What is EZdrummer? It is virtual drum instrument software released by a company called Toontrack. The latest version of the software is EZdrummer 2, which was released in 2014 and since then the range of expansions available has grown considerably. The software helps you to create drum tracks for your music productions with ease. If you’re a songwriter, producer, drummer, or anybody who needs great sounding, professionally recorded drum tracks without breaking a sweat, EZdrummer might just be the tool for you.
Why not take EZdrummer 2 for a test drive before buying? You can download a demo which gives you ten days of access to the three modern kits, alongside a decent library of MIDI tracks to try out.
The basic EZdrummer software package comes with five complete drum kits and a library of percussion sounds. Three of the kits are defined as modern – Gretsch, DW, and Yamaha kits, and the other two vintage kits are a 1960’s era Ludwig kit and a Ludwig Vistalite. You also get a handful of snare drums and a range of Paiste cymbals. All of these samples, as well as any other EZX expansion kits can be mixed and matched to create the setup of your choice.
If you know exactly what sounds you’re going to need, a bundle pack will be the best option for you to save some money up front. There are seven premade bundle packs which each come with the core EZdrummer 2 software and two EZX expansion packs – see below for more info on these.
But you’re not limited by the premade options. Toontrack also offers the EZdrummer 2 Bundle, where you can pick two EZX packs of your choice, or the Value Pack which comes with three packs of your choice, saving you a decent amount at the same time.
If you’re in need of a particular sound, EZdrummer has you covered. At the time of writing, there are a whopping 42 individual EZX expansion packs covering genres of all kinds. The majority of these come with several kits, while others focus more on samples rather than being presented as a drum kit
|Action!||Alt-Rock||Americana||Big Band||Big Rock Drums||Claustrophobic|
|Custom Shop||Dark Matter||Death Metal||Dream Pop||Drumkit From Hell||Drums of Destruction|
|Electronic||Funkmasters||Hard Rock||Hip-Hop||Indie Folk||Jazz|
|Kicks & Snares||Latin Percussion||Made of Metal||Metal Machine||Metal!||Metalheads|
|Nashville||Number 1 Hits||Pop Punk||Pop!||Pop/Rock||Post-Rock|
|Progressive||Reggae||Rock Solid||Rock!||Seventies Rock||Southern Soul|
|The Blues||The Classic||Traditional Country||Twisted Kit||UK-Pop||Vintage Rock|
MIDI Expansion Packs
Toontrack has released almost 90 MIDI expansions so you’ll never be left scratching your head for beats and grooves in any genre under the sun. All the tracks are performed by professional drummers, which when paired with EZdrummer’s quality sound samples breathe real life into your productions. The tracks are fully customisable to add your own signature to the mix.
There are a couple of different ways to install the software. Toontrack recommends that you use their product management software which acts as a portal to your online Toontrack account. With it you can register any of their products, and access any previously registered products in one convenient and easy to use location. The other option is to download the package manually through your account on the Toontrack website.
|Intel-based Mac||Mac OS X 10.6 or higher||2GB|
|PC with at least Pentium 4 / Athlon processor||Windows 7 or newer||2GB|
On the drums tab, you’re given a beautifully presented graphical overview of the kit. Clicking any of the drums or cymbals will trigger a sample. You can select which drum or cymbal by opening the individual menu for each instrument. In this screen you get quick access to which instrument you’d like to assign as well as dials for volume and pitch. Wan’t to start your own kit completely from scratch? You can clear out all the sounds in three clicks, giving you a blank canvas.
EZdrummer 2 offers you some of the best sample sounds on the market. They were recorded at British Grove Studios in London, England which is owned by Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler. This studio offers sound quality which is unrivalled thanks to its large main room, high ceiling and dense walls. The award winning Chuck Ainlay recorded the sounds utilising the studio’s unique mix of vintage and top of the line modern recording technology.
When you’re ready to find a MIDI track for your project, you’ll find it in the browser tab. The tracks are arranged in a library where you can narrow down your search by genre, time signature, tempo, and more. You can preview any of the tracks from within the browser. This is also the page where you’ll be able to access any user MIDI grooves which you have. You can drag any of the included or user MIDI tracks into your DAW or into EZdrummer’s drum track.
More in-depth than the Browser Tab, this screen is home to a series of search filters and EZdrummer’s innovative ‘Tap 2 Find’ search feature. You can use the on screen drum kit and the mouse, or a MIDI keyboard to lay out the groove that you want, and the software will search the MIDI library for tracks that are similar, including any MIDI tracks that you have imported from a 3rd party.
Here you’ll find a range of presets to quickly put you close to where you need to be for your project, or you can completely create your own sound with a range of effect chain presets which are based on Toontrack’s EZmix 2 software.
As you find the MIDI tracks that you like through the Browser and Search Tabs, you can drag and drop the tracks onto the Drum Track timeline to construct a song by piecing together individual parts. You can also record straight onto the drum track from an external MIDI controller, using electronic drums or a keyboard for example.
A great feature of the drum track is the ability to change the ‘power hand’ for each part. Just double click the section you want to change to bring up the drum kit. If your groove is led by the hi-hat, for example, you can quickly change up the power hand to the crash cymbal for a completely different sound
The song creator is a great way to quickly create an entire drum track in a very short time. You just need to drop a track from the MIDI library into the song creator panel, and it will search the library and return suggestions for suitable drum parts based on the given track. You can then drag and drop these parts directly onto the drum track panel and export them.
Working with electronic drums
EZdrummer 2 is great for opening up a world of possibilities with electronic drum kit sound if you’re not happy with your module’s sounds, or are just looking for a little more. Sweetwater has written an article about how to get your e-drums working with the software
Other Software Options
While EZdrummer 2 is definitely ranked among the best virtual drum instruments, you might also want to check out some other options such as XLN Audio’s Addictive Drums 2, Steven Slate Drums 5, or Studio Drummer by Native Instruments.
EZdrummer 2 is a highly popular and well respected software package with a ton of expansions which don’t cost the earth. You can whip up entire drum tracks in no time at all, and it works as a stand-alone program if you’re not using a host workstation. Other users are helpful and Youtube is packed with quality tips, tricks and techniques for getting the most out of the software. Try out the free demo and you’ll see exactly what it can do for you.
What are your thoughts on EZdrummer and other drum instrument software? Leave me a comment below.