Wavemachine Labs Drumagog Platinum v5.11
What is Drumagog 5?
WaveMachine Labs Drumagog 5 Pro takes drum replacement to a whole new level. Amazing new features, including a new, more accurate triggering engine; the sample-accurate Auto Align 2.0 alignment algorithm; and an extensive 4GB sound library with room samples make Drumagog 5 Pro more useful than ever before. For years, engineers and producers worldwide have used Drumagog to fix and enhance existing drum tracks. Equipped with a new user interface, Drumagog 5 Pro is extremely easy to learn and use. Just insert it onto a drum track and select your favorite sample. Drumagog 5 Pro does the rest.
Drumagog 5's advanced triggering engine makes drum replacing a breeze. It accurately tracks the incoming audio and replaces even the most detailed drum nuances with ease. In addition to the basic controls to adjust input, output, and triggering parameters, Drumagog 5 Pro features several controls on its advanced page for custom tuning of the overall triggering process. Drumagog 5 Pro introduces a totally new, re-designed triggering engine for unparalleled triggering accuracy. Drumagog 5 Pro also supports dynamic, random and positional multisamples for the ultimate in acoustic realism. Each instrument can contain several dynamic multisamples, representing distinct volume levels. Drumagog 5 Pro will automatically choose from one of these samples to match the incoming audio volume perfectly. With Drumagog 5's advanced multisample support, even complex drum rolls sound realistic.
WaveMachine Labs Drumagog 5 Pro Features at a Glance:
- NEW - Easier-to-use user interface
- NEW - Triggering engine provides more accurate replacement than ever before
- NEW - Auto Align 2.0 ensures sample-accurate alignment
- NEW - Room Samples let you dial in ambience to taste
- NEW - 4GB sample library
- Automatically replaces drum tracks with a variety of samples
- Compatible with WAV, AIF, SDII, and GIG samples and libraries
- MIDI feature allows triggering of external drum machines and virtual instruments (on supported hosts)
- Advanced Visual Triggering feature
- Sophisticated sample management
- Auto sample-rate conversion
- New triggering engine for the ultimate in accurate triggering
- Works with any VST, RTAS, or AU compatible application
- I am utilizing Drumagog 5 on a remix/remastering project of a Southern Rock band that needed a plump-up of their drum sounds, this did the trick. Excellent and simple interface, love the built in synth to add lo oscillation to kicks and also hi-frequency noise for snares.
- My Old Method Of Sample Replacement
In the past, I had used KtDrumTrigger, a freebie VST plugin, to squeeze the MIDI data out of my snare close mic and output that to Superior Drummer 2.0. It's a pain as there is always some latency, the KtDrumTrigger plugin pretty much works like a gate. That's not a terrible thing, but it usually takes me 10 minutes to get all the snare triggering right. Drum rolls are always a pain. Then I have to record the MIDI output to a track to avoid the latency. That takes the length of the song. So it's common for me to spend 20 minutes to get the damn snare replaced before I even get to the fun part of playing around with sounds. If I wanted to replace the kick, I could pretty much double that time. Toms were an ultra pain as tom triggering is quite a bit tougher to get right.
I didn't realize that Drumagog 5 could do this same thing in about 3 seconds.
Drumagog 5 Platinum In Action
So on my first go round I grabbed Drumagog 5 as an insert on the snare close mic. The snare was too loud. I turned it down. (Yeah, it was simple enough that I bothered mentioned I had to adjust the level. That's like a personal trainer telling you he tied his shoes first.) The trigger was 95% perfect right out of the gate and this was on a drum track where the drummer was all over the place. He was NOT a consistent drummer. There were a few snare rolls that required me to move the Transient Detail slider thing a notch to the left. Done.
The initial sound was pretty damn good. I could have totally lived with it in the mix. It was a 500% improvement over what I had with my EQ'd snare. Granted, I didn't think the actual snare SOUND was all that different from a “sound quality” perspective. I don't have too much problem getting snare sounds. What WAS different was there was no bleed ruining the kick and overall fidelity of the kit.
I went ahead and added a bit more beef to match what I was going for. This was not a “fix it” decision. This was entirely an aesthetic decision. For the record, I rarely leave samples alone. I generally run them through the same drums compression and parallel compression I would any other close mic'd drum (although I now have the option of getting dramatically more aggressive if I so choose). I think this is a major reason I rarely feel that my drums sound like the samples I'm using. Some dudes worry about sounding like every other dude using EZ Drummer. This can be a real issue with the more popular drum sample libraries, I guess, I but I avoid that mess. The sonic qualities of the stock Drumagog 5 samples are fairly natural sounding so you won't run into the “obvious signature” too often.
Drumagog 5 has enough different sounds that I suspect I'll never get caught using “that one” sample.
I went ahead and tried out another rock snare sample that was included in the Platinum package. I click on it. It instantly loaded. It sounded great. Done. I didn't even bother trying any more out. I had what I wanted.
Note: You kids at home taking 2 years to do your own album may enjoy playing the preset game where you goof around for four hours and never decide on anything. In my world, I've got deadlines I've blown and that kind of time to waste is a luxury I don't have. Once my criteria is met, I move on. You don't get extra credit in this biz for getting over 100% and the fact that the second Drumagog sample scored a 100% is either great luck for Drumagog or they've put together an outstanding library.
Fair Warning About Me
I come from the old school. I've had hundreds of drum kits in my studio over the past decade. I've seen it all from top notch DW kits that were tuned amazingly to $100 drum kits with $12 worth of duct tape on the snare leaving just enough room to show the penises that were drawn four years before. (Seriously. Those recording school ads don't tell you that you'll be working with drummers who change their heads every other Olympics and have a peculiar fascination with man rods. I don't miss those days. )
I don't believe there is a perfect drum sound. I believe there are perfect songs and there is a right snare sound for a given song, but I'm used to one drummer showing up with his kit expecting me to wedge it into the song. Ironically, 99% of all drummers just say, “I want to sound like me” when I ask them what they want to sound like as if drum sounds on records are always natural. (THEY ARE NOT!)
I see guys on the forum all the time who've developed outrageous levels of pickiness who say, “I couldn't get a usable sound out of X sample library” when I consider X sample library to be an absolute blessing and an outstanding tool. If you fall under this category, I suggest you try out Drumagog yourself as there is no way to predict if you'll like it.
Back To Drumagog 5 Platinum In Action
The problem with getting a modern snare sound is it needs tons of beef down low and quite a bit of crack up top. If either of these is missing, I've got a problem. There are times when the song is SCREAMING for a snare that needs quite a bit of EQ. The problem is boosting 250Hz on a snare makes the bleed from the kick sound horrible and boosting 8k pounds the hihat bleed into your ear like an ice pick. Drum samples have no bleed and that's why I consider then one of the greatest mixing tools ever invented. I use them anytime achieving the sonic vision of the song is more important than the "N" word. Yes, I'm talk about "natural".
Since the boom and harshness bleed from the snare was gone thanks to Drumagog, my kick drum and cymbals instantly improved by a factor of 10 zillion. In fact, I had to push the overheads back up to get the cymbals feeling right. That's good because the more overheads I'm using, the more natural 3Dness the kit has. When overheads are down it means I have an unideal situation (unbalanced drummer)....kinda like when you find out the chick you are dating is slutty in a bad way. This applies to metal, country, and everything else.
Bringing the overheads up does up makes the natural sound of the snare a bit, which is another good thing when dealing with samples. Samples can sometimes be a hair too pretty if they are up too loud. You want the snares to be a natural part of the kit, but at the same time solve whatever problems you had before the samples.
I knocked just a hair of 8k out of the snare sample and had what I wanted. Done. I'd be shocked if anyone ever knew I used a sample.
Parallel Compression Only
Another really fun trick that I've gotten into here lately is only using samples on the parallel compression buses. Even the best drummers in the world will give you snare tracks with bleed in them. There's no way around it. If you pound anything with enough compression and bring it up in the mix, it will affect everything in your mix. There's is no way around that. Bleed is just part of the drum gig.
However, if you get your natural drums rocking on your standard drum bus, and then using your sample replaced tracks to feed crushed-all-to-hell drum samples you get the best of both worlds. I can get all the attack, sustain, chunk, and whatever augmentation I'm looking for from the samples in this fashion in a sneaky little way. By blending them in subtly, the drum sounds come close to what I'm looking for without stomping to hard on the natural sound. Drumagog 5 was perfect for this.
This is especially helpful with drummers who have expressed contempt for sample replacement. Note: 91% of all drummers who “hate drum samples” say, “I love what you did with the drums” after sample layering. Just don't let the truth get in the way of their faith.
There are numerous drum sample options out there in the gog format. In fact, Igor from Invictus Audio sent me some metalhead gog samples just this week. There are drum sounds out there for everyone so even if you don't get what you need out of the stock samples, you WILL find a set of samples out there that do what you need.
A good sign when dealing with software companies is the frequency in which they've updated their product. Since I started toying with Drumagog 5 in November, there have been three updates that fixed pretty much every qualm I had. Well done! Drumagog has their shit together.
Drumagog 5 has a bunch of additional features that I found to be interesting, but not life changing. YMMV. Some samples come with separate room adjustments, pitch adjustments, etc. For me, I was simply looking for a way to do what gates would do in a dream world. I wanted the bleed gone. I can get what I want from there. Drumagog 5 does an outstanding job of this.
It's a rare thing for a plugin to make this kind of impact with this little work. Drumagog impressed me. Drumagog made my life easier.
If you are doing any kind of music where you need to EQ and/or compress drums, you most likely NEED Drumagog 5.
I've wasted years of my life using KtDrumTrigger. I wish I could go back and buy Drumagog 5-10 years ago. Life would have been better. Clients would have been happier. Quicky projects where I didn't have an additional 20-40 minutes to replace the kick and snare could have benefited from the five seconds of work it takes when using Drumagog. I can't praise Drumagog enough for how quickly it is to use.
Of all the songs I've mixed with Drumagog, only about 10% of them actually required any tweaking at all in the trigger department. It ranks up their with hookers in the instant gratification department. No lying. No flower purchases. No watching Julia Roberts movies. Instant satisfaction!
The sounds are excellent. Most of them are of the natural variety, but the heavily processed samples in gog format are easy to find.
Drumagog updates their software on a very regular basis. This a good sign of a good company that is going to take care of it's customers.
Well done, Drumagog!