Easy. Start an empty user kit in a second kit slot. Build your new cymbal sound on pads that your primary kit isn’t using. Route it to the bus you want it sounding from, apply whatever effects you want, etc. Match the MIDI channels of the two slots. Swap the trigger notes out if you truly want to ‘replace’ the old cymbal sound as opposed to simply adding your new one to the kit somewhere.
Mute the cymbal sound you want gone in the primary kit. Make your new one in the same pad of a second kit set to the same channel.
Continue the process for other pads from the primary kit that you want to ‘replace’.
As for having the samples themselves unlocked and browsable in the sample library browser…they could do that I guess. I wouldn’t mind a bit if they did, but at this time they do not. So if I really want something from a locked kit I just resample it (easy and fast these days…often even quicker than hunting the raw samples down).
True, but they aren’t typically shipping with ‘matched kits’ either (sometimes even sound pretty bad…like a drummer uses 18 different pairs of sticks when he plays?). They don’t have the macros and groove engine either. The ones with an open frame work and wad of samples to play with tend to come with different sounds/kits in the box (particularly MPC style plugins…often with different genera/style of music in mind), and their pricing for the kits is also different. They typically don’t come with genera specific styles/patterns to quickly hammer out song demos either (quick and dirty song writer kits all ready to go).
I’m not disagreeing that it’d be rather handy to be able to clear out a pad and replace it with your own stuff…or in the least unlock the unused pads of those acoustic agent kits. It’s just that for now, that’s how it is, and the only way to truly get around it would be to unlock the layers fully in the VSTSOUND archive…but then you’d have to rebuild your entire kit from the ground up ‘without’ the custom UI/Macro setup. You’d also lose the groove agent pattern dialer (and would instead need to make your own as MIDI patterns).
At some point users might get more access to LUA and building macros in Groove Agent (like we got with HALion 6). Or, maybe they could put in a button that 'strips out the Macro/scripting/groove stuff and gives you a bog standard beat-agent type of kit that’s ‘wired the same’…and you could work from there.
It hasn’t happened thus far though. So the “Groove Agent Way” is to simply use a second kit slot for your custom bits, load up samples to your heart’s content, and ‘maybe’ do a little pad muting and/or trigger remapping. Save it as a multi-kit when done.
If your heart is set on using just a snare sound that’s locked down in a ‘different acoustic set’…takes less than 1 minute to resample (I use instant render in my DAW) it and drag it right from the arrange view of the DAW into an unlocked kit-slot (maybe even less time than ‘hunting a sample down on your hard drive and loading it’).
Acoustic Agent Kits being locked from deep user edits makes a little more sense if you’ve ever built a macro in HALion 6. Those macro screens are tied to LUA scripts…and if one goes fiddling about with the layers/samples/zones, it can break the script (and possibly even crash the plugin and/or DAW).
As for other drum VSTs ‘not working this way’. If they have custom scripting going on, and macro screens (with the dancing drum kit, preset effect chains, other custom UI elements)…then yeah…they tend to be locked down in similar ways as Groove Agent.
Example: Grab an acoustic ‘drum kit’ from East West. Locked up even more-so…a fraction of the editing/tweaking/mixing options. You can’t make your own kit additions at all in that eco-system. Instead, you simply load multiple kits and use what you need from them. Get drum kits from NI? Same deal unless you invest in their flagship Kontakt product…and even then, if there is much ‘custom scripting’ and custom UI work going on…it WILL be locked down, and require similar hoops to mix and match kits as this Groove Agent product.
How does it limp? I have no problem making custom kits in GA. It’s rarely necessary to do much though, when I can just use multiple kits in multiple slots…even use multiple instances if 4 slots aren’t enough.
Out of 128 possible midi triggers for a given channel, I find PLENTY of room to build anything I want across the 4 slots in an instance. It’s extremely rare for any one factory kit to use more than 3 octaves. LOTS of empty trigger notes to work with.
In Cubase, most of it will even auto-map to the ‘drum mapping and diamond editor’…so I can even ‘score’ a drum track on the same stave that has kit pieces across multiple channels and plugins. Do it all the time…even mix and match totally different brands of percussion plugins [GA, EW, Garritan, etc] on the same track (Cubase Drum Mapping).
It may be a ‘different’ workflow than expected, but it seems pretty complete to me. 4 Slots with 128 possible triggers on each one, up to 4 channels at a time…of which you can route and mix anyway you like…
There is some ‘fiddling’, but that would be required to ‘replace’ a pad in an existing kit as well. Factor in the custom scripting of the ‘Agent Kits’ (if you know enough about LUA, how it works with the engine, the UI dev kit, etc…time to rework all that mess…naw, it’s easier to just hit ‘mute’ for the unwanted pad and use another slot for your custom filler…or just put it in on an unused trigger in another octave…swap out some trigger notes if your sequences would benefit by that). So, a little different work flow, but not really more time consuming, and same end result.