Slate Digital — Trigger Platinum
One of the biggest tricks in a pro producer’s arsenal is their skills at augmenting drum samples with original drum hits to get depth, punch and character it is impossible to achieve with just recorded drums alone. Doing this properly is an art form in itself and can often include a lot of manual editing even after using a replacement plug in. This is because of a plethora of computer errors including mis-triggerring, flamming, bleed from other drums and complex drum rolls causing havoc. Many top producers even hire assistants to do this for them as well as vocal tuning, elastic audio and any other laborious editing tasks. Step up Steven Slate Trigger.
Before being recommended to check out Trigger by a fellow engineer friend of mine, I had used Drumagog, which is probably the most common of all the drum replacement plug-ins, so it became very obvious to me that as soon as I had learnt to use Trigger I should do a direct A->B comparison using the same sample set. But more on that later……. (see what I did there?)
Steven Slate Trigger is a very clean and intuitive GUI in which everything labelled well and clearly defined, with the exception of its leakage suppression leveller (which is actually Triggers greatest success). What is even better is that it sounds just as good as it looks. The Steven Slate drum samples are quite possibly the best on the market and Trigger incorporates the use of up to 6 sample sets per instance of the plug-in. This feature allows you to mix close and room mic’d samples simply, thus making it flexible enough to handle any style and genre you throw at it.
Trigger has 2 detection modes Live and Accurate. Live is an almost 0ms latency setting which compromises a little of its timbre selection process to cut its processor demands and as you can tell is the default selection for anytime you are triggering from a stage or live environment. Accurate is the preferred studio setting which has the very best algorithm to handle dynamic triggering but comes at a cost of an 11ms latency.
Now for the drum roll (sorry for the bad pun) and explanation of the feature that makes Trigger the best drum replacement tool out there, Leakage suppression. Where many drum replacement programs fall short is the fact that the program material may have bleed from other drums that are loud enough to trigger a sample wrongly. Trigger uses side-chaining to make sure that Trigger knows which hits are genuinely in need of triggering and those which are in fact bleed. To use this feature simply load the plug-in onto an Auxiliary bus, then send the channel you wish to trigger solely to the left hand side and the channel(s) of audio that you wish Trigger to exclude solely to the right. After you have done this you can simply increase the “supp:” value within Trigger (in the wave view section at the top of the screen) to a level that exludes the wrong hits. You may need to reduce the send levels of the side-chained bleed tracks compared to the trigger track as the cumulative effect of several channels of audio could cause problems.
Note to the developers: For me this method is slightly cumbersome and overcomplicated, simply sending the bleed tracks to a bus and using a key input (like you see on many compressors) from within trigger would to me be far more elegant. This would also allow you to load trigger as in insert on the original drum track too.
So now back to the Drumagog Vs Trigger debate. Sit back relax and listen to the following kick drum track with a fresh cup of tea:
Now then, I have prepared two kick drum trigger mp3 sets (A and B) for you to listen to, one being the Steven Slate Trigger track blended with the original recorded kick. The other being the drumagog version of the same thing. Both were used using the Steven Slate sample set Kick 1AZ1. Please now listen to them and take another sip of your tea (if you’ve drank it already then I hope you have learnt your lesson and pace yourself next time).
Which do you prefer?
Yes I know you prefer A and I also know that, you know that it is Steven Slate Trigger. Now say that last sentence out loud! (I hope you aren’t following my instructions blindly!)
Well if that wasn’t enough for you I also have some further evidence to show you too, in the form of a Pro Tools 10 screen shot and a couple more mp3 files. These were created once I had nudged the recorded track to account for the plug-ins latency. Listening time again:
This screenshot clearly shows You can see that A is consistently ever so slightly behind the original hit and B is far more erratic.
So to conclude not only are the sample sets included with Trigger flawless but its detection algorithm is also a step ahead of the competition to make Trigger the must buy drum replacement plug-in. That with the leakage suppression feature being the icing on a truly rich cake means that you shouldn’t even begin to compare the competition and just reach for Trigger every time.
That said I still recommend recording in the triggered track and comparing it to the source (remember to turn off Delay Compensation in your DAW before hand), this is because of not only my audiophile instinct to get rid of that 11ms delay but also as a last check through the triggers to correct the odd mis-trigger. I however guarantee you that you will save over 2/3rds of the time using trigger to any other replacement plug-in.
Plug in Rating [9/10]
Steven Slate Trigger Platinum is Available here:
PRICE = $269.99 (approx £170)