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MacJams Review: Drums on Demand Vol. 1

In our first review of third-party, GarageBand-compatible loops, we look at a splendid collection of percussive goodness called Drums on Demand. Currently, Volume 1 of Drums on Demand is available for purchase through Hobby Horse Productions, Inc. Volume 1 contains almost 900 live, acoustic loops organized into "Song Sets" that make creating complete rhythmic layouts a cinch. Read on as we take you through the Drums on Demand collection and take these loops for a spin in GarageBand.
The Drums on Demand Low Down

The Drums on Demand loop collection is a high-quality, professionally recorded set of drum recordings that come in a variety of styles and tempos. The loop collection is royalty free so you can use it as you use other GarageBand loops and distribute your songs freely. In addition to being GarageBand-compatible, the Drums on Demand loops can be used in any sound application that can import AIFF files. The Volume One collection costs $49 and can be purchased on the Internet at DrumsOnDemand.com.

In Depth with Drums on Demand

There are thousands of collections of drum and percussion loops out there. Is Drums on Demand any different than the rest? Plenty! What makes Drums on Demand so unique is that it is organized into what its creator calls "Song Sets (TM)." This means that each folder of loops included in the collection contains drum loops that are related to each other. The various drum loops in a Song Set are are intended to be used in various parts of a given song. For example, there are the main sections of the song called "verses" and then there are loops specifically for fills, choruses, endings, etc. Each Song Set has multiple loops for each part of the song, so an amazing amount of variety is possible.

With Drums on Demand's Song Set system you can vary your song's percussion in a way that simply isn't possible with stock GarageBand or Jam Pack loops. If you are looking for astonishinly good-sounding acoustic drum loops that make it sound like you actually have a real drummer in your toolkit, then Drums on Demand is for you. What's especially nice about Drums on Demand is that the styles of drumming lend themselves especially well to typical rock and pop, as well as country, metal, funk, and jazz. Most percussion loops outside of Drums on Demand are geared almost exclusively for electronic and dance music. Drums on Demand is a refreshing change of pace in this regard.

So, let's get specific. What's in the Drums on Demand package? Drums on Demand comes with 42 unique Song Sets, equalling almost 500 individual drum loops. The Song Sets are organized by folder and the folder names are quite descriptive of the drum loops inside. Below is a full listing of the Drums on Demand Song Sets.

Working with Drums on Demand

Here we'll cover some of the basics on getting Drums on Demand's loops into GarageBand and your songs. Importing the Drums on Demand loops into GarageBand couldn't be easier. Since the loops are tagged with GarageBand's special codes for genre, tempo, key, and other information, you simply need to drag a loop, a folder of loops, or multiple folder loops right into the loop browser in GarageBand. Here's what you'll see when GarageBand is importing your loops:

Once you've got your loops imported, the easiest way to find your Drums on Demand loops is simply to search for them by name. Here's an image of the loops once imported into the browser:

In the above case we've imported the "Brush Ballad" song set, as we're going to try and compose a mellow, easy-flowing song with soft, brushed percussion.

Next, we've used loops within the Brush Ballad Song Set to create the main, fill, and ending parts of the song. When you listen to the song, you'll hear these distinct sections of the song. When you have the Drums on Demand Song Set system, you'll notice how easy it is to change the mood of the song to mark the chorus, bridge, ending, etc. These are the natural progressions a "real" drummer would make in a song, thus your compositions feel very authentic. Our song layout is shown below:

And, finally, you can listen to the very simple but effective song we created in just under 20 minutes with the help of Drums on Demand. Click to listen to the Drums on Demand demo song.

Summary

We love Drums on Demand Vol. 1. It offers a great range of styles and has a warm, authentic feel that is as close to a real drums that you are likely to get without your own set. By comparison, the Drums on Demand collection makes the GarageBand default and Jam Pack drums sound quite pale. For $49, Drums on Demand is truly a steal. We eagerly anticipate Volume II's release.

If you're looking to learn more about Drums on Demand, visit their website for 5 megs of free loops and MP3 samples of the drums to listen for yourself.


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