SPECTRASONICS Backbeat (SAGE Xpander for Stylus RMX)

Wow, this is a tough crowd. No sooner does Spectrasonics unleash the ultra-cool Stylus RMX, when some hecklers call out “Hey! This stuff sounds electronic! What about acoustic sounds?”
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The Stylus RMX library works for me, but there’s no denying that the five SAGE Xpanders (Backbeat, Retro Funk, Liquid Grooves, Burning Grooves, and Metamorphosis) bring an embarrassment of riches to the Stylus RMX platform. They’ve appeared before as sample libraries, but stick ’em in Stylus RMX, and they take on lives of their own.

Backbeat is the Xpander of choice for acoustic, rock solid drum grooves. The sounds are a bit tame for my tastes — I generally like big, rude drums — so I slapped in the Tube Limiter, Parametric EQ, and Power Filter, then used Edit Group on a couple grooves to drop pitch on only the snare hits. And that’s why I love Stylus RMX’s extreme editability: The sounds ended up as heavy as Kirstie Alley on a donut binge.

Don’t be misled by seeing only 39 grooves; there are a couple hundred distinct elements (variations, fills, etc. — it’s a 1.1GB library), and 70 multi setups to get you started, so you can assemble very convincing drum parts. And, the grooves were recorded by different drummers on different kits in different studios, so you’re not locked into one “sound.” Hecklers, you can sit down now.