Groove Agent survey - Help make Groove Agent better

For those who missed it, yesterday Steinberg posted a Groove Agent survey. They’re looking for feedback on how you’re using Groove Agent, how it can be improved and which expansions or additional factory content you would like to see in the future.

It would be nice if users of other drum plugins also gave their feedback.

I answered the survey, would love more Cubase integration like there is with the chord track and sampler track. Also would like to be able to better find styles/patterns that match existing patterns, or something that can be input in beat designer or include a tap to find.

It would be nice to be able to disable round robin on acoustic agent kits, for when working on drum breaks to use layered with digital drums in electronic music (example drum & bass) where a static kick & snare are more desirable than round robin kicks & snares. Also the drum tuning is limited compared to other live drum modules such as addictive drums that treat drum tuning more as pitching up & down of samples rather than trying to emulate actual drum tuning by tightening the skin. I understand acoustic agent is geared more for acoustic lower tempo drum patterns, but we drum & bass producers like to use these drum romplers to create our own breaks & its more or less useless if we cant deactivate round robin on kicks & snares or pitch any of the hats, cymbals, rides or even the snares high enough to get that pitched up D&B tone, without the need to resample an entire kit into beat agent for proper editing.

i love grooveagent as my drum resampler. beat agent is outstanding. but i find acoustic agent to be very lacking in its ability to be customized for the needs of electronic music producers in comparison to BFD3, AD2 or superior drummer. It would be so much better if we could mix & match kit pieces from the kits we have paid for as add ons (Simon Phillips Drums kit pieces as well as those from the 3 GA4 kits & SE4 studio kit in my case) & we desperately need better pitching or at least an option to increase the limit of the tuning knob on acoustic agent kit pieces. a drum & bass snare needs to be pitched up roughly 5 semitones from its original funk break tempo tone. the tuning dial on acoustic agent just doesnt cut it for my needs with snares in particular & the hats & cymbals have no tuning option whatsoever, which makes them pretty much useless for my needs. i use addictive drums 2 as my main drum rompler but would ideally love to eliminate it from my workflow so i can use only GA4, but sadly due to its current state of lacking customization & editing options in acoustic agent, no dice.

If we were able to mix & match kit pieces, further add ons such as the Nashville & singer songwriter kit would be more appealling to me. i may for instance like the sound of the kick or snare from one but the hats & ride from another. As an electronic music producer, customization is everything, and i have no interest in a kit with kit pieces & presets aimed purely at country or pop, but expanding my library of customizable interchangeable kit pieces may well make me see their worth in a different light. seriously give us the option to mix & match kit pieces & i think you’ll see a sharp increase in grooveagent’s acoustic official library expansion sales.

  • A resizable GUI and undockable modules like in HAlion.

  • Global velocity volume change for all activated pads simultaneously

  • More Velocityzones (128 would be nice)

  • A Synth-Agent for electronic drum sounds

  • A library maker like in HALion 6

  • The ability to use HALion drum sounds in GA if you have a HALion license

  • A faster envelope attack

Since I missed it, I will provide my feedback in detail. I believe it would be a major win for GA and set it a part if users had the following features:

  • Mix and match parts of different kits (this is a very big one :wink: as making drums sound as real as possible is often impossible or too much effort)
  • 1 key snare rolls or stick drops on snare (would be helpful in getting close to doing the chops like on real drums… parradiddle variations would turn it up a 5 notches and make GA really unique :smiley: )
  • Rimshots (would add to making real drum lines for genres such as reggae or any other that requires it for authenticity)
  • Ability to increase the size of a set (somewhat part of mix matching but if a user could add another tom or have a set with double snare, etc again GA would really stand out)
  • More snare bleed in the kick (there is something special about kicks with a bit more snare bleed, it just gives it a different vibe… probably I don’t know how to get more bleed)
  • Cymbal swells (I have to say this is the only drum software under a set price range that I have been able to produce somewhat close realistic cymbal swells in. Putting a bit more into it could completely nail it)

I hope these will help in your future releases. P.S. I am waiting on a reggae drum pack for GA; happy sampling.

Best Regards.

My nr 1. thing is definitely resizable gui, theres so many little things to push. Wish there was separate beat agent, like dumbed down version, without bells and whistles of the mighty groove agent 4. Integrated into cubase like sampler track, into lower zone.

First off, I really like Groove Agent 4 for its powerful features. I think this is where Steinberg shines in general. Not so much in GUI and workflow (at least in GA), so here are some of my suggestions (I will also take the survey):

1.) Major GUI overhaul needed: Re-sizable windows have been mentioned; But also start to introduce larger buttons & flat icons as now standard everywhere else in XD (in GA they are too small, too many, hence too complicated). 2.5 mm size buttons might have been cool in the 90ies, but with large screens and higher resolution these minute icons are a killer for our eyes. Also, please make the whole GUI experience (XD) a little more intuitive. The guys that developed SD3 nailed it. I’ve also seen this feedback regarding small icons in GA in Music Magazine btw. I really think the Dev / Design Team should take it to heart and move away from the tiny buttons / GUI philosophy.

2.) I love Maggi’s idea of a separate “Synth / Drum Machine Agent” (808, 909 & Co) for GA. Maybe include a dedicated kick drum designer based on the existing sample layer feature in Beat Agent, but a multi synth layering feature with a more EDM friendly workflow in mind. Again, make GUI a little more intuitive. Beat Agent: Sample based drum beats. Machine Agent: Synth based drum beats. Give us a drop down to choose various Models (808, 909 are obvious ones, but include some other cool ones). Also including styles (Midi’s) from different EDM genres, to get us started quickly (House, Trance, Trap aso.). Do I want the ultimate Drum Machine / EDM Styles Expansion pack?!? Yes please!

3.) Too many options in general can greatly slow down our workflow. Don’t cram the GUI with millions of options and tiny buttons. Let us focus on the major workflow options we need at the current stage we are working in. I find myself looking up the manual constantly (after taking courses multiple times, reading the manual, making multiple cheat sheet aso). Check out NASA’s guidelines on c o c k p i t resource management. Simplify the " c o c k p i t " but keep it powerful under the hood. Its hard to do (a development within the development) but cool when you pull it off. It can of course backfire when you overdo it (see Adobe Acrobat DC - a terrible example of over-simplification).

4.) Steinberg has this immense talent to place the most important features onto the smallest possible icons no less than 2,5 mm in diameter. If you forget to press one of these buttons, you often don’t get any sound or other issues (hence, simplify midi routing, outputs, mixer aso). The best of pilots would have crashed his plane with that kind of GUI layout in the c o c k p i t. Also, it shouldn’t take an hour just to get sound / midi / mixer routing set up. But defacto that’s what I find myself spending alot of my time on (where I should be spending time on beat making and other creative processes). Let Groove Agent do the setting up for us. For obvious options, let GA make decision and move decision making & further options to the background. All the options and little buttons, icons and symbols are often counter-intuitive. You really expect us to memorize all the icons / symbols, especially when they are that small? In the meantime I am remembering most of them, but I really don’t enjoy it. Maybe focus less on making everything available in GUI through small buttons and focus more on serving us only the buttons / options we need within the workflow stage. Make it less tech freaky and more user friendly. GUI Design with creators not programmers in mind. GA does not yet feel like a user-friendly instrument, too tekky & cluttered for my taste.

5.) Pad based layout? Hmmm. I think I would actually prefer a more time line based layout within GA. A nice track layout, where I can setup, drag, mix and shuffle within Groove Agent, test my beat within GA and when I like the full beat, pull it over to Cubase / DAW Project window at the end of my session and/or save it as a midi file, style, kit, audio file or as dissolved audio files (as separate audio for each instrument).

I understand that pad based layouts might be a good idea for live performances: But lets be honest, how many of us are going to schlep their workstation w/ monitors, DAW and Interface onto a stage when performers usually have a dedicated DJ Deck anyway? With devices that are more reliable, don’t freeze or crash in front of an audience.

Or make both workflow options available: Pad & Timeline. Screen Real Estate has increased, so why not? To have only a pad layout feels clumsy, because I have to drag out individual parts onto the DAWs project window, then move back into GA to find a fill or break beat, then back to the DAW, then into the Drum Editor / Beat Designer and vice versa just to lay down my full beat. Maybe also add a dedicated effects timeline within GA just below the beat time line, to make effects more visible and not hidden in another tab (the effects time line could make changes visible and could translate into the automation lane later after the beat is dragged over to the DAWs project window). Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a feature like the “direct offline process” for parts on a timeline within GA? It should really be easy to create the full beat within Groove Agent without ever leaving GA and have the best possible options available when exporting / dragging & dropping the end result (either as Midi Full, Midi Dissolved, Audio Full, Audio Dissolved).

6.) Besides a timeline, a more consistent stage based approach (tabs) would also be preferable (to me at least). Stage 1: Setup / Routing — Stage 2: Choose Kit — Stage 3: Choose Style / Midi — Stage 4: Dynamic & Creative Effects — Stage 5 Mixer / gain-staging aso — Stage 6: Save or move to project window. Yes its nice that GA is super powerful. But there are so many different ways of doing the same things that it is very confusing at times, especially when you just want to get something done quickly. It certainly doesn’t help to focus: One Road ahead - lets go, many roads ahead - scratch my head. Groove Agent should help us tighten up our workflow, not broaden it to the point where we get distracted by endless possibilities and technicalities, little details that make us forget what we set out to do at the beginning: create a beat quickly!

6.) Dragging MIDI into the DAW / Cubase Project Window can have awkward behavior. Sometimes I can drag it onto a pre-existing Midi Track, sometimes not (then it creates a new track).

7.) Drag Audio, full or dissolved: Would also be nice, if we could drag individual drum instruments from GA directly into DAW audio tracks as audio (not just Midi). As an example, move my kick onto an audio track, my snare onto another audio track aso without setting up output channels, routing and groups (just to lay down some audio). I just think drag & drop (in this case audio) is just so much easier and more intuitive. It would save time, as we don’t need to put our heads round output and routing setups. By the time I got all outputs / routing / midi / groups aso set up, my creative hype is lost in translation. Yes currently GA gives us many possibilities, leaving many options open, but that’s not a cool workflow. Also, it is important to commit at some stage. Otherwise you eternally keep doctoring on your Midi parts / styles. It important to have some degree of restraint, set of rules and focus. If you add a timeline within GA, this would absolutely make sense. Development that focuses on what the creative process demands in 95% of the cases and not development that expands on complex possibilities for the remaining 5%. Its a challenge, finding the simplification / possibility sweet spot.

I have a feeling Groove Agent 5 will be big. If we all take the survey it definitely will be!


I only want the possibilty to use it as e-drum live…

I need it to run well on lower latency. Addictive drums can do it on 32 samples, GA5 should also, WITH good results…

For e-drum to work, we need to hear the drum sounds in the headset before we hear the acoustic noise of a pad… :slight_smile:

So 1.5ms or less is best… hopefully under 1ms.

As Groove Agent is a drum sampler, I find it pathetic that a step sequencer isn’t built right into the GUI! Beat Designer as a MIDI plug in isn’t good enough, perhaps if it were to be expanded to more tracks, 15 (re sizeable window), then it’ll do!
Have a look at VPS Avenger for inspiration, step sequencer, with modifications per hit, but the best thing about it are the patterns saved per drum kit!
Killer feature! To be able to auditon kits with a saved pattern per kit is a massive time saver, not to mention the musical possibilities taking a different turn, like why do EDM when perhaps a chill-out kit pushes you towards a laid back track? On Avenger, you can also lock the pattern but change the drum kit, we all needs bit of inspiration from wherever we can get it. The pattern part on Groove Agent just doesn’t appeal to me, I really do not care about using somebody else’s patterns, I’d rather create my own!
Sequencing drums should still be fun, thinking most people use the piano roll and the like, i personally prefer the simpler method, Reason’s Re-Drum was easy to programme, and the key to any feature you add, it should be easy! So come on, make it happen, ideally to the SE version too, but would be willing to buy Groove Agent if it had a decent step sequencer built into it, with the features similar to VPS Avenger!

love to see a way to lock sliced loops together, ie some smart internal way to remap 1 midi part (from a sliced loop) to all the engines.

like a smart remapper based on transient detection.

Would also love to see more editing function in the piano roll like randomize pithes for note, auto fill etc.

Make it possible to edit the patterns for variable play and let us make them ourselfs.

Actually GrooveAgent would be better off being integrated in cubase,
making the drum channels direct available into the cubase mixes.
thus not with its own player and settings but direct in cubase.
Making it possible to mix the virtual drums as being recorded like the rest of my tracks/channels

The main desire is to optimize the consumption of resources. Compared to other drum modules, GA4 proves too gluttonous (Geist2, Arturia Spark 2, I’m not talking about Kong in Reason)

4-band EQ on each pad :exclamation:

I’m apparently the only one that dearly misses the GA2 user interface. As a songwriter the genius of that was overwhelming. I watched several videos on GA4 and tried to use it, but gave up. I’ve been around MIDI since the Alesis HR16, and Cubase since V1.5 on my Mac Plus, so I don’t think my experience is the issue. I could not find a way to use the GA4 interface to make music in a satisfying way.

I use BFD3 exclusively, and now just take the time to write my own drum parts from scratch on a midi track in Cubase. My songwriting output has suffered for it. A GA2 interface, in fact, the original software with no updates at all would be superior in every way to GA4, for me.