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TOONTRACK EZDRUMMER THE CLASSIC EZX EXPANSION
Following on from my EZdrummer review I have just added the Classic EZX Expansion. This expansion provides a new kit and new grooves. It was very easy to load and works in exactly the same way as the main product. The Classic EZX (released in March 2011) blends the sound of the classic Helios console and vintage drum kits like Yamaha Recording Custom and Noble & Cooley Horizon. It is compatible with both EZdrummer and Toontrack's Superior drummer.
Now at my fingertips, I can get the drum sounds from those classic giant bands of the 70s like Led Zeppelin, The Who and The Rolling Stones. Toontrack state that 'Be it the slamming 70's rock song or the slim and tight contemporary pop that tops the charts of today, the sounds of The Classic EZX will sit right in any mix'.
The Classic EZX was produced by Peter Henderson and Chris Whitten who have both worked (amongst many others) with Paul McCartney so I think I am looking at something very special here. As I load the plug-in into my DAW, I can now see two entries in the drop-down of the Expansions -The Classic and The Classic 4 mic.
EZDRUMMER THE CLASSIC EXPANSION - INTERFACE
As I select The Classic 4 mic, I am immediately impressed by the fact that there are more drums and more cymbals - what a great looking kit. The details of the drums in the kits are as follows:-
Noble & Cooley Horizon Series: 8 x 10", 9 x 12", 10 x 14" and 14 x 16" Concert Toms, 16 x 24" bass drum. Toms fitted with Remo CS Black Dot batters, then Evans G2 Coated batters.
Yamaha 9000 Series Recording Custom: 8 x 10", 9 x 12", 10 x 13" mounted toms, 16 x 16" floor tom, 16 x 22" bass drum.T oms fitted with Remo Coated Ambassador batters.
Craviotto Ash, Single-ply kit: 9 x 13" mounted tom, 16 x 16" and 16 x 18" floor toms.
Remo Coated Ambassador batters. 14 x 22" Bass drum.
Snares: 7 x 14" Craviotto single-ply maple snare drum. 5 x 14" Noble & Cooley Classic, single-ply maple snare drum. 6.5 x 14" Ludwig Supraphonic (1970s), in two separate tunings. 6.5 x 14" Ludwig & Leedy brass snare drum (1940s).
Hi-Hats: 14" K Zildjian, 15" A Zildjian Hi Hats (1970s), 14" Paiste Formula 602 Heavy Hihat (blue label).
Rides: 22" K Zildjian Custom Dark Ride, 22" Paiste Formula 602 Heavy Ride (blue label)
Crashes: 18" K Zildjian Constantinople Crash, 19" K Zildjian Dark Thin Crash, 20" K Zildjian Crash Ride, 20" Zildjian EAK Crash Ride, 16" Sabian Evolution HHX Crash, 18" Crash Sabian Evolution HHX.
Splashes: 6" A Zildjian Splash, 8" K Zildjian Splash, 10" K Zildjian Splash.
The interface works in exactly the same way as the Rock/Pop kit.
EZDRUMMER THE CLASSIC EXPANSION - KITS AND SOUND
The Classic EZX has a unique Mic Setup. It was recorded using two different setups; one contemporary multi microphone and an incredibly impressive four-mic setup, which has a kick, snare, and two overhead mics placed at equal distance from the snare drum. This mic method is called the Glyn John's method for recording drums. There is normally an SM57 mic on the snare drum, a mic on the Bass Drum, an overhead mic above the Snare which is pointing to the Snare Drum and is also the same distance from the snare as the second overhead mic that is to the right-hand side of the Floor Tom, pointing toward the Bass Drum. With regards to panning of the overhead mics, you don't want to hard pan both of these. Conventionally they should be set up so that the mic above the snare is only panned about 50% to the right and the mic over on the right is panned hard left. I made a preset for this and named it Glyn John. This microphone technique was very popular during the 70s. Both of the mic setups include a separate stereo pair of room mics, for adding some ambience to the tracks, and can be blended in using the mixer within the Classic EZX.
I love the sound of these kits and found myself using them to a greater extent than the Rock/Pop Kit. The Kit selections you have are:- Noble and Cooley Default, Noble and Cooley Alternative, Yamaha and Craviotto. The toms have a warmth about them and just the right amount of ring and are brimming with mid-range power and musicality. The Cymbals all sound smooth and not harsh and the ride has a great 'ping' about it and lifts a chorus with its subtle sound breathing through the mix. The Bass and the Snare Drums have that seventies sound, which was very popular but seems to be making its way back into today's music. I put a track down and also used Sonar's excellent Percussion strip's Old Radio setting. This seemed to combine the Vintage sound with something very up-to date and Low-Fi and instantly provided me with a very usable drum track.]
EZDRUMMER THE CLASSIC EXPANSION - MIXING THE KITS
The mixer is of course bigger on the Classic due to the fact that their are more parts. It is now a 12-Channel mixer. On the Classic four mic kit you get a five channel mixer, giving you a channel for Kick, Snare, Overhead left, Overhead right and Ambience.
EZDRUMMER THE CLASSIC EXPANSION - CLASSIC GROOVES
You already have 8589 groove patterns with EZdrummer, but when you add the Classic expansion, you add another 715 grooves making an enormous total of 9304. The 715 Classic Grooves are made up of 390 from Chris Whitten and 325 from Peter Freelander. Peter's grooves are organized as different songs with variations of 4-8 bar building blocks. Each song also features a Jamtrack of the full song. With Chris's grooves, he has put down his own classics by revisiting some of the greatest hits of his recording history.
EZDRUMMER THE CLASSIC EXPANSION - CONCLUSION
Once again I find that I cannot fault this piece of software. You have some excellent kits and the sound is awesome. The 4 mic setup was a brilliant idea to capture a legendary recording technique and you have another 715 grooves to add to your collection, put together by the best - Chris Whitten and Peter Freelander. What more could you ask for... a great price? Well you have that as well. Pick up your Classic EZX to add to your EZdrummer today!