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EZdrummer 2 Review

January 24, 2015 Leave a comment

Whazzzuup.

I hope that you all are doing well, and that your music creation is flowing.
It has been a while since i wrote something but i hope to be able to get back into writing more now.

Today we are going to take look at the the new improved version of Toontracks EZdrummer 2.0!


About Toontrack
Toontrack Music was originally started as a production company for composing game and movie soundtracks.
In 1999 producers Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah and Mattias Eklund of Toontrack Music decided to design a sample library for their own use.
They called Tomas Haake drummer of Heavy Metal band Meshuggah to record the drum samples. The library was called Drumkit From Hell.

Toontrack really made a revolution back then and what they did With the original DFH changed the way drum samples sounded forever.

EZdrummer 2

The GUI

First look of the new EZdrummer 2 GUI

Loading up EZdrummer 2 we can see that Toontrack have stayed with the original idea of Easy to use GUI BUT not without adding functionality.

Build
With EZdrummer 2 you can now mix and match your EZD expansions to get YOUR sound easy and fast, not only that!
you can now also adjust the volume and Pitch for each drum within the Drums section.

Included in EZdrummer are the two new Libraries EZdrummer 2 Modern and EZdrummer 2 vintage.

Brows and Build.

brows2
Using finished MIDI files to build your song has been one of the features Toontrack have been using with their products to make it easy for the user to build a nice sounding drum track.
in the Browser tab we can find the EZdrummer / Superior drummer ready MIDI files that we have installed, and we can also ad our own USER MIDI files to the library.

EZdrummer 2 now also has a built in Track builder / midi player, this is nice for not only building our tracks but it also is great for Live use when you want to have EZdrummer as your drummer.
Search and Adjust.
ezd search

Toontrack also added a new search feature too EZdrummer 2, from here we can fine-tune our search and  match the MIDI files we plan to yous with files in the library to find additional Grooves that will work with our song.
if we only have a idea we can use the Tap to find feature to give EZdrummer and idea of what beat and groove we want to use and it will find grooves that matches our idea.

Edit play style.

playstyle
So we found a Groove that is close but we want to adjust it to work better with our song!
EZdrummer comes with a feature called edit play style that makes it fun and easy to ad, adjust and tweak each MIDI groove.
Simply highlight the drum you want to adjust, spin the Amount wheel and if needed adjust Velocity and EZdrummer will do its magic.
Want to change the power hand? Not a problem, just drag the power hand to the drum you want to use and its done….!!!
This is one amazing tool that will allow the user to be creative and drum creation that used to take hours can now be done with blazing speed.

The mixer.
ezd mix

The mixer allows for the output routing and volume control, but there has been some new features added that is depending on the EZX used. In the image above i use the basic kit from the new Modern Rock library, this library allows me do adjust the Reverb time on the Reverb channel, compression done on the Comp channel and also picth and mic bleed adjustments.

As i said these controls will differ depending on what EZdrummer expansion in use.
speaking of expansion, all the EZdrummer expansion have been updated to work with EZdrummer 2, this has also been done free from additional cost so you can keep using your favorite EZX in EZdrummer 2.

Conclusion
EZdrummer 2 defines the word EASY, Starting EZdrummer 2 up and building your own personal tweaked kit is dead easy, but the Drum track creation features is where EZdrummer 2 shines!
Creating a drum track from scratch is nearly TO easy, EZdrummer 2 truly allows you to be creative and helps in what i belive is the most important thing when it comes to make music… IT should be fun!!!
The two included libraries Modern and Vintage sounds amazing and will get the user a long way.
Editors note. I recently bought the Rock Solid EZX as i love how it sounds and it works AWESOME with the modern KIT.

No matter if your a songwriter or a professional producer EZdrummer 2 will be a great tool to have in your studio, and i recommend it to anyone looking for a spot on nice sounding mix friendly Drum plugin.

The Verdict.
Toontrack delivers..
EZdrummer two is a MUST HAVE!!!
Editors_thumb.gif
“Creating a drum track from scratch is nearly TO easy, EZdrummer 2 truly allows you to be creative and helps in what i belive is the most important thing when it comes to make music… IT should be fun!!!”

Steinberg ends development of VST 2

September 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Steinberg ends development of VST 2 

Development and technical support cease for second version of Steinberg’s Virtual Studio Technology (VST), now pushing forward with VST 3

HAMBURG, Germany — September 3, 2013 — Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH today announced that they would no longer continue to develop and maintain the VST 2 software interface but focus efforts entirely on the Software Development Kit (SDK) development of VST 3. All Steinberg host applications will remain VST 2 compatible.

“After introducing the SDK of version 3 to the VST community five years ago, we believe it’s time that VST 2 slowly comes to an end,” remarks Timo Wildenhain, product marketing manager at Steinberg. “VST 3 reflects today’s technological advancements and meanwhile a considerable number of VST hosts and plug-ins support VST 3.”

Initially launched in 1996, VST creates a professional studio environment on PC and Mac computers, allowing the integration of virtual effect processors and instruments into any VST host application. Being an open standard, the possibilities offered by VST continuously grow. In 1999, Steinberg introduces the second version of VST to great acclaim, witnessing new virtual effect processors and instruments developed by Steinberg and other companies. 2008 sees the release of VST 3, now featuring multiple MIDI ports, surround sound capability and side chaining. Meanwhile VST 3.5 supports Steinberg’s VST Expression for creating and editing multiple controller values on a single-note level as well as providing an intuitive way to work with instrument articulations.

While VST 3 was introduced in 2008, Steinberg’s technical support and development of the VST 2 SDK is now at a closing point. The VST 3 development kit not only generates VST 3 plug-ins, but also is capable of rendering to VST 2 and AU formats, making it the ideal choice for outputting three formats.

“Our host applications, such as Cubase, Nuendo and WaveLab, will continue to support VST 2. We are, however, planning to make the SDK for VST 2 unavailable by the end of this year,”  Wildenhain continues

Cakewalk – CA-2A Leveling Amplifier Review

April 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Wazzuup!!
Compression, After EQ it is the most common used effect in the music production.
Earlier this year Cakewalk released the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier that we are going to have a look at today.

Before we start, I would like to thank Cakewalk for letting me do this review.

Cakewalk_2c_DIC

CA-2A Leveling Amplifier

Since the 1960s, professional engineers have relied on the unique characteristics of this electro-optical tube-based compressor to work its magic on all kinds of sources, including guitars, bass, pads, and especially vocals.  Previously only available to big studios that could afford these all tube units, the CA-2A T-Type Leveling Amplifier lets you wield this legendary sonic weapon in your own studio, on your own tracks. With only a few simple controls, it’s easy to use and provides instant gratification with professional results. It features native x64 operation, zero latency performance, and 64-bit double precision audio fidelity. Get the kind of smooth, warm sound heard on so many classic recordings, at a fraction of the cost and with modern convenience.

Source

image

Highlights

  • Meticulously modeled
  • Zero latency for real-time tracking and mixing
  • Up to 40dB of smooth, transparent gain reduction
  • Frequency dependent compression
  • Program dependent attack/release
  • Fully modeled “R37” HF Pre-emphasis control
  • Dual photocell reset modes (Classic & Fast Reset)
  • Use side-chain compression for ducking, pumping, and more
  • Windows:ProChannel, VST2.4, VST3 / OS X: AU, VST3

Read more…

Slate Digital FG-X Review

January 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Wazzup Dawfreaks
Before we start i want to wish you all a great new year!
Do you like me sometime struggle to get your master to sound in place well maybe the plugin we will look at to day might be something for you as Today we are going to look at a a plugin that is meant to aid us to get a perfect Master of our Songs, From Slate Digital i bring you the FG-X Virtual Mastering Processor.

Before we start i want to thank Slate digital for letting me do this review.

slate-digital-logo

The FG-X

FG-x 1
Slate Digital wanted to approach the ITP Mastering from a different angle and  wanted to create a plugin that would give that extra punch without killing the dynamics.
The FG-X Virtual Mastering Processor has a great GUI and comes with a Transparent  Stereo compressor (FG Comp), Limiter (FG Level) and Constant Gain Monitor (FG Level) and the metering system is based on a digital RMS meter and two channel VU meter.

 

System requirements For the FG-X

Dual Core Intel Processor, At Least 2 GB of RAM
Mac OS® X 10.5 or later
AU, RTAS, VST
(iLok2 Required)

Dual Core Intel or AMD Processor, At Least 2 GB RAM
Windows 7® (32/64 Bit)
RTAS, VST
(iLok2 Required)

Lets have a look at the GUI and controls of the FG-X

FG Comp

FG-x 1 
The first section of the FG-X is the FG Comp, A transparent Stereo Compressor that comes with a standard setup of controls for Attack, Release, Ratio and Threshold.

We also find a nice large In/out reduction meter something i personally like allot as it makes things easy to se without having to be up close to the Screen.

FG-x settings1
This image shows shows the configurations possible in the FG-Comp settings.

Test thoughts
When testing the sound of the FG Comp alone i fount the sound to be what it is said to be very transparent and this is really required when you push allot into it like a complete mix.

 

 

FG Level
FG-x 1


Control elements
LOpunch:  LOpunch can help lifting the kick back into the right place in the mix with just a small twist of a knob.

Detail: Detail can help lift things like a snare to its right place and ads clarity to give that extra clarity mixes can get a bit extra shine when the Detail feature is used right.

Gain: Ads volume and punch, but with the FG-x it also has a connection to the ITP so to gain the optimal result we need to tweak them both in parallel, and with the dither & ceiling settings we can set the final Celling level.

Dynamic perception: This is the magical knob, it helps keep the dynamics even though the audio is getting pushed  through a limiter.

 ITP: ITP Stands for Intelligent Transient Preservation and is a advanced and complex look ahead detection that analyzes the transients and adapts so the right saturation curve is applied for each transient and by so treating each transient different to give the best result as possible.

Constant GAIN monitoring: This decreases the output level to the same amount you ad on the Gain knob, this is meant to help us find out what the FG-X is actually doing to our Audio file.

Dither ON/ OFF: Adjusting if you want to use the FG-X Dithering feature, we can also adjust the dither depth from the Dither settings.

FG-x settings2FG-x settings3
These two images shows the configurations possible in the settings of the FG Level

Test thoughts
The FG Level is by far the best sounding and still easy to use Limiter i have used, The advanced control elements are spot on and tweaking makes a difference and the results are a nicely balanced Track. I really like what Slate and his crew has done here, The FG Level makes life easier for us people who still are learning and it can be a time saver for people who work with allot of songs and need a awesome Limiter.

 

The Metering section.

FG-x 1
On the bottom of FG-X we find a huge Barograph and two VU meters, The barograph displays the Peak and RMS output level and the VU meters shows the RMS Output level for Left and Right.

FG-x settings4
We can adjust a huge amount of options for the way these meters behave from the settings options and from the quick buttons 1, 2, 3.

 

Putting the FG-X to the test
Lately I have been digging deeper into how I can use Loops for different situations so I brought up a small tune that is using the nice Nine volt audio loops that comes with Studio One 2 professional, The drums in these samples are from the great Steven Slate Drums 4.

 

The first sample is without any plugin on the Master BUS.

 

The next example has the FG-X on the Master BUS.

 

 

Test thoughts
The FG-X is a great mastering tool, I took small steps in tweaking and I was quiet impressed with how things just blend better.

Conclusion
There are a other plugin  suites on the market that focus on MASTERING, iZotope Ozone, IK Multimedia T-racks and WaveArts Finalplug are some names you will read about when you start looking for a Master plugin. The FG-X is very advanced in the way it handles the audio but the controls are easy and with a bit of practice this will be the tool that will help you get that perfect balanced punchy sound. The price for the FG-X is $199.00 and that’s not a bad price at all for what u get.

Pros
+ Amazing sound
+ Low learning curve
+  The LOpunch Detail and Dynamic perception makes a difference

Cons
+ would have loved to se more presets from Mr. Slate included.

Steven Slate Drums 4.0 Platinum – Review

May 9, 2012 4 comments

Wazzup Dawfreaks!!!
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.

 

platinum

 

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.

Product Information


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

    Source

 

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.

Main window

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).

Main window cell

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.

edit window

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.

mixer

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.

bleed

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.

rout

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.

grooves

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.

mappingnotes

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.

settings

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.

This video was recorded and edited with Camtasia studio.

If you just want to hear the mix tune click HERE

 

Conclusion
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.
    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.

    Pros

  • Great sounding
  • Huge variety of drum sounds
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to mix
  • Low on recourses

Cons

  • No anti Machinegun mode
  • Groove library a bit Tiny

 

The Verdict

Steven Slate drums 4.0 Platinum is amazing and I award it with the Top score Three Stars!!!
EditorsrecommendedValue

“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….

THANK YOU!

Toontrack–EZkeys Review

March 18, 2012 1 comment

Whazzup Dawfreaks.
Im back with a Fresh review, With fresh I mean TOTALLY fresh.
This week The Swedish company Toontrack released a completely new product EZkeys.
Toontrack was very kind to let me get my hands on it directly.
SO here follows my review of The new EZKeys.

Toontrack-logo-black

Toontracks description of EZkeys
EZkeys is a revolutionary plugin and stand alone instrument that combines a world-class piano player, songwriting partner, arranger and a meticulously sampled grand piano – all in one package. Developed with Toontrack Music’s forward thinking approach to music composition, EZkeys delivers breathtakingly rich tonal qualities and allows the user unlimited creativity through its groundbreaking functionality.

 

startup 

Specifications

• 32- and 64-bit VST, AU and RTAS instrument as well as low latency stand-alone application
• Drag and drop the included MIDI straight to the built-in song track
• Drag and drop support for your own or third party MIDI straight into EZkeys
• Drag and drop MIDI from the song track or directly from the song browser to your DAW or to your desktop
• EZkeys will analyze and chord-separate any MIDI on the fly
• Real-time chord display that enables you to instantly see what chords you are playing
• Chord selector, based upon the circle of fifths, allowing you to change chords instantly
• Presets for the most commonly used chord types
• Customize the coloration of any chord by opening up the detailed view
• Transpose individual song blocks or full songs with a single mouse-click
• Comes with an easy to understand music theory document including MIDI examples
• Possibility to tune the piano by octave, semitone or cents
• Dynamics controls that let you adjust the velocity response to match your keyboard or playing style
• Three pedals: sustain, sostenuto and damping
• MIDI-learn and automation
• Thirteen ready-made presets utilizing high-quality effects from Overloud. The presets range from raw and unprocessed to heavily distorted and tweaked

This information was taken from Toontracks homepage  —-> KLICK<-

First impression
One thing that I have learned when it comes to Toontrack is that they always manages to create a great looking GUI, that fits the product superb and is very easy to understand.
As I load the Stand-alone version of EZkeys it is with a smile on my face.
EZkeys starts amazingly fast and the GUI is flawless, A huge grand piano stands in the middle of the screen giving a great feeling of quality.
The Top of the GUI holds A Library selection feature (we can already tell there is more to come), followed by a Preset selection feature and on the top right feature a Menu button is placed that holds some features that I feel I am not going to go into in this review.

Toontrack have added two control sections nicely in the piano, By clicking covers named Dynamics and Tuning the covers pop up and allows us to control Soft note and Velocity adjustments under Dynamics and Octave, Semitone and Cent under Tuning.
dynamicstuning

Under the Piano is the section where most things happen.
startup2
You first find a Playback/sequence area where you can drag and drop MIDI on to,
The default library comes with a nice startup pack of MIDI files to get us started.
There is some additional tools to adjust and split the MIDI files included on the left side.

Below that if we look on the left side is a preset control section, in this screen we can see four knobs for Reverb, Tone, Comp and Detail but when we change the presets these knobs will change to match the added filters and effects.

In the middle we find the playback, show/Hide browser and song key, Signature and tempo features to set up EZkeys to play along with your song idea.

On the right side we find a big Volume knob.

The Browser

Browser
For anyone who have used Toontracks products before we recognize the look of the browser.
the browser is divided by category’s  folder , swing and BPM.
you can pre-listen to the file directly in the browser making the browsing very EZ.
If you find a selection you rely love you can ad it to Favorites that can be found to the left.

 

Working with a MIDI file.
I found a nice little BLUES intro I wanted to use for my review and pulled it into the Playback/sequence area of EZkeys.

key select

 

To show you the key feature I clicked on the C and got a roll down with alternatives to use.

You can also click on Major to swap it to Minor if you need to.

 

 

 

When the sequence parts are added to the Playback/sequence area I right click on the first MIDI part and go to Properties.
Here I can set color of the MIDI part, change octave, Transpose and increase decrease the Velocity of the selected MIDI part

selection properties

 

As I work with this little Tune I find that EZkeys is extremely EZ to work with, making a song has never been this easy and fun.
The sound quality of EZkeys is flawless and there is enough control options to get a sweet Piano sound for your song.
I have to ad that the sound amazes me since the EZkeys installer is only 586MB.
Toontrack has proved to me that size does not matter, MAN NOW I really want to try out EZdrummer.

EZkeys in action
Here follows a video of the included presets where EZkeys is playing some BLUES. 

Video was recorded and edited in Camtasia Studio 7

Conclusion
Toontrack has done it again!
They have brought a product/tool to the market that is perfect, sounds great and is dead EZ to use. I become amazed with Toontracks ways to always come with a product that feels WORTH every penny. Talking about price, EZkeys holds the price off around 155 Euro and $149, a very affordable price.
Working with EZkeys is fun, and for me who play guitar and can do some 3 finger cords on the Piano I love to have EZkeys around.
If you need a nice lightweight Piano, or a incredible songwriters tool EZkeys will be just perfect, and the learning curve is nearly none at all.
Ezkeys is not heavy on recourses and sounds amazing so now my interests in EZdrummer has grown even more but that’s another story.
EZkeys is the ultimate songwriter tool aswell as a amazing Piano instrument plugin,
as a great ad it can also be used in stand alone mode.
All in all EZkeys is a Must have.
GO Get it!!!

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Great sounding

Cons

  • None

The Verdict
EditorsrecommendedValue

Toontrack EZkeys is fully awarded.. spot on…

Thank you for reading

TOONTRACK – EZmix 2

February 12, 2012 3 comments

Wazzup Dawfreaks.

I am back with a fresh review.
Earlier this week TOONTRACK released the second generation of EZmix and TOONTRACK let me give you all a my review on it.

What is EZmix 2?
Ezmix 2 is a all in one plug-in that comes as stand alone and in Native-only plug-in format AU, RTAS and VST plugin format for MAC and PC, VST and AU supports both 32 and 64 bit hosts.
When I say all in one plug-in it basically is all in one, from EQ, Reverb, Compressor, gate to complete guitar rig or channel strips.
It can basically be used on anything you want, such as channel, subgroup, AUX or even master fader and can help you in stressed moments when you need to finish a mix faster then the speed of light.
EZmix 2 is a complete mixing tool with presets created by professionals and with professional high-end gear,for complete specs pleas visit the EZmix 2 page.
http://www.toontrack.com/products.asp?item=135

A first look
Ezmix 2 window

As I load up EZmix 2 the name becomes clear, the GUI is nice and very EZ.


EZmix 2 is divided in two Sections, browser and effect controls.
The browser has both a search function and a categorization listed as Instrument Groups.  Drums, Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Strings, Vocals and Miscellaneous. This makes finding the right preset very easy.
When you have done your choices or made your search the matching presets will be listed nicely in the lower browser section.
Note that you can combined more then one choice in each category section to increase the chance to find the preset you are looking for.

Below that we have the actual plugin with effect controls, where the preset effects is adjusted through two turn knobs to increase or decrease the amount of processing you want.
Looking at the picture above you can see that the left knob will adjust the amount of predefined EQ and the right knob will adjust the amount of Tape Drive on the track.
The control section also holds volume adjustments for Input and output for a complete control of the processing done and the volume of the processed audio.

Working with EZmix 2
As I said before the GUI is very simple to understand, and working with EZmix is fun.
I decided to make a small song with some of the common tracks in it to show how EZmix sounds.

Before we go on, here is a mix with just panning done and no effects.

Inside Studio One v2
studio one mix

This song is set up with drums from TOONTRACK Superior Drummer 2 in a multi out setup. Bass guitar from Native Instruments Kontakt Elements, Piano, Strings and organ from the Studio One Presence library.

I found using the search feature was best and fastest, and then I just went through the different presets to find one I felt sounded good for this mix.

I used EZmix 2 on all channels, and I ended up with 16 EZmix 2 plugins as insert effects on the individual tracks and on most of the used Superior drummer output busses.
I also used EZmix 2 to get the distortion and clean sounds on the guitar tracks.
to top this of I used EZmix 2 as a send effect for Reverb on Kick, Snare and Toms,
and To finish of I used Ezmix as a final master effect on the Main output channel.
EZmix is dead simple to use and each instance takes les then a minute to et up,
Just find a preset, adjust in and output and then adjust the preset settings with the two Turn nobs and you are ready to go to next channel.
The sound you get is very good and you don’t have to spend hours and hours to get a pro mix on your song, and to top things of EZmix 2 is fairly CPU efficient.
The Included effects and presets are great sounding and even though you don’t have much control it seams enough to get a nice sound.
Talking of presets, TOONTRACK included

Here is the CPU usage of the Project.
cpu use

Getting my mix done with EZmix 2 took me 10 minutes and I did not have to do allot of adjustment of the presets to get a sound I liked.
And here is the same song finished with EZmix 2 applied on the tracks.

Pros
+ Simple to use
+ Great sound
+ CPU efficient
+ Timesaver
+ Price
+ Loads of presets
+ Guitar and Bass rigs

Cons
– Limited
– cant combine presets to make a chain of effects inside EZmix

Conclusion
Toontrack has given us a great start point for mixing our songs quick and easy.
Ezmix 2 has all the different tools we need to get a good mix done.
The downside of EZmix 2 is.. it is EZ and you get a good sound from using it but it might not be your your sound.
EZmix 2 can only load 1 preset at the time so you cant chain more presets inside one instance of EZmix2, this means that you sometime  will have to load two or more instances on your Tracks / busses to get a perfect sound.

Ezmix 2 comes with enough control to tweak the sound and can be used on anything you want making it a great all in one plugin.
You can also use the stand alone version to jam along with your favorite songs or for guitar / Bass practice, since it has Guitar and bass rigs (amps and effects) included.
And if you feel you need more effects and presets, EZmix 2 is compatible with all the expansions from EZmix 1 http://www.toontrack.com/products.asp?#EZmixLine

Over all I like the concept of EZmix 2 and I like that it works as both a processing effect as well as a guitar and bass rig.
Ezmix 2 is a very helpful tool for everyone in the music / sound industry and I believe it will be a timesaver for many people in this line of work for years to come.
And I have to say the price is just as EZ for what you get so go get it!!

The verdict
5of5

Great product for a small price.

Thank you for reading and I hope to se you back soon.
Please leave a comment below.