Handy Drums v2.0: What’s New?


What's New In Handy Drums v2.0?

Wondering how to upgrade?


This is a major update, and v2.0 of Handy Drums is packed with improvements right across the board, introducing several significant new features. They sound better, look better, and are easier to use than ever before.


You will notice a refreshed look of the main GUI. The entire interface is now fully vectorized, so everything will look pixel-perfect regardless of your screen resolution or the zoom factor.

The updated pencil artwork sketches are finally doing the plugins some justice.


Remixed and Rebranded #

The John Bonham-style kit was remixed from the ground up to sound nicer and more versatile. From now on, it will be known as the Rock Legend. We also added a strainer-off snare drum with a separate rimshot. If you haven’t checked it out yet, this would be a perfect time, as this kit packs plenty of character and will lend itself to a variety of musical situations.

Main GUI page of handy drums rock legend v2 showing the mixer and sketch of a vintage ludwig drum kit

The second remixed kit is the Studio Legend. It sounds more natural now and will fit into a mix better than before.

Main GUI page of handy drums studio legend v2 showing the mixer and sketch of a yamaha 9000 drum kit

Most instruments in Handy Drums v2 play samples at random, instead of round-robin, without repeating the same sample sequentially. This manner of sample triggering generates more variations for an even more natural performance.

The hi-hats in Studio Legend v2 and Studio Standard v2 now sound fuller and more natural,

and hi-hats in Reggae Standard v2 sound tighter in the tightly closed position.

The Sophisticated Variable Hats #

Speaking of variable hi-hats, we have taken our unique variable hi-hats to another level by developing sophisticated algorithms that closely mimic the performance of real hi-hats. This is as close as it gets to playing the real thing on electronic hat pads. The foot controller sending CC#4 now resembles a real hi-hat action. 

But, the benefits of this new system are not limited to e-drummers. Hi-hat is usually the weakest spot in virtual drums and a clear giveaway that sampled drums are playing. That is not the case with Handy Drums v2.0.

This is what a sampled hi-hat sounds like when being choked:

It is all well when open hats are playing, but as soon as they are choked, the sound is unnaturally killed as a clear giveaway of sampled cymbals

Take a listen to our new hi-hats in the video above and what THEY sound like when choked:

They sound just like the real thing!

And, depending on how quickly the CC4 controller moves, the hi-hats will output a different sound, just like the real thing.

This was the final missing piece of the puzzle that is now complete. 

Handy Drums v2 will allow you to create drum parts that are more realistic than ever.

New Instrument Additions #

We added several instruments to the Latin Percussion & Drums v2, doubling the previous number of instruments and articulations.

The new instruments are: three báta drums, a tambora, Peruvian cajon, three panderetas, mambo bell, cajita, vibraslap and the resampled timbales.

The World Percussion v2 plugin now has an additional, higher-pitched djembe with full articulations.

The Reggae Standard v2 now sports a high timbale as well.

We replaced the crashes and a ride cymbal in the Vintage Standard v2 with nicer-sounding ones.


Accessibility #

We have made significant efforts to re-organize and label all GUI components internally to help with navigation for all of you who utilize screen readers to access our plugins. We still need to make further improvements to make Handy Drums fully accessible. Those will be coming in subsequent updates to v2.

The Mixer #

Solo Buttons #

The main mixer now sports Solo buttons and the existing Mute buttons. Since they are laid one under the other, you can easily see what is solo and muted at a glance.

You can toggle off all Solo and Mute buttons simultaneously with the main buttons on the right when any mute or solo is enabled.

Panners #

Above each slider is now a panner. But, unlike regular panners that simply reduce the level of the opposite side of the stereo signal, thus possibly losing essential information, these are combined panners that maintain the integrity of the original samples. Both channels get blended to one side as you move the sliders.

There are three panning states: regular left-to-right, stereo swap (right-to-left), and mono.

Individual Elements Mixers #

For those of you who wanted more control over individual elements, such as the separate volume of cross-stick vs. snare head, look closely at those dots above some channels. Hovering over them reveals they are toggle buttons. Click on any of them, and you will gain access to the individual component mixers. All separate component mixers have a slider, signal indicator, mute, panner, and pan state selection.

Multiple Outputs x16 #

We have increased the number of outputs to 16 stereo outs from the previous 8.

Interactive buttons now have a hover state.

The Mapping Panel #

Drum Pads #

The mapping panel may seem the same at first glance, but it is now equipped with dynamic drum pads for each sound included in the plugin. Hovering over any instrument names will reveal the drum pads, and clicking on them from left to right will play the samples of that instrument at the lowest to highest velocity.

Blank Mapping #

When you scroll down, you will find 16 blank mapping keys, allowing you to assign multiple keys to a single instrument. This was one of the most requested features by keyboard players who wished to play snare rolls on multiple keys. They also come with a “strike to learn” function, so assigning keys is a breeze.

If you want to start fresh, you can recall a blank preset from the Preset Manager.

a section of handy drums mapping page showing blank mapping drop down boxes

Pitch Tuning #

You may have noticed the tuning fork icon on the top of this panel. Clicking on it will present you with knobs to tweak the pitch of all included instruments. You can go up or down six semitones. But remember that this is a basic pitch shifting that affects the length of the samples, so the further away you go from the original, the more drastic the change to the instrument’s character will be. Use in moderation.

E-Drummer Mode #

We made a special mode for drummers who play our instruments using electronic drums that tailors the plugins with a button switch. The e-drummer mode can be engaged from the mapping panel or the settings panel, which contains several other options. When toggled on, several things happen.

  • The snare drum splits into rimshot on E1 and head on D1.
  • A dedicated algorithm is engaged that enables you to play foot splashes with the action of the hi-hat foot controller.
  • In addition to a dual-zone hi-hat pad, you can use a single-zone pad to play variable hats.
  • If your drum module supports only a single-zone ride, you can toggle a switch to play both the regular ride and ride bell on a single zone, depending on velocity.
Handy Drums v2.0 : E-Drummer Mode

Variable Hats For Standard GM Drum Loops #

Regular general MIDI drum loops can only have either closed or open hats. But in Handy Drums v2.0, with a simple button switch, you can turn those regular hi-hats into variable hi-hats, allowing you to go from tightly closed to fully open, in increments. This will breathe new life into your existing collection of GM drum loops—a unique feature found only in Handy Drums!

Handy Drums v2.0 Unique Feature: GM to Variable Hats Converter

Load Samples On Demand #

By default, Handy Drums now load the samples into memory on demand only once they are played. This allows the plugin to start faster and keeps the memory consumption to a minimum, as only the needed samples are ever loaded. Don’t worry: the samples load in the instant they are played, and if you wish to load them all at once, just toggle the relevant switch.

MIDI Loop Browser #

We’ve left the most prominent and significant feature for last: the MIDI Loop Browser.

Since most DAWs lack a MIDI browsing function, this feature will transform how you interact with Handy Drums and make the whole process a breeze.

Quickly browse and audition any MIDI loops on your computer from within the plugin or the standalone app. When you find what you want, simply drag the loop onto your DAW’s timeline to quickly assemble complete drum tracks.

The built-in player can sync with your DAW, so you can audition how various grooves work with your existing arrangements.

Handy Drums now ship with a limited selection of MIDI loops instantly accessible within all Handy Drums plugins you have installed in your system.

If you have MIDI loops scattered around your computer, you can bookmark all your locations with a simple click for immediate access. We covered the MIDI Loop Browser in-depth in the dedicated document.

Handy Drums v2.0 Feature:  MIDI Loop Browser

Handy Grooves Integration

We cleaned up, re-exported, reorganized, and re-packaged all Handy Grooves, our comprehensive loop packs. Handy Grooves v2 now come with installers that place the loops in the location instantly accessible within all Handy Drums plugins. No longer will you wonder where you extracted the loops. This will be a game-changer for using Handy Drums and Handy Grooves.

Updating Handy Grooves from v1 to v2 is free. You will find the latest version of the MIDI loops you purchased in your GoranGrooves Library account.


There you have it. Handy Drums V2 are not only more powerful and better sounding but also much easier to use.

If you own Handy Drums v1, we have very attractive upgrade options for individual plugins and the Producer Collection. When you log into GoranGrooves Library, the upgrade discounts will automatically apply to your cart based on your previous purchases.

Here is detailed information on how to upgrade to Handy Drums v2.