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Drum Programming

Discussion in 'Drums' started by BigTrey, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. BigTrey

    BigTrey Active Member

    Hey RO'ers, I need a little advice on how to begin the proces of recording my own drums. I have searched the forums and haven't exactly found the answer that I am looking for. I have been producing music in my small home studio for about a year now and I would like to begin doing my own drum tracks. I have been messing around with Reason's Redrum and really haven't figured out the basics of building a drum track. Could anyone point me in the right direction? What I am working with in my studio is as follows:

    Gateway M305x notebook computer (2.40Ghz, 512Mb ram, 270GB Hd space)
    Roland DS-50A moniters
    Kawai FS-690 keyboard
    Protools 6.4
    Reason 2.5
    Fruity Loops 6

    I am trying to learn how to use Reason's Redrum. I mess with the program and know how to set the resolution and place my drum sounds to a track, but I would like a little guidance on how to keep my drums consistent without getting frustrated. I have learned a lot about recording and mixing music that we make, but now I want to go into another level by making my own drum tracks. Right now I use a lot of samples for my drums, but I want a little variety in my reprotoire. I am by no means a drummer, but would like to learn more about drums and drum programming in a step or pattern-based sequencer. I know that this question has been asked probably a million times, but could someone please give me the basics on drum programming using a program such as Redrum? I know which keys on my keyboard correspond with the channels on redrum it's just getting myself out of the rut that has given me problems. If there is anyone who works with Redrum your input would be greatly appreciated, hell even if you don't work with Redrum I would still appreciate any comments that you may have. I am really trying to get my label off the ground and would like to keep giving our fans new music. One of the best ways that I figured that I could do this is to start to learn how to make my own drum tracks. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    BigTrey~CEO Battleground Recordz :wink:
  2. yxf933

    yxf933 Guest

    You can try the stylusRMX Drum moduler software,I think this will help you at all!
  3. saemskin

    saemskin Active Member

    Drum programming isnt the easiest thing in the world. You're trying to create "natural" sounding elements in a non-natural way (banging your head on the keyboard!) jk.
    One thing I've done that has helped me alot, is I've created about 10 multilayered drum kits inside of the FLS FPC which maps the drums to keys on my midi controller. I have thousands of drum samples, most of which are ass, so I took a few days to sort through the ones I like and created kits based on my favorites. So for the last several months I havent looked in that dreaded "percusssion" directory, but just drop an FPS into the song and go. I see you are using FLS6 so you have access to the same tools.

    After that it all comes down to you. Last night I sat for about 2 hours and couldnt program anything that wasnt crap, so I called it a night. But the night before I had something I really liked straight away. Dont rush it.

    -Change the velocity in time to create flow
    -take a handful of notes and shift them off-time about 1/128th of a beat.
    -layer 4 or 5 similar sounding kicks and have difference sequences of them hit every time.
    -make several different patterns out of a sequence and play with them to find the ones that fit together better.

  4. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    as a drummer who hasn't the opportunity to record real drums all the time i have been experimenting with drum programming for a few years now and i get very realistic results.

    the most important thing is dynamics!
    you need of course good sounds, but the main thing with sounds is, to use multisamples. a rather crappy multisample will get you better and more realistic results than a great sounding sample, which always sounds the same, no matter how hard or soft you hit it.

    listen to drummers on your cds, find out when they're hitting hard and when they're playing soft.
    the hi-hat is the key to the groove. you'll have to play it dynamically (or not!) to get the groove you're looking for. usually when you play a 4/4 backbeat, you have the emphasis or accent on the 1 and the 3. 2 and 4 are played softer. this will also affect the sound of the hi-hat. when played harder it will appear more opened than when played soft.

    the snare drum and the bassdrum are the center of the drums. altough for the bassdrum you don't need necessarily a multisample, cause it's supposed to be constant, you will get a better result with a multisample. emphasise the first "1" when you get from the verse to the chorus, to give it a slight boost and separate the two parts of the song dynamically.
    for the snaredrum multisample is a must. although in pop and rock music the snare is very consistent and quite undynamically, each hit on the snare will sound slightly different. like i said before, it's better to have a multisample that sounds not so good then one that sounds good, but consists only of one sample. get the dynamic first, then you can mix a better sounding sample to the multisample in addition. they will mix together and sound as one as long as the attack of both samples are together. that way you can get the sound of the single sample with the dynamics of the multisample!

    when you play the drums on your midi-keyboard you will automatically get a more dynamic performance than when you programm it in a matrix editor. and it's a lot faster to get where you want.
    many people say, don't quantise your drum programmings, cause it won't groove. but i do quantise it, because nowadays everbody plays so precise on the recordings, that you might think they're quantisized. but i do it with a slight shuffle. not much, unless you want it to shuffle. only as much as it won't be too sterile anymore. that and the dynamical playing will get you any groove you want.

    in the end it's all about good samples, dynamics and trying! in time you will get very realistic and goodsounding results!
  5. BigTrey

    BigTrey Active Member

    Thanks for the replies. But I would like to know what is a "multisample"? I have over three hundred different drum samplesthat I can work with. So ouzo77, should I begin laying my drums by playing the hi-hat in order to get my groove? Saemskin, what is a multilayered drum kit? Is it the same drum sound that has been played one on top of the other? In FL6 I have placed my own drum samples into the browser so that I can work with them, because I like most of their sounds. I have drum kits ranging from the 808 to the 909 to oberheim kits. Thanks for the replies and I will continue to work on my drum programming.
  6. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    multisamples are samples of, for example, a snaredrum recorded in different velocities. so you have samples for a soft hit, then one which was hit a bit harder, then still a bit harder, and so on, so you get the natural dynamic range of the snare drum. multisamples, or multi-layered samples have at least 2 samples, but for good results you may need 5 or more (the sky is the limit). the different samples are usually triggered by the velocity of your midi note. so when you hit your key on your keyboard softly, you will get the soft hit snare. when you hit your key hard, you will get the hard hit snare. the more layers (samples) you have for your snare drum, the more realistic it will sound, cause when you play with dynamics not only the volume will change, but also the sound of the snare. just like a real one!

    with which drum (or cymbal) you start depends on you. i usually start with the bassdrum and snaredrum. i play them together, so i get a more realistic interaction between those two. then i play the hi-hat and the other cymbals on the recorded bass and snare. after that i add the toms for the fill-ins or drumrolls.
    be careful that you don't play too many drums at a time, because the usual drummer has only two arms and two legs. so when you play a crash cymbal you normally can't play the hi-hat at the same time. also when you play a drum roll you can't play the hi-hat.
  7. Cresta

    Cresta Active Member

    this is true 99% of times :)
    Tom Brechtlein (and not only him) plays triplets with just on foot and one arm, so with the other one arm he can also play the hi-hat :D
    (for non drummers: doing a fill with triplets is the hardest way..)
  8. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    there are drummers who can do that, but i'm talking about realistic drum programming. not artistic! ;-)

    you can play the hi hat with the foot pedal. when you have a foot sound with your hi hat samples you can add that (for example 1/4) for some extra realism. but not while playing double bass drum.
    like i said, the best way to understand, what a drummer can do, is to listen to as many drummers you can. or even better watch some concert or educational videos. eventually you will understand how it works.
    drum programming and actual playing follow the same principals. the main difference is the medium through which you play (drum or key)

    but in 99% of all cases keeping it as simple as possible without being boring is the key to a good drum track (played or programmed)

    this only regards to "acoustic" drum playing. when programming electronic drum tracks you can do whatever you like. the weirder the better (well, most of the time)
  9. Cresta

    Cresta Active Member

    of course, like I said, what you said is absolutely correct in 99% of times :)

    well, now I will sit on my drumkit and try to find a way to play the hi-hat while double bassing :lol:
  10. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    could be interesting! good luck! ;-)
  11. BigTrey

    BigTrey Active Member

    Thanks guys for the responses, now I understand what multisample is. I have been fooling around with fruity loops for my drums because the UI seems so simple when it comes to doing drums for a track, sometimes I get so into it that I will do the entire song in FL. But I mainly want to use it for drums that I want to use in my tracks. I usually use sampltank, reason, or ableton live for other instruments. Once again thanks for the replies.

    BigTrey~CEO/Battleground Recordz
  12. sibleypeck

    sibleypeck Guest


    Re: multisamples, are you suggesting a program like Larry Seyer Acoustic Drums?

  13. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    don't know that one. i guess you can use any drum sampler (lm4, battery...) with any good sample library (battery library, drumkit from hell...) or of course your own samples.

    the last time i was in a studio recording drums i recorded every drum and every cymbal with every microphone on the set. now i have my complete drumset with all overhead and room mic sounds in up to 20 dynamic layers.

    just surf the internet and this forum. you will find good drum samples at decent prices.
  14. sibleypeck

    sibleypeck Guest


    Thanks, dude. And thanks for the insight on how a drummer goes about programming drums. For us non-drummers, it's like Toto pulling the curtain back.


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