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Re: Re: Realistic drum programming/recording for songs

On 2/4/13 10:01 AM, Kevin Cheli-Colando wrote:
I think Rick has already written a very extensive primer on this
subject.  Should be in the archives if those are still working.
I have a column at www.livelooping.org called "Rick's Ramblings",
just musings about live looping and related things.

I posted a column and cited what I'd written earlier about this topicboth here and at tribe.net (back when I used to be very heavily involved with that site
before it's owner sabotaged it).


Also, I record and program for people all the time, remotely. Even though I'm a drummer, I find that the inaccuracies of midi (I'll talk about that in a moment) make it so that programmingdrums sound better and more 'realistic' than recording midi files on drum pads.
I charge between $100 and $150 per song depending on how long it takes me.
In terms of time, recording drums for a project acoustically costs about the same time, with the exception that I thrown in my own recording studio for free when I do acoustic recording.

Sometimes, I actually prefer to program electronic drums instead of play acoustic ones because I want an edgy modern vibe to a track. I actually love analogue drum machines and creative digital sound design in programming (making one's own new percussionsounds). I even like using old school analogue drum machines that are uber minimalistic and then using realdrums to augment. The first time I ever saw UltraVox in the 70's, their drumplayed kick, snare and hi hat against an old Roland CR-78 drum machine. I was transfixed at how cool and unusual this sounded.

Also, to me, there are some drawbacks to using drummers midi trackstaken from real playing situations on electronic drum pads. It may just be a matter of taste but
here aresome of the reasons:

1) Midi only has 127 increments of velocity. The human ear has the ability to hear up to a 1,000 increments in volume that are discernable. Midi volume is sometimes woefully inadequate in recreating realistic drumming that sounds like acoustic drumming for this reason

2) We can shape electronic drum sounds, individually with equalizationand with filters (which just another form of equilization)but we can only use subtractive equalization (cutoff filters)to approximate people hitting things harder or quieter. Don't filter a hi hat hitand make it louder to approximate the loudest sound you can make. Reduce it's volume and cut off some of the high end frequencies to approximate it when it is hit more quietly. You can use additive equalization to by boosting resonance or tightening the "Q" of a sound, but this doesn't sound realistic, unfortunately.

3) Multi-samples and Crossfading are frequently used to try and approximate what a drummer doesfor more realism:

Go listen to a Max Roach hi hat solo that lasts for 20 minutes. Think about it. You'd need thousands of individual samples to approximate all the sounds he gets out of a cymbal.

Allof these intrinsic problems can be dealt with in creative ways but it takes a lot of knowledge to do so.

So that brings us to algorithmic drum programs of which there are several on the market.

Honestly, I think they create really cool sounding percussion/drumtracks but they never sound like a real drum drummingto me. If you like how they sound, however, and I know a lot of people who use
these programs in their solo work, then they are valid.

I also know musicians who use drum recordings from sample libraries and then edit them very carefully. One guy I know, Si Moorehead, makes metal tracks that you could NEVER tell were put together only with samples. He's a genius!