Steven Slate Drums 5.5 Review

  • By: Thorsten Meyer
  • Date: Monday, 16 May 2022
  • Time to read: 10 min.


When it comes to drum libraries, it would appear that more is better. These days, libraries are packed with more content than ever before, and at more affordable prices. Slate Drums 5 is no exception. With its massive collection of meticulously recorded drums and cymbals, Slate Drums 5 is one of the most comprehensive libraries on the market.

And its affordable price makes it a great value for money. But with so many libraries and so much content available, it’s becoming harder to impress customers. So how does Slate Drums 5 fair in that regard? Let’s take a closer look. First of all, the quality of the recordings is excellent.

The drums sound natural and realistic, and the cymbals have a beautiful shimmer. The library is also very easy to use, with a well-organized interface and an intuitive navigation system. And last but not least, the price is very reasonable. In conclusion, Slate Drums 5 is a top-notch drum library that offers great value for money.

Slate Trigger and Slate Drums

The latest installment of Slate Drums ships with all of the legacy content from Slate Drums 4 Platinum, plus a set of brand new kits and cymbals.

Steven Slate has been making a name for himself in the audio engineering world for quite some time now. His company, Slate Digital, offers a variety of plugins and software solutions that are widely used by mixers and mastering engineers.

One of his most popular products is the Slate Trigger plugin, which is used by many producers for drum layering and replacement. Slate is also known for his work on the mixing and mastering side of things, and his plugins are some of the most popular in those fields.

Slate Trigger and Slate Drums
Slate Trigger and Slate Drums

In recent years, Slate has also ventured into the world of hardware, with the release of the Slate Raven touch-screen controller. Whether you’re looking for mixing, mastering, or drum plugins, Steven Slate is sure to have something that will meet your needs.

I recently had the chance to spend some time with Steven Slate Drums 5.5, and I have to say that I was impressed. This plugin has become popular for a reason: it’s attractive, easy to use, and packed with features.

The library of samples, one-shots, MIDI loops, and fills is huge, and the built-in sampler is a nice touch. The only downside is that there are no in-built effects, but that didn’t bother me at all.


Steven Slate Drums is an excellent Drum virtual instrument plugin with hundreds of drum and cymbal samples, thousands of MIDI grooves, and granular customization options. The plugin allows you to create realistic-sounding drum tracks quickly and easily, without the need for a real drum kit. The samples are high quality and provide a wide range of sounds, from classic acoustic drums to modern electronic drums.

You can also customize the sound of each individual drum and cymbal, using the built-in EQ, compression, and other effects. In addition, the plugin comes with a vast library of MIDI grooves, which can be used to quickly create realistic-sounding drum tracks.

The Slate Drums library has always had a great sound for rock, pop, metal and industrial styles – it’s nice and punchy without being too overbearing. However, one downside is that it can sometimes be a bit too subtle for funk or softer styles.

Download Cory’s Preset here

While it’s certainly not the selling point of the Slate Drums library, the mapper is, unfortunately, a bit of a nightmare to work with. Thankfully, the rest of the library more than makes up for this one weak spot.

The sounds are top-notch, and with a separate mapping plugin, the mapper issue becomes almost a non-issue. In short, don’t let the mapper scare you away from an otherwise excellent drum library.

The drums are provided with plenty of articulations and no less than 5 opening positions for the hats with both shank and tip variants, along with hard edge and medium shank hits for all the cymbals along with choke keys.

Each articulation’s volume can be tweaked, and the usual controls for shaping the velocity and decay are all there. The room mics are tops as well. The result is a very natural sound that doesn’t require much in the way of EQ or other processing, which is a huge plus in my book.

I’ve been very happy with the results I’ve been getting from this library, and I think it’s well worth the asking price. Highly recommended!

STEVEN SLATE DRUMS 5.5 User interface

At first glance, Steven Slate Drums 5 might not look like much. The graphical user interface is dated and doesn’t offer the same level of customization as some of its competitors. However, looks can be deceiving.

Despite its unassuming appearance, Steven Slate Drums 5 is a powerful and versatile drumming software that more than lives up to its name. The sound quality is excellent, and the editing functions are robust and easy to use.

Plus, the overall functionality is rock-solid. In short, don’t let the dated GUI fool you – Steven Slate Drums 5 is a top-notch drumming software that any drummer would be proud to own.

The Anti-User-Friendly Re-Mapping System is the bane of this library’s existence. We’ve seen this problem firsthand with Slate Drums 4 – and it looks like Slate Drums 5 is going to have the same issue. We hope that the library will find a way to fix this problem soon because it’s making it very difficult for us to do our work. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


The Edit tab in SSD 5.5 provides granular control over each individual drum or cymbal in your kit. Selecting a drum and opening the Instrument Master window gives you access to master volume, tuning, and phase controls.

You can also adjust the settings for the individual articulations, like snare rimshot, center, rimshot edge, snare side, and sidestick. Finishing up along the top of the window is a Dynamics control for cleaning up MIDI input to dial in the right velocities. This allows you to get the perfect sound for your drums every time. Thanks to the Edit tab, you have complete control over your kit.

Steven Slate Drums 5.5 Review - Edit Tab
Steven Slate Drums 5.5 Review – Edit Tab

The individual microphone routing, volume, and pan controls for each mic that hears the drum selected are located at the bottom of the Edit tab. For example, the snare bottom, snare ring, overhead, and room mics can each be routed into one of 32 channels. In addition, the overheads, rooms, and SLR mics can be routed into any of the above.

The Steven Slate Drums 5.5 mic controls the amount of bleed from kick and toms into the snare bottom mic. This allows for a high degree of control over the sound of the drums. As a result, the drums can be made to sound very natural or they can be given a unique sound that is tailored to the style of music being played.

Rounding out the controls is an ADSR envelope shaper, allowing you to pick the perfect attack, delay, sustain, and release for each drum similar to a synth. The link feature allows adjustment of all the mic envelopes for a single drum at once. By turning the knob labeled “link”, you can adjust the ADSR parameters of all the mics on a single drum simultaneously.

This is extremely useful for fine-tuning the sound of a drum, and can help you to get a deeper, richer sound from your drums. In addition, the ADSR envelope shaper can be used to create unique sounds that would not be possible with traditional methods. By experimenting with different settings, you can create a wide range of sounds that will add a new dimension to your music.


The Mix tab in Steven Slate Drums 5.5 is a powerful tool for fine-tuning the sound of your drum kit. The Edit window provides control over the volume, solo, mute, pan, and phase of each individual drum, while the faders below it offer global control over the entire kit.

Steven Slate Drums 5.5 Review - Mix Tab
Steven Slate Drums 5.5 Review – Mix Tab

This allows you to sculpt the perfect sound for your drums, whether you’re looking for a tight, punchy sound or a wide, open sound. And if you need even more control, you can group multiple faders together by holding CTRL and clicking on them. This gives you complete control over your drum mix, making it easy to get the perfect sound for your tracks.

STEVEN SLATE DRUMS 5.5 – Grooves Tab

Steven Slate Drums 5.5 ships with over 2,400 MIDI grooves, arranged in various categories like Intro, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, or Fills. Clicking on a Library, then a Category brings up a list of matching Grooves. The playhead with Autoplay button at the bottom is handy for auditioning the grooves before dragging them into your host DAW for playback and tweaking in your MIDI editor.

As any drummer knows, nailing the perfect groove is essential for giving a track that professional feel – and with Steven Slate Drums 5.5, it’s easy to find the perfect groove for your next song.

The MIDI learn to function in the library is non-existent, so you are forced to drag on articulations inside a rather clunky-looking window. The two mapping functions (kit mapping and the core mapping function) remind me of those two talking door-knockers in the movie “Labyrinth”.

Steven Slate Drums 5.5 Review - Grooves Tab
Steven Slate Drums 5.5 Review – Grooves Tab

Neither of them seems to make sense, and neither of them seems to get along, and what’s left is an exasperating puzzle.

The kit mapping affects the core mapping when grouping articulations onto a single key, then the core mapping when changed causes the kit mapping window to display incorrect articulations and so on. There is no way to copy an articulation to another key, so you must drag in multiple instances of kit pieces to achieve this – and most of them automatically map to the same keys as their counterparts no matter what preset you’ve loaded, saved or tweaked.

Consequently, it’s often necessary to go into the advanced page for each instrument and change the key range for every articulation manually. There are often dozens of articulations per instrument, so this is a time-consuming and tedious process. Surely there must be a better way?

Every musician knows the frustration of trying to create the perfect set-up, only to have it undone by a small detail. Whether it’s moving a pedal just an inch to the left, or finding the perfect balance of EQ settings, the process can often feel like taking one step forward and three steps back. This is especially true when working with virtual instruments, where even the smallest change can require reloading a whole kit or re-auditioning sounds.

Steven Slate Drums 5.5 Review - Create Tab
Steven Slate Drums 5.5 Review – Create Tab

However, this doesn’t mean that the search for the perfect set-up is futile. In fact, the satisfaction of finally achieving that goal can make all the frustration worth it. So next time you’re stuck in the cycle of trial and error, remember that the perfect set-up is out there somewhere – and it’s worth searching for.

STEVEN SLATE DRUMS 5.5 – Conclusion

SSD 5.5 is a great way to add more depth and realism to your electronic music. With its new subtractive synthesis engine, SSD 5.5 offers a wider range of sounds than ever before. Plus, the new intelligent Arpeggiator and NoteRepeat features make it easy to create complex musical passages with just a few button presses.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I first loaded up Slate Drums 5.5. I’d heard good things about Steven Slate’s drum plugins, but I wasn’t sure if they would live up to the hype. I’m happy to report that, while it’s not perfect, Slate Drums 5.5 is a great plugin with a lot to offer. The sound is fantastic, and the interface is very user-friendly.

My only complaint is that there are only five kits included, which feels a bit limited. However, even with that small drawback, Slate Drums 5 is still a great plugin that I highly recommend.

You can’t go wrong with Steven Slate Drums 5.5. It’s an amazing value at this price point, and it comes with a ton of features and customization options. The acoustic and electronic drums sound great, and the MIDI mapping is a definite plus. If you’re looking for a drum plugin that offers great value for the money, this is the one you want.

Steven Slate Drums 5.5 FREE

SSD5.5 is the latest and greatest drum sampler from Steven Slate Drums. With its advanced audio engine, SSD5.5 is capable of producing incredibly realistic drum sounds. And because it’s a Steven Slate Drums product, you know that it’s packed with features designed to make your life easier.

The free demo gives you access to three of Steven’s favorite kit presets, so you can get a taste of what SSD5.5 can do. Plus, the demo never expires, so you can keep using it even after you buy the full version. So why wait? Download the free SSD5.5 demo now and see for yourself how it can take your drums to the next level.

Rating: Four out of five stars

In terms of drum quality, Slate Drums 5.5 is very good. The new drums are particularly tasty, and the legacy library is large and varied. The price is also very reasonable, especially considering the quality of the product. I would definitely recommend Slate Drums 5 to anyone looking for a quality drum library.

When it comes to value, Steven Slate Drums 5.5 is hard to beat. You get hundreds of kicks and snares to choose from, paired with tons of customization parameters for the price point.

This makes it a great value for the money. Additionally, the sampler feature and extensive MIDI mapping are definite bonuses in terms of value. Overall, I believe that Steven Slate Drums 5.5 is a great value for the money and would recommend it to anyone in the market for a drum plugin.

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