This week, I continued my mission to optimize my HD studio setup, aiming the sight squarely on acoustic drums, or rather, high-resolution digitally-sampled acoustic drums.  I know.  Whatever.

Unfortunately, I don’t have room for a real drum kit in my new studio, but even if I did, it wouldn’t do much good given my drumming skills – I need the power of a DAW to massage things into shape.  So, analog, the indisputable champion of HD, isn’t an option this time.

A search for high-resolution (e.g., 24-bit/96 kHz) drum sample libraries reveals just a handful of choices.  Sonic Reality’s Ocean Way Drums Platinum HD edition sounds pretty terrific to my ears, and with 19 kits to choose from, it’s a winner, even at $2 grand.

Next, there’s Mixosaurus.  The company offers just one drum kit – “Kit A” – but it’s insane.  Similar to Wave Alchemy’s approach to electronic drum machine emulation, Kit A employs the same 24/96 resolution, but with more velocity layers and more round-robin samples than Ocean Way Drums.  Furthermore, I love that the drums were recorded using traditional studio techniques (i.e., stereo overheads and room mics), whereas most sample libraries capture each drum in relative isolation.  The difference is subtle but profound.  Ocean Way sounds fantastic.  Mixosaurus sounds real.

No doubt, you’ve got better things to do than compare drum sample libraries, so I’ll just throw one more datum at you (and, yes, that’s grammatically correct):  Ocean Way Drums Platinum HD consumes 80 Gb of storage on disk – that’s for all nineteen (19) drum kits.  Mixosaurus’ Kit A consumes 145 Gb.  Kit for kit, that’s thirty-four times (34x) more information in Kit A.  This is the part where you say, “wow.”

Now, I’ve got some work to do.  With just the one kit, recorded clean, it’s on me to coax a nice industrial tone out of it and without ruining the very quality that prompted all this whining in the first place.  It hasn’t arrived yet, but I promise to keep you posted.