ToonTrack Custom and Vintage SDX

Quick Overview

The Custom and Vintage SDX is an expansion pack for the award winning Toontrack Music drumsampler Superior Drummer 2.0. It features extensive stick and brush recordings of a unique collection of drums and cymbals.

The SDX gives everyone from top producers down, access to the cream of custom and vintage drums, built by craftsmen from the ..

Additional Information

  • Model: TOONTRACK_TT125
  • Manufactured by: ToonTrack
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The Custom and Vintage SDX is an expansion pack for the award winning Toontrack Music drumsampler Superior Drummer 2.0. It features extensive stick and brush recordings of a unique collection of drums and cymbals.

The SDX gives everyone from top producers down, access to the cream of custom and vintage drums, built by craftsmen from the 1920s right up to the exceptional instrument makers of today, like Johnny Craviotto.

Most of these highly prized instruments (like a 1920s Ludwig Black Beauty, or Craviotto Timeless Timber) can only be found in the collections of top studio drummers or hired from rental facilities in the major music centres of the world

Recorded at 2Khz studio in London using an EMI TG Desk used for many legendary recordings of the early seventies including The Beatles Abbey Road and Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon. It is considered one of the best sounding desks ever made.

The Custom and Vintage SDX was played by Chris Whitten. The drummer on classic hits like What I Am by Edie Brickelland The New Bohemians and The Whole Of The Moon by The Waterboys.

Whitten was hailed as a world class drummer playing on Paul McCartneys Flowers In The Dirt album and subsequent record breaking World tour, and Dire Straits 18 month On Every Street tour. Chris has also recorded with such varied artists as Johnny Cash, Julian Cope, World Party and The Pretenders.

The Custom and Vintage SDX was produced by Peter Henderson who started his career at Air Studios where he trained and worked with Beatles recording engineer Geoff Emerick (Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road etc). as well as with the legendary George Martin. Henderson produced Supertramp´s 20 million selling Breakfast In America, for which he won a Grammy. He has also worked with Paul McCartney, Rush, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, Tina Turner and Ringo Starr.

The Kits

Noble & Cooley Star Series
”This is an exact copy of the set I took on the road with Paul McCartney in 1989. At that time I was one of only two drummers touring with these radically designed drums. The toms and snare are single-ply, steam-bent shells (in the style of vintage Slingerland Radio King snare drums). Designed for N&C by Bob Gatzen, the shells proved time consuming and expensive to produce. Sadly, only the Star Series snare drums are still in production.”

Camco Oaklawn
”Thought by many to be one of the best sounding drum kits ever made. Camco went through several incarnations and factory sites (Oaklawn, Chanute, Los Angeles), with the mid to late-1960s Oaklawn era drums being regarded as arguably their finest. The Camco name finally faded at the end of the 1970s, but their drums live on in the hands of those who love classic drums. Current prices reflect that desirability. Lucky for me the rock sizes are slightly less hard to find than the 18, 12 & 14 bop kit, so desired by jazz drummers. Camco drums have a big, warm tone that instantly says vintage. However in my opinion they easily match - and surpass in most cases - the drums being designed for recording today.”

Slingerland Studio King
”Having been acquired by Gibson guitars in the 1990s, the Slingerland name briefly re-emerged with the manufacture of Radio King snare drums and Studio King drum kits under the watchful eye of Pat Foley in Nashville, Tennessee. During the making of Custom & Vintage, Mike Udell at Drumhire repeatedly told us the Studio King set in his inventory was one of the best kits hed ever owned. Having already achieved great results with a Radio King Select snare drum from the same period, we decided to rent the Slingerland kit and record it using the standard 1970s method. We removed the bottom heads of the toms and resonant head of the bass drum. Sennheiser 421 microphones were positioned inside the toms instead of the usual method above the batter head. This gives you a fatter sound, with a lot of separation. More to the point, its the archetypal sound of the 1970s studio drummer.”

Ludwig Keystone Drum Set
”The Ludwig Drum Company had little idea what was about to hit them in the months following February 9th 1964, The Beatles debut U.S. television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The band were a sensation and almost overnight everyone wanted to own a set of Ludwig drums just like Ringos. In fact, Ludwig were still struggling to keep up with demand when along came another drumming icon John Bonham. As well as his use of the Supraphonic snare drum, Bonham popularised larger sizes, including the 24" bass drum similar to the one sampled for the Superior Vintage Add On. This 60s era Ludwig set belongs to 2khz Studio owner Nick Yeatman and we were very happy he lent it to us so we could capture that phat and funky Ludwig sound.”

Gretsch Round Badge Drum Set
”At the same time Ringo Starr was playing Ludwig drums, Charlie Watts - his opposite number in The Rolling Stones - was playing Gretsch, another classic American brand. The Round Badge era of Gretsch drums (manufactured until 1971) has been the choice of many of the most important jazz drummers in history and still is among contemporary players. In the 1950s and 60s, Gretsch focused its marketing effort on the jazz fraternity, pioneering the now standard jazz sizes of 18" bass drum, 12" and 14" toms. The smaller drums were more convenient for fitting into the small performance spaces in crowded jazz clubs and into the trunks of small cars or NY taxi cabs. During this period Gretsch first used the slogan "that Great Gretsch Sound". Even today, many jazz musicians regard the great Gretsch Sound synonymous with jazz drumming. The Round Badge set we recorded has more of a rock bias, with the inclusion of larger sized drums; 22”, bass drum, 13" and 16" toms, as well as the jazz standard 8" x 12" mounted tom and 14" x 14" floor tom. It still has that very distinctive Gretsch sound though.

Incidentally, Charlie Watts still uses his vintage Round Badge Gretsch kit on the road and in the studio with The Stones.”

The Snare Drums

Slingerland Radio King, Ludwig Black Beauty and Supraphonic.
”This trio represent the most recorded snare drums of all time, and are probably the only snares you would ever need. One of the first single-ply drums, the Radio King has become an industry standard in wood-shell snare drums.
It amazes me that these old drums - many of them dating back to the pre-WWII jazz and big band era - can stand up to the punishment of modern playing. Not only that, they actually sound better than most snare drums being built today. Its truly a testament to the skills of the drum builders of yore.
Compared to the glamour of the Radio King and Black Beauty, the Ludwig Supraphonic is a bread-and-butter drum. Perhaps due to the seal of approval given by icons such as Steve Gadd, Hal Blaine and John Bonham, the Supra is said to have appeared on more records than any other snare drum. It is surely a must for any serious studio drummer.”

Craviotto Timeless Timber
”Johnny Craviotto is a legend in the industry. Some are already proclaiming him the Stradivarius of 21st century drum makers.
Two magical ingredients combine in this snare drum; Craviottos workmanship and ancient birch wood, seasoned by being submerged for over 200 years at the bottom of Lake Superior, North America.
In the 1800s logging mills dotted the shorelines of lakes and rivers that were adjacent to the virgin forests of North America. Most of the lumber was used for building the great cities of the Industrial Revolution, except the logs that were lost before reaching their destination. These logs became waterlogged in transit and settled to the bottom of the lakes. Forgotten, these sunken timbers - some of them up to 1200 years old - have remained at the bottom of lakes and rivers for over a century, untouched and perfectly preserved in the icy cold waters of the North.
Recently maple and birch logs were rediscovered in Lake Superior, salvaged, and sold for premium prices to high-end furniture craftsmen and boutique instrument manufacturers.
I feel very privileged to have this drum in my collection.”

Noble & Cooley Star Classic
”This is one of two identical snares I played on the critically acclaimed Paul McCartney world tour of 1989/90. After the tour I kept both drums, because not only do I love their sound, but also they remind me of the most exciting time in my career so far.
For Superior Custom & Vintage I wanted to add something special. So I asked Peter Stanbridge to craft two Jarrah-ply wood hoops for one of the drums. Like Craviotto, Stanbridge is a lone artisan, building unique drums from exotic woods out of his Newfoundland workshop, 15 minutes from the most easterly point in North America.”

Noble & Cooley Alloy Classic and Zildjian Drum
”N&C built an enviable reputation on the superb quality of their wood shell drums. Towards the end of the 1980s they decided to branch out into metal, first in collaboration with the Zildjian company and then on their own with the Alloy Classic. The Zildjian drum, made from the same secret alloy as Zildjian cymbals, was an extremely expensive limited edition when it first appeared in 1989. The Alloy Classic was much more reasonably priced and is still available from Noble & Cooley today. While on tour with McCartney, I mentioned to Bob Gatzen - N&Cs design guru - that they didnt have a metal shell drum to rival the quality and success of their Star Series snares. He may have already had that in mind because an early prototype showed up for me to take on the1991/92 Dire Straits world tour. This was recorded for The Custom & Vintage SDX.”

Canopus Zelkova
”Seen by many collectors as the ultimate, this snare drum is bored out of a solid block of Zelkova -a Japanese hardwood prized for its density and resonance. Its a construction method that owes more to traditional Japanese Taiko drums than Western-style snare drums we are more used to playing. Im surprised to learn the Zelkova has been around since 1978. Perhaps its because Canopus is drwarfed by other well-known Japanese drum companies like Tama, Pearl and Yamaha, or because its ferociously expensive and available only to order from Japan.
In any case, you are unlikely to see one of these drums unless its in the hands of a collector or studio drummer.”

Noonan 5" x 12" Solid Mahogany Snare Drum
”Gary Noonan is one of a kind; a boutique drum-maker from England. Another rare breed is the solid drum, hollowed out from a single block of wood. In Noonans case, its a small sized, mahogany drum. The manufacturing process involves Gary taking a solid block of mahogany, mounting it on a lathe, and then turning it until left with a single 12” diameter snare shell. Its very labour intensive and expensive as large blocks of wood frequently have flaws in them. There is no flaw in the end result. This drum took me by surprise. Im so over the piccolo snare, but still wanted to sample a broad range of snare drums. The Noonan brought a smile to my face however. Its a drum with attitude... and so much fun to play.”

Slingerland Radio King Select Snare Drum
”One of the drum sets recorded for Custom & Vintage is a 1990s Slingerland Studio King. We were inspired to record the Slingy kit after we were so impressed with a Slingerland snare drum that came from the same source - Mike Udell at Drumhire in London. A 6.5" x 14" Radio King Select. The top of the range 1990s reissue of a solid, one piece classic, signed by Slingerland drum finish guru Pat Foley himself.”

WFL Maple 6.5" x 14" Snare Drum
”This is a 1930s model, which would place it very close to the beginnings of the WFL Drum Company. WFL are the initials of William F Ludwig. The origins of Ludwig drums can be traced back to 1909, when as a young drummer, William Ludwig was playing “rag time” music with a snare drum and a bass drum operated by a simple foot pedal. The pedal was neither powerful nor fast and William set about to design a better solution. Along with two other family members William set up the “Ludwig & Ludwig” drum shop and soon expanded their business to drums and tympani. Unfortunately, by 1930 the company had run into financial difficulty and William sold the Ludwig & Ludwig brand to C.G. Conn LTD . Seven years later, Ludwig set up a new company called WFL and began to build again. He now found himself in direct competition with Ludwig & Ludwig – the company that bore his name. However, by the mid-1950s Conn decided to get out of drums altogether and the Ludwig name was returned to William F Ludwig. At that point WFL became known simply as the Ludwig Drum Company. This drum is one of our favourites. Being one of the last we recorded, we decided to do something different. I approached the drum with perhaps an acoustic ensemble or jazz mentality, much reducing the strength of my playing strokes. The end result is a natural sounding drum with added warmth and character.”

The Cymbals

Zildjian K Dark Crashes
”These are cymbals I used on both the McCartney tour and again with Dire Straits (On Every Street tour, 1991/92).
I love the tone of the K Dark series. One of the biggest problems for recording drummers is balancing loud cymbals with the rest of the kit. These Ks are never overbearing, and Ive had great success using them in all my live and recorded work since the late1980s.”

Zildjian K 20" Heavy Ride and 18" Sizzle Ride
”I chose both these cymbals during rehearsals for the McCartney tour, and theyve remained two of my favourite cymbals ever since.
The Heavy ride is surprisingly sweet. The stick sound is crystalline and the wash, although quite high pitched, is warm.
Knowing I would be playing some Rock n Roll standards, as well as early Beatles songs with Paul, I was on the hunt for an older sounding cymbal. I couldnt find anything quite right in the Zildjian catalogue, but going the extra mile for me, one of Zildjians most experienced cymbal testers picked out this 18" K ride and factory drilled it for rivets. I have to say I really enjoyed laying into it on songs like Cant Buy Me Love, and with the memories of that tour, this unique cymbal will probably go with me to my grave.”

Zildjian 1950s 22" Ride
”Maybe Im too nostalgic, but I have a soft spot for older cymbals.
Some say metal compounds mature with age, I dont know.
I do know, the further you go back in time, the rarer these cymbals become.
They call the 1960s the great cymbal holocaust. Rock music came along and guitarists were plugging into amplifiers with an ever-increasing wattage. Meanwhile, cymbal manufacturers stuck to their centuries-old formula, producing thin cymbals more suited to the acoustic music of previous decades. The result? A lot of beautiful cymbals from the 1940s and 50s bit the dust.
A few larger, heavier ride cymbals survived however. I came across this one at my local drum shack. It has a deeper tone than many modern rides, and just the right balance between stick definition and roar.”

K Zildjian Istanbul 16" Crash, 18" Ride, 20" Ride and 13" Hi-Hats
”Vintage K Zildjians are regarded as the ultimate cymbal by many serious jazz drummers. They are delicate and very rare, commanding prices far in excess of any other cymbal in the vintage market.
Each cymbal is unique, having been hand-crafted in Istanbul, Turkey (the birthplace of the modern cymbal), by a family of craftsmen who handed down their experience and skill to each new generation. Because of the human factor in the manufacturing process, Istanbul Ks vary greatly in quality.
A recent acquisition, the 13" hi-hats have already become my go to pair. I found the 20" ride on Ebay, but it turned out the owner lived a couple of miles from my house in London. Thin is the thing with these vintage rides. K Istanbul collectors have told me this is the thinne