Jump to content

I return and a question


Sentry68

Recommended Posts

  • Members

Greetings all, I'm back from hurricane work in LA and TX. What a mess- a lot of ppl got hit really hard. We had to sleep in the car a lot but we finally got a room. Lots of free FEMA breakfasts and dinners though!

 

Anywho, working on a new song I'll post up in a while and I'll try to help critique a few as well, but I have a question that I think should be appropriate for the songwriting forum since a lot of ppl here work solo more or less. I play with a great group of guys but we're all busy with fam/work/life so we have a hard time getting everyone together. I'm working solo more and more on songwriting and I want to get the music recorded with lyrics more. I can play most everything in the band passably at least, but I'm not much of a drummer. I have an old Alesis SR that I can use to keep a beat, but it's just not the finished product I want, not to mention being horribly uninspiring after so many years of the same beats. I've worked with fruity loops a bit and did a song or two that was pretty good, but I'm not really into the time it takes to 'program' the drums. I've tried several different software drum machines, but find them lacking as well. For those of you not playing drums on your recordings (and not using an actual drummer), what solution do you use?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Probably not the answer you are looking for but I use a Yamaha DD-20, it's a little toy-looking thing that has about 99 beats, various tempos, and 4 somewhat programmable pads. I run it through a Behringer BX1200 120 watt bass amp (one of Kay's amps) and it is plenty quiet enough to do one to three-mic one-run recording with an acoustic and vocals.

I have looked at other devices but I think because I used to record direct at night with gizmos and processors, headphones, you know; I got so tired of that sound. I just like any moving air now.

I would use a real drum set except I really really do not play drums well at all. I wish I could because machines are, well, machines.

 

Welcome home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I use the MIDI arrangement generation tools in Band-in-a-Box quite regularly for roughing out songs as well as to generate drums and sometimes other parts that will eventually be used in finished recordings. It's a patently odd and cheezy looking interface, it can't be over-emphasized (the prg was developed originally for the Atari ST in 1990). But despite the goofy, cartoony interface, if you can stretch yourself a little, it can prove to be a powerful and even flexible -- if oddly strictured -- tool.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Greetings all, I'm back from hurricane work in LA and TX. What a mess- a lot of ppl got hit really hard. We had to sleep in the car a lot but we finally got a room. Lots of free FEMA breakfasts and dinners though!


Anywho, working on a new song I'll post up in a while and I'll try to help critique a few as well, but I have a question that I think should be appropriate for the songwriting forum since a lot of ppl here work solo more or less. I play with a great group of guys but we're all busy with fam/work/life so we have a hard time getting everyone together. I'm working solo more and more on songwriting and I want to get the music recorded with lyrics more. I can play most everything in the band passably at least, but I'm not much of a drummer. I have an old Alesis SR that I can use to keep a beat, but it's just not the finished product I want, not to mention being horribly uninspiring after so many years of the same beats. I've worked with fruity loops a bit and did a song or two that was pretty good, but I'm not really into the time it takes to 'program' the drums. I've tried several different software drum machines, but find them lacking as well. For those of you not playing drums on your recordings (and not using an actual drummer), what solution do you use?

 

 

thanks sentry..........I am one of those affected by IKE....in the beaumont tx area.....we were some of the lucky ones........not too much damage...but if you helped get our power back...God bless you and your fellow workers...if you brought food...water...other supplies....thanks for that also......so many folks lost everything they had......many have no home to "go home" to...

a very sad situation and very depressing.......so many people have to start all over again.........many of those are elderly or very poor......it seems like such a mountain to climb.......hopefully, with the help of many hundreds of good people like you.........we can recover.....

thanks again,

bud

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Jamstix is a VSTi I guess.. wonder if it would work in Sonar. I still have FL somewhere, I could reinstall it and try that.

 

I came across EZdrummer in my searches, but wasn't really sure how it worked so I hesitated to drop any money there. It's got some good reviews out there though.

 

And I have Band in a Box, but I didn't even think of trying to arrange through it... B2B, are you sending MIDI to a softsynth or something? BIAB is accompaniment but are you getting it to just play drums? I haven't played with it a whole lot because it sounds really... midi.

 

Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I'll give these a try.

 

And glad to help budhale. I do get paid, but honestly, hurricane work is the worst and hardest- I do it to help out as I can. I was working right in your neck of the woods- stayed in Sour Lake, Staged in Port Arthur, worked Beaumont, Orange, Port Arthur, and Bridge City. Bridge City was by far the worst- lots of flood damage. A lot of ppl told me they were moving out. Of course some places were destroyed like Galveston, but our work is somewhat useless with that much damage. We work with CATV/Phone/Power as surveyors and damage assessment. Good luck to you guys, I hope you get back on track very soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I would like to try EZ Drummer but new gear is not in the cards right now :)

So I continue to download preprogrammed beats from my Yamaha DGX305's drummer as a starting point then modify the patterns in Cakewalk. The I load them back into the Yamaha and paly them back using the audio out to make drum tracks. I keep it pretty simple....:rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I have/use both EZ Drummer and Addictive Drums. They are both vsti's and they probably will work fine in a relatively current version of Sonar or FL. Both come with libraries of midi drum patterns to use. (I don't use them as I just program my own midi drum sequences.) I hear a lot of praise for the EZD patterns but that doesn't mean the AD libraries are bad.

 

In terms of sound, EZD tends to be ready to use straight out of the box...the sounds fit well into a mix without much need to eq or compress. There isn't much you can do to the sounds within EZD - just mix them and switch bleed on and off, as well as a humanize button. The interface is meant to be simple. Of course you can always process your drum tracks with plugins in your DAW outside of EZD. There are a bunch of add-ons to extend the variety of EZD sounds - there's an add on for a C&W kit, hip hop etc and more in the works.

 

Addictive Drums has a slightly more elaborate interface with a whole bunch of pretty knobs and sliders to tweak its sounds in all sorts of ways that can't be done within EZD. It's a very attractive strength to the product because it greatly simplifies having to make the drums fit your mix. You don't have to keep flipping between EQ plugins and compressor plugins - all you need is within a click in AD's interface. Add-ons have been slow to materialize for AD so if you don't like its sounds you may have a long wait for alternatives to become available.

 

I like them both and have been flipping back and forth between them as I record my little backlog of songs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Oh, absolutely... there are no one stop solutions in my world.

 

BiaB can use soft synths directly (to some extent, anyhow -- I use a Roland GM soft synth with it as well as the Microsoft soft synth that I assume came with Windows [i now I never installed it]).

 

But really, I just get the basic song layout and arrangement going in BiaB and then use its MIDI export (into the paste buffer or to a file) and then bring that into Sonar.

 

Once I have the basic thing in Sonar I typically go shopping for a good drum kit and any other instruments I want, bass and/or keys typically. I like Mr Ray 73 for Rhodes and either ZR3 or Organized Trio for B3 sounds. I have a bunch of analog-style virtual synths, too, when I feel like taking a stroll back to the wild side. I can't say I have much use for other MIDI instruments -- guitars are usually awful and most horns aren't much better (sampled horn sections can sound okay when you've got just the right sampled phrases)... I'd LOVE to have a good virtual piano instrument (I don't have that kind of bucks for that now and my poor ol' computer would probably crumple under the weight -- though it does fine with BFD) and ditto a good virtual orchestra -- though I doubt I'd use it all that much... the kind of music I make doesn't really take to string sections... twin fiddles, yes (but those are awful in the free/affordable versions, too).

 

For me, it's really mostly about drums. I have BFD 1.5. I have a bunch of pretty decent (free) Soundfont sets (I use the SoundFont player synth that came with Sonar). And Sonar has a semi-OK drum instrument/virtual drum machine called Session Drummer that it comes with. (Not sure which packages it comes with; I have Pro. It's not anywhere as sophisticated as BFD, though. It has some great sounds -- but they have minimal dynamic layering... as the MIDI velocity goes up -- they just get louder. :( )

 

I'd also love to have a good set of virtual basses but I make do with a handful of decent ones.

 

A lot of times all I'll use will be the drums and bass from a BiaB arrangement -- and it typically takes a little tinkering to get them the way I want them. But I'll also simply track the bass part in MIDI often times, too. A lot of times the bass lines in BiaB arrangements don't have much linear movement (for obvious reasons)... they're more riff oriented within a bar or two. So if you want something contrapuntal or a walking bass line, it's often easier to just go ahead and play it on the keyboard and then manipulate that as necessary. (I almost never have any luck quantizing my bass parts; I'll simply tinker them in after the fact, editing the MIDI. Then I'll render that so I can compress it or work with EQ if necessary -- you wouldn't think you'd need to compress a synthesized or sampled bass but often you do.) If all else fails, I have a fretless bass and know how to use it. ;)

 

 

Anyhow, yeah... BiaB generates straight MIDI and if you map it to cheezy GM synth voices that's how it's going to sound... like an old-fashioned Casiotone demo. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Members

To resurrect this thread briefly, I've tried a few of the solutions here and thought I'd report my preliminary results for any who may be interested. I have settled on Addictive Drums for the moment. They had a demo to download (which is really cool to have) and I just liked the sound and feel so I went with that. EZdrummer will probably be next to try now that I've got a feel for using softsynth drums in Sonar. There are a couple quirks to deal with as you build your drums, but you can basically work in a drag and drop fashion which is key for me. It could prove limiting, but since I do have a real drummer to rely on when the going gets tricky, I think this solution will work well for now.

 

PRO'S

-Midi drum grooves, so tempo's can be sync'ed to the tempo of the native program (and changed at will).

-GREAT drum sounds and a good collection of various clips to piece together.

-A LOT of control over kits, hits, mic's, etc.

-basically drag and drop functionality so I can concentrate on the idea and not spend days programming drums I may not like.

-Thousands of additional midi grooves available from Groove Monkee and other sites for a reasonable fee.

 

CON'S

-Some quirky behavior when building, such as having to stop playback and start it again to hear your track.

-Can't switch patterns 'real time' and have them track to the midi. Can't add hits or accents real time either (through the interface anyways).

-Not a standard GM map in AD, but there are 'translation' files out there for use.

-Not the biggest collection of drum grooves in the basic packages (AD and the retro add-on).

 

B2B, I tried your Band in a Box method- dude you are a masochist. That was trouble from the beginning, although I'm glad you get what you want out of it.

 

I haven't tried Jamstix yet, I'll check that out in the future. I came across another called BetaMonkey that is basically .wav files you can drag and drop. I didn't like this solution because you can't change the tempo like with a midi/softsynth construction (although several popular tempo's are included), but it has some good reviews from big names and a lot of libraries.

 

Anyways, I thought I'd report on my findings to help anyone else along. I also recorded a brief demo using AD. The link is below, although I noticed major quality reduction after uploading to soundclick- loss of high end and overall dynamics. Very lame. Anyways, it's just throwaway lyrics on a little jam but you can get the idea.

 

http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6975197

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I actually use Jamstix to play Addictive Drums - but yes, the AD samples are very good, there are lots of useful presets and the GUI is very pretty and intuitive. I bought some of the Groove Monkee beats - they are pretty good as well.

 

Happy New Drum (samples) Day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...