I use a fair bit of samples. My preference is to only augment what’s there, to round out or achieve the tone that I’m looking for without having to do major EQ’ing that can cause other problems. Unfortunately, in metal you’ll often just get MIDI tracks, or some shells/cymbals and MIDI kick etc etc… while I do like the creative control that gives me, I’d rather start with something that gives me a foundation to work from.
For samples, here’s what I have to draw from:
Slate Trigger and Steven Slate Drums (plus a few expansions)
Libraries from Room Sound, I Want That Sound, GetGood Drums, and other small sample sets that I’ve collected over the years (Room Sound and GetGood use NI Kontakt as their base sample engine)
For sample replacement, a lot of the time I’ll use Trigger because it’s nice n’ easy… dupe the track, throw trigger on it, load samples I like and I’m off. I’ll always print the track though and line the samples up with the original so phase is happy. No sampler or trigger program is 100% accurate, so to me it’s pretty important to print and align. That being said, I have seen folks who will put on an instance of Trigger and just let it do it’s thing during mix without printing it. Whatever works!
I’ve been using Cubase as my “main” DAW for almost 2 years… it has a Hit Points function that automatically finds transients (tweakable with threshold) and can generate a MIDI track from them. This is great because I can use my full drum samplers (SSD/SD/Kontakt) and not just rely on Trigger.
+1 on these guys! I’ve got 3 or 4 of their libraries and they’re fantastic. What I also like about them is that they have really different and interesting sample sets, not just regular ol’ drum kits. My most recent (and now one of my favorite) sets I got from them is called Hangar… they basically took a kit and recorded it in an aircraft hangar. I’ve taken the snare hits and layered them under an “organic” snare drum track and it’s aaaawesome!