Toontrack SDX: The Rooms of Hansa
Expansion Pack for Superior Drummer 3
A Wall of Sound
A massive collection of drums captured in the four different rooms of the Hansa Tonstudio.
The Rooms of Hansa SDX features drums produced by Grammy Award-winning recording/mixing engineer Michael Ilbert in one of the most iconic studios currently in existence: the Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin, Germany.
With a broad and handpicked collection of drums captured in all four available rooms on the studio premises, this SDX showcases an incredible width in regard to both tonal range and ambience.
Welcome to a unique collection of drums, all touched by the inimitable soul of a studio whose legacy is forever etched in music history.
- Six (6) complete kits in addition to many optional configurations
- In total, 12 snares and 7 kicks as well as a broad collection of hi-hats and cymbals
- Produced by Grammy Award-winning recording/mixing engineer Michael Ilbert (Adele, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Pink, Muse, Ed Sheeran)
- Recorded at the legendary Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin, Germany
- Features four individual room configurations including the iconic "Meistersaal"
- "Meistersaal" setup recorded in 5.1 surround with two additional height/ambience microphone pairs
- Also includes an extra stereo ambience captured in the famous Hansa staircase (available for select kits)
- Comes with a collection of drum MIDI grooves
Hansa – The Studio By the Wall
Since its inception in 1913, the magnificent building on Köthener Straße No. 38 that houses Hansa Tonstudios and the iconic Meistersaal – just a stone's throw away from Potsdamer Platz in Berlin's Kreuzberg district – has served as a ballroom, a concert hall, a theatre and a place for the arts.
However, what forever ingrained the spirit of this place in the fabric of our culture was neither of those things – it was the music immortalized between its four walls decades later.
The Meistersaal was first converted to a studio in 1961, the same year as the Berlin Wall was erected just shy of 150 meters from the building. But it wasn't until the mid-'70s, when the Meisel brothers Tomas and Peter bought the building and restored it to fully meet the standards of a recording studio, that its true golden years under the Hansa Tonstudios monicker began.
Since then, countless classic albums have been recorded and mixed inside the building – many of which literally changed the course of music history.
The Rooms & the Drums
For this SDX, our ambition was to represent the entire sonic scope of natural ambiences that Hansa has to offer.
As a result, we scoured the land for the best-suited drums, captured all four rooms in the building, and felt compelled to also blend in some elements recorded in the famous Hansa staircase.
Combined, the sonic possibilities are endless - from tight, minimal, and dry to big, reverberant, and massive.
The Marble Room
Contradictory of its somewhat moderate size, the reflective surface of the walls and ceiling of this "stone" room makes for an ambience that sounds huge.
Luckily, the hardwood flooring effectively breaks up the diffusion and keeps the decay in check – making it the perfect ambience for controlled but still reverberant rock drums.
In combination with the additional ambience channel recorded in the all-concrete environment of the adjacent Hansa staircase, you'll be able to dial in drum mixes with an enormous and unique natural reverb.
The Twin Shell Kit
This is a very special kit, custom-built by Berlin-based boutique drum manufacturer Udo Masshoff.
The stand-out feature in these drums is the so-called "twin shells".
These shells make use of both steel and maple, resulting in drums that produce very warm, powerful, and unique tones with an amazing frequency range.
The Twin Shell Kit (Damped)
As an alternative, we recorded the Twin Shell Kit in a more damped way by applying tea towels to the toms.
We also added Michael Ilbert's personal and favorite Masshoff snare drum, the mighty 14×8" "Big Chief" – a pure powerhouse made of stainless steel.
The Acrylic Kit
This is the personal kit of German drummer icon Armin Ruehl and the very same one he’s played on many of his many tours with Herbert Gröenemeyer.
The acrylic shells of this kit produce a very direct and focused sound – rich with higher-mid overtones although with a warm, round tone with a deep low-end.
To make it even more interesting tone-wise, we added four 6" acrylic octabans in varying lengths of 8, 10, 12, and 14" – giving you a monster kit with seven toms.
The Rototoms Kit.
Why stop at octobans? For the Acrylic Kit, we also recorded a setup featuring rototoms in 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14" sizes.
These were recorded to go in the standard tom positions and will provide that characteristic, piercing slap sound for the toms.
In combination with the thunderous Wahan bass drum, the smack of the Masshoff snare, and the soaring voice of the Red Label cymbals, you'll have a classic but still profoundly unusual kit.
Located directly below the main/live space is the Meistersaal – the indisputable crown jewel of the Hansa legacy and arguably one of the most iconic recording rooms in the world.
The majestic ambience of the Meistersaal can be heard on seminal works by the likes of Nick Cave, U2, and R.E.M., just to name a few.
Still to this day, the Meistersaal remains a vivid Berlin landmark and is a common stop on guided tours of the city.
Since this room no longer is officially an operational part of Hansa, the number of projects recorded here are few and selected very carefully.
However, with the help of Michael Ilbert and the owners of Hansa Tonstudios, we were given the unique opportunity to capture drums in this historic space.
This SDX would simply not have been complete without the iconic ambience and aura of the "Big Hall by the Wall."
The gear Michael used to capture the Meistersaal drums features a handpicked selection of U67s, extremely rare M50s, and a whole array of V72 pre-amps, just to give a few examples.
We also captured the room with a classic 5.0 surround microphone positioning setup with the addition of four extra height microphones, giving you even more surround possibilities.
Furthermore, an additional amplifier was set up in the room to playback and enhance the low frequencies of bass drums and toms.
The Twin Shell Kit
This is the same kit as the one that was recorded in the Marble Room.
In the Meistersaal, though, it has an altogether different voice. It sounds huge! We also captured it with mallets, which again, introduces a completely new voice.
The Vocal Booth
Although this room likely never was intended as a drum room, it has proven time and time again that if you’re after dry and muffled drum tones – this is where to get them.
This room has a special something that pushes each instrument to the edge of the speakers without making it sound contained or claustrophobic.
For beat-making, mixing and matching, or hybrid kit creation, these drum tones are optimal – transparent, direct, and dry but still very graphic in the mix.
In other words: dead but very much alive.
The Mahogany Stave Kit
This is another choice rather off the beaten track when it comes to drum selection – but for a reason.
For the tight and dry space of the Vocal Booth, Michael Ilbert specifically wanted to record one of the beautiful high-end kits of Californian custom drum builder Sugar Percussion.
These shells, all individually crafted from solid mahogany chunks, really sound unlike any other drums – extremely articulate, nuanced, and deep.
The beauty of these drums is that they project a wonderful wooden tone even when played with very low velocities, something Michael was specifically looking for in the Vocal Booth tones.
The 1960s Italian Kit
This Meazzi Wooding kit from the 1960s is truly something of a sonic revelation. The moment you hear it you’ll know why.
It has a deep and mellow tone that fit perfectly for this confined space.
This is the second set from Armin Ruehl’s personal collection and one that Michael Ilbert knew very well from previous recordings of his.
He had a clear plan of how to capture it for this SDX and it can out beautifully.
The Live Room
From the mid-'70s and through to today, the cream of the crop of European and international artists have recorded timeless works in this room.
In here, anything from insanely popular German schlager to pop, rock, and metal has been captured.
For drums, it's a perfect room - spacious but with a relatively moderate ceiling height, making it ambient without sounding overpowering.
Simply put, the definition of a perfectly crafted and versatile drum room.
The 1970s L.A. Kit
Early during the planning for this SDX, Michael expressed his desire to record a classic Camco kit in the Marble Room.
We eventually found the ideal one over in the UK and ended up shipping it over to Berlin for the session.
This specific set is from the brand's 1970s L.A. era and this kit is probably best described as the perfect all-round choice for a kit.
Having a thick and warm sound but still a really crisp finish to its tones, it really works in any mix or style of music.
- Toontrack Superior Drummer 3.1.7 and above
- MacOS 10.10 Yosemite and above
- Windows 7 and above (64-bit only)
- Intel, AMD, or Apple Silicon CPU
- 8GB RAM (16GB or more recommended)
- 122GB free storage space
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