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Drum machines?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by therecordingart, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Hey guys,

    Is there a drum machine out there that can sound human or at least as close to human as triggering drums? I can't play drums for crap, and don't want to hire a drummer. Would an Akai MPC be good for creating heavy metal drums?
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    MPC's are awesome. A lot of people think my tracks are real drummers.

  3. 187

    187 Guest

    Battery 2 is cool to if your into software they have MPC style pad controllers out there so you can trigger the drums just like a mpc and for half the price.But hey I like the authenticity of getting the real deal what ever it may be.Whatever gets the job done I suppose.
  4. gumplunger

    gumplunger Active Member

    Drumkit From Hell Superior gets my vote, as long as you know what you're doing. They sampled the guy from Meshugguh's kit as well as a bunch of others and it sounds pretty darn good for metal.
  5. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    hey gumplunger, what daw are you using with DFHS? I have Digital performer and have never gotten the thing to work right for me- I hear that if you use a vst wrapper is much better with DP but I haven't had the time to put in to figure that out. 8)
  6. I use it with Logic 7 and it works like a charm. As soon as I'm done programming the part I bounce it, (using the very nifty built-in bounce-thingie) remove the plugin and treat it just like a real drum multi-track.

    And don't forget - Morgan Ă…gren plays on DFHS as well!
  7. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    do you use the vst wrapper or au? In DP Au's are only in stereo
  8. gumplunger

    gumplunger Active Member

    I've used it with Pro Tools and Sonar 4, both with no problem. I like using it with Sonar because I can set up the drums then freeze the drum tracks while I'm tracking other stuff, so if I need to go back and alter the drums in any way, I can. Then after I'm done tracking I can use the DKFH-S bounce feature and get the full-fledged multitrack drums with leakage to work with and mix.

    Anyway, it was tricky to set up the first time, but I might be able to help you get it set up if you want.

    edit: oh and I use the ReWire option rather than the VST option, I tried the VST and it didn't work for me so I just went back to ReWire with no problem.
  9. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    cool- I am not in front of my mac right now but my e mail is maintiger@aol.com
  10. audiofreqs

    audiofreqs Guest

    bfd is pretty good as well.

    mpc is a wicked unit, but you have to get sample cd's and load in your own samples. the mpc does not come pre-packaged with drum hits(at least not that i'm aware of)
  11. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    I don't think the MPC comes ready made with drum beats. You need to record them yourself or have a drum machine trigger the sounds off of the MPC.

    I've had quite a few drum machines from Akai to Zoom and everything inbetween. You can get good realistic sounding drums out of them. How real it sounds comes down to the programming and the sounds.

    If you want a good drum machine that is capable of sounding real, look at Roland/Boss. They've got the best sounds this side of a sampler. Some of the groove boxes out there are nice, but they are equiped with mostly electronic sounding sounds.

    As far as sounds go, the trick with triggering or using a drum machine is the velocity and the sample used.

    Older drum machines basically have one sample for each instrument. For each MIDI note, if they detected a velocity change, they would increase or decrease the volume of the sample accordingly. This sounds OK, but not real. When a real drummer hits a drum lightly, the sound is different from when they smack the hell out of it, not just the volume. Even now, there aren't too many drum machines that have multi-sampled sounds.

    The newer plug-in type drum samplers/triggers/whatevers like Battery allow you to setup multiple samples per note or instrument. For example, someone may sample a snare it at 5/10/20 different velocities. You can set up the system so that each of those samples are triggered by different MIDI velocity range. So if the MIDI velocity is low, a sample of a soft hit is played. If the velocity is high a sample of some dude THWACKING the snare is played thus giving you the full range of sound from a drum. Something like these would be great sound sources, but you still need the beats.

    Now you have to create the drum track and get the velocities to where they sound natural. You can use a drum machine to trigger the sounds for ready-made beats, but you need to make sure that each notes velocity is appropriate.

    What I do is create the MIDI drum tracks using triggers that input a MIDI velocity. Then if needed I will go back into the track and edit the velocity data to soften here and boost it there. If you are using beats from a drum machine you may be able to edit the velocity of the notes in the drum machine itself. Alternatively you could use a program like Groove Agent for it's beats.


    Timing. Drum machines are for lack of a better work, rigid. If you want the snare on the 2nd and 4th beats, that's where it will be. If you want a drummer to do that, he may be a bit early here or a bit late there. That has a lot to do with making a drum track sound real. Sometimes you want the drums to be behind or ahead of the beat depending on the feel of the track.

    Drum machines can record notes where they are played or they can be quantized. Quantizing will take notes that are out of time and shift them so that they are in time. This sounds like a good thing but it can make your drumming sound robotic.

    Cubase and I'm sure other MIDI sequencing programs have very flexible quantization options. For example, let's say you want to quantize a kick and snare to quarter notes, but you don't want every note to be exactly on the beat. You can have the quantize function move notes that are off only a percentage of the way towards the quantization value. That way the tracks will get a little bit tighter but not so tight that they sound like a....drum machine.
  12. Someday

    Someday Guest

    Great drum kit's sound is made of great samples, multilayer.
    So any sampler or soft sampler can do the job. I can play great drums parts with a keyboard, all in real time.

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