Groove Agent 4 ... is it time to give up Jamstix 3?

Anyone using Groove Agent 4? There are like 4 or 5 vids on it, but if anyone with personal experience, please share!

I thought I saw something in one video yesterday, can’t find it now, that suggested that it was an “intelligent drummer” like JS3. But everything else I’m seeing so far on the vids is all about “slicing”, “loops”, etc., which is not what I am that interested in.

JS3 is not the easiest to use, but it is nice that it can generate random drumming within various styles, likr a real drummer, which can in turn be edited. Not dependent on static loops at all.

Does GA4 have the ability to generate randomized drumming that works well with non-electronic genres (ballads, rock, e.g.)?

Thanks -

seems to me that they’ve just nicked ideas from Jamstix (just like EZ drummer did) but It’s the Jamstix brain that is the main element here…and they ain’t got that!
you can’t beat Jamstix for natural sounding drummer patterns, as you said, it’s a difficult ride untill you get used to it but once you do…it’s awesome.

best, Kevin

Thanks, much, Kevin. Couldn’t quite tell if they’d “nicked the JS3 brain” also. I guess Ralph is alone on the mountaintop for at least another few years!

Yes, I too started to wonder about the full capabilities of GA4 but I think when it comes to ‘composing authentic patterns on-the-fly’ and modelling real drummers JS3.x is still the go-to plugin.

I’d like it though if GA did have comparable capability as I do like the idea of minimizing my 3rd-party plugin footprint as much as possible.


I agree that Jamstix is still far superior. I am really anxious to see what Jamstix 4 has in store. I Seem to recall Ralph saying this winter.

Of course Jamstix controls are tricky but I think that is expected with increased power and control.

I’m glad to see that I wasn’t the only one thinking this stuff. And I came to the same conclusion that JS3 is still the way to go.

My biggest complaint about JS3 is evident in the GA4 videos: the damn GUI is an eyesore. I won’t stop using JS3, but I really wish Ralph would go to something more standard in terms of quality of the GUI. And while 3.6 is a step up in terms of usability, it is still incredibly hard to get used to the processes for a new user.

But the fact remains JS is a monster and GA is the action figure replica of the monster. But … whew no kidding on the UI. JS needs major GUI help.

Yeah, I would love to see Ralph rewrite the system so that…well, maybe it’s already architected this way…the brain functionality is separate from the GUI. Then he could write a set of Kontakt 5 scripts to provide the GUI.

Of course, this would probably mean that Kontakt 5 Player would not be sufficient, affecting the breadth of his user base. But it is my suspicion that the substantial increase in the usability of the product would attract more users than he would lose.

The only reason I can think of that would prevent this from being a possibility is that the set of configurable parameters changes based on the drummer, overall style, and even substyles (like if you change a particular section from Default to Chorus). I’m not sure if Kontakt can do that. Perhaps show all possible knobs / sliders and disable ones that aren’t relevant based on the overall configuration…?

I don’t know.

Yes, the Jamstix GUI is somewhat similar to the Main Instrument Panel of a 737 BUT, in my opinion, MOST of those controls are useful. The bar editor is what is huge, IMO. I guess other drummers could allow you to delete, move, and add individual hits but you would have to FIRST write the MIDI to a track and THEN do hit-by-hit editing. Again, I am excited about Jamstix 4 but I just don’t see GA or any of the current Kontakt libraries replacing Jamstix for me. If Jamstix could get that “production ready” sound and have a “simple” mode (but keep the advanced mode for us nit-pickers) then I think they would pick up a lot more market share.

Yeah, I’ll readily admit that my comments are based on my personal workflow, which is probably not what most people do:

  1. Create an instance of Jamstix and Battery.
  2. Set the structure of the song using the wizard. The kit is always the Battery 3 mappings (Tight Kit or Full Jazz kit normally).
  3. Set the output of Jamstix to be the input of Battery.
  4. Run through the song repeatedly until I set the various options so that it gives me the feel I want.
  5. Enable record on the MIDI track associated with Battery.
  6. Hand edit any specific changes that I need, like a hi-hat foot for the intro bars instead of actual drums, or specific fills that I have in mind that are synchronized with other tracks.

So I really don’t need the bar editor, the built in mixer, etc.

For the sake of completeness, here’s the rest of my drum workflow…

  1. Use the Transformer MIDI insert to filter out all MIDI notes but the Kick (using presets I’ve developed and saved).
  2. Export a mixdown of the Battery VST and import into a new audio track.
  3. Repeat steps 7 and 8 for the snare, hi-hit, cymbals, and toms.
  4. Apply processing to each of the 5 drum tracks (normally stock track presets).
  5. Route the snare, hi-hat, and cymbals to a group channel with a HPF set at 90 Hz.
  6. Route the kick, toms, and the HPF group channel to a new group channel to control the entire drum set volume.

Hi -

Been spending a bit more time with Jamstix 3.5.2 recently, and also opened GA SE4 (which really is what the original post is about) for the first time.

Two questions please for those who have used either of those drum programs:

  1. How are the drum “sounds” in GA4 SE … talking for acoustic kits, like one would record in a studio for blues, Southern Rock, Classic Rock, etc. … are they better sounding than the JS3 kits?

  2. Is it possible to set the output of Jamstix to be the input of GA4 SE? (Actually, I guess I would only do that if the kit sounds are better in GA4 SE than JS3).

  3. Has anyone actually used GA4 SE to “compose” drum parts? Is it sort of like a “JS3 Lite” in that regard?

    Thanks for any comments!

For Q. 1, that is probably in the ear of the beholder… But I would say the main difference is that Jamstix is “clean” sounds while GA tends to be production ready or “processed”.
For Q. 2, Yes… Using the MIDI out from Jamstix to a MIDI track with the monitor on and MIDI through active directed to the MIDI in of GA. Thread in Jamstix form has more details…
For Q. 3. Not me…

Thanks, jaslan!

Re: #1- Myself not having noticed too much about the drum sounds the few times I’ve been in an (amateur) studio … would you know if those “clean” JS sounds are of the quality of what would be typically recorded dry in a pro studio, to then be processed?

My mixing skills are so basic, and from what I’ve read mixing a complete drum kit well is one of the hardest things to do … I might check out some processed sounds in GA4 SE, if they have decent acoustic kit sounds.

Re: #3 Anyone else ever have GA4 SE “compose” any drum parts? I’m not even sure it is able to, but some of the things I’ve read seem to maybe suggest so?Lastly:What is the difference between the two Groove Agent products included with my Cubase 7.5.40 - Groove Agent 1, and Groove Agent SE4? I have gone through the manuals, but like most Steinberg manuals it seems geared to nuts and bolts usage, assuming the user already is familiar with the big picture. I’m lacking that big picture here … is GA SE4 less powerful than GA1? When would one reach for one over the other?

BTW - Some other questions over , if anyone had a moment to help out, don’t want to double post …

If you want to keep spending money for some little variations in styles yes buy Groove Agent 4!

Jamstix 3 … is it time to give up Groove Agent 4?

dont forget Ralph’s fantastic support nothing is too much trouble and problems are sorted fast if only steinberg listend half as much to their customers

Re: #3 Anyone else ever have GA4 SE “compose” any drum parts? I’m not even sure it is able to, but some of the things I’ve read seem to maybe suggest so?Hi Alexis,
I’ve just bought Jamstix because I couldn’t get GA4 to produce a convincing performance. Yes, Jamstix IS seriously doing my head in, but I’m getting much better results.

Would you experienced Jamstickers like to share with me how to copy all of the drummer settings from one part to all of the other parts? I know it must be simple, but I I’ve had to resort to doing it manually so far which is very tedious. PM would be fine to avoid hijacking this thread :slight_smile:

Hi - I’ve got it now with Jamstix sounds being played in the GASE4 plug-in, thanks to help from Jaslan and others.

Two questions at this point for anyone that would like to help please:

  1. Where can I get a “Jamstix-to-GrooveAgentSE4” drum mapping? I’m thinking if I just use the GM MIDI map I will loose a lot of good Jamstix information.

  2. I understand there are different versions of Groove Agent SE4 available … where does one download a specific one?

My flirtation with Groove Agent SE4 is probably ending rapidly, Fabio Mod PM’d me (because he inadvertently erased my thread :slight_smile: ) that the Acoustic Agent is not available for use in Cubase 7.5.40, it only came out in Cubase 8. Though I imagine I’ll get Cubase 8 or 8.5 in a while, it won’t be now, so I’ll have to look at other options if I want better drum sounds than Jamstix.

And yes, listening to even the Beat Agent “Maple” kit made me realize how much better I can do than the Jamstix raw sounds!

Thank you Fabio for your help in that other thread … see you in Cubase 8 one day! :slight_smile:

I confirm the availability of Acoustic Agent in Cubase 8 only… and also the thread deletion :blush: this never happened, then twice in 8 days. Have to stop doing this when I’m home, probably.

I can’t speak for GA, but when using Jamstix with NI Battery, Jamstix uses only standard drum sounds. The additional articulation samples (like snare ruffs) are not triggered natively but are actually composed by hitting the snare drum several times in succession.

Bear in mind that the Battery mapping for Jamstix was done by a user so this may be the reason why. My point, however, is that using the GM MIDI may not result in a significant degradation. Try it out to find out for sure!