Groove Agent 4 = Excellent

I just want to say, after about a year of getting used to on both ends, Groove Agent 4 is an excellent program and the engineers at Steinberg should be proud!! Thankyou! Yes, for newcomers, there is a fairly steep learning curve. But you can play right out of the box. Its just it is so deep on so many levels, one may have to have a drummers ear to fine tune. That’s a good thing, it adds to the realism. Plus Im learning what to listen and look for from a drummer perspective. The mixing board is all inclusive! Don’t even have to channel it through Cubase, its self contained. Awesome effects. The total package. I just wanted to say thanks, I was skeptical, but after last February’s major update that added Midi to host, its one of a kind.

Keep up the Good Work!


Thank You Steinberg.

I agree that GA4 is an excellent program.

After using Toontrack EZD & SD for many years I’m finally getting to grips with GA4. It’s a different way of working for me because it offers many different approaches to constructing my drum tracks. As hotchickenbone said, it is deep on many levels but the integration with Cubase is fantastic. A very powerful VSTi.

Great job Steinberg

To me GA 4 is the worst software I have come across in years. How anyone can prefer it above Toontrack is very interesting!
I would avoid it totally if newcomer read this.
Compared to some competitors it is:
The most expensive (if you want to build a groove library)
The least flexible (when it comes to allowing 3. party grooves)
The worst sounding (When it comes to velocity variations)
The worst sounding (When it comes to samplings of the acoustic sets compared to both Superior and EastWest)
The most cumbersome GUI (Especially when compared to EZ drummer).

I agree for a total newbie GA4 may not be the easiest way to get into producing complete drum tracks, EZ Drummer is very simple and instant but GA4 isn’t really trying to be only that.

As I said earlier, GA4 offers a different way of working to EZ Drummer. The integration with Cubase can give a fresh perspective on constructing drum tracks, especially if like me your previous software experience was primarily using EZdrummer type products. It can be a mixture of creating drums using software and loop based and sample material.

The groove libraries aren’t as expensive as the Toontrack EZX expansion packs.
I agree, integration of 3rd party grooves isn’t as flexible as others.
It may not have the velocity variations of other products but GA4 still produces a respectable sound imho.
GA4 does not compare sonically to Superior but it’s not really trying to. I don’t think that’s a fair comparison, the price of the SDX kits are substantially more expensive than GA4 expansions or Toontracks own EZX addons. I’m not an Eastwest user so can’t comment.

Whilst the user interface on GA4 may not initially be as straightforward as EZ drummer you can do so much more and get much deeper with GA4 than EZD. If you want instant gratification without all the tweaking maybe GA4 isn’t the way to go.

There’s lots of videos out there and a 30 day trial for GA4 so there’s no obligation to buy it, what works for one person may not for another.

Keep making music!

Agree on the “keep making music” and perhaps it is too much focus on the different software packs than making music. I would however be very interested in the Cubase integration of GA 4 compared to EzDrummer. In what way do you think GA4 excels when it comes to Cubase integration?

And I can recommend EastWest for sound. Not the best GUI though, more on the “ok” side. But the sounds of the sets (acoustic) are unmatched. So is the price. (Alas being high that is). It does however allow 3. party grooves.

Some people just use it for real drum tracks.
I use it like a MPC. Chopping samples, replacing sounds,
pitching and time-stretching material. And mix it a bit.
I use the standalone version to build drafts and finish them in Cubase.
I gotta say it’s the perfect tool for me. The acoustic agents are a nice addition
to the beat agent which is kinda underestimaded and not even noticed by
some people.

This was done in about 20 minutes and I didn’t even touch
the surface of the complexity of production that one can
prebuild in the standalone version.

I installed only the standalone version on a lap top and
moved my sample folder on its hard drive.
Then I export the production kits I’ve made to use them
in the studio.

I am sure it is good for EDM. And I actually think Steinberg wants this to be an EDM software (from looking at the add ons). To compare drum quality for electronic music (electronic drums) is very difficult, much more than the acoustic sets where we have actual drums to compare with. Yes, I know some electronic drums are labelled 909 or 808 and such so you will also have a drum machine to compare to the software, but anyway; electronic drums were never meant to sound “real” as an analogue drum. The acoustic sets do however. The critics of GA4 can mainly be put into three categories. The first is that the acoustic drums don’t stand up to the competitors. The second is that it is called Groove Agent 4, making people with experience from GA 2 and 3 think it is a 64 bit upgrade and something of a sequel (like most other Steinberg software bearing the same name as a prequel). It is however NOT. The third complaint is about the cumbersome GUI (compared to competitors). None of these complains affect the electronic drums at all. So if you are into EDM, you may find GA4 just ok, but I may add that, if you already have a full version of Kontakt, you should be able to put together better sets for free from multiple download possibilities.

Kontakt and Battery = No drag and drop, no pattern editor, worse GUI

Sure, there are comparable solutions on the market, but for 179 bucks it is worth every penny.

I see your point of view. But I also played around with the acoustic agents
and I gotta say they sound nice and the mixing desk is awesome.

I cannot really compare it to other stuff except to NI’s 60s drummer.
But compared to that … again: 179 bucks. That’s almost underpriced for
what you get.

Aware of the disadvantages of Kontakt GUI, but (if you got it) drums are FREE (and most better sounding). That beats 179! The new ProDrummer from EastWest is 199. Now THERE is a drum software for you. Unmatched samplings and a GUI almost as easy as EzDrummer (perhaps even better after the learning curve). Not much for the EDM people though, but as mentioned: For EDM I would go for the free stuff for Kontakt rather than 179 on GA4. Lets agree on that it is great that we have variety so that each of us can find what he (or she) likes.

I’m not really sure what you mean. I know that the Kontakt Player and some of the factory content
Are available for free download. But that’s not what I need.
I need to work with my own samples. Chop them, map them, arrange them.
I don’t know how I’m able to do the same with a standalone version of
Kontakt Player or even the full version of Kontakt (no pattern editor except for
additional content sets that one has to buy).

But I agree, there is a variety of comparable software.
Just saying that the workflow of the standalone version is genius
when it comes to making beats for productions.
Plus the Cubase integration.

No I do not mean the stuff that comes with Kontakt that Native Instruments have made. I am talking about the massive jungle of software made for Kontakt by large, medium sized, small and independent companies and even private persons. There is a huge selection of drums for Kontakt (you need the full version).

And… as you know Kontakt is a very easy sampler and you can build your own Kontakt instruments from all available free drum wav files. You can start from scratch and have your own customized drumset up and running in less than an hour. Well perhaps not the first time you do it, but after a while it is a breeze.

I do all my drum editing in Cubase. I do no editing in the drum software itself. I also like to do the editing in the piano roll and not in the drum editor. Thus Kontakt is as good as anything even if the GUI is a bit cumbersome. I do not use the mixer in the drum software as the plugsins I have is far better. Nor the pan or any other stuff than the drums themselves. I use SoftTube CL1B or Slate for compression, FabFilter for EQ and warming the snare, Waves or FogConvolver Convolution for reverb, short (plate like) for kick and snare and a little longer for tams and brass (mostly IRs from Ruined Castles) and I use the Cubase mixer for panning.

Forgot to mention that for EDM I prefer to make one Kontakt instrument for each drum. So I have a lot of Kicks in one instrument and one instrument consisting of only snares and so on. Thus it is easy to change the timbre of the drum during a song. These instruments normally goes together with a “normal” instrument with a whole set in one instrument playing most of the beat and that it is occasionally switched to the other drum instruments.

Yeah that sounds good, too. And everyone should work with the stuff he or she knows best.
The results are everything.

But I can do all of that, too. In the standalone version
or in the VSTi. And thanks to the drag&drop-feature, it’s easy and fast.
Layering samples for example is so easy in GA4.
Plus, if you need a piano instead of pads, you can simply push a button
to see it on the bottom of GA4. I also need it often for the sake of mapping
so that the patterns won’t be placed on the sample triggers.
But I also like pads. And having both at the same time is awesome.

I find that Kontakt is a complicated sampler compared to GA4 and Halion.
Which is not always a contra. There is no scripting in GA4 or Halion.
But the good thing is that I don’t need scripts for the things I do.
Like I said. I just make production kits that will be a foundation for
the tracks I build in Cubase. I also apreciate the fact that both are VST3 plug ins.
I love note expression, especially when it comes to synth operations with Halion.

Though Halion also gets complicated enough if you dig deep.

When it comes to 3rd party libs and additional content there is no doubt about
who the winner is. But I like to build my own kits and create my own sounds as well.
That’s why I rarely use NI’s plugins nowadays.

I think that Steinberg did a very good job with both samplers.

I also have the full version of Halion, but it has not appealed to me as much as the Kontakt world. Perhaps it is a connection with liking Halion and GA4 or not liking them both??? LOL. I do however remember that the way into Kontakt was long and steep and that I almost gave up, back in the Kontakt 2 days. Glad I did not. All the software developed for the Kontakt world, much free too, forced me into really learning Kontakt. (Well at least the most common parts of it). I see you have Komplete. So do I and I find it awesome, especially Massive. Even if it is a little old it is one of the best. I have also added Razor which is a mean synth. Do however not like the El pianos of Komplete. My preferred instrument is Omnisphere. To me the best sounding and the most versatile instrument. I am saying instrument because it is both a sampler and an oscillator synth. It covers genres from late 60’ up to contemporary EDM. Honourable mentioning is also Virus. Alas only for the obsolete, and 32 bit only, Powercore. One synth that is commonly overlooked but which is great is Phaedra, extremely versatile, and when running a studio where the genres can vary from Elvis to Rhianna, versatility is great. But Phaedra is for the full version of Kontakt only. Looks like this turned into a synth post. :frowning: Drums give me drums!

Well, synth drums are also drums and the 808s and 909s are made of sinus waves and noise.
So it’s not that offtopic to talk about synths. Thanks for the input, I will have a look at Phaedra.

Well, the reason why I like Halion is because I was digging deep. Truth is that I also was a little
confused about it when I first bought it (Halion 4).
But due to the fact that I didn’t always want to use NI content
(Some sounds are fairly said overused), I wanted to build own stuff.
When I found out that it also had synth zones and that you can combine
them with layers I was caught up in it. It also has a steep learning curve,
but I had t write a graduate thesis about samplers, so it was welcome anyway.
So I guess I wouldn’t like it that much when I didn’t study it so hard.
And Groove Agent 4 is based on Halion 5. You recognize all the elements
when you use it. It’s just optimized in its workflow for drums.
So as a Halion user it is fairly simple to understand it.
Sure it has its limitations (only 8 V-Layers, no fullscreen and so on).
But I can live with that. For the stuff I do it is close to perfection.

I used Komplete a lot before I had Halion and GA4.
And I still think that some of their stuff is great.
But the gold thing about GA4 is that I can import my
production kits into any 7.5+ Cubase system without installing
additional stuff.

For some reason Rum Drum for over a year now has had an obsession of putting down Groove Agent 4 in favor of other products. Check his many, many, countless posts. We get the picture, you don’t like it. Maybe its just time for you to go make some music and quit worrying about it. Unless maybe you work for the competitors!!! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I work for Rum Drum

Perhaps your post call for a little longer answer.

I love Cubase. I have several DAWs to compare with and to me Cubase is above them all. And I really liked Groove Agent 2 and 3. Do you then think I am affiliated with Steinberg in any way?

As you have figured out I think GA4 took a wrong turn from 2 & 3. If 4 works for you, then I am ok with that. But I also find it important to give the “unsatisfied” crowd a voice when somebody expresses their satisfaction with 4. I do not even know how many drum software packs I have installed in my studio, but I can assure you it far exceeds the number of my negative posts on GA4. If somebody has chosen Cubase, it is perhaps easy to go to the same developer for drum software. That might be the “easy” way to do it. And somebody might even think it is the most safe and thus the “right” way. I think the crowd should be told that it might be a very bad call. That there are alternatives. Alternatives that many people find “better”. And many of us can give arguments WHY the alternatives are better. Arguments related to the case is perhaps better than starting to attack the person? Won’t that only bounce back on you?

Rumdrum, there are a lot more people who do not like
the new reincarnation of GA4. Most of them have in common
that they used the previous versions and did not want an update
like that. But somebody who’s new to the product and wants to
learn how to use it, will be able to make music and be creative with it.
I never had GA3, I worked a lot with GAO and Beat Designer.
So the update came with some features I was hoping for.
Sure, there are alternatives. But the product GA4 isn’t bad at all,
when you look at it as a new software and forget about the previous versions.
And anybody who had one of the previous versions is able to make the
same with the new version, maybe even better stuff because of the new
features. Everybody was asking for a build in sampler in Cubase.
Now that it’s here, some people don’t even realize it. And the Pro Version
has a lot to offer. Nobody’s forced to buy and use it.
If somebody’s just looking for a virtual drummer, he might be happier with
something else. If somebody’s looking for an all-in-one solution that gives
you the ability to combine best of both worlds, he’ll be satisfied with it.

You also gotta think about one fact: This might be version 4.
But the truth is, that it is version 1. And we know that Steinberg
is caring about feature requests. So let’s see what happens to it.

Made another draft with it:

I love this piece of software. :slight_smile: