Help! I was marketed GA4 as an upgrade of GA3, which I used to construct drum tracks for my mostly jazz, swing and latin-based music.
But all that functionality seems to have gone? Where in GA4 do I choose a style, switch between levels of complexity, add fills etc as in GA3? If I want to write my own patterns and string them together I can do that directly in Cubase. Have I just paid all that money for a few rock drum sounds?
I AM NOT HAPPY. Unless I’m missing something, how do I get a refund?
Save me some time? Will the manual tell me that all the GA3 functionality IS there, I just haven’t found it yet? Or should I have read it more carefully before buying to discover that “almost every genre” meant “almost every rock genre”?
Since you have moved the goal post a bit on your argument, I totally agree with you on this point. I was very disappointed to see a lot of genres not covered. Hopefully that will be addressed in an update.
I do think the thing that made GA3 special for me, the very thing your first post mentions, the complexity fill etc, have been sidelined a bit. I think the interface is better and a few new options have been added. I would have liked this section of the software to have been improved the most as it’s what GA was all about. The manual sucks by the way, they forgot to finish it and check for errors.
The info you need is in the Acoustic agent part of the manual. Remember that the pads play a lot in the complexity stakes. You can edit each pad and then use the pads to switch patterns and complexity. There’s a lot of control but it’s been moved around to a certain extent.
I went and started my second go at the manual. I have to say, it is awful. A drunken idiot must have set this out. I thought it was me the first time round but now that I’ve figured stuff out I realise it’s the manual. Painful to read.
The Style Player actually allows you to vary the performance, just differently to GA3. However, the functionality is rather hidden (use the Blues Heritage kit to see what I mean):
you have to be in PATTERN mode
Press EDIT on the right hand side
Click on Agent tab
Make sure the Pattern button is set to “Active”
Select one of the Main grooves in Group 2
Press play to the left of PATTERN (not on top)
Then influence the Performance complexity and intensity
AF stands for auto-fill, AC for auto-complexity
Problem is that the Style Player section looks totally different depending on instrument and type of Style. But this is mainly a question of getting used to the tool. GA3 also needed some exploration back in its day.
More worrying IMHO: Steinberg must be out of their mind not to provide a single Jazz style and only a single Blues style! Also there is no Country style, and on the Latin side its rather thin as well. The EDM folks seem to have taken over and marketing looks totally unaware of broader client needs. Or maybe they want to sell add-on packs later on?
Overall: not unhappy with the product as such, but it does not deliver to its full potential yet…
Thanks for your feedback (except for the one with the “drunken idiot”…).
Selecting the styles for the factory content was quite a challenge. We knew from the beginning that it would be impossible to please musicians of all genre and styles, especially with 3 Agents with 3 different types of users and thousands of sub genres…
So we decided to focus for the initial release on the broad field of contemporary rock/pop drum styles for the Acoustic Agent and the most popular electronic genres for the Beat Agent.
BUT there will be expansion packs with more styles and patterns and also more drum kits. And jazz and also country are definitely on our list.
Please keep your feedback coming and let us know what kind of styles you would like to see in the future in Groove Agent. Until then please have a little more patience and check out all the styles that are included in the factory library.
Thanks for your responses Matthias… Haven’t updated to GA4 yet - still on 32bit windows and noticed another thread elsewhere about CPU use being comparatively high… But I will.
And I know, I know; it will be time to move on into 64bit soon…
Looking forward to those ‘Country’ expansion packs…
And Matthias, in the meantime I’d like to ask, if you have a strategy for approaching 3rd party vendors about possibly including GrooveAgent 4 as a platform/device in their compatibility offerings - I’m talking about folk like ‘Groovemonkee’. Their current list of mapping and formats with other ‘drum machine/samplers’ is here:- http://bonzo.groovemonkee.com/resources/docs/groove_monkee_mappings.pdf
No mention of GrooveAgent 4 (as yet of course; very new).
I can not claim the author of the manual was drunk when writing it, but I understand that some people are wondering. I must say it is the worst manual I have come across (and I read many of them each year). It should rapidly be redone. The 5 tutorials I have seen are not good either, especially the two on Beat Agent are bad.
I also agree that the lack of styles is a let down. I am too a GA user since the early GA2 days. Buying expansion packs might send the price in total up to be very high.
I don’t know if this will be helpful at all, but there is a way to gain access to your favourite patterns and fills from GA3 for quick import into GA4.
I’m working in Nuendo 6.5 64bit with both GA3 and GA4, using the MIDI Export to file feature in GA3 to grab all the patterns and fills I need quickly, dragging the file into Nuendo, chopping it into the pieces I need and dropping them onto various pads in GA4’s Pattern mode and building from there.
In GA3 you can switch on the Record to File feature, play all of the various patterns and fills you want, grabbing snippets of this or that, then switch off Record to File Mode which automatically saves the MIDI file with everything in the order you played/triggered it to your Desktop. Very clean way of gaining access to a style you want that GA4 may not currently provide. Also a very clean way of using GA3 in Cubase or Nuendo 64 bit without jbridging.
Anyway, thought I would toss it out there.
Anyway, Steinberg won’t refund me as I activated GA4 (can’t they restore the old license somehow?) so I’m stuck with it. Perhaps they’ll let me pay even more when some non-rock styles appear. That’ll be nice.
Just a thought on “expansion packs” : good idea!
Cost should obviously be competitive - thinking EZD, FXpansion, etc. range of products. … obviously the challenge is to avoid the “us too” label - which has never been Steinberg tech culture.
Percussion Agent and Acoustic Agents offers probably everything you’ll ever need for swing and latin music, just enough to check the audio demos on the official GA4 product page. As the new GA is based on the modular approach, it is just a question of time to come up with new, style specific agents, like jazz.
If you are a Cubase user, GA4 has some VST3 Cubase integration features that competition do not have (and probably will never have in the future as well), like the many types of drag and drop and automatic kit synchronization with Beat Designer and Drum Editor which is godsend.
I used many of the aforementioned products (incl. NI drum apps, Toontrack, etc.) and I personally prefer GA4 over all of them, will stick to it from now on.
“Every thing you probably need”? GA4 comes with very few grooves. They must be heavily tweaked to be close to “Everything I ever need”, and if I start on the tweak merry go 'round there is not much use in any factory grooves at all! This kind of software is supposed to help people that do not know drumming first hand to lay down some decent drum tracks. Obviously the more grooves to choose from, the easier it will be to get close to the desired composition. Look how easy Toontrack makes it for EzDrummer to recognize non factory grooves (like Groove Monkee, Odd Grooves and Platinum Samples) in style, tempo and signature. It is world apart from GA4. How anyone can prefer to work in the closed environment of GA4 is beyond me. In fact GA2 and 3 was better as it out of the box gave some genres not commonly found in groove sets. It seems like I need to spend a lot of money on expansions to get GA4 to the level of the old GA2 and 3.
When working with EzDrummer (or Native Instruments) the sync functions are never missed either.