This is a CD-ROM of stereo drum tracks (real drums, real room) recorded as WAV files at 24-bit, 44.1 kHz. There are 41 song sets with up to 33 parts (fill, chorus, etc) per song. Plus, there are solo drum hits that you can add on top of or use as samples. BPM's range from 72 to 170, and the tracks are geared towards styles of music like rock, pop, and country, though you're free to mix this stuff up. I wanted to try these out, and I'd never assembled beats to build a song before, so I set out to record a tune of my own. Using Pro Tools on a Digi 001, I imported the beats (in PT6 you can audition sound files, an excellent way to determine what will work for you) into a session and arranged a song, throwing down a scratch bass line and rearranging as needed. It was easy; using Duplicate functions and Slip mode I was able to piece together a cool drum part fast. The edit points are perfect, and tracks ran together smoothly. I was happy with the way they worked in my song; and even though I picked a sound with pretty aggressive reverb and crunch, it sounded alright in context. This would be a great tool for home recording songwriters trying to escape drum machine hell-though they'll have to really start thinking like a drummer. The drum sounds are recorded very well, with a bit of variety. Sounds are crisp and full, and the drummer is very tight, obviously playing to a click and doing it well. Limitations? You are dealing with stereo mixes so you have no control over individual levels-but they are mixed very well, and multitrack versions (12 tracks) sold on a per-song basis will be available soon). And most sounds have a bit too much reverb/room to my ears; but then again, if you layer a lot on top, the reverb will fall back in the mix. Also, the styles are a bit limited (where's reggae, dub, hip hop, jazz?), but maybe more will be available in the future as this is Vol. 1. Overall, I could see this CD-ROM being a good tool for songwriters who can't record (or play-like me) their own drums. Some of the tracks may even end up on a solo record I'm pretending to start.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More