EZdrummer2 is a VST drum software for recording e-drums and triggering samples of real acoustic drum kits. It is also a great tool for songwriters who do not even play drums. It can be used as stand alone software or plug in. For the people who don’t know what that means. You can open it as the program or you open it as a program within a recording software, such as Cubase or Garageband.
It is possible to connect any e-drum kit with a midi or USB output to your PC. Either through an audio interface or directly via USB cable. Older kits like The Roland TD-3 have a MIDI output. That means you need an audio interface or a special cable to connect it to your PC. Newer kits like the Roland TD-11 offer a USB port. Those modules can be connected directly to your PC. EZDrummer2 has a menu where you can choose your e-drum manufacturer.
You can even adjust the highest opening point. The standard pieces of the kit like toms and snare are already assigned. You might have to change the MIDI notes for assigning extra cashes or toms in the module. But this is really simple and uncomplicated. Your headphones will get connected to your PC or the interface output and from now on you’ll hear the sound samples of the EZdrummer2 kit.
The guys from Toontrack recorded these samples in a good studio on really expensive drum kits. It feels like you play those kits. The triggered sounds are so amazing, after using them, you won’t go back to the stock sounds of your kit. That is at least how I felt. If your PC/Mac is good enough, it would even be possible to use it for jam sessions and rehearsals.
As the drum kit is connected, you can of course record what you play.
Either in EZdrummer2 itself or in your recording program. You have a metronome and the usually setting needed for recording. You record a midi file here. Basically a map with signals. The good thing about Midi is, that you can change, add or delete single hits. You can even edit the strength of your hits or the moment the hi hat opens or closes. You are able to use the build in mixer and it is possible to change the instruments (like snare or tom) after recording. Features like quantization or humanizations are included too. The recorded file can easily be exported as MIDI or Wav 16/24bit. There is no more efficient way to record a demo in my opinion.
You know how the drums should sound like, but you can’t play them? EZD2 offers a tool called Tab and play. You select a tempo and hit the snare and bass at a specific moment with your mouse. The software will suggest stock grooves that sound as similar as possible to your idea. You can basically build a drum track for your song within a few minutes. Don’t want to hear the hi hat? No problem, just change the power hand to the ride.
The drum kits and their features:
EZD2 comes with 2 drum kit libraries. A 7 piece modern kit and a 4 piece vintage kit are displayed. Both kits are split into different styles. The modern kit, for example, has every sound from Pop to Metal. The samples are coming from 5 recorded high quality kits. It is also possible to upgrade your library with additional sounds.
The snare and every Tom have at least two zones, rim shots are even possible on the toms and they sound awesome. The crashes are only offering one zone and the choke function. The ride has according to the Roland CY-15R 3 zones. Each instrument can be replaced by another type. The pitch can be adjusted to your needs too.
Toontrack provides a bunch of great explanation videos on their YouTube channel.
Before buying the program: Make sure your PC is good enough for such a software. On Windows you might explore latency issues. Therefore, you will need an Asio driver. There shouldn’t be a problem on Mac. You can buy the software as a physical box with a CD or simply download it. I personally prefer the Download version.
Toontrack won the Mia award for the best music software 2014 for a good reason. EZdrummer 2 changes the drumming experience on an e-drum kit fundamentally. The only problem is that I do not like the original sounds anymore after using EZD2.