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Platinum Samples Jim Scott Rock Drums, Volumes 1 and 2 Quick Pick Review

March 19, 2010
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To create Jim Scott Rock Drums, Jim Scott, one of L.A.''s busiest recording engineers, meticulously sampled his personal collection of classic drum kits and formatted the massive library for FXpansion BFD 2.1.

To create Jim Scott Rock Drums, Jim Scott, one of L.A.''s busiest recording engineers, meticulously sampled his personal collection of classic drum kits and formatted the massive library for FXpansion BFD 2.1.

You can never be too rich, be too thin, or have enough drum sounds. Third-party developers that capture the seemingly endless variety of sounds drums can make, the remarkable attention to detail embedded in the instruments, and the high level of expression the software affords make FXpansion BFD 2.1 one of my go-to software drummers.

Platinum Samples, one of these third parties, is responsible for drum-kit collections from recording engineers Andy Johns and Joe Barresi, whose credentials include work with many high-profile artists. Platinum Samples'' most recent contributor, engineer Jim Scott, has won several Grammys for his work. His Rock Drums collection ($319.99) is a two-volume set totaling 11 kits. Volume 1 is available separately for $249.95, and volume 2 for $129.99. You''ve probably heard the kits sampled for this collection used on recordings by such artists as Barenaked Ladies, Robbie Robertson, the Dixie Chicks, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Tom Petty. Scott sampled the kits at his own PLYRZ Studios through a Neve 8048 console and plenty of analog outboard equipment.

Great Scott
You''ll need to be exceedingly patient to install all seven DVDs in volume 1 and four in volume 2. Luckily, you can choose to install smaller sound sets at the cost of fewer Velocity layers. I chose the full 118GB installation. One thing I noticed after installing the volumes was a discontinuity in the numbering system; there was no Kit 5, which is listed as a Pearl-Ludwig-Tama Kit on Acid. Platinum Drums says this kit is in the works as a free download for registered users, and you can already download the cymbals.

Because I play drums on a keyboard rather than a set of pads or a MIDI drum kit, I appreciated the extensive velocity layering in a very tactile, musical way; this was especially true for the hi-hats, which can sound lifeless and ticky when there aren''t enough samples at varied dynamic levels.

React Naturally
I find it hard to make music with drums that sound as if they were recorded in an anechoic chamber. Thankfully, not much is pristine about these kit pieces; for instance, the snare samples from Kit 1 (a Ludwig Black Beauty) are as real and attitude-laden as you can get. The lightest velocities produce natural-sounding ghosted taps. You can really hear the strainers react to more forceful hits, and the open hats ring sympathetically (see Web Clip 1). Round-robin mapping is very much in evidence, keeping successive hits varied and interesting.

Kit 2 snares (a Ludwig Supraphonic Chrome) show similar artifacts, but the snares are less ringy (see Web Clip 2). Higher velocities bring in a more pronounced metallic edge. Hats have a slightly less-percussive attack, but with an odd, pingy resonance that becomes a little too pronounced for my taste at higher velocities. On Kit 2 played with brushes, the kick uses the same bass drum and felt beater as the regular Kit 2, but it''s set up with an additional resonator track to ring out in all its boomy glory. If you need a kick that gets out of the way a little faster, 
BFD 2 makes it easy to swap out with one of the others. I doubt that that this kit is intended for cocktail-hour club dates; its overall room ambience gives it a slightly edgy flavor tht is better suited to alt-country and more aggressive jazz.

Heavy-Hitters
It''s difficult to list my favorite kits here, but my favorite snares include Chad Smith''s snappy, tight snare and Steve Ferrone''s Ludwig Black Beauty (see Web Clip 3), along with the bell-brass Tamas from Kit 4 (played with Blast Sticks), the beefy but tight Chad Smith kick, and its polar opposite, the thunderous orange-sparkle Kent kick from kit 4. Kits 2''s brushed toms and hi-hats are unhyped and intimate—as are its cymbals, which would fit in just as well with less-ambient brush kits.

Although the volumes are clearly labeled Rock Drums and they drip with rock attitude, I''d have no problem using them in any style that required aggressive, ambient drum sounds. Scott''s notes on the accompanying poster detail the stories behind his kit-piece acquisitions in loving detail. It''s clear that he''s proud of his collection, and it''s obvious he lavished a lot of attention on the sampling and assembly of this product. Check the demos out on Platinum Samples'' website. 

Overall rating (1 through 5): 4
Jim Scott Rocks Product Page

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