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Virtual Drums That Rock! – Addictive Drums

Home Music Production: Virtual Drums That Rock! Addictive Drums
Home Music Production: Virtual Drums That Rock! Addictive Drums
Home Music Production: Virtual Drums That Rock! Addictive Drums


Developer: XLN Audio
Version: 1.5.3
Type: Virtual Drums
Price: $179


Ease of Use



Total Score



Fantastic and realistic sounding kits. Easy to use GUI. Lots of functionality. Ability to swap out kit pieces.


No flexibility to add additional kit pieces. No ability to add velocity controlled articulation layers. Sounds are a bit heavy and require good EQ to fit into mix.

Posted July 24, 2010 by Stephan Earl

Full Review

Are you on the hunt for a good virtual drum sample player and can’t decide which one is right for you? It’s understandable since there are so many good virtual drum instruments out there.  There are also different categories of virtual drum instruments such as: groove production machines, drum machines, drum samplers, virtual drummers and software / hardware hybrid products.

In the Virtual Drums that Rock! series I’ll take a look at some of the virtual drum software that I’m using or have used, and review some of their advantages and disadvantages.   Virtual drum  instruments are often used differently and for different purposes, so for that reason this overview isn’t to tell you which product is better than the other, but rather to point out some differences and advantages of each. This way if you currently only have enough coin for one virtual drum software, you have some information to help you choose one that’s the best fit for your needs.


Home Music Production: Virtual Drums That Rock! Addictive Drums

Virtual Drums That Rock! Addictive Drums

To use an analogy, if EZ Drummer is your moderately skilled infantryman, than Addictive Drums is your better trained special forces operative.  Addictive Drums is selling for $179, so it’s about $80 more than EZ Drummer.  While the added cost may be a bit much when you’re on a  tight budget, the increased capabilities and richness of sound may be worth the extra coin.  I’ll also mention that Addictive Drums is substantially lower in cost than Steven Slate Drums $249 or FXpansion BFD 2.0 $299, yet is comparable to both in sound quality and features.


Addictive Drums has a user-friendly interface with four pages: the Kit page, the Edit page, the FX page and the Beats page.  It comes with many professionally produced presets so that in an instant you can call up key settings including: kit pieces, EQ, compression, reverb, FX, envelope and mixer settings.  Creating your own presets is a snap.  Often I will listen to tracks from my favorite artists, emulate the drums sounds on AD, then save them as presets.  This way if I’m hearing a Dave Weckl type of song in my head, I can pull up my Dave Weckl kit preset and start composing.

The main mixer is visible from all four pages so you have quick access to basic parameters.  The Edit and FX pages allow you more detailed control over each sound in the kit, and you can easily take a clean acoustic drum kit and make it sound electronic, or like an old vinyl sounding kit.  Each mixer channel including overhead and room mics can be sent as individual outputs to your DAW for further treatment.  Lastly, AD comes with over 3,500 MIDI grooves in various styles which can be dragged and dropped into your DAW project.  The beat settings allow for control over human feel, timing, swing and intensity of the grooves.


As feature rich as AD is, it’s the sounds that make this virtual drum instrument a heavy hitter.  The sounds are superb, of high quality and very detailed.  Out of the box Addictive Drums ships with three complete drum kits (Sonar Designer, DW Collectors and Tama Star Classic), and lots of extra drums and cymbals.  These kits will cover most of your rock, pop and contemporary jazz styles.

When you’re ready to expand your drum piece pallet, there are additional drum collections from XLN available sold as ADpaks.  They range in price from $59 for the Modern Jazz Brushes, Modern Jazz Sticks and Funk Adpaks; to $149 for the Retro ADpak.   For that vintage sound or soulful flavor, I highly recommend the Retro which pack three classic Ludwig drum sets from the 60’s and 70’s with cymbals from Paiste and Sabian.  As a bundle, AD with Retro will cover most of your acoustic drum needs.

Addictive Drums accounted for 60% of the drums sounds heard on my debut CD ORIGINS.  It was because of the flexibility and quality of AD that I was able to use the instrument for just about all acoustic drum sounds heard on the album.  Stylus RMX accounted for the remaining 40% of drum sounds heard on the album.

If there’s one down side to AD drums, it’s that the sounds are very good and fat, but a bit heavy in the mix and require a good amount of EQ to fit into a mix.  If you’re a home studio recording musician who is new to mixing and EQ, then you’ll want to listen to some comparable reference tracks and try to match the EQ as best as possible.  By comparison, drum sounds from EZ Drummer and Superior Drummer 2.0 by Toontrack are also very realistic sounding, but fit into a mix much easier.  Outside of a complete mix, the Toontrack products may sound a bit thinner, but as soon as you start piling on other instruments, they sit right where they need to be.


  • Superior Drummer 2.0 – $299 (Toontrack)
  • Steven Slate Drums 4.0 – $249 (Yellow Matter Entertainment))
  • BFD 2 – $299 (FXpansion)
  • Studio Kit Builder – $199 (Vir2)

Stephan Earl

Composing, recording and producing music in the home studio environment for over 25 years, musician and author Stephan Earl now enjoys sharing his home studio setup experience with other home studio recording musicians via


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