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DS Drum RCS Essentials Walkthrough

Updated: Mar 4

The most versatile drum library for your DAW



 

Table of Content

  • Intro - DS Drum

  • Dashboard

  • ​Drum selection screen

  • Snare selection screen

  • Cymbals screen

  • Groove page

  • Mixer page

  • EQ page

  • FX page

  • Midi assignment page


DS Drum

Our first ever release is going to be from custom builders in the always sunny and warm south of Europe! DS Drum from Italy. Italy?

Don’t these people only build beautiful cars, cook great food and design the best clothes in the world you ask? Which my answer would be, yes the do!

Italiaans are know for their eye for details and their great taste of aesthetics.

So that they build great sounding and looking drums would be obvious right? DS Drum is founded more then 25 years ago by Luca Deorsola and their main focus has always been hand build, custom designed (by their users) Drum kits, and there Rebel Custom shop is still going full speed ahead!

But DS drum released this year new drum series where you just have to sell only the one kidney or even one series where no body parts have to be sold. So that’s great news for the people how are just starting out drumming or always wanted to own an Italian stallion without breaking the bank! :)

So if your in the market for a acoustic drum kit, definitely check out their website, I’ll put a link in the description. But the next step in taking the drum world by storm was to create extensive and easy to use sample libraries, and that’s why they teamed up with us!


So without further ado I present you the DS Drum - Rebel Custom Shop Essentials


This is a virtual drum sample library, sampled with much depth and realism, so you can recreate the DS Drum sound on your electronic drum kit or for your own productions. This library contains a whopping 30 gig of 80.000 drum samples of Italy’s finest! So lets dive in!




The Dashboard


The whole idea about our dashboard is to get a drum groove going and getting the drums sound you’re looking for in 2 clicks.


Jut select a presets here in the top left corner, give Kontakt the time to load all the samples en just hit the big play button in the middle! It’s that easy! If this is not the sound you’re looking for, hit stop, select another preset and repeat until you found the one you like. You can even fine tune the hit strength of your virtual drummer in a box down here with this slider. We made up to 40 presets, but with these drums, and mix capabilities of our mixer which, I will go through shortly, it could easily have been a kazzilion presets, but we thought lets give our users some room to show us their sound scaping creativity! So we would love to hear presets that you guys are going to make and post them on our Facebook community page or send them to info@redpackdrums.com and we’ll pick a winner who will get a DS library for free! There are some beautiful artist kits planned to be created for next year!


The winner will be announced on our Facebook community group on the 1ste of February 2022, this way we can give people some time to play with all the possibilities of our mixer, because it’s pretty extensive :)

Please check the Kontakt manual how to save your own presets and where you can find the snapshot files on your hard drive. I’ll leave a link to the manual in the description

So lets jump on to the drum selection screen


Drum selection


On the drum selection screen you can select the 3 kits we recorded on the right side menu, on the left side menu the 3 different kick drum beaters. And these will give a nuanced sound difference in the attack of the bas drum hits, you can audition them by clicking here on the play buttons next to the beater names. If you’re looking for more low end and some lighter bas drum hits select the wool beater, or are you looking for hard hits with a ton of attack then pick the wooden one, and the Felt is the more balanced one of the 3. Here on the right side you can select the 3 different tunings we recorded for the kits, I’ve been using drum sample libraries myself for a long time and I never really liked the digital tune possibilities of drum libraries, so now… when we started to build our own library the first thing I said was, lets record the drums in multiple tunings, so when you want to detune the drums you don’t have to rely on digital pitch shifting, and that turned out really cool!


So what we did here, and this is going to get a bit drum nerdy, is that tuning 1 is for all 3 kits the same, this way the wood difference of the kits would really be the main focus of the sound difference. And you can really hear that the Mahogany kit has more low end en the maple kits project more and ore more attacky than their mahogany counter part.

But tuning 2 and 3 are for all 3 kits different, and not only in pitch we also changed the balance of the top and bottom heads to change the tuning. Something you could never do with a digital tuner! So we tuned the Maple spruce kit up and tuned the bottom head higher then the top one, so that results in a shorter tone, and with the maple koto we went down in pitch, and a did one tuning where we raised the bottom head, and one tuning where we lowered the bottom head in relation to the top head. For the Mahogany kit we kept max resonance so that means the top and bottom head are tuned exactly the same!


Also, when you click on the DS logo on each shell you can interchange any drum part you want, so if you like a Mahogany floor and a Spruce Kick drum, Koto rack toms this is all possible in these dropdown menus.

Here you can also see the resonant head tunings, where it says Reso same, the top and bottom heads are tuned the same, where it says Reso higher the bottom head is tuned higher and where its say Reso lower… yes, obvious right? The note to which the drum is tuned is also displayed here, so you can really Taylor each drum sound to your own specs and tuning :) But to put the cherry on top of this beautiful drum cake, we also added a digital tuner for each drum to really fine tune the pitch, to for example, the key of your song, or to go crazy with the different sound possibilities. But more on that later!


Lets jump over to the Snare selection screen


Snare Selection


We’d setup the snare selection in a similar way as the drum selection screen, we recorded 10 snare drums for this library, 3 of the Mother Nature series, and that’s DS unique woods series, great characterfull sounds from these guys, 4 Metal series snares, if you need a more brighter snare drum with a metal character to it, and the rebel custom shop snares that came with the custom drums of the main screen. My all time favorite is the Mahogany, but don’t tell Luca that I have a favorite, they’re like his kids, so he loves them all right ;) But I find for metal mixes I do for clients I often go for the 14x6 Steel because it has a ton of attack to it and that works great for that kind of music style. But the mahogany just sounds so warm and full to my ears, its just like and angel singing me to sleep. Aaaaahhh…. Anyway.. you can audition all of them by hitting the play button next to their names, you can change the actual tuning with the tuner down here, just like on the drum screen and the audition sounds will change accordingly, And again, these are actual recorded tunings so no fake digital tunings here! All the real deal! And when you found your snare character and tuning, you can tell Kontakt to load all the actual samples by clicking the snare names.


The hit strength slider is also accessible from this screen so when you change a snare sound you can tweak the global hit strength from here aswel


Cymbal screen



On the cymbal selection screen you have 6 cymbals at the same time to your disposal, a splash…. Crash on the left, hi hat, ride, crash to the right and a china. For all spots we have a second cymbal, and these are really different sounding cymbals so we could cover a lot of musical styles. And on this page we used the same setup for selection, auditioning and hit strength fine tweaking. So nobody can get confused about navigating all the possibilities of this virtual drum machine.


Groove page


Here on the groove page you can find the DS artist grooves for inspiration, select one, hit play to play along with your guitar, or look for some inspiration for your own song, you can drag and drop the one you like to your daw and build from there. You can tweak the notes however you like. And its also a good way to learn how to program your own drums by analyzing how drummers actually play the drums and which articulations they use and where the use them, so your own drum programming will sound much more realistically. Just a side note, if you use Kontakt stand alone all the grooves will be played at 120 bpm and if you have Kontakt opened as a plug in in your daw, it will match the beats per minute of your D A W. You can see the intended bpm of the drum grooves in their titels

Could be, that some of your personal grooves or one of the thousands other great midi packs out there, don’t sound how they should with our midi configuration but if you sit this one out I’ll explain how to solve this on the midi map page without having to rewrite all the midi parts. Adding midi packs to this page is as easy as copying the folder to your MIDIfiles folder on your harddrive, and when you restart Kontakt they are all here in the midi packs column.


So clicking here we will go over to the mixer


Mixer


The mixer is a real beast under the hood, we went all in on the capabilities of the Kontakt player, so here you can find al the volume faders processing and effects for each drum and cymbal, but we also wanted to keep it noob proof. Thats why we created the all tab, the ALL tab is just to make quick and easy adjustment in instrument balances with out having to click through on ton a tabs and having to changes 6 faders to lower de bas drum volume. So in short, these faders control ALL microphones for the kick, all microphones for the snare and so on. And these ALL faders are accessible directly from your NKS compatible keyboard, if you use one.


The 3 faders on the right are also for quick adjustments to the volume of all the cymbals, all the overhead microphones and all the room microphones in one go!


So lets first talk a bit about how we recorded these drums, we used your tippickle close and overhead microphones, but we have a pretty big room where we record drums so we also have a stereo pair of room mics, the character microphones do what they say and give your drums more character and are a more midrange compressed sound, because these are stereo paired microphones where the attack and release time of the hardware compressor where different for left and right signals to give the sound more movement and flavor where needed. The squash microphones are a mono room mic compressed with a 1176 style compressor to really give the drums that tail and pumped sound, use this one wisely :)


And last but not least the Beef microphones, and these also do what they say, and give your drums more beef! These are low frequenties enhancing samples and where recorded with a low passed close proximity sub microphone to enhance the fundamental tone of each and every drum! These are my personal favorites :) But you can also blow out some speakers with these if you go crazy with them, so tread carefully, and don’t say I didn’t warn you ;)


So to dive in to all the extra features we build in, lets go over to the character tab, where we have less faders so it’s easier to see and understand how we set this up. Just focus on one fader, and from there it’s all the same features more or less. So down here we got the mute, phase and solo buttons, and great tip to preserve cpu power is that, if you don’t use a microphone then mute it and it won’t clog up your cpu power. I really love this feature, because when running a big mixing project in your recording software, and your track count goes up, with all kind of virtual instruments and plug ins running, its always nice to have the option to create some extra breathing room for your computer.

Up here we got the panner, and the EQ and FX buttons, these are additional equalizers and effect processing for each and every channel separate! So if you’re a sound nerd just like me you can really go all in with this mixer.


EQ


Lets first have a look at the EQ, the EQ is a 4 band SSL style equalizer where you can select the frequency bands here, and the gain and Q nobs down here, you can switch between a shelf and a bell curve for the upper and lower frequency bands and there is a high pass filter with a resonance knob, the high pass frequency you can select bij sliding this slider over here. And the iOS style buttons are to bypass the eq and filter entirely.

FX


So lets hit back and open up the FX tab, here we got 4 modules popping up, a transient designer, tape saturator, parallel compresion and 2 different sounding reverbs, and these are impulse responses from a famous, used on countless hit records hardware unit. I can’t mention the name , but its the small white box you see sitting on every major studio desk ;) (foto’s editten en voorbij laten komen)

If you don’t know what these proccesors do, let me explain, if you do then skip ahead if you want. The transient designer makes your drummer hit harder or softer with the attack fader, or makes your sound take longer or shorter to fade with the sustain fader, the tape saturator is to add a more vintage warmth to it, and if you have no idea what that means, which I can understand, all these terms to explain sound can be pretty confusing, With the warmth fader you can add some more low end to the sound, en with the gain fader you can distort the signal a bit, to make your drums sound less spikey!


We setup 2 completly different sounding compressor for you which you can add to the signal with a wet and dry mix fader, and these do work in series, which means one feeds into the other so they work best in conjunction with each other, but play around with the 2 faders and see what kind of smack you need and like ;) The reverbs are a plate and a room sound, and I like to use reverbs not only to give the drums a spatial quality but also to color the sounds more, for example I often use the plate reverb to accentuate high end in the sounds, and the room reverb to accentuate the low end in the drum. So you’ll see me combining the 2 reverbs on snare and toms, and only using the room for the bas drum and only the plate for cymbals. But that’s all a matter of taste of course! But to me that sounds better!


And also here you can find the bypass buttons on each unit, except for the parallel compression faders, if you don’t need or want to use them just pull the fader all the way down!


So back at the mixer we have a dropdown menu here, just above the fader where we have hidden some extra processing abilities for you!


Volume, and these are the volume faders of course, we got spread, which is a stereo to mono enhancer, all the way down you will create a mono signal and all the way up you can get it to sounding even more wider then just stereo, when you control click on the fader it will pop back to its default position and this works on every fader or rotary button within our instrument.


Then we have a gate, and here you can adjust the attack, decay and hold for the channel, so that means you can shorten the sound of a tom for example or kill the attack a bit of a snare, or I will use a slower attack for example on the beef channels, really low end heavy signals can click and pop sometimes so a slower attack time will clean that up quit nicely without changing the actual sound. And last but not least, we here have the digital tune knob, at first I didn’t wanted to feature this AT ALL because I never liked that kind of tuning in drum sample libraries, but one of my developers really insisted to add this, because a lot of alternative music styles use this feature he told me, so please let me know in the comment section if you like this option or not? But in hein site I’m really glad we did add it because you can create really cool sounds with it, for example, combining the different sampled tunings with the digital tuning, to fine tune to the pitch of your song or going completely crazy with it to create break beat style snare drums.


So and again, for every channel you have all these sound enhancing tools to your disposal.


I’m really excited to hear what you guys will come up with, so please send in your snapshots to info@redpackdrums.com and we will pick out a winner on the first of February 2022, who will win a DS sample library for free!


So the last page is the midi page


MIDI


This page is where you can load and save custom midi mapping. For each articulation you can assign 2 notes, so here you can see that the rimshot snare hit is assigned to E1 and A0 and you can change these values in 2 different ways, using the dropdown menu and selecting the note by hand, or hitting the midi learn button, and when its high lighted in red you can hit the note or 2 notes on your keyboard, electronic drum kit or whatever you are using to trigger these samples. If you just want one note to trigger the sound, then hit the pad or key 2 times in a row, so the midi learn will automatically stop highlighting.

Here in the maps section you can load factory presets and also save your custom presets in one of the 5 custom slots. Click on save map, select on of the custom slots, and if you need to load it, you can find it here in the load map dropdown under the custom 1 to 5 slots. The option of exporting and importing custom mapping is available here, where you can save Kontakt specific mapping on your harddrive. And this is useful for sharing your mapping presets with your friends or just to back up your personal mapping, so when the day comes that you need to re-install your computer, you won’t have to do this process all over again.

And when you play one of your other groove packs it will always sound how they should. You’ll only need to set it up once and save it in a custom slot or as a desired file name for easy browsing. It’s a bit of a time consuming process but when inspiration hits, and your custom midi patterns don’t play how they should, you’re really happy you did it in advance.

The Hihatt CC is to midi learn your hihat pedal if you use an electronic drum kit, and for some pedals you need to invert the signal to make it function properly.

Under the miscellaneous section we have two last surprises for you, and that’s a humanize check box and a auto rimshot feature. We recorded all the drums in a ton of velocity layers and for each layer we got round robin samples, and that means that if you program your drums on for example 100 velocity all the way to the end, the sampler will randomize between hits we recorded for that specific layer. And that gives the instrument a 1000 times more humanized feel to it, and with this check box you can disable that feature and Kontakt will always play one sample for each layer.

With the autorimshot slider you can determine on which hit strength aka velocity the snare hit should trigger rimshots, but first you have to map the autorimshot articulation to your snare pad or key over here, then when the threshold is met, he will automatically trigger the rimshots. This is a really cool feature whilst playing on your electronic kit!

So that’s it for the Rebel custom shop Essentials bundle, don’t forget to send in your snapshots to enter the competition to win a free drum library. Please join our Facebook community group,I’ll put a link in the description, and feel free to post your songs there, I would really love to hear them, and any other questions you have about our libraries.

So Thanks for watching, Jonathan out!


Red Pack drums