Okay, BFD is pretty established in the VST drum field, but.
I rarely see it being named. I discovered BFD like 3 years after getting in the VST drum universe, videos and people talking about addictive, superior and steven slate. Now you can add GG Drums.
When I talk to other musicians they look at me wondering what is the BFD I’m talking about.
Here is a little search on google trends (in french, sorry) for the last 3 years. For a complete VSTi similar to AD and SD in the quality it delivers, BFD is really behind.
Interestingly, I don’t know why but japanese seem to really like BFD, as most of the recent videos you can find on youtube are from them. Through trends I discovered that Sounth Korea is also into BFD3. Toontrack is almost non existent up there. It’s AD then BFD.
What I realized is that Superior Drummer is a lot searched on northern/western countries, addictive drums is mostly searched on slavic, latin and asian countries and BFD3… Equally low everywhere but generating a lot of interests in Japan and South Korea… ??
It’s a bummer because BFD has a lot to offer and I would love to have a bigger community around it. Now, I’m also happy because the more uncommon BFD3 is, the more original songs will sound because few people are already familiar with it.
So yeah, I know that the price is a huge criterion; AD being king on countries with a smaller average income is self explanatory (+ the other facts like its stability and size) but for northern countries the issue is not here.
Why do you think BFD3 is being slept on, and why it is dominating Japan and SK ? What could it help grow in popularity ?
Would you like a community like that of Toontrack, with dozens of people sharing preset, testing it, reviewing and giving tricks or you don’t have an interest in this kind of communities ?
I have mixed feelings on that question.
I think BFD needs to retain it’s individuality. Otherwise it’s just another drum program.
I’m lucky to have a few drum programs. BFD for me stands out from the crowd - always has, always will.
It’s definitely that “individual” thing - otherwise it’s just more of the same. And there are plenty of those about.
If people want Superior Drummer then go and purchase it. I wouldn’t like to see BFD become Superior Drummer or any other drum software for that matter. Even though there are some similarities across all the programs.
They all work for me in their own ways - BFD being the best for my needs.
It’s clear that Drum Software is like DAWs in that once you get used to them and understand their strengths and weaknesses you can exploit them to the full. However the learning curve when you change over can hamper the creative process for long enough to be quite off-putting. Plus you keep finding feature you rely on that are missing. I guess I have just got used to BFD 3.
I would like to see detachable Mixer and Arrangement windows. It would be great if the mixer could host 3rd party plugins and could access the Daw mixer by selecting the DAW output in the BFD mixer rather than a drop down menu.
I live in hope that BFD 4 will be a really functional program.
Japan do seem to love BFD, that is true. The Taiko and Kabuki packs probably help with that, but I’ve also been told of pop hits in Japan that had BFD3 all over them. Fun stuff.
I can’t speak to specifics, but where I and the team want to take BFD is to the next level. BFD has always had a history of being on the cutting edge, and cramming in tons of functionality. Now it’s time to make it a pleasure to use.
We want to overhaul the workflow and make it easier to use, and make it more attractive and inspiring. That’s my high-level elevator pitch.
My guess is the GUI and ease of use have a lot to do with it. Not too dissimilar than Drew’s thinking. I’ve never actually used a Toontrack product, I was already on BFD when it was first to the scene, but the original Super Drummer seemed very heavily geared towards metal with mix-ready patches. This was the buzz on forums at the time. Me, not being interested in metal, didn’t care much. BFD2 came out, and the feature set expanded quite a bit, the GUI changed but was still nice, but the complexity level increased. I never really fell in love with the factory content. Some of the tunings just weren’t for me (a little too loose) and the room sounds were too roomy IMO. But Platinum Samples started to put out some killer packs around that time. SD2 probably came out then and focused less on metal, but they kept things simple. When BFD3 hit, I think the content dramatically improved as did the presets, but the GUI went in a very unfriendly direction with the wireframe look. It wasn’t very friendly looking, and it was still pretty complex. Whereas I think SD3 made their GUI even more slick looking and also got a nice content upgrade.
So short version: I think BFD has always kind of been the nerdy, less immediately easy to use product. More fun if you wanted to mix your own drums and get into the thick of it. I think Drew’s overall product ideas are right on track with where BFD should go (at least in my mind).
myself i love the sound of BFD but would love it more useful at least to me it has always been a bit clunky and cumbersome comparatively. i don’t have SD3 (although with this migration shit i almost bought a ticket on that boat) i do like how it functions… well as much as i have seen of it.
so keep the sound but work heavily on the work flow and abilities like searching patterns and tempo. it REALLY needs to be more user friendly
Maybe lack of marketing? I mean I started with BFD 1 & 2 through Sweetwater and now they don’t even carry anything from BFD (last I checked) and they’re one of the best online retailers.
I bet it has to do with the younger generations just wanting that finished sound right away and not wanting to learn how to properly mix a dry kit. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone’s production needs are going to be different.
Moving forward, maybe something like a Simple/Advanced modes button would be good. Keep it stupid and clean for those that just want to bang out beats quick and turn on advanced features for those who like to really tweak.
This is one of the main reasons I think BFD was seen as less popular.
In home music studios if you’re wanting realistic, organic acoustic drums it seems that majority of these music producers are making heavy rock and metal and superior seemed tailored to that genre.
Other music producers making beats, rap electronica and other genres I guess were happy with Reason and FL Studio and Ableton and realistic acoustic drums was barely on their radar.
The fact that Superior and SSD seemed so ‘rock and metal’ orientated meant I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole but that’s just me.
So many replies, thanks, it’s great to see people invested on this product.
Murt, I feel you. I totally get what you say by “needs to retain it’s individuality” and I agree. Now I also wonder, if BFD sells more… we may have more great expansions ?
You can maintain an individuality even while growing bigger and more accessible. Then again it joins what funkybot said, BFD being the nerdy outcast guy that still manages to find its way while focusing on what really matters (and after watching a big bang theory episode).
Thanks for the answer, Drew, that makes my mouth dripping. It’s reassuring to know that the team is aware about the workflow issue. Speaking about the eastern interest, the Taiko and Kabuki packs sure helped with that but I don’t know, it seems that they are really into the nerdy stuff. It may be cultural but they don’t fear to dirty their hands in an “unfriendly” workplace. They get the job done regardless of appearances. Take Modo Drum from IK Multimedia (great and innovating software in my eyes). It synthesizes a real drum sound but it requires you to understand how a drum kit is assembled and how, for example, the drumstick tip shape can change the sound. Who is talking about it and what google trends shows ? Japanese… for an italian product once again a bit demanding.
One day, South Korean or Japanese engineers will launch a drum VST looking like a 90’s operating system but with a hell of a sound, I tell you.
Now what gets to me is that almost all of you are BFD followers since 1 or 2 and it may be hard to be objective when defending (justifying ?) a product that we bought and use for a long time… It’s also my case, BFD being the first drum software I do not get for free, if ya know.
3 issues have been stated :
Workflow issue (glitches, crashes, hard to learn)
Dated GUI (AD2 is just a year younger than BFD3 but is still seems refreshing, at least for me)
Lack of appeal / marketing toward new clients
Exactly my thought this morning !
Pop/Rap/Trap/Electro etc… producers will tend to use samplers (Battery 4…) and stock sounds like you said.
Country/Reggae/Jazz… I rarely found them showing their home studio and their drum software ? Except maybe reggae. Seems like they still rely heavily on full recorded drums or are not really into social networks, tutorials and backstage.
Seems like people that are eager to buy drum software are mostly those who have home studios and it often is people (like me) doing rock / metal productions in their wide spectrum. And with the overproduced sound we get since a few years, mix-ready samples are golden. (At the price of everyone sounding exactly the same but that’s an other debate !). Also, many people just want a relatively good, easy and affordable drum software for their pre-production and to get a taste of the final product so the mix-ready is really understandable. If I may say it, I’m not really into the BFD default presets compared to those in AD or GGD for example. (Except Funk Polished, sounds like a goddess whispering sweet words to me)
That’s just my two cents of a thought here, I may be wrong but it joins what funkybot and Steve said.
I have used BFD since the beginning and to begin with I struggled a bit with version 3. I tend not to use presets and at the beginning I struggled to get a good drum sound as what you got was the sound of the kit unprocessed. So I learned how to direct each kit piece into the mixer. I then read up about mixing the drums and experimented with processing each kit piece using my third party plugins in the Cubase mixer. I learned how to create mixer presets of my own kits, routing and mixer setups. I learnt how to set up parallel compression through the mixer sends in Cubase.
All the while BFD3 was allowing me to get better sounds all the time. It takes a bit of learning but BFD is the most flexible and real drum program out there. It really does reward the time you spend learning how to use it with your DAW. Processing you kit in the DAW needs to be made easier. It is certainly much easier to mix the drums and the other instruments and singers in one mixer. This is why I am not really interested in Superior Drummer.
I don’t think people realise how flexible and powerful BFD3 is. I really would like to see the Groove editor improved with a detachable and resizable widow with more accessible edit functions to make it really useful.
Completely agreed, and for me the ‘individuality’ is a substantial catalog of highly usable quality organic sounds. And +1 for the 3rd party partners, would love to see that carry on.
Workflow from the get go for me has been to route everything into the DAW. I personally don’t need extra functionality in the mixer even though I’ll use it on a regular basis and find it works quite well for creating presets.
I seem to be in the minority wrt the GUI. I thought the wireframe approach was fine even though the implementation seemed a bit unfinished. (How hard could it be to display a more usable outline for percussion, etc. instead of defaulting to a circle?) As for “pretty pictures”, I’ve never bought a painting for what it sounds like. And as @Steve63 noted?, having the “Show Info” default to on would be great. Resizing, menu listing, etc. can be a bit clunky, but never got in my way. Given their past track record, I expect whatever they come up with will be useful even if it takes some investment to sort out.
I’ve had to resort to using another program for the time being and while it’s easy enough to get tolerable sounds for the initial demos, it’s only serving to remind me of the current issues. Hoping for the best, still.
@silhouette Thanks for sharing. I learn’t the same way with BFD1 and Cubase. All outs routed into Cubase to do the mixing in Cubase. I now use LUNA and have to mix all drums in BFD3 to start with when setting up the complete song. After that I can record all seperate kit pieces and reverbs in LUNA as audio tracks if needed, but have not so far. BFD has always been the most musically and natural expressive acoustic drum software for our use. I found the sound quality go up a whole new level in LUNA with all the console emulations. SOOO Real, Rich, AWESOME. I have requested 3rd party fx ability in the mixer for BFD4 too. This would make it such a strong platform. I love BFD.
Unfortunately/fortunately I am Windows 10 and RME Fireface so Luna is out of the question for me. I am glad you like it. However Luna does not have enough functionality for me and I am so used to Cubase and can’t be bothered to go Apollo. Unfortunately console emulations are fine but I am not convinced that adding distortion, however subtle, on every channel is a good thing. I am willing to be proved wrong. Probably not much chance of that as UAD are not going to release a version of Luna for Windows as I get the impression that they do not want to work with Asio and prefer to work with the Apple system proprietary Drivers.
Let’s hope the BFD4 changes the game when it evantually comes out. I for one will be looking forward to test it.
I just want to add that I agree BFD needs to retain it’s individuality/quality, but at the same time they’re gonna have to do something refreshing/special to draw in new users and those using the other big drum samplers. They’re gonna need something cutting-edge that entices people.
And I know it’s been stated quite adamantly in other posts, but the whole LM/online thing being a PITA will have to be sorted in order to port people from the other samplers, or draw in newcomers. Having authorization run consistently smoothly will be so key. If you have to jump through hoops just to use it, that will be a turn off and the word will get around about that. The recent issues probably aren’t helping there.
I do wish the BFD team the best to bring it back to the MainStage and regain it’s place as the top dog as it once was. The foundation of great samples has always been a constant.
@silhouette don’t know what style you might prefer, but some of the PA TMT consoles provide adjustment over gain and THD and noise (from zero to ?) in addition to any modelling done for vintage emulations. Used in conjunction with various tape plugins can provide some pretty decent sounding palettes to work from.
The Tech and Model modules in the mixer are what set BFD apart for me. My presets are pretty much balancing a kit w/o any fx. There’s plenty of great options for fx without needing BFD to make it a priority for me.
Thanks. I already use the PA consoles but don’t use the THD, well only very sparingly as I don’t favour the way that it builds up in a mix. I tend to agree with Dan Worrall. If you have never listened to his You Tube stuff you really should.
I have to say that I do try to keep things simple. I really like the UAD and PA stuff and use them a lot as well as Fab Filter for my go to EQ and Limiter. The reason I love BFD is that I am very 70’s in my approach to sound except perhaps for the drum sound. I do find with BFD I can get a very natural drum sound that, dare I say it< fits nicely and realistically in a mix. I am guessing that this is why BFD has been a bit niche of late. However this real kit sound will never go away and this is where BFD scores for me.
Right on, a personal fave as well, and yes, exactly, prefer a more dynamic kit sound than the dead room that ended up on so many sides from that era. I only mentioned them wrt to Luna as I’m also Win10 and exploring UAD alternates for when the card dies.
Thx for the DW url, rare and useful content for YT, appreciate the focus on what actually counts. I have a great appreciation for FF design/quality but tend to use console emulations as a kind of “preset” to facilitate workflow.
I.e. was ‘challenged’ to reproduce a ‘vintage muscle shoals vibe’ for a project and decided to impose ‘digital emulations of vintage limitations’.in the DAW. The project template uses a vintage console emulation with specific TMT channel assignments to the DAW channels (apparently aligned with DWs observation). I don’t believe the actual TMT makes much difference (other than minor variations in the GUI settings) but found using the THD/Gain gave the kit piece sounds a little more ‘life/dirt/mojo’. Haven’t done any level of analysis ala DW, but hearing something on the transients that works for me, and more so for drums.
That being said, it starts with the samples themselves. BFD has had the most useful content to date for the ‘modern’ rootsy/americana projects, finding it more than just a niche. Really hoping they drop the online requirement as it’s killing my location sessions.
I have discussed this for many hours with a friend/musician/producer. I think we were both of the opinion that THD is great as far as it goes, but applied too widely creates a muddiness in the mix. A haze that sounds good, but obscures detail and thus to be used with care. Like anything and indeed any plugin.
Luckily I have just bought a new computer that should stave off UAD obsolescence for a while. However, whilst I was fitting the cards I noticed for the first time how the leds were flashing. Scared the life out of me.