May 15, 2012

Fans of Massey Plugins will be happy to see some additional features added to the DRT: Drum Replacement Tool. The original plugin detected drum hits and exported MIDI notes, allowing you to choose your preferred third-party plugin to trigger the audio. The new DRT v2.0 ($96) includes a feature-rich sample player, which allows you to use your favorite drum samples to replace or mix in with your existing drum tracks, while using the same friendly interface and precise hit detection algorithm as the original.

When the DRT was first introduced last year, it took a different approach than most drum replacement plugins. Instead of housing a library of audio drum samples, DRT was designed to quickly analyze your drum tracks and spit out a MIDI track of the hits you wanted to replace – allowing you to use your favorite third-party MIDI instrument plugin, synthesizer, or sample-player to blend with or replace your drum sounds.

The beauty of DRT is its simple and intuitive interface, which makes it easy to detect and filter out false triggers. Click here for my blog post on the detection algorithm and user interface from the original version, or take a look at the quick start guide that gives you an overview of all the features of the newest version.

Now, for those of us with MIDI-phobia, or who simply want to detect and replace our drum hits all in one plugin, there is DRT v2.0. The most significant change in this version is the inclusion of an audio sample player that can print the replaced or enhanced audio files right to your drum tracks.

The ‘Samples’ window in the plugin lets you import your audio samples (supported file types include .Wav, .Aiff, SDII and others). You can also preview them, arrange their playback order, and adjust their velocity (along with a number of other settings). There are six ‘Stacks’ that hold multiple audio samples. At each detected trigger, a sample of similar velocity to the trigger will play from one of the stacks. You can arrange or randomize the playback order of the stacks, allowing you to remove any ‘machine gun effect’ and replace drum hits without taking away the performance of the recorded drummer. You can also blend recorded samples or tones with your existing tracks using the provided wet/dry ratio.

As far as the hit detection settings go, there’s a pair of new settings in this version of DRT to help you filter out the drum hits you don’t want. The Gate slider puts a noise gate on the audio before running the detection algorithm, which helps get rid of bleed from unwanted sources on your tracks. The Minimum Trigger Separation setting allows you to adjust the minimum distance in milliseconds between detected triggers, reducing the occurrence of false double triggers.

Adding the beat detection abilities of the original DRT with an audio sample player makes this version doubly powerful when it comes to enhancing your drum sounds. Even with a number of new features and settings, the plugin is still easy to get comfortable with and start using. You can download the demo of DRT v2.0 here (PT 7.2 and higher recommended). With the demo version you can still export MIDI tracks and audition the audio sample replacement – but you’ll have to purchase the full version to print the triggered audio to a track, manually edit triggers, and unlock all other features. –Mike Bauer

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