other libraries within 3, which leads to the major problem of mismatched room ambience due to totally different recording setups. Had Toontrack had the foresight to record impulse responses of the room at Galaxy Studio (they had almost everything they needed already set up), then I could import close-miced drums and had a convincing kit by running them through convolution reverbs of the room captured with their mic setup and a sound source at each kit position. You could mix all libraries in one kit and have a cohesive sound.

    IMOHO, they majorly dropped the ball when they failed to record IRs of the room and to record a stellar core sample library. Glad I didn't purchase before trying it out, despite the major advancements in the program itself. Perhaps I'm being too harsh, and I could warm up to it given enough time. But there is no demo, thus, no opportunity to warm.
     
  2. kisslorand

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    You can use your older libraries with SD3.
     
  3. HarrySound

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    I have it and can’t speak highly enough of it. I now do all my drum midi editing from inside it. You might not like the core sounds included but that’s a matter of taste. The plugin itself is unparalleled and that’s a matter of common sense.
     
  4. mwd

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    I too was seriously disappointed in the sounds and made a few post here and on UAD. The vast majority or fellow forumites came back with how great it was so I decided to keep at it. I must say I am now very impressed but, honestly, it takes some tweaking.

    I truly loved the Natural Avatar kit in SD2. A bit thuddier bass drum. I took the Massenburg Yamaha kit and started tuning the drums a bit. Opened up some of the 11:1 surround and put just a tweak. Now this custom kit is to die for. When I A/B it with SD2 the SD3 easily takes it. This is not even to mention other features like tap-to-find. I was able to lay down a convincing track in a short time using my keyboard to find licks for the composition.

    Point being you could not possibly be more disappointed than I was but I would recommend that you don't give up. The sound you want is definitely in there but you have to find it. Some of the absolute crap they put in there under the guise of 'world class blah blah blah' still has me shaking my head but I had to consider this IS a one size fits all program so not everyone has my viewpoint.

    SD3 vs SD2 the snares alone are worth the price of admission.
     
  5. steadystate

    steadystate
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    The Avatar kit in SD2 made up the majority of my custom kit, along with bits of Music City, Metal Foundry, and others. IMO, the Avatar toms blow away every tom in 3 for my type of music. I also can't find a snare I like as much as the Music City Black Beauty. The selection of snares and kicks in 3 was good, but the toms... Perhaps the drums in 3 need a ton of eq (as most miced drums do). I didn't have time to try. The plugin and standalone are very well-designed, but the core library out of the box does not impress.

    I brought drums from the other libraries into 3, but they sound like they are in a different space (because they are). IRs would have solved so many problems and made 3 a universal home for every library. As the 3 reverbs totally suck to the point of uselessness (seriously, they are a joke), I'd have to send every drum to it's own track and use a separate convolution reverb (Altiverb) on every one of them to place them all in a realistic acoustic space. Not that hard in Reaper, but still, IMO, a missed opportunity for Toontrack.
     
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  6. mwd

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    I would encourage you to keep working it. Ultimately I found zero difference in running SD2 and running SD2 samples via SD3. That was actually my first level of comfort in recognizing 'well I haven't really lost anything outside of a couple hundred bucks'. But then I started getting along with the mixer, using other features and now I love the system. The last time I remember this type of 'shock' transition was Logic 9 to X. Arrrrgh I hated it for a while.

    If you PM me your email I have no problems sending you the file of my custom kit to see how you get along with it. Sounds like our drum taste is similar. Might be a starting point for you.
     
  7. #7 steadystate, Feb 13, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
    steadystate

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    Thanks. I'll see if I can get more time with it before committing the money or blowing it off. You seem to have a balanced view that I can trust, as opposed to the "it's the greatest be all and end all ultimate there ever was" hype I've read.

    I'm hoping they incorporate a few tweaks to the UI. When you are auditioning articulations, it would be very convenient for the blue bars to have a velocity gradient instead of the entire bar triggering a full velocity hit. The preview pad is nice, but this would allow you to quickly audition all velocities of all articulations in one place. And I couldn't find a way to drag added instruments to new positions in the window like you can in 2. Maybe they will incorporate suggestions from users over time.

    I also have to consider the possibility of stacking sounds I like from other libraries on top of the sounds in 3 to see if I can bring the 2 sounds more into the space of 3. Critical listening through headphones reveals the different ambiences between the libraries. I'd like to minimize that.

    And I'm sure there will be new expansions for 3. But they will probably be in different studios, with different mics, with different positions. My ultimate would be a huge library of samples available in the same acoustic space. Altiverb will let me do that, but it is a PITA. Built-in IRs from their setup at Galaxy would have made this easy.

    I guess the shock was due to watching the videos of them making the product, hyping it to the extreme, and then actually listening to some of the samples for the first time. Sometimes (if not always), it's best not to promote the highest expectations.
     
  8. mwd

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    I would equate it to Toontracks version of the Axe III....lol. It seems to be ground floor of a new generation. All of my tweaking is done via Senn HD650's and I must admit I finally reached that crossover point of 'I can't go back to SD2'.
     
  9. mr_fender

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    How would you rate Superior Drummer against Addictive Drums? I have an older "internet procured" copy of Addictive Drums and like it but am looking to actually purchase a new drum plugin now that I have means to do so.
     
  10. mwd

    mwd
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    mr fender I have never used Addictive Drums. I was on a blitz to find the perfect drum program over the years and got Superior 2, then BFD, then NI Studio Drummer. Realistically I preferred the snares and ride cymbals in NI Studio Drummer as well as their MIDI loops. Their articulations and nuances are simply the best on the market. So I wound up using toms and bass drum from Superior 2 and snare and ride cymbals from Studio Drummer.

    Then I got EZ Drummer and I have to say it became my fav in terms of ease of use. Even though it was 16 bit vs 24 bit the sounds were awesome but the tap-2-find feature was a blessing. I would use EZ Drummer to lay out songs then convert to my SD2/Studio Drummer combo for final product.

    Enter Superior 3. It incorporates the features of EZ Drummer but with higher quality sounds. I wish I could compare more accurately for you but what I do know as a non-drumming drum nerd I am done searching.
     
  11. Genghis

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    To be honest, every time a major Windows 10 update comes out you have to run the authorization program for Addictive Drums, delete your old authorization and re-authorize. I haven't bothered to even do that since the last update (and maybe the one before that). It's so far down on my list of drum software I don't even think about it really. Superior Drummer 3 is my favorite after getting things dialed in a bit, but BFD 3 also is pretty nice. AD2 seems like a toy compared to either of those. IMO of course.
     
  12. #12 steadystate, Feb 15, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
    steadystate

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    I've been at it again for a few hours. The SD3 Yamaha kit is the only one with any hope for potential. You and I have similar tastes in drums. The other kits either have an overwhelming fundamental that sustains for 10 seconds and obliterates the harmonics, and cannot be tamed by any means, or have nothing but harmonics, or have horrendous ringing of nasty frequencies, or have no attack at low velocities, or have what sounds like lug buzz or some other noise (not snare buzz), or some other problem that makes me wonder if Massenburg even listened to the samples. Most of this library is crap. Icon or not, I am not impressed in the slightest with this garbage.

    Whoever engineered the NY kits, including the drum tuning, eq, dampening, etc., knew a hell of a lot more about drum tone than whoever worked on the SD3 library. The SD3 room is great. The room mics are great. The recording is great. Maybe it's not Massenburg to blame, but rather whoever was responsible for setting up the drums. If the drum doesn't sound good, no recording of it will.

    SD3 is still great to use, even with older libraries, and I might buy it just because the workflow is so radically improved. It is so easy to audition all of your libraries, bring them into the kit, process them, etc. I'd have to consider purchase based on the program alone. But that's a lot of money considering the library is shit.
     
  13. mwd

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    I agree. For something that took 4 days to download there sure was a lot of wasted time and disk space. Having 'survived'...lol, I can say, to me, the snares, mixer and features are worth the price of admission alone. Also the sounds I wound up with, after customizing, are without a doubt the best, most realistic drums sounds I've ever had and I've been at it since the Oberheim DX...lol.
     
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  14. #14 steadystate, Feb 16, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
    steadystate

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    I've spent a lot of time on the Yamaha Beech toms, and they are shaping up. Envelope modification, tuning, extensive overall equalization, surgical equalization, a hint of Punch Exciter, a hint of Transient processor, and they don't sound too bad. Took hours and hours to get there though. The other kit's toms are a lost cause, except for the smallest Ludwig Concert toms (6" to 12"), which I brought in and tuned for Rush-type parts. Many of the included snares and kicks are not bad. I like the Gretsch Solid Aluminum snare and the 18x22" Pearl Masterworks kick.

    I still prefer the hats, rides, chinas, and crashes from other libraries though. My next task is to try stacking close-miked samples from other libraries with the ambiences from similar instruments in SD3 in an effort to make the imported samples gel with the Galaxy reflections.

    Some of the effects are pretty good. I like the Punch Exciter 361 and Transient (used sparingly). The Tape Simulator is a joke compared to the UA Studer or Ampex plugins. And the reverbs; well, WTF were they thinking is all I can say about them. Being able to put 3rd party VST plugins in the mixer would be useful beyond measure.

    I'm buying it, despite my initial horror and sustained disappointment at the built-in library. The program itself is much better than SD2 and makes managing other libraries much easier. I still think they f'd up big time when they didn't take IRs of Galaxy. Every drum from every library would have sit perfectly in the same acoustic space.

    The SD2 Avatar kit provided a polished out-of-the-box tone. With SD3, you have to think of it more as you would micing up a real kit yourself. You have to start from ground zero and equalize/process the kit just as you would a real kit you just put mics on. Still, many of the samples have problems that could only have been addressed with proper tuning and dampening at the time of recording. I disagree with purists who believe it is a sin to put a strategically-placed piece of tape on a drum head.
     
  15. mwd

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    Bingo! This 100 times over. Reminds me of BFD. Very raw BUT in the long run very realistic. BTW I have gotten some use out of the other kits and one of them is very Rush like. I've done 4 custom kits now. Yamaha is my best but the others are kinda' cool and it was fun.
     
  16. HarrySound

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    Guys anyone want to post some of their SD3 presets?
     
  17. aziz

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    I like the 3, like said above, it's bit more natural vs heavily processed.
     
  18. mwd

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    I'm happy to post up a few with a disclaimer. My first one was 001, then 002, etc. I feel like they got better as I went but I'll include all 4 in the event that one of the first ones is more to someones liking.

    Currently MWD Custom 004 is my go to preset. It started with the Massenburg Yamaha kit and was tweaked to more match SD2 Avatar Natural. More 'thuddy' on the bass drum.

    Note: SD3 presets have no file extension so I had to zip the folder.
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. henryrobinett

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    I haven't perused all of the kits, but think it's fantastic. I was very cautious about upgrading, especially some of the comments I read here on an earlier thread. But you know, opinions. I prefer using real drums and real drummers, so my experience with SF2 and 3 is more limited, but I think it sounds fantastic. I looked to gearslutz and other more audio, engineering forums. I saw mostly thumbs up. I was going to just get a new pack for SD2. I dig it. Sorry you're disappointed.
     
  20. henryrobinett

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    Exactly. As I said, I'm used to recording and mixing real live drums. I prefer less processed drums. I want the samples to be real. Let ME process them, if they need much. I hate processed drum samples.
     

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