Groove Agent vs the competition

I have used GA5 se for a number of years and I am comfortable using it but I want more flexibility so I am considering upgrading. I’m tempted to stick with GA but wonder how it stacks up against the other virtual drummers. I notice GA doesn’t have a great deal of jazz and Latin and fusion packs available which is my primary use case.
Anyone have experience with Bfd3 and ezdrummer in comparison to GA?

“Groove Agent SE” is included with Cubase. The products you mention are stand alone products, so you should compare those with the full version of Groove Agent, not the cut-down Groove Agent SE.

If you want more features, you should trial the full version of Groove Agent.

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I mostly use BFD3 and have since the original numberless BFD. I generally make my own parts so can’t really comment about the groove libraries, although when I have used them they seemed fine. They also have a bunch of additional libraries for both drums and grooves. You should look at their web site to see the range of their offerings.

I use BFD3’s internal Drum Editor rather than doing it in Cubase. BFD3 lets you draw in drum rudiments in addition to single hits which is more how a human drummer approaches it. If you write your own parts this is super useful.

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I have gone ahead and just got GA5 , I trialled EZdrummer last night. It doesn’t have auto fill, or auto complexity settings and I didn’t like the drum sounds as much. I really appreciate the generative tools for jamming along to, then chop and edit at the end rather than being faced with a blank canvas. I don’t have much interest in programming beats.

@JackJackdaw, I don’t believe you’ll be able to find a drum VST that will fully satisfy all of your needs. A good friend talented drummer would be the best option…

That being said, I made the choice of GA several years ago and overall it met my needs. There are a number of interesting libraries that come with it, however very few Jazz and Latin grooves; you will quickly realize that you will need expansions to satisfy certain needs and they are not given… And there too, there are not so many expansions dedicated to these musical genres. I own a very large number of Groove Agent drum kits and sounds and Groove Agent drum style, so here is what I think about those dedicated or oriented towards jazz and Latin music.

Simon Phillips Jazz and Simon Phillips Studio are excellent, essential in my opinion. The Grooves Packs Modern Jazz Essentials, Jazz Essentials, Blues Essentials, Funk Essentials and Fusion Essentials are very good qualities. On the Latin side, whether it’s standard Latin styles (Bossa, Salsa, etc) or Latin Jazz, there’s nothing. There are a number of Grooves available in the libraries mentioned above, but very few. Bouncy Vibration has Afro-Caribbean vibes, but geared towards Club music, not suitable for everything, but very well done.

Beyond expansions and libraries, GA lets you do just about anything; it has absolutely nothing to envy to its competitors.

Take the time to download the trial versions of the competitors and that of GA and compare with what VST offers you as a starting point without considering expansions; worry about that later.

I hope my opinion will be useful to you.

I used to have a talented drummer mate with his own studio, that’s why I’m so lazy with my drum programming skills! His talents are no longer available on tap though , so I need the computer to play for me.
I’m going to experiment with taking groove packs from other manufacturers and making a drum map to fit GA to make up for the Steinberg shortfall.

A very simple and perhaps less expensive solution is the availability of MIDI files. There are many MIDI Drum Packs dedicated to various musical genres. It is very easy to take a MIDI groove and integrate it into GA and thus create your own libraries

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Totally agree, I have all of these, but also check out Marco Minnemann

Again, sadly, I have to agree. For this I’ve used Kontakt’s Cuba, but something similar for GA5 would be far more flexible.

You might want to take a look at the drums from Sonic Couture like Sun Drums which have several built-in generative tools which are super-fun to play with and they sound great too.

I bought a midi drum pack from groove monkey a while back. Something like, odd time fusion. I’ve been through it a couple of times and I just think the playing is quite poor, so I’m dubious. I like the branded stuff because they usually get top notch session guys in to do them.

I totally agree with you here. I have already made a request about this. Having a new Groove Agent drum kits and sounds with a typical Latin sound well tuned and adjusted and a certain number of Grooves would be welcome, why not with the update of GA6…

Well, we can dream, but all the same, there are so many possible styles and variants in Latin music and Latin jazz that it seems almost inexhaustible.

To inspire Steinberg, here is a list of Grooves that could fill a good number of Groove Agent drum style Packs, and I certainly forget some, so complete the list if necessary. It’s up to them to see how to organize all this:

African Bell Pattern (12/8)
Beguine Groove
Bembe Groove
Bolero Groove
Bomba Groove
Bossa Nova Groove
Cha Cha Groove
Comparsa Groove
Cumbia Groove
Guajira Groove
Guaracha Groove
Mambo Groove
Merengue Groove
Mozambique (New York Style)
Reggae Groove
Rumba Columbia Groove
Rumba Groove (Ballroom)
Rumba Guaguancó Groove
Salsa groove (Various forms)
Samba groove
Samba Reggae Groove
Ska Groove
Songo Groove
Soca Groove (Calypso Music)
Tango Groove

Please Steinberg…


That’s a great list. I want some Latin jazz stuff that is just played on a kit, not a percussion section. You listen to something like Snarky Puppy and loads of the beats are very Latin inspired without sounding particularly ethnic. I guess it’s the Chick Corea school of fusion. Most of the fusion drum packs I’ve heard go for the Dream Theatre, rock angle.

All these rhythms can be played on the drums, there are very good collections available on the subject. Here is a very interesting Wikipedia article about Latin Jazz and its influences.

No flac support in GA is a no go for me.