Steven Slate Drums 4.0 Platinum – Review
Sorry i haven’t been posting allot lately but i have been preparing to move to a bigger home.
Today i found some extra time to sit down and do a review for you, and it’s a real treat!!
Today we will have a look at Steven Slate drums 4.0 Platinum.
I will also be using the shorter name SSD4 in this review.
A small introduction of Steven Slate and SSD4
Steven Slate is to many a well known name in the music industries.
His audio production tools can be heard in hits from artists such as Train, Nickelback, Black Eyed Peas and many more.
Slate Digital has for years brought allot of great tools to studios all over the world.
For us home users Steven Slate is most commonly known for his Drum Replacement sounds and tools.
Steven Slate Drums is now in its forth era,and Steven slate and his developer crew brings with SSD4 a new drum sampler engine to the DAW universe.
Imagine having 100 of the world’s best sounding drumkits at your disposal. From punchy tight rock kits, to fat and sizzly vintage kits, and just about everything in between, Steven Slate Drums 4.0 Platinum is the most complete drum instrument on the planet.
- 100 preset drumkits in all Genres
- New SSD Player (Mac/PC VST/RTAS/AU)
- Dozens of Deluxe Series Kits
- Entire SSD "Mix Ready" Classic and Signature Collection
- New Soultone Cymbals
- Jazz/Brushes Kit
- 5 Dance/Urban/House Kits
For more info checkout http://www.stevenslatedrums.com/
Installation and a look at the GUI
The version I got of Steven Slate Drums 4.0 Platinum is the download version.
The complete download is approximately 9.3GB and the installation is very simple.
Loading Up SSD4 as a VSTI inside Cubase I was blown away, the SSD4 GUI is looks great and very simple to understand.
Another thing that struck me was how fast SSD4 loads the samples, this is kind of unique seeing the amount of memory used at the best settings.
Looking at the Image above we can se how SSD4 divided into 3 areas, The left area holds buttons that will take us to other sections and functions in SSD4.
The top area is a the kit / Instrument browser, and below that is the Kit window.
The kit window can be viewed in two ways, as a drum view or in cell view (se image below).
I prefer the Cell view for a clear view of what’s loaded and how they are triggered.
Note that the the kit window will be the same in Edit instrument as well.
A lot of the kits and instruments come in two flavors, NRG and SSD.
NRG adds Room sound of NRG Recording’s studio A, and SSD a large concrete warehouse with very reflective walls with additional tweaks to the sound.
The Edit Instrument section holds loads of different sound adjustment functions like Tuning, Volume, Pan, Attack, Sustain, Release as well as advanced controls for Dynamic curve, Velocity Curve and Rang curve functions.
You can also change the MIDI note for a specific cell, this is handy if you want to add a second kick for metal tunes.
The Mixer in SSD4 is basic since SSD4 does not come with any built in processing or EQ plugins. In the first mixer section you can do basic volume and panning adjustments as well as ad AUX busses to group instruments, you can also set different outputs for the kit pieces so you can process them with the plugins you have in your DAW software.
This image shows the bleed level control section of the mixer, now what control you can adjust depends on what instrument and library you have loaded.
In the bleed route section of the mixer you can tell SSD4 how you want things routed, a cool little feature is that I can root the snare room to one output and adjust the snare room EQ on its own and then have the Toms room channel routed to yet another output and get separate EQ for the Tom room sound.
SSD4 like many other drum samplers comes with groves, The start grove library is not the biggest but hopefully there will be expansions coming for this.
The Map converter is what the name says, now in the latest beta they did some changes to load predefined Conversations, in the latest beta there is now conversations that makes SSD4 work as the other big drum samplers allowing the user to us MIDI from them to with play SSD4 and that is a very nice feature.
In the Settings window change the cell / Kit view, here we can also adjust how the SSD4 engine will handle the load of samples. Drum Detail can be set to Full, Medium, Low and Resampling quality to Maximum, Good and Normal.
With everything set so SSD gives me the best sound a basic kit will use about 1300MB Ram, if I set it for lowest ram usage a kit will use roughly 400MB ram.
Working with Steven Slate drums 4 Platinum
SSD for comes loaded with predefined kit presets and kit pieces, I spent a huge amount of time just going through them all. The sounds have been pre processed but this does not allow the user to tweak the sound, I actually found that the ssd4 samples responded extremely well to anything I through at it allowing me to tweak the sound allot.
Creating your own kit is fast and easy and you can combined everything with everything and ad more of 1 kit piece, giving you a huge variety of sounds.
Now I read on the web that SSD4 suffered from machinegun effect?
From what I have found … at 180BPM the Toms and Kick suffered from of machinegun effect, But since loading alternate kit pieces is fast and simple I could fix this very easy.
I do however miss a built in function to alternate hits to make sure this does not happen, and another thing I miss is a faster way to copy a kit piece with all added instruments and settings if I would like to get like a second kick.
SSD4 answers very well to velocity so for normal speed music you will not have issues at all with machinegun effects.
SSD4 does not come with any built in processing effects, but if you ask me that is not an issue at all since I most of the time rout the drums out to my DAW software anyway.
Speaking of output routing, SSD4 allows the user to rout each channel as mono or stereo, and as I mentioned earlier you can rout Overhead and Room sounds for specific kit pieces allowing you to process each drums Overhead and Room sound differently…. SWEET!!!
Now some of you might have issues getting your drums to sit right in the mix, I have to say this is probably the sweetest thing with SSD4. It is not hard to get perfect drums sitting perfect in the mix, and SSD4 does not require hours of tweaking to achieve this.
Now, Its time to show you Steven Slate drums 4.0 in action.
This video will show some of the included Kits that I liked, in the end of the video I also have a sample of SSD4 with some light tweaks followed with a small test tune I did so you can hear how extremely well SSD4 sits in a mix.
If you just want to hear the mix tune click HERE
Without any doubt Steven Slate drums 4.0 platinum is one impressive Drum plugin,
I am actually going to go as far as saying AMAZING!!
The engine is rock solid, The GUI looks sweet and is very easy to use , and most important the sound is Completely awesome.
Mixing with SSD4 is a dream, it sounds great by default but also responds very well to any type of processing allowing the user to personalize the sound.
SSD4 is for everyone and with the alternative loading options, it will work great with any Computer both Stationary and Mobile.
- There are some things I miss like more grooves, easy instrument copy and a built in Anti machinegun mode and a bounce option.
- Now I know Steven Slate and his crew is adding more features to the engine so who knows what they have in plans, but the short time I have had SSD4 they have made some very useful changes already so I have my hopes.
- SSD4 comes in two flavors, EX is the little version with 25 preset drumkits for $99.00 and this Platinum version with 100 preset drumkits in all Genres for $249.00.
- Great sounding
- Huge variety of drum sounds
- Easy to use
- Easy to mix
- Low on recourses
This is for what you get a very good price as you get a huge variety of drum sounds.
Steven Slate drums 4.0 Platinum is a must have drum plugin, specially if your into rock, classic rock, country or Metal.
- No anti Machinegun mode
- Groove library a bit Tiny
“Steven Slate Drums 4.0 Platinum is a must have drum plugin, specially if your into rock, classic rock, country or Metal.”
I would like to thank Slate Digital / Steven Slate Drums / YELLOW MATTER ENTERTAINMENT LLC for letting me do this review.
And to all my readers….