New Toys

Steinberg Groove Agent

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Steinberg Groove Agent Following Steinberg's Virtual Guitarist, there is now Groove Agent a VST instrument that is a virtual drummer. Groove Agent comes with over 50 styles of programmed grooves many of which were originally recorded on analog tape. Groove Agent is somewhere between a loop based sample playback instrument like Spectrasonics' Stylus and a straight drum sampler like Steinberg's LM-4.

Groove Agent plays onboard audio files via a set of pre-programmed MIDI files. However, there is a great deal of control over the performance by way of accents, shuffle, half-time tempo feels, humanize, as well as the ability to turn on or off any of the individual sounds. You can choose the style of drum pattern from styles ranging from Samba to Nordic Pop with a simple left-right slider. You can then choose the complexity of the pattern with another slider. For example, the Hard Rock pattern in its simplest form, consists of a 1/4-note hi-hat, 1/8-note tambourine and a backbeat handclap. As you move the complexity slider, more of the drum kit starts to appear (kick, snare, ride etc.) and the pattern becomes more intricate. The styles are arranged by date and musical style eras starting with dusty analog sounds from the 50's and ending up with electronic drum sounds from the present.

The amount of ambience on each drum kit is controllable for just the right amount of room sound. Groove agent sends MIDI out information for triggering other drum samplers from the Groove Agent engine. Apart from playing the pre-programmed grooves you can also play the samples individually via MIDI like using a drum machine. Groove Agent has a Fills button not unlike some of the old Roland drum machines (like the TR-808) for adding pre-programmed fills either whenever you hit the button or automatically at the end of each phrase.

We used it in a writing situation to quickly get a groove going without breaking the creative flow. Within seconds we had the foundation of a rhythm section without fiddling to find the right drum sounds and then programming a beat.

For both MAC OSX and PC VST 2.0 host systems, Steinberg's Groove Agent is $249.99 MSRP. For more information contact Steinberg at www.steinbergusa.net.



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