Buyers' Guides

EZdrummer 3 Review

We take a look at Toontrack’s entry level VST drum library in our EZdrummer 3 review. Read on to see how it stacks up for eDrumming and recording.

We take a look at EZdrummer 3, an affordable VST drum library suitable for both songwriters who need quality drum sounds for their music, as well as eDrummers who want to trigger drum samples on their computer as an upgrade over their module’s stock sounds. Read on for our comprehensive review!

Summary: EZdrummer 3 Review

EZdrummer 3 offers phenomenal-sounding drums recorded across 3 separate drum rooms. Unfortunately, this also means you are limited to using drums and cymbals recorded for each specific drum kit, offering limited scope to mix and match sounds.

– eDrumHub

Drum sounds
Features & customisation
Ease of use


EZdrummer 3 is an easy-to-use drum library that strips away the complexities, leaving three faithfully reproduced drum sample libraries. Great for entry-level recording and eDrum triggering.


Pros and Cons

Great support for eDrums from multiple brands and MIDI mapping supportExpansion packs are expensive at half the price of the core EZdrummer 3 app
A versatile range of high-quality drum kits and presetsThree separate libraries requiring different MIDI settings and the inability to mix & match instruments between drum kits 
Features such as drum/cymbal tuning ported from the high-end Superior Drummer 3 packageLimited range of effect cymbals such as only one China cymbal only usable on one kit

What is EZdrummer 3?

EZdrummer 3 is a drum production tool designed primarily for songwriters needing realistic-sounding drums. EZdrummer 3 achieves this by coming with 15 GB of real drum samples recorded by professional engineers in a high-end studio. This is great for producers and songwriters on a budget, allowing them to get professional-sounding drums without needing to book out studio space or learn how to mic up an acoustic drum kit.

EZdrummer 3 is also great for electronic drum kit owners. Ever wished you could replace your stock drum module sounds with real drums? EZdrummer 3 is one of the ways you can do this. By connecting your eDrums to a computer running EZdrummer, you can ‘trigger’ EZdrummer to play the exact drums at the same velocities you’re playing. In general, the results are far better than all but the highest-end drum modules out there, and it’s a great way to make a cheap electronic drum kit sound more real. Learn more about setting up EZdrummer 3 with your eDrums in our dedicated guide.

EZdrummer 3 sits below Superior Drummer 3 in the Toontrack range. While EZdrummer 3 is designed for quick and simple drum production, Superior Drummer is intended as a full-fat drum production studio. That means more customisation, more editing options, and more pro-level features. As an eDrummer, I like Superior Drummer as a way to have more control over my drum sound, even though I’m not a professional producer. Learn more about using Superior Drummer 3 with eDrums.

Who is EZdrummer 3 for?

EZdrummer 3 is great for recording drums for demos or even albums with an easy-to-use interface, as well as for drummers who want to replace their eDrum module sounds with EZdrummer 3’s real drum samples.

Because of EZdrummer’s simplicity, it’s a great tool for songwriters who want to focus on creating music instead of audio engineering. That makes it a good choice for producing quality demos or EPs quickly and on a limited budget. Even if you’re not a drummer, you can create great-sounding drum beats using the included MIDI library, MIDI sequencer and AI Bandmate tool, which can generate a drum beat to suit any audio file you give it.

The EZdrummer 3 MIDI grid editor sits at the bottom of the interface.

For drummers with electronic kits, EZdrummer is a great way to revamp your sound with much better sounds than your module’s built-in sound generator. Again, EZdrummer 3 is best for drummers who don’t want to spend time learning about audio engineering. That’s because the EZdrummer sound library is based on ready-mixed presets that sound great out of the box. In this respect, EZdrummer is similar to Steven Slate Drums, which also offers a mix-ready sound.

EZdrummer 3 also offers a mixer, however, this is limited to volume and panning control only for each channel, plus global controls for mic bleed and compression.

The EZdrummer 3 mixer allows you to edit the volume of each channel but does not support adding channel-specific EQ or effects.

It is not possible to add other effects such as EQ, reverb or compression to individual channels or busses, which is a feature reserved for Superior Drummer 3. However, EZdrummer 3 does support multi-channel output to your DAW, which allows you to apply effects in the DAW, instead of in the EZdrummer 3 interface. To learn more, check out this video from Harrison Consoles:

If you want more customisation over your drum sound, then Superior Drummer 3 may be a better option. While it also comes with presets, the real power comes with the customisation available since you have full access to the raw drum samples so you can mix your own presets with advanced features such as layering, a huge array of different microphones and ambient channels, and advanced production tools such as drum replacement.

Learn more about how EZdrummer 3 compares to Superior Drummer 3 in our comparison guide.

Is EZdrummer 3 good for eDrums?

EZdrummer 3 is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to replace their internal module sounds to make their eDrums sound more real. However, anyone looking at the impressive list of included drums and cymbals thinking they will have complete access to all of them on one monster kit may be left disappointed.

The best way to think about EZdrummer 3 is that it faithfully recreates a set of individual drum kits. What this means is unlike drum modules, you don’t have free choice to mix and match drum and cymbal sounds from different kits. Instead, you are limited only to those instruments recorded for each specific kit – you cannot take a cymbal from the Main Room kit and add it to the Bright Room kit, for example.

However, you do have options on which sounds you use within the pool of sounds recorded in each room. Firstly, you can use the E-Drum/MIDI In settings to assign your drum and cymbal pads to specific slots on the EZdrummer 3 interface. For example, the Main Room kit has four crash cymbal slots. If you only have two physical crash cymbals on your eKit, they will be assigned to two of those cymbals by default.

If you want to change one of those cymbals to a different slot, you can click on one of the other cymbals and see which MIDI note is assigned on the left of the interface, as seen below:

EZdrummer 3 features MIDI mapping for all drum and cymbal slots.

To make reassigning pads even easier, right-click on the “=” menu icon next to the articulation you want, then click “Learn Note”. You will then see the message below:

Clicking on "learn note" allows you to strike the pad zone you want to apply a sound in EZdrummer 3 to.

Simply strike the pad you want to reassign (being sure to trigger the correct edge/bow or rim/head articulation) and you can reassign that pad. Once complete, save your configuration under the E-Drums/MIDI In menu. This way, you can set up multiple MIDI presets for different kits.

On top of that, most slots contain more than one drum or cymbal sound. You can change these sounds by right-clicking on your chosen drum or cymbal and selecting a different sound from the menu:

The Main Room kit features 6 different bass drums to choose from.

Unfortunately, not all drum and cymbal slots have a wide range of alternate instruments. For example, there is only one China cymbal in the entire drum library, which can only be used on the Bright Room kit:

There is only one China cymbal in the sound library, and this is only usable on the Bright Room kit.

Fortunately, it’s a nice-sounding China cymbal, but if you’re after more options for your Metal breakdowns, then you might need to check out the range of metal-oriented EZX expansion packs or look elsewhere.

Learn more about using EZdrummer 3 with eDrums in our dedicated guide.

What do the drums on EZdrummer 3 sound like?

The EZdrummer 3 library is actually made up of three different drum libraries, each recorded in three different rooms of the world-famous Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin.

If you’ve already seen the Rooms of Hansa SDX for Superior Drummer 3, it’s important to know that the EZdrummer 3 is not those same recordings recycled – this is a completely different set of recordings.

The fact that three different rooms are used in the recording studio makes a great case for why EZdrummer 3 is useful for drummers looking to lay down great-sounding tracks. Room acoustics make a significant impact on the way drums sound, and require a great deal of skill to tune and record in a way that makes the most of the acoustics. EZdrummer 3 allows drummers to outsource all this, and instead focus on the music.

In general, I’m a big fan of the sound of the various kits included in the EZdrummer 3 core library. Personally, my favourite is the Bright Room using the Classic Reverb preset, and there’s a hugely versatile range of different settings available.

One area I actually prefer EZdrummer 3 over Superior Drummer 3 is the wider range of ‘natural’ sounding kits. Despite SD3 having a diverse range of presets, I struggled to find ones I genuinely like, with many sounding a bit ‘over-processed’. However, this may be due to the fact that SD3 is geared more around audio production, and what sounds good in a recording doesn’t always sound great solo.

A surprise for me was how much I like the cymbals in the EZdrummer 3 library. Both the Main Room and Bright Room kits are exclusively Paiste 602 (on the Main Room kit) and 2002 (on the Bright Room kit) cymbals. I expected to dislike these, as I found the Paiste 2002 cymbals in SD3 to sound quite harsh. However, in EZdrummer 3 they sound buttery smooth.

This may be due to the differing room acoustics, but also because generally, the cymbals in EZdrummer 3 are on the larger size, with crashes as large as 20 to 24 inches. This helps to offset some of the brightness of the Paiste cymbals, contrasting dramatically to the harsh-sounding 16-inch Paiste 2002 crash in SD3 – my least favourite cymbal in that sound library.

When it comes to drums, there’s a great range here including vintage Ludwig and Gretch kits. There’s a huge range of snare and bass drums to choose from, including the legendary Supraphonic 402 snare. Toms are slightly more limited, though this doesn’t matter since they all sound great.

I’ve decided not to share sound demos here, since there are so many different presets and drums to choose from. However, be sure to check out the demos on the Toontrack website, or better still, try them out for yourself with a 10-day trial. Learn how to claim your EZdrummer 3 trial here.

Is EZdrummer 3 standalone?

EZdrummer 3 can be run standalone or as a plugin within a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).

If you want to trigger EZdrummer 3 using your eDrums as a practice tool or for performing live, the standalone mode is a good choice due to the more straightforward setup and lower system resources. Alternatively, if you’re using EZdrummer as a production tool, then you’ll need to use it within your preferred DAW software such as Garageband, Logic Pro or Reaper.

What DAWs work with EZdrummer 3?

As well as the standalone mode, EZdrummer 3 operates as a plugin for all popular DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) programs. EZdrummer operates as a VST instrument, meaning compatibility with popular cross-platform DAWs such as Pro Tools, Cubase and Reaper, as well as in Audio Unit format, ensuring compatibility with Garageband and Logic Pro.

How to tune drums with EZdrummer 3

The tuning feature is a powerful way to customise any of the recorded instruments in EZdrummer 3. Each drum and Cymbal in EZdrummer 3 has a tuning dial located in the top left of the interface, which can be revealed when clicking on any drum or cymbal on the kit.

This is more than a simple pitch shift dial, it uses an algorithm to adjust the tuning of drums as if you were tuning a real drum. For cymbals, the effect is similar to enlarging or shrinking the size of the cymbal being tuned. In the real world, this is similar to selecting a smaller or larger cymbal from the same range.

Click on a drum or cymbal in the EZdrummer 3 interface to access the tuning setting.

The results are impressive, with tuned drums and cymbals sounding just like real recordings. Aside from being able to tune drums and cymbals to better match your tracks, one potential use case is to create new cymbals that don’t exist in the Core Library. For example, the Main Room kit does not include a splash cymbal sample. However, you can create your own by taking the 16-inch crash and tuning it to +6 or higher.

Similarly, snare drums are a good use case as you can tune them to cut through the mix or to better match how you might typically tune your own acoustic kit if you’re not as keen on the stock tuning.

What is Bandmate in EZdrummer 3?

Bandmate is a feature of EZdrummer 3 that can help you write drum parts for guitar, bass, keyboard or other melodic tracks. The system works by allowing you to drop an audio file into the EZdrummer interface, which EZdrummer 3 will analyse and produce a drum beat for.

The system uses transient detection to place kick drums over your tracks. In simple terms, it’s looking for very short, staccato sounds and changes in volume to identify at what point a bass drum hit should be played. Because of this, Toontrack recommends using direct-injected guitar tracks instead of heavily distorted tracks, to help make it easier to detect these transient points. Of course, you can then restore your distorted guitar sound using a distortion plugin or re-recording a distorted version.

The interface features a groove browser which allows you to choose from a few different types of drum grooves grouped by genre. From there, your groove can be edited using three dials that control the amount of snare, kick and hi-hat hits. Increasing these dials increases the number of hits placed over the track, in line with the corresponding transients in the audio file.

Two further dials control the amount of velocity and swing added to your groove. Velocity controls the energy the drums are played at. Dialling this up will mean EZdrummer 3 will use more of its high-velocity samples while turning this down will mean the samples are more gentle. Meanwhile, dialling in more swing will make the groove sound slightly off-kilter and shuffly, while less swing will sound more robotic and perfectly in time.

Once you’ve generated a beat you’re happy with, you can drag and drop it from the editor window to the MIDI timeline at the bottom of the interface. From here, it can be edited even further using the MIDI grid editor or via the Edit Play Style feature.

Edit Play Style was also available on EZdrummer 2, however, EZdrummer 3 takes this further with new AI features. The tool allows you to edit your groove, for example moving your hi-hat pattern to the floor tom or ride. The tool also allows you to edit the playing style on each drum, for example changing where accents are played. This can be a great time saver as compared to manually editing each note in the MIDI grid editor.

All in all, Bandmate is a useful tool for songwriters who need to compose realistic-sounding drum parts without access to a drummer or recording studio and combines with Edit Play Style to speed up your drum workflow.

For drummers, Bandmate could be a good way to help you find inspiration when writing drum parts. For example, you could use it to come up with new variations on your demo tracks before testing them out with the band in your next rehearsal. You could even mix down a version of your song with alternate drum parts and share it with your band for their views.

The EZdrummer 3 ecosystem

If you’re like me and you love experimenting with different drum sounds, then EZdrummer 3 offers a wide range of expansion packs called EZX that can expand your tonal palette. The downside of this is that each pack is sold separately, however, there are periodic sales at certain points in the year.

EZX packs are each based on specific themes, ranging from alt-rock to death metal, jazz to hip-hop, and even pop and dance sounds. Currently, there are 58 different EZX packs listed on the Toontrack site, meaning there’s a good chance there’ll be something that suits your preferred genres.

Most of the EZX packs are based on the recordings of more fully-featured SDX packs for Superior Drummer. EZX packs are generally cut down with a smaller range of sounds and are limited to mixer presets, rather than full access to the raw drum samples. However, as with the core library, this is perfectly fine for drummers who want a no-nonsense approach to discovering new drum sounds.

If you’re interested in any of the EZX kits, look out for the bundles that Toontrack sometimes offer, where you can purchase EZdrummer 3 with an additional EZX packaged in.

However, my tip is to try and make the most of the EZdrummer 3 core library first, before spending cash on multiple expansion packs. The EZdrummer 3 Core Library already sounds excellent and has diverse drums and mixer presets for a wide range of genres. EZX packs are great if there’s something you need that is missing from the Core Library (such as more than one China cymbal), but for most users, the Core Library will be more than sufficient. Personally, I love to experiment but keep finding my way back to the Classic Reverb preset on the Bright Room kit.

Is EZdrummer 3 better than EZdrummer 2?

If you don’t yet own an EZdrummer product, then it’s worth knowing that EZdrummer 2 has been discontinued. However, if you already own EZdrummer 2 and want to know if the new version is worth the upgrade, read on…

EZdrummer 3 features an expanded drum library of 15 GB in size, up from EZdrummer 2’s 4 GB. The drum library in EZdrummer 3 is actually three libraries in one, each with a different selection of drums and cymbals, plus different presets. This is a bit like getting two additional EZX packs for free.

EZdrummer 3 also introduces a new drum tuning algorithm, which behaves more like the tuning feature in Superior Drummer 3. This does a better job of imitating a real drum when tuned to different pitches and is far better than the basic pitch control on the old EZdrummer 2 package. This is great if you enjoy creating your own virtual drum kits and creating new and interesting sounds.

Finally, the new Bandmate feature makes its debut with EZdrummer 3. This tool allows you to drop in any audio file, and EZdrummer 3 will come up with a drum beat to suit. This feature is mostly aimed at songwriters who want to prepare demos quickly and easily and is likely less relevant for drummers who’ll want to come up with their own drum parts. However, it may serve as a source of inspiration for some!

All in all, EZdrummer 3 is worth considering if you want to freshen up your drum sounds with new instruments and presets, or if you like to edit your kits and want to try the new tuning feature.

How to move the EZdrummer 3 library

As with Superior Drummer 3, installing the 15 GB sound library to a secondary or external drive is possible, while keeping the application itself on your main drive. The location of your sound library can be managed within Toontrack Product Manager with the following steps:

  1. Find your sound library within Product Manager and click on “Show Details”
  2. Click on the “Installation Info” tab
  3. Under the “Path” section, click on the menu icon
  4. Click on “Show in Explorer” (PC) or “Show in Finder” (Mac)
  5. Copy the folder for your drum library and paste it to the new location in Explorer/Finder
  6. Go back into Product Manager, click on the menu icon under “Path”, and click on “Change Path”
  7. Navigate to the folder where you saved your drum library and click on “Choose Folder”
  8. You can now delete the drum library at its old location
The Settings - Libraries/Paths screen in EZdrummer 3 confirms where the sound libraries are saved

As seen in the screenshot above, you can confirm the location of your sound library by heading to Libraries/Paths under the Settings screen in EZdrummer 3.


How much does EZdrummer 3 cost?

EZdrummer 3 costs €179 for new customers or €99 for users upgrading from a previous version. There is no free version of EZdrummer, however, there is a 10-day trial, which you can activate by downloading the Toontrack Product Manager app.

It’s sometimes possible to get EZdrummer and expansion packs for less at other retailers. Below are three EZdrummer 3 resellers to check:

*If you purchase from any of these sites, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This goes into paying our hosting and other costs associated with maintaining eDrumHub.

Toontrack also occasionally offer discounts at various points throughout the year. So if you are after EZdrummer 3 for less, remember to check back regularly!

Wrapping up: Is EZdrummer 3 worth it?

EZdrummer 3 is a great option for anyone who wants great drum sounds with a simple interface, either for recording or triggering their eDrums. It’s also an affordable option at around half the cost of Superior Drummer 3, and therefore better value for buyers who don’t need a complete high-end drum production studio.

When it comes to drum sounds, I actually prefer those in EZdrummer 3 over the Superior Drummer 3 core library. While the range of drums and cymbals included with EZdrummer 3 are narrower than on Superior Drummer 3, there are more here that I would actually want to use. I also prefer the presets in EZdrummer 3, though this may well be because it is specifically designed for use with drum presets, whereas on SD3, the expectation is for the user to mix their own drums from scratch.

Meanwhile, there are some limitations. The fact that the included sounds are split across three different drum libraries is both a blessing and a curse. While the differing room acoustics help to bring out the best in each of the drum kits, the downside is you can’t mix and match drums and cymbals across rooms.

In practice, this doesn’t matter too much, since all the kits sound excellent, and you’ll likely gravitate towards one or two setups. It is more of a warning for anyone expecting to be able to use any and all of the drum sounds on a kit, as with SD3.

The other aspect of this is you will need to create separate MIDI presets for each drum library if you are looking to use EZdrummer 3 with your eDrums since each assigns drums slightly differently. However, this can be mitigated by creating separate MIDI presets and saving each preset to a project with all settings as you wish, to quickly recall your favourite drum setups.

All in all, despite some small limitations, EZdrummer 3 is a great option to consider and is available at an affordable price.

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By Seb Atkinson

Seb has been a drummer since 2004 and an eDrummer since 2008. He founded eDrumHub to provide information on electronic drums for other drummers who can't justify an acoustic drum kit for practice at home.