Steinberg Groove Agent

Sergey NECHITAYLO
Music Equipment
may 2004

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  Sound examples

Here you can download and listen to the sound files, demonstrating the work of this remarkable VSTi. Like with the other virtual instruments Ive illustrated (such as Steinberg Virtual Guitarist, Native Instruments FM7), in my music takes you can hear some additional instruments because I wanted to show a real music material, not just some dry drum tracks.

I have to admit; the process of creating valuable examples for the "virtual drummer" appeared more difficult, than for its guitar brother. The thing is that it is not enough to show the sound of drum samples and a pair of rhythmic figures. Groove Agent has gained the "revolutionary" reputation not as drum sampler (though with his sampler part everything is OK). The main advantage of the VSTi is its almost live sound, and abilities to independently change a character of performance; playing breaks and fills, etc. It is almost impossible to demonstrate all of these features on two-three measures of the material - the drummer in fact is not a solo guitarist, he/she cannot continuously play breaks and alternate rhythm patterns. Besides, erudition of the virtual drummer is not small it plays and perfectly orients in fifty four various musical styles. Each style has unique set of instruments and play techniques.

After some experiments, Ive decided to take several styles (equally covered the full range of styles) to make simple arrangements for each style and to create demo drum parties. Ive made twenty three styles totally. Almost all of them used acoustic drums because I wanted to illustrate "the virtual drummer", not the "virtual drum-machine programmer". However, in my demonstration I included three electronic drum-kits, too.

Unfortunately, a fairly demonstration of all the abilities of Groove Agent requires to create a long examples (they have turned out rather big without it). The matter is that Groove Agent rhythmic patterns could contain up to four or eight (and may be more in some styles) measures. For example, three measures occupied by static pattern, in the fourth measure some variation is played, in the fifth measure a little varies the character hit on a ride cymbal, and in the eighth measure Groove Agent is playing some filling on a snare drum. It is very good for work, because it dilutes the monotony of a static rhythm like live musician, but it is inconvenient for demonstration. What if I want to show six-seven characteristic patterns of style in one example?

So, Ive decided to allocate for each pattern no more than two measures and if some interesting variations are outside of this range, I will place them here manually. Thus, all drum parties of the examples are constructed under the two-measure scheme: a static rhythm => an easy variation. On the fourth measure follows a break. Differently: a static rhythm => an easy variation => a static rhythm => a break. Complexity and length of a break are defined by the structure of the arrangement. For example, in the middle of chorus the break will be more similar to easy filling during ordinary playing and before bridge or coda - will sound more significantly.

Of course, you can use a similar method during your work, but the resulting drum party can be turned out, perhaps, is a little bit rhythmically oversaturated. However, I could hear more complex parties, played by live drummers.

Also, I tried to combine several styles into one example at once (as I did it, illustrating Virtual Guitarist), but eventually Ive refused this idea because it complicates perception of demo even more. Nevertheless, you can use such method in your work if there will be a necessity.

Each example has a name of appropriate style (specific position of the Style slider on Groove Agents control panel) and represents two-part or the three-part musical structure which can be repeated if Groove Agent able to demonstrate something interesting. If the style was not so complicated (more truly, has less contrasting rhythm patterns and fillings) I made shorter arrangement. Anyway, even the longest examples are sound for about a minute and only few of them are little longer than one minute. Examples are given in two types: the first file contains the complete mix, the second - only Groove Agent drum part.

Ive made all arrangements and mixes in two sequencers: Emagic Logic Audio Platinum 5.5.1 and Steinberg Cubase SX 2.2. As the bass module I used an excellent VSTi named Spectrasonics Trilogy. The synthesizers were Native Instruments FM7 and Emagic ES2. The guitars were - Steinberg Virtual Guitarist and Steinberg Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition. The main sampler was Emagic EXS24 with AKAI sound libraries, electro piano was Emagic EVP88, and for Hammond organ emulator I used Emagic EVB3. All my music examples are relatively simple for the sake to attract your maximum attention to the drum tracks. For the same reason the volume level of drum tracks in my audio mixes has been slightly increased. During the mixing I used only a dynamic processor for some tracks and a reverb for ambience all in necessary minimum.

Well, here the examples are:

1950 Swing
Mix (967 kb)
Drums (962 kb)

1952 Jazz Trio
Mix (912 kb)
Drums (920 kb)

1954 Cha-Cha
Mix (980 kb)
Drums (990 kb)

1956 Rumba
Mix (780 kb)
Drums (770 kb)

1957 Shuffle
Mix (693 kb)
Drums (686 kb)

1958 Fox
Mix (810 kb)
Drums (810 kb)

1960 Bossa Nova
Mix (980 kb)
Drums (990 kb)

1961 Twist
Mix (798 kb)
Drums (798 kb)

1963 Train Beat
Mix (737 kb)
Drums (733 kb)

1965 Soul
Mix (938 kb)
Drums (939 kb)

1967 Backbeat
Mix (854 kb)
Drums (850 kb)

1972 Bonzo
Mix (966 kb)
Drums (964 kb)

1974 Reggae
Mix (745 kb)
Drums (743 kb)

1975 Funk
Mix (990 kb)
Drums (990 kb)

1976 Disco
Mix (1.03 Mb)
Drums (1.03 Mb)

1977 Hard Rock
Mix (1 Mb)
Drums (990 kb)

1980 Boogie
Mix (914 kb)
Drums (910 kb)

1981 Electro
Mix (804 kb)
Drums (806 kb)

1982 Slick
Mix (849 kb)
Drums (863 kb)

1984 Arena
Mix (858 kb)
Drums (863 kb)

1986 Detroit Techno
Mix (478 kb)
Drums (464 kb)

1991 Fusion
Mix (1.02 Mb)
Drums (1.02 Mb)

1998 Hip-Hop
Mix (843 kb)
Drums (827 kb)

  Comments


02.10.04 06:08
Jibby Jacob jibbyj@gmail.com
Dear Sergey

I wonder if you could help me. I have just bought Steinberg studiocase. I know a bit of music & midi.I am trying to programme the Groove agent SE to a pattern I have in my head. Could you give me a step by step procedure to programme a groove for an ethnic song I am trying to accompany.I can wirte the rhythm pattern in notes.

Please let me know the method to do it by step entry of the drum notes.thank you and much apprecaited.

jibby jacob


03.10.04 18:07
Sergey Nechitaylo

Sorry, Jibby, but the last Steinberg sequencer I have seen was Cubase SX (?)2.2. So, I can not tell you anything about Groove Agent SE. However SE is the simplified version of Groove Agent VSTi and I think it has a smaller set of functions and features than original VSTi. In the full version of GA you can not add, modify or delete any pattern or filling. But you can record it`s MIDI output into standard MIDI track of your sequencer. This recorded MIDI clip can be edited (copied/pasted/splitted/&) and played back through GA as through any sampler/syntesizer. Don`t only forget to disable MIDI input of GA or it will start playing pattern in parallel with your MIDI clip. If you want to create your own pattern use the same way - disable GA input (switch off virtual drummer) and record from keyboard (or add in piano roll pane) your notes. In the full version of GA all drum samples are mapped from MIDI note B0 up to A3. You can freely play them without triggering the virtual drummer engine.

If you need more detailed assistance try to ask your questions on GA forum - go to this page http://... and click "forum" icon.


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