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Drum Programs... Do I have this right?

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  • Drum Programs... Do I have this right?

    So I've been thinking about getting some drum software like SSD or EZDrummer so I can get a project ready. Using Ultrabeat in Logic 9 for drum tracks is a little depressing if you are trying to get somewhat real sounding drum tracks with rolls and stuff. It just sounds so boring, like a loop. The piano roll midi programming feature gets you a little closer, but still not that great. (unless I'm just not doing it right). I don't want just loops. I want to set up drum tracks with unique sequences.

    I thought one of these drum offerings would make this possible. After much research, I starting to think these wouldn't really help me. From what I can gather, within one of these drum programs, I would set up my kit and then I would swap out Ultrabeat for the drum software and just do the same thing I'm doing now with the piano roll. Tell me if I have this right... Unless I wanted to use the grooves, or loops, they provide. Which I don't. I want to create my own beats. To do that, I am stuck with the piano roll programming on Logic, right?

    Would rather spend the money on something else if the functionality isn't going to change or improve the drum tracks.

    thanks for any help!

  • #2
    You definitely want something midi. You can use a number of different programs using midi. I have an old copy of midi soft which lets you use musical notation. There are many others that let you build with mouse clicks.

    Lately I been using a couple of Zoom drum machines. I cant tap the pads in either analog or midi and change the voices to anything I want. I can step record the parts as tracks on the drum machines themselves too. I really hate programing drum parts however. If I have a more complex drum part, I'd rather build tracks using the touch pads. I'll go through and do nothing but the kick parts, then the snare, High hat, Cymbals etc.
    The touch pads are pretty good up to a certain speed. Doing longer drum fills or drum rolls are tough because you aren't bouncing sticks.

    I can pull out the Yamaha DD50 I bought awhile back. Yamaha does have some decent drum tones and the pads can be programed for different drums. Then you can just do the riffs with actual drum sticks. I just wish I played drums better. I have a real set in the studio but I'm only good for basic beats and rolls plying it. I can do better with the electrics.

    I can connect the Yamaha to the DAW as a midi device and just record the drums as a midi track. Then I can quantize the beat or move the hits around, add additional parts or whatever using a notation program. Its a pain in the butt. I get bored quickly. The song has to be a real flame thrower for me to go through all that hassle.

    I did it for awhile on keyboard too. Eventually I just started to using the analog drum voices and do it all in analog. So long as the song isn't too fast, I can do pretty good building the parts.

    I really haven't messed much with drum loops much. I have Session Drummer 3 as part of the sonar package. It tracks as a virtual instrument to a midi track where you can build from loops or build your own stuff like you're wanting to do. Having a basic beat first simply makes it easier to modify stuff, adding breaks, bridges etc. I also downloaded a vintage drum machine I I found on an add to the right of this thread.

    Don't know how good it is. Guess I'll find out.


    • #3
      If you want realistic-sounding sampled drums, you'll definitely want to invest in a solid multi-sampled library. I've heard good things about SSD and EZDrummer, but personally can definitely recommend: Fxpansion's BFD 3, and Native Instruments' Abbey Road Drummer range. With the right tweaking and processing, you can make these sound extremely organic.