EZdrummer 3 vs Superior Drummer 3

Not sure if EZdrummer 3 or Superior Drummer 3 is right for you? We compare Toontrack’s entry and pro level VST drum libraries and consider which is best for eDrummers.

Toontrack makes two VST drum libraries aimed at different audiences: Superior Drummer 3 and EZdrummer 3. In this article, we compare the two, predominantly from the point of view of eDrummers rather than audio engineers. Read on for our take on who these two drum libraries are best for!

Is Superior Drummer better than EZdrummer?

In a nutshell, EZdrummer 3 is Toontrack’s entry-level VST drum library, while Superior Drummer 3 is more designed for professionals. Which product is best for you depends on your own individual needs.

The main difference comes down to the depth and breadth of editing options you get with Superior Drummer 3. SD3 gives you full access to the raw drum samples, including all close and ambient microphone channels, 16 mixer busses, and 35 effects.

The level of flexibility is clearly seen in the fully-featured mixer window:

The Superior Drummer 3 mixer offers pro features like effects, bus sends, bleed from other channels and macro controls.

While it does include a wide range of drum and mixer presets, SD3 is really designed to be a full-on drum production suite, capable of use in commercial recordings. You can sculpt your drum sound exactly as required for a song or album as if you had recorded an acoustic drum kit yourself.

Meanwhile, EZdrummer 3 is more geared around users who don’t need this immense level of flexibility and customisation. Editing options are greatly stripped back and based on a range of drum presets, allowing you to dial in a preset sound rather than creating your own. Mixing is also simplified, with simple volume sliders and no effects, busses or EQ, though this can be added via your DAW if you’re using multi-channel output.

Compare the EZdrummer mixer below with the SD3 mixer above, showing these differences:

EZdrummer 3 then, is a more no-nonsense approach for people who just want a good drum sound out of the box. This includes songwriters who need a decent drum track for their demo but don’t want to record the drums themselves, or eDrummers who want to use a VST to make their eDrums sound better but aren’t well versed in audio production or simply want a good sound out of the box. See our in-depth EZdrummer 3 review for more information.

Learn more about connecting EZdrummer with your eDrums or get started with connecting your drums to Superior Drummer here.

Compare EZdrummer 3 & Superior Drummer 3 Key Features

EZdrummer 3Superior Drummer 3
Number of kits77
Kit configurations914
Mixer presets67105
Core library size15 GB (approx)235 GB (approx)
Surround sound supportNoYes
Individual bleed controlsNoYes
Audio to MIDI conversionNoYes
Built-in mixer & effects?No – defined by presets22 channels & 35 effects
Remappable MIDI notesYesYes
eDrum mapping presetsYesYes
Standalone mode?YesYes
DAW plug-in mode?YesYes
MIDI library size1,640 files (approx)2,500 files (approx)
Tunable drums & cymbalsYesYes
Mix & match sound librariesOnly EZX packsAll SDX and EXZ packs
Stack drum samples?NoYes
Instrument search browserNoYes
Includes Bandmate?YesNo

A full comparison between EZdrummer and Superior Drummer features can be found on Toontrack’s website.

Is EZdrummer better than Superior Drummer for electronic drums?

Both EZDrummer 3 and Superior Drummer 3 work well with eDrums. Both VSTs include MIDI mapping presets for all the major eDrum brands, ensuring optimal triggering. In addition, they each allow individual MIDI notes to be reassigned to specific instruments. 

This is useful if you have used certain trigger inputs on your module for pads they’re not intended for. For example, I have used the T2 input on my TD-11 to connect a cymbal pad. The MIDI remapping feature of both EZdrummer 3 and Superior Drummer 3 allows me to reassign that MIDI note from a rack tom to a crash cymbal.

The main differences come down to the amount of customisation you can do to the drum sounds on Superior Drummer 3 compared with EZdrummer 3. If you just want drum sounds that are better than your module and don’t want to use the advanced audio editing features of Superior Drummer 3, then you could save some money by choosing EZdrummer 3.

Related: how to record drums with EZdrummer 3

That said, even if you are not an audio engineer, you might prefer the more expansive editing options of Superior Drummer 3 even if all you want is to create your own drum sounds for recording drum covers instead of commercial records.

Both EZdrummer and Superior Drummer support a range of add-on packs called EZX or SDX packs, allowing you to expand your sound library. You can even mix and match drums from different packs and combine them into one kit.

However, SD3 offers a more robust search function, allowing you to search for different samples across your sound library and assign them to any slot on your virtual drum kit. 

Additionally, SD3 allows you to stack samples on top of eachother. This is best used on a snare drum, helping to to create a really fat sound when combining a deep sounding sample and mid-pitched sample, for example. Similarly, bass drums can be enhanced by stacking an 808-style bass sample with a real bass drum sample, thanks to the inclusion of over 300 electronic drum samples with the SD3 library. This functionality is unavailable on EZdrummer 3.

What’s the difference between EZX and SDX expansion packs?

You can expand your drum libraries on both EZdrummer and Superior Drummer, through expansion packs known as EZX and SDX.

SDX packs are on par with the Superior Drummer Core Library, typically upwards of 50GB of raw sound samples and a range of presets. Each pack comes with multiple drum kits in different configurations and can be customised to your heart’s content with multiple mics, mixer channels and effects for each.

EZX packs are essentially cut-down versions of SDX packs. Each EZX is based on an SDX pack, using many of the same original drum samples but with fewer ambient mic channels and limited customisation. As a result, EZX packs tend to be much smaller in size, typically under 4-5GB, and are easy to use, as with the EZdrummer Core Library.

Superior Drummer 3 owners can also use EZX packs, which behave the same as if they were used on EZdrummer 3. 

Can you upgrade from EZdrummer to Superior Drummer?

Yes, you can upgrade from EZdrummer to Superior Drummer for a reduced price. To do this, you need to purchase the Superior Drummer 3 Crossgrade version. To be eligible for the upgrade, you need to own one of the following products:

  • EZdrummer 2 – Lite Upgrade
  • EZdrummer 2 – Regular
  • EZdrummer 2 – Upgrade
  • EZdrummer 3 – Regular
  • EZdrummer 3 – Upgrade

You can log in to your Toontrack account to check if you’re eligible for the Crossgrade version. Remember, while you can buy directly from Toontrack, you might find a cheaper deal from other resellers. Scroll to the bottom of this article where we share other places where you can buy Superior Drummer 3.

Can you use EZdrummer 3 sounds within Superior Drummer 3?

Yes, it is possible to use your EZdrummer sound library within Superior Drummer, but not the other way around.

If you have both EZdrummer 3 and Superior Drummer 3 installed on your computer, you’ll notice that the three EZdrummer sound libraries are available in Superior Drummer. Simply select these from the library drop-down at the top of the SD3 interface as if it was a standard library.

Selecting an EZdrummer 3 library within the Superior Drummer 3 interface

When opening EZdrummer 3 sound libraries in Superior Drummer 3, they behave the same as if they were opened within EZdrummer. You’ll also notice that each drum and cymbal receives new graphics that match the Superior Drummer look and feel.

What is the bandmate feature in EZdrummer?

Bandmate is a feature in EZdrummer that is more designed for songwriters than for drummers. The feature allows you to import an audio or MIDI track, which EZdrummer 3 will analyse and put together a drum beat that fits with the music. From there, the beat can be adjusted, for example, editing snare, kick and cymbal notes.

The feature is primarily aimed at songwriters who might need a drum beat for a song demo or a work in progress. Drummers who write original material might want to use Bandmate to help find inspiration, but in my view, I’d much rather try and come up with a good beat for a song myself!


Where to buy EZdrummer or Superior Drummer

While you can buy both products directly from Toontrack, you can sometimes get a better deal by buying through a reseller. Below are a few retailers selling both drum libraries plus expansion packs.

It’s also possible to get a 10-day trial via Toontrack product manager. Find out how here!

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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.