Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives

Message board

* FAQ    * Search   * Register   * Login 



Reply to topic  
Author Message Previous topic | Next topic
garthmargengi
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:16 am
Posts: 482
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:54 am 
 

Hey folks, I've seen a lot of threads asking about programmed drums, so I'm opening this one to share some stuff I've learned over the course of dealing with midis, and to let everyone else give their inputs an opinion. Let's try to join our little bits of wisdom to make the best out of it.



I. Work with what you've got.
Sometimes you have access to well-recorded and realistic drums. Sometimes you don't. Either way, don't try to pass one thing for what it isn't, because that rarely will sound natural.
Got some shitty tones straight out of a casio keyboard? Do you have real drums but the recording quality sucks? Then shape the sound around that, don't try to hide it. Stop thinking about good or bad, and consider it as differences of tone and color, add effects if necessary (midi banks with some distortion can get pretty mean and heavy), make whatever sound you got add to the sum rather than take. Think outside the box, but most of all, remember, get out of the mindset of good/bad, and rather try to appreciate what you've got for whatever it's qualities are; work with, not in spite of.



II. On humanizing.
Happens to everyone, you've got some real nice samples, but for some reason they still sound machine-y. Even after you changed a bit the entrances and duration of the notes, it still ain't quite right. If you're on toontrack, nevermind the humanizing function, it doesn't work that good either, you probably noticed.
What I've learned is that the feel is not inasmuch in the tempo, as it is in the sound, so there's two main items we've got to work with.

a. Dynamics. Work by hand. It's slow, it's a hassle, but it's worth it. Open the piano roll, and... jesus christ, stop. Don't start clicking randomly. Try to get in the proper mindset, think how you'd play if you were sitting on the drums for real. Give life to each hit, accentuate where it matters. Go soft when it's called for, take to the front the voice carrying the melody. Yes, even on drums there's voicing, pay attention when you're listening to a good drummer, and you'll realize that sometimes he bring to the front the hi-hat work, other times it's the double bass that carries the rhythmic variety, while everything else lies back supporting the main beat, use your imagination and try to weave something that's coherent with the music.

b. Pitch. Something rarely talked about, but when you hit a drumpiece, it's never in the same spot, and much less with the same strenght and intention. Think of it, there's so many variableson the hit, that it's most likely you'll never produce the exact same note twice in your life. Therefore, why would you keep the sound constant for your programmed drum? Here it's easier, as it actually is something that depends on randomness, so you can just click wherever the fuck you feel like. Open the pitch controller for the channel (if you do it separately for each part of the drums, all the better) and start fooling around with it until you're happy with the results, and see what a difference it makes!

And then, after that:

c. Tempo and phrasing. But work conciously. Randomly moving the beats a bit here and a bit there helps to make a blast beat sound less machine-y, but wont work on slower stuff. Again, get mentally behind the drumset, and use the rubato to your advantage.
What's rubato? A term first coined to give indications in classical music. It means stealing: a bit of tempo from a note, to give it to another which might be more relevant (highly featured in Debussy and the composers of the impressionist school, though really, a tool and a must know-how for every respectable musician).
A fill or drumroll doesn't feel organic enough? Suppose we're on a roll across the toms that ends on a big crash hit. How could you work it here? By joining a bit together the notes on the roll, making them faster, and then stretching a bit the last note before hitting the crash with all your might; taking a small breath, making that fraction-of-a-second pause before reaching the climax.
Or want to get a more laid back feel? The secret is on getting the main hits (say, tempos 2 and 4 if we were on a jazz beat) and put them a tiny bit behind the actual beat. Works on the inverse of course, making it more frantic and spastic if you take the hit before the beat.


And that's it for now, I'm sure there's more to tell from my part, but I'm drawing a blank at this moment.
If anyone wants to comment and make corrections on what I've written, I'll be glad to listen, and of course, any other tips and input will be much appreciated.
Hope it helps!
_________________
Hellige: black/doom metal

Top
 Profile  
InThyKingdom
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:25 am
Posts: 153
Location: Bulgaria
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:11 am 
 

666 thumbs for the post! Really nice explained!
_________________
INSPELL - Black-death metal
Fallen Art - Most of the active bands and projects I'm working with
Schadenfreude - Some late recorded stuff
LITTLE NORWAY PRODUCTIONS

Top
 Profile  
CF_Mono
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:21 pm
Posts: 1444
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:50 pm 
 

All great advice. I might add some of my programming pet peeves later.
_________________
Doom or be doomed...
My current band. Wretched doom trio from NY.

Top
 Profile  
Goran
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 8:32 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Belgium
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:02 pm 
 

Never thought about the Pitch, as the software I use has multiple samples. Still, might try throwing that in.
_________________
My guitar covers: http://www.youtube.com/user/Exoow
Menschheitsdämmerung CD out now (http://menschheitsdaemmerung.bandcamp.com - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVmlcwAbyuo)

Top
 Profile  
InThyKingdom
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:25 am
Posts: 153
Location: Bulgaria
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:27 am 
 

@Goran is that Superior drummer on Menschheitsdaemmerung recordings?
_________________
INSPELL - Black-death metal
Fallen Art - Most of the active bands and projects I'm working with
Schadenfreude - Some late recorded stuff
LITTLE NORWAY PRODUCTIONS

Top
 Profile  
Arkhane
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:39 pm
Posts: 1570
Location: South Texas
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:55 pm 
 

Very nice pointers. I definitely agree with this, especially the part about getting into the drummer's mindset. I thoroughly believe you have to have drumming experience or at least a lot of experience working with a drummer and studying his patterns and the way they do rolls and rhythms before you try to work with drum programming. Otherwise, your programming will either sound really boring and monotonous, or there will be so much shit going on that a real drummer would need to be an octopus to compete with it.
_________________
Merihim, Texas Black Metal
Arkhane, One Man Progressive Death Metal
Personal Facebook page

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=102516
Mixing and Recording

Top
 Profile  
Der Einsame
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:31 pm
Posts: 14
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:08 am 
 

My two cents...

When playing a drum kit, all the parts kinda vibrate together, and the recording bleed makes it all sound like "one unit". But when you program drums, the sounds don't really interact with each other, so you get a lifeless, boring drum track without energy. So what you can do is send the drum track to a parallel compressor, and then totally smash it - fast attack, fast comp - you're not supposed to hear the attack of the snare or kick there, set the threshold really low so the cymbals will get a more static movement. Then blend that with the clean drum channel. It really makes a huge difference.
_________________
ENDLOSE TRAP - Depressive Black Doom

Top
 Profile  
Goran
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 8:32 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Belgium
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:33 am 
 

InThyKingdom wrote:
@Goran is that Superior drummer on Menschheitsdaemmerung recordings?

Yes. Might consider something else for the next release, not sure yet.
_________________
My guitar covers: http://www.youtube.com/user/Exoow
Menschheitsdämmerung CD out now (http://menschheitsdaemmerung.bandcamp.com - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVmlcwAbyuo)

Top
 Profile  
Verminswallower
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:12 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Chile
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 4:11 pm 
 

Nice post!

A friend of mine also taught me some stuff for Drum programming, since I'm doing my solo band. The best of all the stuff he taught me was to use 2 sound samples for each part of the drums. 2 sounds (one higher than other) for a snare, a hi-hat, etc. will make the drums more varied in the sound. It's tiring to set everything up, but the result is worth it.

Top
 Profile  
Nordic_Warhammer
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 10:12 pm
Posts: 247
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:24 pm 
 

Der Einsame wrote:
My two cents...

When playing a drum kit, all the parts kinda vibrate together, and the recording bleed makes it all sound like "one unit". But when you program drums, the sounds don't really interact with each other, so you get a lifeless, boring drum track without energy. So what you can do is send the drum track to a parallel compressor, and then totally smash it - fast attack, fast comp - you're not supposed to hear the attack of the snare or kick there, set the threshold really low so the cymbals will get a more static movement. Then blend that with the clean drum channel. It really makes a huge difference.


Well, I use programmed drums, and I think they sound pretty great: https://soundcloud.com/glorioususurper/drepa-the-howling-winds-of-vinland-no-vocals-8212014

For the drums, I am using a combination of Superior Drummer 2, Joe Barresi Evil Drums sample pack, and Groovemonkee's metal midi groove pack.
_________________
Below you will find a blog containing music...
http://swordofvalor.blogspot.com/ Lots of demos/other rare material.
Updated July 24th, 2009 (preview tracks up/no downloading required)
Unlimited downloads. No Passwords. No wait.

Top
 Profile  
Goran
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 8:32 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Belgium
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:44 pm 
 

Nordic_Warhammer wrote:
Well, I use programmed drums, and I think they sound pretty great: https://soundcloud.com/glorioususurper/drepa-the-howling-winds-of-vinland-no-vocals-8212014

They're so far back in the mix I can barely hear them.
_________________
My guitar covers: http://www.youtube.com/user/Exoow
Menschheitsdämmerung CD out now (http://menschheitsdaemmerung.bandcamp.com - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVmlcwAbyuo)

Top
 Profile  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CloggedUrethra, Windwaker and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

Back to the Encyclopaedia Metallum


Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group