Steven Slate Drums 4 Platinum (SSD) is the latest release of the state-of-the-art drum instrument from Steven Slate. It is like having over 100 of the world’s best drum kits at your beck and call. Everything from rock kits, to vintage kits, from urban kits, to the signature kits that are based on some of the world’s most classic drum sounds. What is more is that you can mix and match the various kits.
What is new with this release is the SSD Player that is the heart of this instrument. A drum sampler that works on both the Mac and PC (VST,RTAS, AU) and was built from the ground up by the same team that created the TRIGGER drum replacement processor. The whole system was made to be simple to use whether using a drum set or simulating in DAW.
Along with the new player, some of the other new features that come with Steven Slate Drums 4 are dozens of new deluxe series kits that were recorded with extreme precision for very natural playability. There is also a brand new cymbal pack from Soultone Cymbals which are a custom set of Turkish cymbals set that range in sound from dark to bright and shimmery.
Included as well are five new kits in the Urban/Dance/House/Electro sound that were designed by Griffin Boice, the American producer, mixer, songwriter, and composer who has worked with the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Rob Zombie, and Paradiso Girls. These were produced using analog equipment to give them that classic radio sound.
When you purchase Steven Slate Drums 4 online, you first have to download several files. Once that is done the installation is very easy and simple to setup. You simply run the SSD4 sampler installer. Copy the library folder to a hard drive and copy your license file to the same directory.
You then initiate the SSD sampler on an instrument track in your favorite DAW – one thing to keep in mind is that it needs to be a stereo track for this to work right. Once that is done, you go into settings button in the Steven Slate Drums and set the base directory where you put your library. Now you are ready to go.
Once loaded you are in the Construct Kit area and there are three main parts of the screen. Along the left side is your navigation. This is where you can select the area you want to work with whether it is kit construction, editing instruments, the mixer, grooves, or map converter. To the right and on top is the main library area where you can load a kit and the bottom right where you see your drum set.
There are two main modes here. One is the Instrument Mode where you can load instruments individually. This is done by taking the individual parts and dropping them to the pad. If you want a Kick drum from one set and a snare from another and a cymbal from a third, you just drag and drop. The Kit Mode lets you choose from a full kit – there are over 100 to choose from. You just navigate to the kit and double click on it and it will load – you can also load a kit as a base and change out individual pieces.
With Steven Slate Drums 4 you have full control over everything. You want to make an adjustment to the snare, just double click on the kit piece or pad and the parameters will come up to where you can adjust for the whole instrument or certain articulations. You can even adjust for each mic in the instrument.
You can use the Dynamics Curve to control the dynamic range of the instrument, the Velocity Curve to control the dynamic response, and the Range Curve to limit the velocities by setting minimums and maximums values within an instrument.
There is a Mixer that is included which gives you even more control over your sound. With the Mixer you can customize the routing of the SSD Sampler to set volume and spatial positioning for all of the loaded microphones. There are three tabs. One for mixing, bleed level – this controls the levels on non-direct mics for any instrument with a direct mic., and bleed route – this sets the output of non-direct mics for any instrument with a direct mic.
In the Mapping section, you can create custom maps for any of the SSD4 preset kits. This means that you can map the MIDI notes and MIDI controller commands. When you are done, you can save the maps to be loaded later. This means that you have a lot of flexibility when working with your kits.
With this release you also have all of the Classic instruments from prior versions. These “Mix Ready” kits have been reprogrammed for better sound and realism. These include the “Signature Kits” which are modeled after famous bands and artist like Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Pantera, AC/DC and many more.
Another cool feature is that when working with the mixer you can blend sounds, create buses, route outputs, create sub-mixes, and more. You can route parts of the kit into outputs so that you can isolate individual parts of the kit so that when you get it into your DAW, you can apply separate effects to each track.
SSD4 ships with a variety of midi drum grooves in different genres that were recorded by real drummers. You can drag and drop the grooves into your DAW from the SSD4 Sampler and since this is MIDI data, you can change the notes and other properties to get the sound you’re looking for. Steven Slate Drums 4 Platunum can be purchased from the Steven Slate Drums store for only $249. There is also a scaled down version called Steven Slate Drums EX for $99. You can read about them both at the Steven Slate Store.
I found that Steven Slate Drums 4 Platinum was very easy to use right from the start. You can be set up and running in minutes and the vast range of capabilities is endless. The new SSD Player works great. The kits load incredibly fast and I have already said, you have complete control over all aspects of your sound. You can even use your own samples. If you want serious control over the sound of your drums, then I very highly recommend Steven Slate Drums 4 Platinum.