If you haven’t heard of OceanWay Studios your really out of the loop. They are a world renown studio known for how well they record drums. Everybody from Eric Clapton to Kanye West have recorded there. Amazing studios. Their A and B rooms were designed by Bill Putnam himself! These are amazing sounding rooms with amazing sounding gear! Custom console, mics the whole nine yards! Well OceanWay Studios along with Sonic Reality have put together a drum collection that will make you drool! Not only in how well it sounds but also in the variety and flexibility in the sounds!
Usually I record drums and if I need to replace any mishaps or mess ups I sample the songs drums themselves and spot replace them. Never bothered with electric sets for a real drum sound. I have heard of some products out there promising amazingly real sounding drums. Never bought it so I never well bought them. Just sounded like a scam. Well when I was told that OceanWay Studios was going to release a drum sample collection it peaked my interest. When I found out about Sonic Reality working on it too I was impressed! I have the Sonic Refill Bundle for Reason and have been using it as my main sound bank ever since!
In this review I will be reviewing the DL version. So after doing some research this is what I gathered. Besides being recorded in a world class studio, having amazing engineers, and amazing gear, there are 5 kits with Dry, Medium and Ambient versions of each kit. Everything is 24 bit/48 Khz EXPANDABLE format. Meaning you can purchase additional DL kits or even upgrade to multichannel kits like in the bigger versions of Ocean Way Drums Silver and Gold Editions. The DL version comes with a redeemable Download Card for either 2 more DL stereo kits or 1 multichannel kit. It all comes packed in their Kontakt Player so it can be added to or used with other Kontakt collections. The player itself is really customizable and has a really flexible routing. After browsing through the site, reading how it was recorded and with what gear my mouth was watering! Next step, install and try it out!
Now after I installed it I was nervous to start messing with it. Like I had said I am a drummer and have never really been impressed much by these collections. After I opened up Reaper and loaded the OWD Kontakt Player I loaded up the Ocean Way Drums collection. I started with Kit 16, Dry and with the IMAP layout. This offers 2 ways to work with the way the samples are layed out. IMAP is a format that Sonic Foundry came up with for a logical way to layout the drum set over a set of keys. The other is made for the universally compatible General Midi (the multichannel kits also feature maps for Roland V-Drums). You can midi this in and play your kit without having to worry about assigning certain sounds and velocities to your set, it is already done for you!
Now my favorite part about this is the sound. Really when you hear it you’re kinda blown away. They don’t sound over compressed and EQ’d. They are natural as can be ready for you to shape into your own sound or use them as is for a natural drum sound. I love the toms in this. Usually toms and cymbals are the easiest way to tell whether something sounds realistic or not and Ocean Way Drums pass with flying colors! Nice deep and round tom sounds and smooth even cymbal sounds really blew me away! Best part is how they let you control the ambiance and mix and match so you can have a ambient snare with a tight dry kick or toms, and on top of that every drum was recorded with both snare on and off!!! The sounds possible here are unbelievable! The attention to detail is something I have never seen in any other drum collection before, you can tell they took their time in dialing in amazing sounds!
Well I finally did it. I admit that samples can replace an acoustic set and drummer. After years of notbelieving I feel both embarrassed and proud. Ocean Way Drums has convinced me that as someone who has always prided himself on their drum sound it is possible to get great drum sounds for your music entirely in the box. Ocean Way Drums has made a outstanding product that engineers, drummers, and musicians can appreciate. After messing with this and getting to know the sounds I feel spoiled that it is this easy to get amazing world class drums for this price!!!!