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Slate SSD5 Verdict?

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
Just wondering what people think of Slate’s SSD5 drum library? I have SSD4 and thinking about upgrading to 5. Seems like a worthy upgrade (especially as there are sales on at the minute)!
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
$99 to buy it outright is a slamming deal. I don't know what the upgrade price is. I am not overly impressed with SSD5 over SSD4. I paid kind of a lot for that because I have loved SSD4 and had high expectations, but honestly they really did not provide value for what the initial upgrade price was in the final analysis. Hence they are now flying it out there super cheap. The player in SSD5 barely got upgraded. A few tweaks, but honestly nothing major... Its WAY behind the times compared to SD4 and AD2. No built in FX, from a company that is now up to their eyeballs in awesome FX technology. Very disappointing. I feel they just slammed together a few improvements, way overdue and tried to generate some revenue.

The new drum samples it has are better sampled, but honestly, the reason I bought SSD3 and later SSD4, was because of the StevenSlate processing.. I keep preferring to use the SSD4 kits inside SSD5 player...because that was the whole selling point of StevenSlate drums and still is. They are still awesome, but honestly I didn't need to upgrade and didn't get much out of it. if the upgrade is less then $50 then why not, throw the guy a bone, but SS under impressed me with SSD5
 

keepitsimple

Active Member
I think Steven got rushed to release it, from all the ( rightfully justified) nagging on the infamous "Any news on SSD5 ?" thread on another forum.
 

jmauz

Active Member
As a drummer I've found all of Slate's drum samples sound artificial. The latest version is no different to my ears.

I've been doing drum tracks with Superior Drummer for years. After dozens (maybe hundreds at this point) of satisfied customers later it's been worth every penny.
 
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jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
Ok, so something I love about SD2 is the ability to be able to listen to particular kitt pieces, in a loop, and then be able to just drag that into my project window. So for example, I have a loop and in particular love the hi-hats but nothing else, I Solo just the hi-hats and then drag that into project and only the hi-hats are in the midi file. It’s a killer feature especially when using the midi data for other perc libraries so you can retain some human feel (providing the loops have been played live by someone and not just programmed)

Is that feature in SSD5?
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
SSD5 does not have much of anything related to programming drum parts. Its a drum sound sample player, just like SSD4.
 
As a drummer I've found all of Slate's drum samples sound artificial. The latest version is no different to my ears.

I've been doing drum tracks with Superior Drummer for years. After dozens (maybe hundreds at this point) of satisfied customers later it's been worth every penny.
As a mixing engineer, I disagree. Not that Superior drummer doesn't sound more like a real drum kit. Coincidentally, I was just discussing this with a friend a couple of weeks ago. We agreed that the SD3 libraies sound like drums recorded in a studio that we frequently receive from clients in a mix project.


What I disagree with is that that's necessarily a good thing. The thing I like about the Slate drums, especially ssd5, is they sound like a recorded drum kit that's already been mixed.

I have all the toontrack stuff. The soul library is my favorite library of all time. But I always have to tweak the hell out of their drums to get them to sit nicely in a mix.

Slate on the other hand is the most mix ready library I've ever owned. And it's extremely popular for that reason.

So I can see why st3 might be preferable to a drummer. But to a producer, it's a lot of unnecessary work. And for the simple task of replacing a snare or kick drum from a poorly recorded session, it absolutely sucks.

What both the Slate and Addictive Drums systems allow you to do is to scroll through different snare sounds from all libraries until you find one you like. Incredibly, toontrack doesn't let you do that. You have to load up a drum kit and then choose from the two or maybe three included snares from that kit. If you don't find what you're looking for, you have to load up another kit and start over.

None of this would be important to a drummer, I'm sure, but to a mix engineer it's really lame.

So it really depends on what you're looking for. Mix ready drum libraries save time during mixdown. If you're going for a performance thing, then that's another matter altogether.
 
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amorphosynthesis

Active Member
Incredibly, toontrack doesn't let you do that. You have to load up a drum kit and then choose from the two or maybe three included snares from that kit. If you don't find what you're looking for, you have to load up another kit and start over.
I guess you are not talking about superior drummer 3(you can select any drum part you wish without loading a whole kit)
Even ezdrummer 2 allows that as well.
 

pderbidge

Senior Member
What both the Slate and Addictive Drums systems allow you to do is to scroll through different snare sounds from all libraries until you find one you like. Incredibly, toontrack doesn't let you do that. You have to load up a drum kit and then choose from the two or maybe three included snares from that kit. If you don't find what you're looking for, you have to load up another kit and start over.
EZD2 can do that and so can SD3. You must own the first EZD. I can see you being underwhelmed if that is your only experience with Toontrack. EZD2 and SD3 are leaps and bounds beyond that. In fact EZD2 and now SD3 has some pretty innovative tools for creating drum beats that no other drum sampler ,in this category, has yet to match. I own AD2 and love it but it's ability to find and create drum rhythms does not compare to EZD2 which is why at times I will use EZD2's midi out feature to take advantage of the kits and sound shaping tools in AD2 which is where IMO are much better than the mixer in EZD2. So having EZD2 and AD2 combined make for a more complete setup and probably the only reason I haven't upgraded to SD3. The Fairfax kit in AD2 is still one of the best kits out there. I do own SSD4 but honestly haven't given it the love it deserves due to owning AD2 and EZD2.

Oh yeah, back to SSD5. I tried the free version and it really doesn't bring anything close to what AD2, EZD2 and SSD3 bring to the table. Perhaps a little better sounding but you can get plenty of mix ready drums sounds out of all the ones I mentioned.

PS- The new XLN XO for non standard drum kits looks very enticing. I was underwhelmed at first glance but after watching some walk thru videos on youtube I'm really impressed.
 

Diablo3

Active Member
I’ve tried A Drums and SD 3 and for me they were trash. SSD5 Free for me was great so I got the Full version. I guess we have different taste.
 

amorphosynthesis

Active Member
I’ve tried A Drums and SD 3 and for me they were trash
one man's trash is another man's treasure.
It depends on someone's needs actually.Need raw, unprocessed or mix ready?for the first go to sd3,bfd or ad2, for the latter steven slate or some ezexpansions or if I may say so perfect drums.
 

Diablo3

Active Member
Yeah, for ME they didn't cut it at all. SD3 was for ME very weak no soul no mojo no nothing. I think I've tried them all libs/companies (ok not all, SFire has some drums). I am glad I spent only 99 on SSD5 and not 400 on SD3 base drumkit. And SSlate allows upgrade, whereas Toontrack doesn't. I wish I had EZdrummer 2, that thing had something going on for it.
 

VinRice

... i am a robot ...
SD3 is one of the best virtual instruments of all time. Nothing comes closer to having a multitrack session of meticulously recorded drums. The joy of it is that you need to mix and effect those drums just as you would with a real session - and there are plenty plug-ins in the package itself to allow that. SSD5 is different in that the drums are already 'produced' - and very well it has to be said. This can be great for speed and efficiency when just need a ready-to-go kit in a track or for beefing up an existing track. There's definitely room for both.
 

BezO

The Artisan
Hard not to take a look for $100, but not the drum supplement I'm looking for.

If XLN would come out with some hybrid kits, I could stop looking. I'm considering EZD2 just because of the Action EZX.

My dream drum/percussion plugin would have traditional & hybrid kits with the audio routing & key mapping features of a traditional drum plugin; AD2/SD3/Cuba mixed with Evolve/Damage/DM-307. Toontrack seems to be the only one heading in that direction.
 

bbunker

Senior Member
I think Slate Drums have been in the 'fashionable to diss" category for a little while - probably since the heady heights of SSD3, when every instrumental clip on YouTube featured a basketball-in-a-gymnasium kick drum and a big donk snare. Good times. And - the material isn't exactly pushing new boundaries, the interface is virtually identical - it's hard to tell what's improved about it, if you're coming from SSD3 or 4.

There's something unusual (in a good way) about the Slate Deluxe 5 samples that I'm not smart enough to explain, except that I notice it whenever I use it. Basically - they sound mixed no matter what you do to them. Throw them right in a track and they'll work. Throw an 1176 on your drum bus, and they'll sound great. Slam them with a limiter or a maximizer, and they'll sound great. Brighten or darken up the kick or the snare, and they'll probably work. Throw reverb on the snare, or layer 4 or 5 snares on there. Still works. And somehow it always sounds additive - which I never have the same experience in Superior or BFD. I add a layered snare there and I have to bring it out over the main snare to hear it, or it doesn't really add anything. Every SSD5 layering experience basically consists of "what would happen if I...oh, that's cool! What if I....oh, that's cool!".

The big difference I can hear between Slate Deluxe 4 and 5 is that 5's Deluxe samples integrate better. I always thought Slate 4's Deluxe kits were a stab at being a Superior Drummer kind of a library, relatively dry and unprocessed - and I'd always want to tweak those deluxe kits before layering with anything else, so you'd have to set up outs to accommodate that - and you've already switched to just using Superior long before that time, and SSD4 wouldn't get used. Slate 5's Deluxe kits are actually a huge improvement, because dry, they're relatively detailed (wouldn't use them on a sensitive singer-songwriter thing, but...well, duh...) but are dialed in for instant use, but are pretty clean and unaffected and take FX like EQ and dynamics like a champ. And take layering amazingly well.

Superior Drummer 3 is a fantastic library, and the SDX's are great, and full of character, and they're obviously highly recommended and recommendable. But if you're writing any rock tunes post-"Misery Business" then you're probably going to indulge in a bit of snare and kick layering, and SD3's never feels expansive and explosive, and SSD5's pretty much always does. So - that'd be my verdict. SD3 has all the detail and versatility you could ask for, but when you've got hard-panned stacks of Marshalls or Boogies to cut your snare and kick through, SSD5 owns that job like a T-Rex at a watering hole.

Speaking of Misery Business - that David Bendeth expansion is on sale (or was last I checked) for $49. The expansions for SSD are the real sleepers, because the initial response is usually something like "I paid $49 for a dozen snares and kicks that sound kind of the same?" - until you start layering them on the SSD5 deluxe kits, and things get stupid (in a good way) very fast. The Blackbird is amazing, too - but in an "I'm playing in SD3's yard" kind of way that complicates things a bit. I like them as subtle alternatives to the SSD5 for the bed to layer on top of. Ultimately at $49 I've gotten as much value, and usually quite a bit more if in a focused kind of way, then most EZX's I've picked up. Even the much-lamented CLA expansion - which, yes, does manage to make a dozen snares all sound virtually indistinguishable from each other - is superb for giving a bright sheen to a set of samples, because they're super-bright and super-punchy. Is it worth $50? Well - I've used those samples more than, say, Indiependent, which I spent more on, and which has generally been meh for me.

There's a lot missing from SSD generally - the grooves, their integration, effects or mixing, anything but the drums and layering them, really. It might not be a good general first-choice library, except for people working in specific genres and workflows. For new buyers $99 is awfully good for those who can accept its limitations, and for the upgrade - well, ultimately the use value of the samples is whether they'll end up on your finished products, and SSD5's Deluxe kits are far more likely to do that than SSD4's, so I'd definitely give the thumbs-up there.
 
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jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
I think Slate Drums have been in the 'fashionable to diss" category for a little while - probably since the heady heights of SSD3, when every instrumental clip on YouTube featured a basketball-in-a-gymnasium kick drum and a big donk snare. Good times. And - the material isn't exactly pushing new boundaries, the interface is virtually identical - it's hard to tell what's improved about it, if you're coming from SSD3 or 4.

There's something unusual (in a good way) about the Slate Deluxe 5 samples that I'm not smart enough to explain, except that I notice it whenever I use it. Basically - they sound mixed no matter what you do to them. Throw them right in a track and they'll work. Throw an 1176 on your drum bus, and they'll sound great. Slam them with a limiter or a maximizer, and they'll sound great. Brighten or darken up the kick or the snare, and they'll probably work. Throw reverb on the snare, or layer 4 or 5 snares on there. Still works. And somehow it always sounds additive - which I never have the same experience in Superior or BFD. I add a layered snare there and I have to bring it out over the main snare to hear it, or it doesn't really add anything. Every SSD5 layering experience basically consists of "what would happen if I...oh, that's cool! What if I....oh, that's cool!".

The big difference I can hear between Slate Deluxe 4 and 5 is that 5's Deluxe samples integrate better. I always thought Slate 4's Deluxe kits were a stab at being a Superior Drummer kind of a library, relatively dry and unprocessed - and I'd always want to tweak those deluxe kits before layering with anything else, so you'd have to set up outs to accommodate that - and you've already switched to just using Superior long before that time, and SSD4 wouldn't get used. Slate 5's Deluxe kits are actually a huge improvement, because dry, they're relatively detailed (wouldn't use them on a sensitive singer-songwriter thing, but...well, duh...) but are dialed in for instant use, but are pretty clean and unaffected and take FX like EQ and dynamics like a champ. And take layering amazingly well.

Superior Drummer 3 is a fantastic library, and the SDX's are great, and full of character, and they're obviously highly recommended and recommendable. But if you're writing any rock tunes post-"Misery Business" then you're probably going to indulge in a bit of snare and kick layering, and SD3's never feels expansive and explosive, and SSD5's pretty much always does. So - that'd be my verdict. SD3 has all the detail and versatility you could ask for, but when you've got hard-panned stacks of Marshalls or Boogies to cut your snare and kick through, SSD5 owns that job like a T-Rex at a watering hole.

Speaking of Misery Business - that David Bendeth expansion is on sale (or was last I checked) for $49. The expansions for SSD are the real sleepers, because the initial response is usually something like "I paid $49 for a dozen snares and kicks that sound kind of the same?" - until you start layering them on the SSD5 deluxe kits, and things get stupid (in a good way) very fast. The Blackbird is amazing, too - but in an "I'm playing in SD3's yard" kind of way that complicates things a bit. I like them as subtle alternatives to the SSD5 for the bed to layer on top of. Ultimately at $49 I've gotten as much value, and usually quite a bit more if in a focused kind of way, then most EZX's I've picked up. Even the much-lamented CLA expansion - which, yes, does manage to make a dozen snares all sound virtually indistinguishable from each other - is superb for giving a bright sheen to a set of samples, because they're super-bright and super-punchy. Is it worth $50? Well - I've used those samples more than, say, Indiependent, which I spent more on, and which has generally been meh for me.

There's a lot missing from SSD generally - the grooves, their integration, effects or mixing, anything but the drums and layering them, really. It might not be a good general first-choice library, except for people working in specific genres and workflows. For new buyers $99 is awfully good for those who can accept its limitations, and for the upgrade - well, ultimately the use value of the samples is whether they'll end up on your finished products, and SSD5's Deluxe kits are far more likely to do that than SSD4's, so I'd definitely give the thumbs-up there.
Well. I think I’ll buy it then. Thanks!
Haha!
 

bbunker

Senior Member
Have fun, man. It's a blast.

I'm all for the Terry Date and Bendeth expansions, too. Not game-changing, but they sure are fun. You want to hear what those sound like on a loud and nasty thing, let me know.
 
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