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Soundware Scene

By Daniel Fisher, Chief Soundware Engineer

There's a great moment in the movie "City Slickers" when Curly (Jack Palance) reveals to Mitch (Billy Crystal) the secret to success and happiness. The secret is the "one thing." By the end of the movie, Billy's character figures out that this means focusing your energies on the "one thing" that you do best and then everything else will fall into place.

This idea has worked well for me in my years as a Soundware Engineer as I don't yearn to write or perform the ultimate song or compose a soundtrack or album. This allows me the time (and stamina) needed to tweak every single V.A.S.T. parameter of our sounds to perfection.

Out latest Sweetwater exclusive CD-ROM, Total Stereo Session Drums for the K2000/K2500 ($329), was also conceived around its "one thing." And that was to be the most responsive and realistic stereo acoustic drum kit simulations that have ever existed for a keyboard. There are no "processed" drums, no looped beats, no TR-anythings, and nothing plays backwards. There are over
Total Stereo Session Drums CD-ROM Cover
Total Stereo Session Drums CD-ROM Cover
30 full acoustic kits with every single drum in each kit recorded in "true stereo" which adds a level of realism and fullness that simply cannot be matched with monophonic samples.

Some of these kits were recorded in a fairly dry room and close miked while others were sampled in live rooms with the mics pulled back just a bit to emphasize the ambience. And each drum and cymbal was recorded with many different velocity levels.

This is maximized by the use of Sweetwater's exclusively designed "8 Velocity Layer Keymaps." These specially created Keymaps contain 8 full Layers within each Keymap which are triggered by velocities from "ppp" through "fff". And even though these Keymaps offer 8 different samples per note they still only need one Program Layer! These exclusive Keymaps are unavailable anywhere else (even Kurzweil themselves don't offer them) and are truly the heart of the Total Stereo Session Drums CD-ROM.

All of the Drum Kits that are available on the Total Stereo Session Drums CD-ROM are in one of two Drum Layouts: The Kurzweil Standard Drum Layout and the General MIDI Drum Layout. Each has its own advantages. The Kurzweil versions make it simple to use these new Stereo Session Drums with patterns that have already been composed on most of the Factory Drum Kits as well as making it easy to audition all of the various Stereo Kits.

The GM Drum Kits were created while carefully comparing each note's volume and responsiveness to a Roland Super Sound Canvas (SC-88) for flawless GM compatibility.
Dan Fisher with Pink Floyd's Drums
The V.A.S.T. guy in heaven surrounded by Pink Floyd's drums.
This resulted in 5 GM Kits that are out of this world including a killer Jazz Brush Kit. These GM Kits are great for third party drum pattern disks like DrumTrax, BeatBoy and Cool Shoes.

Or better yet, try our Sweetwater exclusive "SweetBeats Drum Patterns" (only $39.95). This disk contains two sets of 75 drum patterns recorded live on a Trap Kat that are designed for any General MIDI Drum Layout, as well as the Kurzweil Standard Drum Layout. Owning this floppy disk is like having access to a live drummer for your sessions.

As a special bonus, the Session Drums CD contains several hundred raw samples of snares, kicks, hats and cymbals that weren't used in any of the 25 kits, allowing you to build your own custom drum and percussion sets or swap out sounds from the existing kits as you see fit. All together, there are well over 1,200 individual stereo drum samples on this disk - that's actually over 500 megs of data.

Jim Miller (our sample expert), Gary Phillips (drummer/programmer), and I, (you know, the V.A.S.T. guy) have all contributed our own "one thing" to this project so that you can concentrate on your "one thing," which is making great music. Call your Sweetwater Sales Engineer today to get your copy of the finest real drums ever captured on a CD-ROM: Total Stereo Session Drums from Sweetwater Sound.

Finally, in case you missed our last issue, we'd like to proudly mention once again that our Ultimate Guitars CD-ROM received a perfect 20 out of 20 stars in a review by Keyboard Magazine (April 1997 issue). It's nice that the industry media is finally noticing the extra mile that Sweetwater goes in its search for sonic perfection. I doubt that more effort has ever gone into any CD-ROM, by any company, than this one. Keep your eyes open for other upcoming reviews of our discs in both Keyboard and Electronic Musician.

And watch for more outstanding sample collections from the Sweetwater Soundware Department. We're hard at work right now on... but wait - thats a topic for my next column. See you next issue.

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