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Microphone Month 3

Hands On Review: Steven Slate Drums 4.0 Platinum

I’ve been a fan of Steven Slate’s virtual drums for several years, for a number of reasons, the biggest being that the drums are preprocessed and ready to drop right into your mix. Slate has used his years of experience as an engineer and drum specialist to create a collection of great-sounding software kits that always sound “right” when you use them for a project. Want a metal kit? Load one up and you’re ready to go. A rock kit? It’s there. Load up a “signature” kit, which duplicates the sound of a famous drummer’s drum set. It all works very well, and the Slate drum kits are playable, dynamic, and responsive.

Now, with Steven Slate Drums 4.0 Platinum, Slate has upped the ante. Rather than base his instruments on a software engine from another manufacturer, he’s created his own virtual drum instrument, still featuring the great sounds and kits for which he is known. Within the Slate virtual instrument plug-in (which supports Mac/PC RTAS, VST, and AU), you’re given detailed control over your kit. You can change instruments in the kit; mix various mics (four on the snare, for example, two top and two bottom); blend in mic bleed; process dynamics and velocities; load different mics; change an attack, sustain, and release envelopes; adjust note mapping; route to aux buses; and cover all the usual mixing parameters as well, such as panning, solo, mute, phase/polarity, and so on.

Steven Slate Drums SSD 4 is amazingly detailed yet simple to navigate. A bunch of grooves are included to get you going. You can use these grooves — which are played by real drummers and feel great — to audition kits or to build songs. All in all, it’s a powerful package that can cover any drum sound in any musical style. Highly recommended.

Mitch Gallagher

About Mitch Gallagher

Sweetwater Editorial Director, Mitch Gallagher, is one of the leading music/pro audio/audio recording authorities in the world. The former senior technical editor of Keyboard magazine and former editor-in-chief of EQ magazine, Gallagher has published thousands of articles, is the author of seven books and one instructional DVD, and appears in well over 500 videos on YouTube. He teaches audio recording and music business at Purdue University/Indiana University, and has appeared at festivals, conventions, and conferences around the world.
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