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I need a drumming solution

Discussion in 'Drums' started by ejb, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. ejb

    ejb Active Member

    I'm looking for suggestions. I play guitar, bass, keys. The thought of programming a drum machine or using canned beats just zams all inspiration from me. I will use them if there are really good ones out there.
    I'm also not opposed to learning how to play the drums. However, since my studio is in my basement and I mostly work when the kids are in bed...an electric kit would be the only thing that could work. However, don't electric kits come out sounding like drum machines?
    Finally, I am on a limited budget. I don't have 2k to drop on a drumming solution.

    I am grateful for any ideas.
  2. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Hmmm... Four days and no replies, so I'll give it a go, with the proviso that I am relatively new at this stuff. When I decided that I needed drums for recording, I started with the obvious idea of getting a real drummer, which is much more difficult than one might imagine. I also considered getting electronic drums, and I understand that some of them can sound phenomenal due to the use of real sampled sounds, i.e., drum sounds recorded in top notch studies, which are merely triggered by the E drums, but there is the harsh reality that it would likely take years to acquire the skills to be able to lay down remotely professional drum tracks.

    Some quick research showed that there are tremendously good drum software programs out there. You can simplify things by considering just the big three, Toontrack's EZ dummer, BFD2, and Addictive Drums. After much deeper research and comparison, I settled on AD, although you will find loyal customers of all three, and I doubt the differences could ever be summed up in a perfectly trustworthy way. I liked AD for their lower system demands, ease of use, and GUI. I have found them very simple to use, and the quality is so good, in the right hands, they can be made to sound like a live drummer, because again, these are real drum sounds, recorded in top studios, and then triggered through various means.

    As far as programming, you can use trigger pads or a midi keyboard, and essentially play drums in real time, where your pads or keys represent triggers, instead of triggers that are essentially a faux drum kit. One can become very skilled at this type of performance. Here is an example from youtube:

    YouTube - Best drummer in the world on keyboard!

    I tried this technique at the outset, but decided instead to explore the included patterns, again, because it is going to take some time to acquire that kind of skill. I was like you, somewhat reticent about programming, but there are tons of included rhythms and fills, and many more that can be bought as add ons. These can be used to form a core drum track that you can then tweak by adding or subtracting individuals sounds. You just drag and drop the rhythms you like. Keep in mind, these "canned beats" were laid down by top tier real live human drummers.

    AD (and the others) come with several different kits, to which you can add more later if you like. AD is very sophisticated, and you can tweak the sounds in endless ways, like whether the snare is miced mostly from the top or bottom, the amount of snare wire, head tuning, or how much of the overheads you might blend in.

    Of course it would be hard to beat having a stellar drummer at your disposal, but even he cannot have six kits and be ready to play at your whim any time of the day or night, without ever complaining. Sure, there is a small learning curve to beat selection and editing, but as a guy who once owned a Roland TR 505 drum machine, and hated it with a passion, I can tell you that today's programs are light years ahead of any drum machine. Read some of the user comments on the respective drum program company websites. There are serious pros using them. For a couple of hundred dollars you're in business from day one. AD has a free trial download, that will give you a good idea of whether it's for you.
  3. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Sorry, just now saw this.

    I use AD. I esp. use the MIDI velocity to alter the way a drum sounds based on how hard you hit it. I guess they all do that, though. I just like AD because it works great and I'm not a drummer.
  4. Dan Theman

    Dan Theman Active Member

    EZdummer. I like the 'drum kit from hell' kit.

    Its fantastic and relatively cheap, dont need to be a drummer but need to be able to create your own beats.
  5. transcend

    transcend Active Member

    Ive used all the big names in drum vsti and my preferred ones are

    1. Steven Slate Drums
    2. BFD 2.0

    i have also used superior drummer 2, ezdrummer, metal foundry, bfd 1, addictive drums etc.

    I prefer steven slate overall as the samples just sound absolutely amazing and dont require loads of tweaking.

    Then theres BFD 2 the one where you can actually build the kit from scratch tune the heads and have to do ALL the EQ and compression yourself but the samples are of such a high quality and are extremely RAW so if you are good at mixing drums BFD is by far the best way to go.

    The others i didnt like so much as i found them too mechanical sounding even after humanising them for hours on end.

    Also to the OP an electric drum kit is great when paired up witha good quality vst as you get the same great samples but you also get that human feel to them
  6. Dan Theman

    Dan Theman Active Member

    Ok did my own research as well, Transcend pretty much nailed it on the head. BFD 2.0 requires more tweaking which would be great if you want to spend the time and the $$ on the program. Steven Slate Drummer has been reviewed as it doesnt need much tweaking, i dont know how it compares to ezdrummer though.
  7. transcend

    transcend Active Member

    Ezdrummer has very low quality samples in comparison as it is now quite an old program (it was one of the first)

    The SSD samples are very high quality and just drop straight into the mix with pretty much minimal eq/compression (if any at all) and the ex pack covers a lot of different genres and even has some modelled kits such as the led zeppelin one.

    I imagine it will be going on sale shortly as SSD4 is due out in the next few months but theyre going the BFD route with the completely raw samples with that one.

    Really it depends what you are wanting as to which is the best for you

    If the SSD price hasnt changed it is by far the best value at $90.

    I managed to get it for $20 in a sale on audio midi which is pretty much what launched SSD to the front of the scene as so many took advantage of the offer that it crashed the servers for almost 3 weeks due to the mass downloads.
  8. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Probably not a long term solution for you per se, but if you were in a pinch for great drum tracks for a particular song, try this...

    Online Backing Tracks : Acoustic Drum Tracks : Professional Drummer : Drum Loops Online : Music Maker : Music Composing : Composition : CustomDrumTracks.net

    I'm a guitarist/singer and was in the same boat less than a year ago. I used EZ Drummer for a while, but I just don't enjoy going through the motions via software drums...it's not fulfilling to me. So I bit the bullet and went the route of buying a kit, buying mics, buying preamps and am now learning the 'right' way to play drums. As many can attest, it's ridiculously difficult to amount to solid tempo and pulse for an entire song, especially when recording. However, I put up the finances so by golly, I'm going to get there, albeit will take quite some time. Oh yeah, and then there's the art of getting a good recorded drum sound.....good times!

    Again though, in the meantime Phil does great work if you need something for a song.
  9. Tom Fodor

    Tom Fodor Active Member

    Here's a cheap but quite viable solution for you. Buy a Yamaha DD65 electronic drum kit off eBay (It's compact, portable and easy to play) $280.00 a USB midi interface $30 and Toontrack superior drummer software $269.00. It's sort of half way between real drumming and touch pad triggers.
  10. Flagg Audio

    Flagg Audio Active Member

    +1 on the EZdrummer VST plugin. You can trigger it through Midi controllers like a keyboard (midi only ones are like $50), or just paint out the patterns in a sequencer program. Better yet, do a combination of both. I even used to trigger it with a cheapo yamaha kit I bought off craigslist. Since the sounds are coming from the program rather than the kit it still sounded great (make sure to use an ASIO driver). If you're looking for good drumming sounds and not huge on mixing/mastering/playing the drums yourself this is your best bet.

    Beyond that, you could always link up through the classifieds to find a drummer to collaborate with. They usually come with their own gear and practice/recording space. :)

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