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Graphic courtesy of Laurie McCanna, Webdiner.com.

PCRECORDING.COM - Drums On Demand Review:

Manufacturer: Drums On Demand
Product: Drums On Demand Drum Loop CD ($49.95)

In August of 2003, I received a press release from a new company in the drum loop market - - Drums On Demand. The loops in Drums On Demand were recorded during studio recording sessions. Available in CD form it offers nearly 900 royalty-free, stereo loops organized into 41 Song Sets. Each set may include verse, chorus, fill, bridge, break, intro, ending and other loops. The idea behind the organization of the loops is to find the master verse or chorus loop that works with your song then use the other loops and segments in the Song Set to build a drum track. The user can also mix and match loops from other sets as well.

Drums On Demand loops features:

  • Royalty Free
  • Rock, Pop, Country styles
  • Multiple Time Signatures
  • High end, quality mix
  • 41 Loop Sets, Ranging from 72 to 170 BPM
  • Multiple snares
  • Brush and rim-based loops
  • Contemporary beats and fills

Drums on Demand is available for PC and Mac in one of three formats:

  • Acidized 24-Bit WAV Format for Acid, Sonar, Cakewalk programs, Soundtrack and Live; compatible with all WAV-based programs that can use 24-bit WAV files (Pro Tools, etc.) Many DAWs too.
  • Acidized 16-Bit WAV Format for similar programs and workstations that support 16-bit WAVs (from a computer CD, not a music CD).
  • REX2 Format for programs like Reason, Logic, Cubase, Nuendo (programs that support REX2 files.)

The Drums On Demand Team members are:

  • Todd Sorensen is an accomplished session drummer and percussionist as well as a composer and producer. His playing and writing can be heard everyday on shows like NBC's The Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America and more. He also composes for TV, radio and album production. His work has been featured in film trailers for such blockbusters as Tomb Raider 2, X Men 2 and Spiderman.
  • Guy Randle has been engineering and producing full time since 1977 when he founded Rosewood Recording Company. With more than 25 years of experience behind the board, his track record includes projects ranging from major label artists to independent albums with total unit sales in the millions. He loves recording drums.
  • Quint Randle has made a career out of making life simpler for working musicians and songwriters. He founded Gig Magazine in 1986 and his book, Making Money Making Music, is available at bookstores nationwide. He has also written for a variety of music industry publications such as Mix Magazine, Guitar Player and more. The Drums on Demand concept and organization system grew out of his own songwriting and production work because other drum CDs were lacking.

In a nutshell, the Drums on Demand CD set was designed to deliver simple and flexible stereo loops that capture the "live" feel of a recording session. In other words, recorded while a drummer is actually listening to, working with, and responding to other musicians. In addition, there is a veteran engineer at the console.

I used the Drums On Demand CD on my current EP project. I have used it since September and have fully explored its capabilities. I am able to say that Drums On Demand does deliver what it claims.

Organization:

directories

I installed the CD on my system (Pentium IV 2.4, XP Pro, 512 meg RAM) without incident. The loops are organized into 41 different sets at varying BPMs. A set of one-shot drum samples are included as well. The drum loop directories are set up like the screen capture of the directory here. I have superimposed one directory along with another. As you can see, the names of each loop characterize the drummer's sense of where it belongs in the set. The nomenclature for each Song Set is the same. The user could simply use the loops in the order suggested by the names or the user can place them in any order that makes sense for his project.

At first blush, the organization makes a great deal of sense. The relationship between the chorus and the fill, the verse and the chorus, the intro to the end are all obvious when patched together. The overall "feel" of each loop set is consistent in character, tone, volume and intensity. The timing and length of each loop are precise. It is very easy to construct a complete drum track within each directory.

However, the nomenclature used can get confusing if you start using loops from different directories. Because each directory uses the same names for its respective parts, it can get problematic when you use one loop from a directory that has the same name as another in your project. If you are not careful you may end up with a hodgepodge of loops that have similar names. My solution was to pull up a loop and rename it to tie it directly to my project. It would be helpful to provide a nomenclature that ties in with the individual directory. With some creative effort, this should be possible without making the names too long.

Sound Quality:

Given the pedigree of the people involved in creating this loop set, it should come as no surprise that the sound quality is superb. The technical quality is top-notch. Each set has a wonderfully full sound, with a sense that the drums are being "played" not just sampled. There is a certain confidence in the recordings, each drum strike is done with authority. Unlike other drum loops sets I have listened to that sound like they have been recorded in a vacuum, these sound real. Within each loop set there is a variety of tonal quality that ties in with the part of the track it is for. For example, there are many ways to strike a snare drum to achieve a different sound and feel. These loops capture those types of details. For instance, the chorus is usually a more dramatic, high-impact part of a song. These loops reflect that feeling. I have not heard a better sounding drum loop set.

One will want to keep in mind though, that there is a double-edge to the sonic story. Some of the samples have been mixed and engineered to achieve the best sound quality. This includes in some instances, a bit of EQ, reverb and compression. It may be difficult to match the sonic quality of these samples in your project, particularly if you do not have similar equipment to that used to record these loops. Does this mean you should avoid them? No, it simply means you have a standard to work towards. Nonetheless, I would suggest that next CD incorporate "dry" samples as well.

Useability:

The variety of styles of music represented on this CD is quite broad. If you use an ACID-capable or Rex-capable software, increasing or decreasing the BPMs on the sets is easy as they have been ACIDIZED/Rexified. I do not use an ACIDIZED software. However, I was able to find loops that fit my songs after careful consideration and with judicious use of WaveLab to stretch or shorten the loops to my particular BPM requirements.

In piecing together each song, I was able to confidently predict that the chorus sample would actually work with the chorus of my song or the verse would work with the verse. Also, I was able to pull in a variety of the one-shot samples to add particular highlights to the drum track where needed. The loops themselves are carefully produced, cut and mixed so that the fit together seamlessly. It truly sounded like a drummer was playing in my little studio, not a drum loop machine.

Other than the naming challenges presented by the nomenclature design, the samples were very easy to use, design and put together.

I have provided a very brief clip from one of the song introductions as a sample for you to hear. (Right-click/Save As). This is a rough mix that I am still working on.

Conclusion:

Drums On Demand are the best sounding drum loops I have heard. They are easy to use in a variety of song styles. Careful consideration in project nomenclature management will go a long ways towards simplifying your project and maximizing the benefit offered by this loop set. If you are looking for a quick to build, great-sounding drum loops CD, Drums On Demand delivers.