Drag and Drop Drummer (Win)Conjuring up realistic-sounding drum tracks can be challenging for any desktop musician. Drag and Drop Musician has produced Drag and Drop Drummer (Win; $49) and a CD full of samples to make creating high-quality drum tracks easier.
Drag and Drop Drummer is the software front end that lets you assemble drum tracks. It comes with the Dry Studio Kit audio- and MIDI-loop CD, the first of several loop CDs announced by the company (Percussion Kit and R&B Hip-Hop should be available by the time you read this). Dry Studio Kit contains professional-sounding audio drum loops, matching MIDI files, and SoundFonts containing the original samples. You can audition loops with the software and export them into an audio editor or digital audio sequencer. (Any program that supports dragging and dropping from Windows Explorer should work.)
Click, Drag, and Rock 'n' RollThe drum loops on Dry Studio Kit are 16-bit, 44.1 kHz stereo WAV files. Each is provided at six tempos ranging from 95 to 120 bpm for most of the loops, and 70 to 90 bpm for two smaller sets. If none of the supplied tempos meet your needs, export the loops into an audio program and time stretch them as necessary. (However, stretching them more than a few percentage points can create artifacts, depending upon your audio editor.) You can also create your own loops by loading the SoundFonts into your favorite sound card and triggering them at any tempo with the included Standard MIDI Files.
The disc contains loops in a number of styles created from a dry studio drum kit. You can choose from 243 well-sequenced patterns. The three main categories are Fills, Beats, and Miscellaneous. You get tom patterns; disco beats and fills; straight-time, straight eighth-note, and 16th-note fills; funk grooves; funky ride-cymbal patterns; funk fills; triplet riffs; and hi-hat patterns. Generally, the loops sound quite good and are very musical. Because they were all recorded on the same drum set, mixing and matching them is easy, allowing you to build long, complex drum parts. Sample music tracks (available at www.dddrummer.com) demonstrate how well the loops work in larger arrangements.
Each drum loop boasts a matching MIDI file, which lets you recreate the patterns using any sound source you wish. You can create custom loops and fills with individual WAV files of the drum-set components as well as with the SoundFonts.
Bleeding EdgeOne common loop problem is that cymbal crashes and sounds occurring at the end of a pattern are usually truncated because a loop must be accurately trimmed. This is not an issue with Dry Studio Kit. Because individual drum samples are available, you can add a single MIDI-triggered cymbal crash if needed.
Using the Drag and Drop Drummer interface is very simple: pick a category, select a loop, then set a tempo. Toggle the Audio/MIDI button to audition the WAV or MIDI version of the pattern. To export a loop, just drag it from the waveform display and drop it onto your audio program's main screen. You can keep the Drag and Drop Drummer window visible along with any other window, which is convenient if you're exporting multiple patterns.
My only complaint about the interface is that there are so many loops to choose from that the menu containing their names can often fill an entire screen. Perhaps the loops could be sorted into a few additional categories for a more manageable list.
Drag and Drop Drummer handily does the job it claims to do, and at a reasonable price. I look forward to hearing the company's forthcoming CD kits.