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I hear a lot of people slamming drum machines.......breaking it down, there's nothing wrong with the samples if you choose your drum sounds carefully (drum samples have been used on songs for decades) but the real problem is the perfect timekeeping that drum machines have......the solution is to never quantize or use quantized drum patterns.....ALWAYS play your drum sounds live by hand with no timing corrections whatsoever.....this will get rid of the sterile feel of a drum machine and make it sound like a real drummer....if you want, you can use an external metronome to play along with because this won't change the fact that your drum recordings will still have human error in the timekeeping and this is what you want....naturally you don't want to play off time when you record, and you should try to be a good drummer just like a real drummer would, but you will hear the difference doing it this way....

 

​You still can add layers and additional drum sounds as much as you want to your drum recordings, but just make sure to do it all with no timing corrections whatsoever.....sequencers also have the ability to layer tracks once you get them right to free up additional sequencer tracks, but always save your patterns to USB or memory card before you do this which will allow you to go back in time and make changes if you want to......if you do decide to layer your sequencer tracks to free up more tracks, you need to use the same drum voice for all because otherwise your drum sounds will change.....I like to make an "ultimate" drum voice with every drum sound that I will ever want (many synths allow you to assign one drum sound for each key so at least 61 drum sounds and maybe more depending on the synth)......61 killer percussion sounds should definitely be enough to do a lot of songs and you can make as many drum voices as you want but only use one drum voice per song in case you need to layer.......you can also set the volumes of each drum sound in each drum voice (and you should) so the drum sounds are balanced and then you will sound more like a real drummer......limit the amount of effects on drum sounds as they won't sound real....

Edited by RockPianoman
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I read gear reviews all the time and people are slamming them, mainly because they are too perfect in timing and sound fake because if it.....my Motifs have really nice drum sounds in my opinion....it's not like it once was where drum sounds were fake sounding....Roland drums machine used to have (and still may have) a setting which puts errors in timing so they sound more real......they still probably sound even more real if you record them live with no timing corrections...

Edited by RockPianoman
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That's true but if timing is too perfect it makes me think of a drum machine.....if timing is good but not corrected, I don't think anything at all, which is good....

 

I think everyone should definitely strive for their best drum tracks but they will sound more real uncorrected.....but now we run into a common problem....some people can't play on time to save their own life.....

 

That reminds me of piano lounge gigs when everyone starts clapping in sync to a song I'm playing and they can't clap on time....I refuse to alter my timing and make it wrong to compensate for them....they need to get on the ball...

Edited by RockPianoman
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I prefer a professionally edited drum track to a live drummer. Just by way of comparison of course. The two are nearly apples and oranges. Reason being, live drummers default to random imperfection. Even in a good band only the finest drummers can play with immaculate feel. The rest seem to be stuck on mortal drumming time. It's the logistics involved. Cymbals and toms all over the place at unequal distances - not even FedEx could tackle your basic drum groove. Most think if all the ones are together, they're tight. sm-indifferent Give me a Steely Dan recording anytime.

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I've had the opportunity to play with really good drummers (like I am right now) and it really makes everything so much more fun.....

 

Another problem that I've run into from time to time is drummers who play way to loud....they can't seem to get it together.....

we'll be playing in a smaller place and they're blowing everyone away with the volume and they don't get it

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the guitarist i jam with actually got me into playing drum machines through my guitar pedalboard and into an audio looper. just a matter of triggering the sounds individually and adding layers into the loop. doesn't sound like a real drummer to me necessarily, but i've been getting really interesting rhythms that i certainly wouldn't have gotten out of the built in sequencer. very autechre.

 

that said, i think for the sort of music that uses live drums, i don't feel that unquantized recording is a good stand in for a drummer - maybe for a scratch track or something. just my opinion.

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I've had the opportunity to play with really good drummers (like I am right now) and it really makes everything so much more fun.....

 

Another problem that I've run into from time to time is drummers who play way to loud....they can't seem to get it together.....

we'll be playing in a smaller place and they're blowing everyone away with the volume and they don't get it

 

 

 

Too loud is a school of drumming lol. Most paying stuff requires it for one and you can be working in a third of the time on a tenth the homework. I find that even old school jazz guys have to get loud when it gets going nevermind todays plugged in professionals. Playing quietly is of course possible as is full range expression a la your average concert pianist but how many drummers you know as deep into music as a concert pianist?

Edited by 1001gear
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What turns me off with drum machines is when a pattern is used and it just goes on and on, making it obvious that this is a drum machine. I don't notice it necessarily when it's 'too perfect', but when it sounds like they got lazy and just used a few patterns for the whole song, that's where I get annoyed and stop listening. I'm not talking about most rock songs (which usually have a real drummer), this shows up very often in the acid jazz and some pop songs.

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Look at it this way.....an unquantized recording that is recorded in song mode with no looping is like recording real drums on tape in the old days but it turns out much quieter....you can still use a metronome to play along with....the finished product won't have the metronome....try it and really do your best.....it's not going to sound fake if you choose great drum sounds....you should play a very simple rhythm and then you can go back through it and add 'magic' very sparingly and not constantly.....throw people off guard....drums can end up very diverse and in places just holding the rhythm with little extra and then make them busy at strategic points to lead the song into a change....sometimes, it seems to me that the best drums are well arranged and use silence just like another drum sound...like Randy said, drums that go on and on just for the sake of keeping rhythm could be soooo much more if they are arranged with great imagination....

 

I've known guitarists that use loopers and it's fun but a complete backing song that is unpredictable will do wonders....if the gear won't do that, make high quality mp3 or wave backing tracks at home and find a super reliable way to play them live (like from a thumb drive).....remember that real drummers CAN'T quantize themselves if they just play without using technology....

 

Another cool thing is to get an electronic drum set and assign great drum sounds and balance them perfectly and get a great drummer to play and record him, but with no quantizing.....the reason I always get back to that is because I have heard how truly great it can turn out.....a guitarist I knew recorded his drums with no quantizing and his recordings were soooo amazing....he's the one who made me want to do it that way....

Edited by RockPianoman
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But the big disadvantage (to me) ins that one is "locked" to the arrangement recorded. No escape, no variation. I wish there was something like Jamstix in a hardware format that simple allowed one to midi in and then have the drums follow the playing dynamically, less instruments/quieter more hits and licks/louder when playing harder. That would be the ideal for me. As it is Jamstix is just so hard to setup, you need a computer on stage, and the whole system just seems flaky!

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A nice alternative for you would be the Boss BR Micro BR-80 multi-track recorder.....it's an 8 track recorder, but each of the 8 tracks have 8 virtual tracks or "takes".....those could each be entirely different from one-another and no computer is needed....it's very small and compact and can hold up to a 32 GB SD card which can hold a ton of data....it can use batteries or a DC adapter....it has a lot of built in drum patterns or you can record drums into it....

Edited by RockPianoman
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Thanks, but it STILL requires "pre-recording" and one is still locked to a set of data. No offence but perhaps you have not full understood. To give a better example (albeit "cheesy") is an arranger type of keyboard, that simply keeps looping variations until the player either selects an ending or a fill.

 

Anyway doesn't really matter, I will probably just resort to a "stomp-box". Nothing out there at the moment. A good idea would be taking the drum engine from an arranger and putting just that into a foot operated pedal. Ain't gonna happen :D but imo it would be a cool sort of device. No pre-setting of patterns into a song like structure, just load a "style" and off you go.

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I'm not sure if this will work for you, and you would have to have the keyboard versions and not the rack versions, but any Yamaha Motif from the Motif ES or newer has assignable arpeggios for every voice with buttons underneath the display to select them real time (look at the attached photo)....you can set it to immediately play when the new arpeggio is selected or you can have it play as soon as the arpeggio that is playing finishes.....you can also make and store you own arpeggios and each can be short or very long.....

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/80wd35qozq...0Selection.JPG

 

I have a Motif ES like in the photo, but newer Motifs give you six instead of 5 that you can assign....the budget Motifs (MO6, MOX6, MOXF6) are also set up the same way.....

 

Another thing is the newer the Motif, the more built in arpeggios it has and they are arranged in categories (some of them, if I remember right, have 7000 - 8000 arpeggios) and you can make a ton and store them too......the amount of preparation you can do with these boards is unlimited and you can fine tune everything to the finest detail.....I'd avoid the first generation of Motifs (Motif 6 - Motif 7 - Motif 8) as I don't know if they have the 5 arpeggio selection like my ES and you can't store to USB with them either.....

 

It's not too hard with a little patience to find a used Motif ES6 for $1000 in mint condition on Ebay....I've had my ES6 for 6 years and have never felt the need to upgrade.....(it has over 1000 sounds built in and 1856 samples to make your own sounds....you can layer up to 4 samples to make a voice and can layer up to 4 voices to make a performance for a maximum total of 16 samples at once.....128 note polyphonic with 8 insert effects and tons of sound libraries available on www.motifator.com ......the ES6 is built like a tank (the new $1200 offerings are real plasticy and cheap now)......the ES6 has steel panels and is built like a tank....

 

http://shop.motifator.com/index.php/....html?limit=30

Edited by RockPianoman
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