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REVIEW: Toontrack EZX Traditional Country

REVIEW: Toontrack EZX Traditional Country

Launched today as part of Toontrack’s ‘Country Month’ celebrations, EZX Traditional Country is an expansion of the firm’s award-winning EZdrummer 2 software, available as a download (with serial number) or retail-friendly display box from UK distributor Time+Space.

For those of you not familiar with EZdrummer 2, the software offers a cost-effective, powerful and intuitive virtual drumming solution, offering superb, immediate sounding results in a clean, simple layout. The library splits between modern and vintage kits, including DW, Ludwig, Sonor, Getsch, Yamaha, Brady and Tama. There’s also a selection of percussion, including shakers, tambourines and handclaps. The kits were all recorded by Chuck Ainley at British Grove Studios, using a variety of kit, including a much sought-after REDD console, plus Neve 88R and TG12345 consoles, adding to the superior sound quality of the samples.

The new Traditional Country EZX pack follows the same attention to detail in the recording process, with a selection of drums, including two late ‘50s and early ‘60s kits by Rogers and Ludwig and a rare Apollo MIJ kit, all recorded at Quonset Hut Studio, this was the first ever recording studio in the heart of Nashville’s entertainment industry, on the world famous Music Row.

Award-winning producer Glenn Rosenstein and in-demand engineer Jeff Balding have faithfully recreated the sound of a 1950s session, comparing notes and drawings from the era, discussing techniques and receiving guidance from original session players and staff. The sound of the collection of drums is astonishing and as accurate as one might expect of a Johnny Cash or Patsy Cline session.
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Both the Rogers and Ludwig kit are sampled with sticks, with the Apollo sampled with sticks and brushes. There are also three additional snare drums to use, a 1940s Leedy and two Slingerland Radio Kings, plus tambourine, shaker and hand claps to add to the drum tracks. The neat thing about EZdrummer 2 is that every aspect of the kit is interchangeable and a combination of any of the kits can be used together to create a particular sound. For instance a 16 x 22 Rogers kick can be added to the Apollo to add a little more depth and warmth to the kit, and so forth. There is a myriad of drum midi grooves to choose from, including mid tempo swing 2/4 straight 4/4 and swing 4/4 settings, and an uptempo swing 4/4. Clicking on any will bring up to nine variations of each, and the ability to drill into each of these variations to change the feel of each sample to suit individual needs is very impressive. The Tap 2 Find facility on EZdrummer 2 is another real bonus, allowing the user to input a basic idea. In turn, the software recognises and displays similar based patterns based on a probability percentage. Song creator also allows the user to drop in a midi file that the software analyses and recommends intros, fills, verses bridges and endings to build the track with.

There’s a basic mixer and effects for the user to be able to tweak the kit and get ‘the’ country sound, but to be honest the recordings are so authentic it’s unlikely that you’d need anything other than a bit of compression to make the kit sit right in the mix. If you happen to be the owner of the superb iZotope Ozone 7 mastering software the vintage compressor on the kits works a treat.

Traditional Country EZX offers faithful recreation of a bygone era, showcasing the extraordinary talent and commitment of Glenn Rosenstein and Jeff Balding within the recording process of the samples available. Couple this with the flexibility, innovation and ease of use of EZdrummer 2, and there really is no place like Music Row.

Tags: Toontrack , Software , Review , Reviews , toontrack ezx traditional country

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