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Groove Agent 3 is now shipping!

August 14, 2007

Groove Agent 3

Groove Agent 3 is the third incarnation of Steinberg’s phenomenally successful Groove Agent virtual drummer VST instrument, and is a major step up from previous versions. Groove Agent 3 combines a huge library of drum and percussion sounds with a range of player technologies to give you dynamic, ready-to-go drums, beats, rhythms and percussion in only a few mouse clicks. Top-quality drum samples and live recorded drum performances in a massive number of variations cover 123 different styles from over 50 years of music history, automatically synced to the song tempo. And Groove Agent 3 also features more kits and sounds, including 3 new top-rate acoustic drum kits, as well as the ability to import user samples in wav and AIFF format for even more flexibility.

Groove Agent 3 adds two new agents to the Classic Agent seen in previous versions: Special Agent and Percussion Agent. While the top-notch Special Agent adds an astoundingly realistic studio drummer complete with new acoustic drum kits to Groove Agent 3’s arsenal, the Percussion Agent is specialized in red-hot percussive grooves and beats. The new Dual Mode puts any two of the three agents together in the recording studio for scorching virtual drum and percussion sessions – all within one single VST instrument. And while Groove Agent 3 breathes new life into any production with its inspiring and inventive drum performances, it’s also an ideal sparring partner for practice or jam sessions.

New features

The new Special Agent

Special Agent is an all new module in Groove Agent 3 which adds live drum styles. It does not rely on MIDI sequences and triggered drum samples but rather on drum and percussion audio loops played live and recorded especially for this application..Although these are live drum recordings, the same variation and flexibility found in the classic mode styles are attained.

We recorded a total of 15 new styles, each with 25 levels plus 25 fills and 25 unique half tempo feel renditions, all made accessible in a Module inside Groove Agent 3. And as if that weren’t enough, we also took the time to record a bagful of percussion instruments. Again, these are live grooves that can be arranged into traditional or complex patterns.

The best thing about having recordings of a live drummer inside a drum machine is the feel. The Classic Groove Agent approach of using MIDI-controlled samples is great, because you can compose and edit patterns any way you want. Patterns recorded live, on the other hand, are not as flexible, but they feel great.

The new Percussion Agent

The second great innovation in Groove Agent 3 is the all new Percussion Agent. As with the live drumming in Special Agent, it features an exciting variety of audio material played and recorded live. Congas, Bongos, Claves, Bells and much more are available, all in superb quality.

Percussion Agent can be seen as an ensemble consisting of up to eight percussionists (one per channel) playing together. Each player has an instrument playing a particular groove, or rather five variations of a groove. For each player you can adjust the shuffle factor, tuning, amount of ambience plus pan and volume. Each channel can also be assigned to any audio output.

When arranging the percussion part(s) for a song, users can add some inner dynamics by moving the Groove Offset for one or several percussion channels around. The results can be very rewarding.

Dual Mode

Another big step forward in Groove Agent 3 is the new Dual Mode. It allows users to work with two modules simultaneously in any combination. Users can combine “classic-style” Groove Agent drumming with Special Agent, the new live drummer module. Or base one drum track on Special agent and add a Percussion Agent.

It’s also possible to work solely with percussion, building up exciting, slowly evolving grooves (with help from the Random button) and add Groove Agent kick and snare at a later stage. Or make two Groove Agent drummers compete.

While the screen layout is different from Classic view, all the same controls are still there. Groove Agent behaves like before, but the control surface has been slightly modified to accommodate two modules in one screen. The central Control Strip allows two units to be controlled with very little mouse movement and the transport buttons are split into three sections – Upper, Lower and upper & Lower – for super-fast access.

When using two drummers, it’s easy to make only one of them play a fill, or to pause the lower drummer only. Creative use of these buttons will make any drum track sound more dynamic. To find the ideal mix or to create a dramatic fade from one kind of rhythm to another we’ve included a Balance fader as well.

Complete Dual Mode setups with all corresponding settings can be saved and later used in another song.

Effect Section

One more great innovation in Groove Agent 3 is the new FX section with major enhancements: at last, multiple built in effects. First there’s an Equaliser – or EQ. Nine bands that cover the entire audio spectrum allow you to make minor adjustments or go wild in the name of creativity. The Compressor intelligently compresses the sound without adding distortion. The harder the Compressor works, the “louder” and more compressed the sound will be.

Brand new styles and sounds

Groove Agent 3 offers 42 brand new additional styles. Every style includes 25 variations as well as fills and half tempo feel versions. Three new acoustic kits and a range of new vintage electronic kits including the famed Linn LM-1 drum computer add additional top quality sounds to the already extensive Groove Agent arsenal. The sumptuous sound quality of the new studio-grade kits are ideal for modern rock and pop productions. Groove Agent 3 also includes a huge palette of new percussion sounds with the new Percussion Agent /see above).

User Sample Import

The new user sample import utility makes it easy to use your own samples inside Groove Agent. Any user sample can be imported in WAV or AIFF format and moulded into custom drum kits! The User Sample Import feature even offers separate dry and ambient versions for every drum instrument.

Alternating Hits

Groove Agent 3 now offers “Alternating Hits” for the most important acoustic instruments in the new kits, namely snare, hihat, toms, kick and cymbals. Much like a real drummer, this feature eliminates the “machine-gun” effect by alternating hits for each drum on every note. Realistic rolls and paradiddles are therefore now very easy to achieve.

Auto Fill Feature

This is another tool to make life easier. It can automate the way fills are triggered and makes it easier than ever to setup Groove Agent as a live drummer for jamming along and practicing without static beats.

Real Ambience

The Real Ambience feature offers true recorded ambience that can be perfectly blended into any mix or production. Using no artificial reverb, Real Ambience builds an extraordinarily convincing drum room environment with fully adjustable wet/dry balance for each individual drum kit piece.

More stereo outputs

Version 3 of Steinberg’s virtual drummer instrument offers even more output busses. All of 10 stereo outputs are now available, feeding directly into the mixer of the host application, such as Cubase SE3.

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