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SDX The Rooms of Hansa

SDX The Rooms of Hansa

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Toontrack SDX

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The Rooms of Hansa SDX - A Wall Of Sound

Massive collection of drums captured in the 4 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.

Feature Spotlight

  • 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

The Studio

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 in 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.

Marble Room

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 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 amount 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 play back 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.

Vocal Booth

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 Mahagonys 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.

Live Room

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 allround 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.

German Craftsmanship & Boutique Instruments

From the onset of this project, both Michael Ilbert and the sound design team at Toontrack had a joint vision of not only focusing on finding the perfect drums for each room but also to make sure that the instruments had a close connection to Hansa, Berlin and Germany on a whole. “Knowing that Michael has a long working relationship with in particular Udo Masshoff, we knew we had the perfect way in with one of Germany’s premier instrument makers,” says Norman Garschke, sampling drummer and one of the initiators of this project. In addition to the prototype Masshoff kit, several unique Masshoff-built snares were also captured for this SDX.


Another local brand that makes extraordinary drums is Wahan. Since 1995, the top-shelf instruments handcrafted by Wahan “Willy” Cherbettchian have made their way onto tons of records and been embraced by top drummers around the world. One of his absolutely most unique kits is of course the Supreme Classic Acrylic, solely made out of acrylic shells. We were lucky to sample this kit not only with a regular set of toms but also with four octabans built from the very same shell material. This kit even has a deeper story worth noting.

In addition to the German-made drums, this SDX also features many other carefully selected drums and unique instruments from around the world – perhaps most notably the cryogenically treated ones from the personal collection of Munich-based cymbal manufacturer Frank Gegerle.

Meet the Engineer: Michael Ilbert

Michael Ilbert has been recording and mixing records non-stop since the mid-’80s. His career began on the west coast of Sweden, working for rock, punk and up-and-coming pop bands of the time. The quality of his work quickly transitioned into gigs in the mainstream realm with productions for the likes of Roxette and many more. Since 2007, Michael works out of his own room at Hansa, delivering mixes back to back for the absolute top tier of the industry. Some of his recent recording engineering work includes Grammy Award-winning records for Adele and Taylor Swift, to name but a few. With a background in recording and mixing anything from punk and metal to electronic pop, his experience is enormous – something that shines through in the broad range of sounds and engineering techniques that The Rooms of Hansa SDX presents.

Michael Ilbert

Uncompromising Instrument Detail

To us, sampling sounds for an SDX is more than merely recording instruments. It is the craft of capturing the essence and every unique voice of each instrument to give you, the user, the ability to produce limitless and stunningly real performances.

  • HI-HAT. - Due to the complex nature and immense variation in voicing this instrument offers, the hi-hats were recorded with up to 27 unique multi-sampled articulations.

  • RIDE CYMBALS. - The ride cymbals were sampled with up to seven articulations and cover a broad range of voices, enabling you to produce stunningly detailed performances.

  • SNARE. - The snares sampled with ‘wires on’ and sticks include eight unique articulations.

  • CRASH CYMBALS. - The crashes were sampled in up to six articulations, allowing you to produce anything from subtle crescendos to using any crash cymbal essentially as a leading instrument.

  • TOMS, OCTOBANS & ROTOTOMS. - All these instruments were sampled with three unique articulations: center hits, rimshots and rims only. This will enable you to produce deeply detailed performances expressing the entire tonal range of each drum.

Sampling Details

The Presets

To inspire and enable you to make music instantly, The Rooms of Hansa SDX includes a broad range of mix-ready presets showcasing the different rooms, kits and expansive width of styles the included drums can be used for.

  • Default Presets - Michael’s idea behind these presets was to demonstrate the most honest and natural state of the different kits and configurations. Each preset involves careful consideration in terms of instrument choices as well as extreme scrutinization in regard to microphone balancing, leveling, phase correction and instrument bleed. Aside from all of that, the processing is minimal, giving you a raw but expertly engineered starting point to continue to build on. This collection of presets is perfect for quickly auditioning the massive amount of options this SDX has to offer and for finding something on the fly that works for the song you’re working on.

  • Mix Presets - In the second batch of presets, Michael digs deeper into the endless ways of working with the sound shaping tools that Superior Drummer 3 has to offer. While still very much on the acoustic and natural side of things, these presets will cater to a more niched use and involve a heavier portion of processing. Tight, snappy, heavy, roomy and squashed – these settings will go great with anything from tight pop to roomy rock.

  • Toontrack Presets - For these presets, the Toontrack sound design team unleashed their creativity to engineer a variety of kit presets that range from round and warm and to edgy, modern and downright out-of-this-world-like.


To give you the perfect battery of grooves and fills to get you started on your journey through this SDX, Michael Ilbert and drummer Norman Garschke weighed in not only the rich history of records recorded at Hansa but also what type of grooves would work the best for each room, the different kits and the era or style they best represent. Each room has its own designated library of MIDI, making it easy to call up a groove, a kit and a preset that all harmonize perfectly both on a sonic and a performance level.

  • The Marble Room - Here you’ll find MIDI that perfectly fits the rather aggressive, rough and edgy sonic characteristics of this room and kits. Think new wave, alt-rock, punk-inspired rock and, well, any kind of loud rock that calls for an edgy kit and the perfect grooves to go with it.

  • The Meistersaal - The MIDI for this room was greatly inspired by some of the iconic artists that recorded seminal works in this majestic hall. In short, this section provides thunderous rock grooves and big fills – tailored for use with the breathtaking ambience of the Meistersaal.

  • The Live Room - The grooves we chose to lay down for this section work great with the warm, thick and lively sound of the different variations of the 1970s L.A. Kit. These drums really shine when played slightly laid back and not hammered upon, so expect grooves with loads of nuance and feel.

  • The Vocal Booth - The extremely dry and absorbing space of this room brings out the most bare and honest nature of these beautiful drums. For that reason, Michael had a crystal-clear vision of showcasing these amazing instruments with a collection of subtle, nuanced and balanced grooves that really give the drums room to shine – all performed at low velocities and with a relaxed feel.

  • Mallets and Rototoms - This category gives you material specifically suited for use with the rototoms and octabans of the Marble Room kit configurations and/or the Meistersaal Twin Shell Kit recorded with mallets. Mix, match and have fun with these many groove variations showcasing the unique mapping and extensive expression that these instruments offer.

PLEASE NOTE: The Rooms of Hansa is an SDX library that can only be loaded into Superior Drummer 3. Superior Drummer 2.0 is not supported!

With our custom made boxed/shipping version the approx. 122GB large Library Installer is delivered on a 2.5" USB 3.0 portable hard drive - nevertheless the download license will be registered to your user account already before shipping!

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The following reviews have been placed by customers who also bought this product from us. All reviews are provided through eKomi, Europe’s largest independent customer review company.

5.0 of 5  
22.03.2020 Language: englisch

Absolutely stunning sounds, I think this might be the most realistic and 'ALIVE' sounding drum instrument I've EVER heard. The staggering amount of channels to mix in is incredible. The limited amount of kit pieces per room is the only slight criticism; but I think it makes sense in the context of the product being all about the ROOMS. The marble room might be the best drum room I've ever heard in my entire life. Thankful to Toontrack and the engineer for capturing this masterpiece.

4.0 of 5  
16.03.2020 Sprache: deutsch

High quality drums kits, miking and mixing, quite special SDX, not directly standard go-to set, only 1 set of cymbals is bit disappointing


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