In-Depth Review: Million Dollar Drums with Drumagog 5

(mtebaldi | Posted 2010-11-24)

In-Depth Review: Million Dollar Drums with Drumagog 5

Itís never been this easy to have exactly what you want. Well, at least in the music recording world. Virtual instruments, effects, and emulators are giving the power of music creation to any musician on the planet for only a fraction of the cost of real hardware and music recording paraphernalia. Itís a free musical-world indeed, where records are no longer made in multi-million dollar studios, but are now crafted in living rooms, basements, and garages. Where new music, good and bad, floods every corner of the World Wide Web. The digital revolution completely changed the music industry for better or for worse, and is here to stay.

On the drummerís side of this shift from expensive-analog to inexpensive-digital, there will be no harder task than recording and creating a great sounding kit without having to lay out the real bucks for it. A drum set sound has as much to do with the room it is in as the sticks you are using to hit it. And as you might know, not just any room will make your drums sound good. Acoustically treated, engineered, and specifically designed studio rooms are expensive, and nowadays are even going through an extinction process. Besides the architectural aspect of recording drums, a few no less important aspects play a crucial part in achieving a perfect-sounding drum recording. Great mics, preamps, sound processors and the most critical, a competent sound engineer will also be required to capture the best of your performance. So letís do the math: expensive place + expensive equipment + expensive staff = (logically) a very expensive drum recording.

But in a digital world where everything is possible, the time (and money) consuming process of drum recording can simply be digitally recreated, virtually emulated, and drummers anywhere on the planet can have the best sounding kit, simply and quickly, a few mouse clicks away. What if you could replace your bad sounding recorded kit with an astonishing, professional sounding one, while still preserving the integrity of your performance? WaveMachine Labs, creators of Drumagog 5, had just that in mind and took care of business. Welcome to digitally created perfection. Drumagog has become one of the best, most recognized and recommended, most essential and efficient drum replacer plug-in on the market. And with this fifth version of Drumagog, WaveMachine Labs brings on the best of their game. A user-friendly interface with powerful and exclusive features.

Drumagog 5 relies on its newly designed Auto Align 2.0, developed in conjunction with mp3 format inventors, Fraunhofer. Auto Align 2.0 is a powerful algorithm that efficiently aligns samples with extreme accuracy. By the very first time you load Drumagog 5 to one of your drum tracks on your favorite DAW, you will experience right the way the excellence of this product. With a fresh, completely redesigned, bigger and more powerful interface, this new incarnation of Drumagog blew my mind (and some bad sounding drums) away unimaginably fast. Gog file loaded and your lame drum sound is immediately replaced by a professionally recorded and articulately played one all in real time. A drum sample library of 5 gigabytes gives you plenty of options for choosing the drum sound that best fit your trackís needs. And if 5 gigabytes is not enough, Drumagog 5 comes with new features, including one of my personal favorites. Under the Plugin tab you can load your favorite third party drum sample or virtual instrument software inside of Drumagog, infinitely expanding your sounds options. Not only can you make use of the third party library as you can quickly mix it and ingenuously blend it with Drumagogís sound samples and built-in effects. Speaking of effects, another new feature of Drumagog 5 is that comes with two new and powerful built-in effects; Convolution Reverb and Morph Engine. Along with Drumagogís built-in Synth feature, these will help you further shape Drumagogís sounds. The possibilities are seemingly endless with these tools that also offer mind-blowing presets. The Synth offers Oscillation and Filter parameter controls that can completely redefine what you usually call drums. The Stealth Mode feature is another great tool for maintaining the integrity of a drummerís performance but still being able to replace the drum sound without completing eliminating the room bleeding from that specific track.

WaveMachine Labs also developed a feature on this new version that can finally deal with the most articulate and dynamic piece of a drum kit. The hi hat. In the past it has proved to be a real pain in the *&% to try to replace and recreate the dynamics and articulation of a hi hat sound and performance. By adding the Auto Hi Hat Tracking device on Drumagog, WaveMachine Labs tried to solve this problem once for all. Since kick and specially snare bleeds are the major problem here, once you tweak the Sensitivity and Resolution parameters a little as well as the Auto HH Threshold (found under the Settings tab), you will be able to closely mimic the original articulations of your Hi Hat track with Drumagogís sounds. The only problem about this feature is that adds latency (is this a word?). Nothing worse than having a hi hat out of place in a beat. I was able to fix it by moving my Hi Hat track manually on my DAW. The Auto Hi Hat Tracking is certainly a great initiative from WaveMachine Labs part; with a little more development it can definitely surpass expectations.

With old and new (but equally powerful) features, the fifth version of Drumagog truly is a evidence of how technology is facilitating many tasks only before reached with countless hours and dollars invested. A tool that serves as an example of how things in life should be: simple and efficient. No more worries about having a perfect drum take without a perfect sound. Accurate sound layering has never been so easy. The world belongs to those with power and Drumagog 5 gives the power to the performer to create a million dollar sounding drum anywhere he (or she) wants.

For more information about Drumagog 5 please visit

Drumagog 5 Platinum currently retails for $379.

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