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Phil O'Keefe

Speaking of drum machines...

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Have you ever owned one?

Do you own one now? Or do you have an app for that? 

If the answer to either question is yes, which one(s), and what do you use them for - writing? Practice? Demos and recording? 

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9 minutes ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

Have you ever owned one?

Do you own one now? Or do you have an app for that? 

If the answer to either question is yes, which one(s), and what do you use them for - writing? Practice? Demos and recording? 

Own one? Not in a long time - but I've used pretty much EVERY drum machine ever manufactured between the mid-80s and the late 90s, and all that use was for production. Started out on the LynnDrum and Roland 808/909, then the Yamaha RX series, the venerable Alesis SR-16, Emu SP-12 and SP-1200, all the Akai MPCs, etc... though the SP-1200 and the MPCs were really used more as samplers/sequencers than "drum machines" per se. 

Haven't used a drum machine in ages. If I need drums these days I put them together in my DAW, with Addictive Drums being my favored VSTi. 

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I had an Alesis SR-16 back in the 1990s that was fun and was a great learning tool for learning how to sequence drums.  I used it on 4 track demos.  Never really loved the sounds.

Today I use SI Drum Track VSTi which came with Cakewalk Sonar X2, but pretty much just as a guide.  I found a drummer on Soundbetter.com that I use to replace my drum parts.

There's really nothing quite like a real drummer playing in a real room.

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Just now, E-money said:

I had an Alesis SR-16 back in the 1990s that was fun and was a great learning tool for learning how to sequence drums.  I used it on 4 track demos.  Never really loved the sounds.

Today I use SI Drum Track VSTi which came with Cakewalk Sonar X2, but pretty much just as a guide.  I found a drummer on Soundbetter.com that I use to replace my drum parts.

There's really nothing quite like a real drummer playing is a real room.

Soundbetter JUST announced that they've been bought by Spotify this morning :(

I've been a "pro" member for several years and have gotten quite a good bit of mixing work via that site/service. 

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I've had a few hardware units over the years - including Yamaha RX11 and Roland TR-707

I currently have several apps for iPad (mostly just for fun) but the ones I use regularly are DrumJam, iTablaPro and FunkBox

I use them mainly for recording ideas - somewhat more inspirational than a basic click track

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I use drum machines to sound like drum machines. I'm no good at programming real drum parts anyway so I don't try to make it be something it's not. My only hardware drum machine at the moment is a Roland R8 that I like because it has 8 analog outputs. Mostly I use VIs or sample packs in Ableton Live's Drum Rack now, or my own one hit samples I have collected or made over the years. This thing is pretty cool: http://www.soniccouture.com/en/products/27-electronica/g58-electro-acoustic/

 

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14 minutes ago, Red Ant said:

Soundbetter JUST announced that they've been bought by Spotify this morning :(

I've been a "pro" member for several years and have gotten quite a good bit of mixing work via that site/service. 

Yeah I saw that Spotify news; not sure how I feel about it.  TapeOp did a nice interview with the founders of Soundbetter a few months ago.

I've been using Soundbetter for a few years now; I got lucky because the first drummer I tried is just great; he's now played on 7 of my songs.  I also got lucky when I hired a Trumpet/Trombone player to do a horn section for me and he was just fantastic.  

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I had a Casio RZ-1, and I loved it. I would make a lot of noise with it and my DX-100. Great fun for the time.

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10 minutes ago, E-money said:

Yeah I saw that Spotify news; not sure how I feel about it.  TapeOp did a nice interview with the founders of Soundbetter a few months ago.

I've been using Soundbetter for a few years now; I got lucky because the first drummer I tried is just great; he's now played on 7 of my songs.  I also got lucky when I hired a Trumpet/Trombone player to do a horn section for me and he was just fantastic.  

I know Shachar through a mutual friend, that's how I ended up on the site in the 1st place. I can't really blame them - those guys are PAID now. 

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55 minutes ago, Zooey said:

I use drum machines to sound like drum machines.

 

That's what they're best at IMO. :)

I have a few things still sitting around here... and old Alesis D4 (for the trigger inputs), an old R-8M, and I think there's a SR-16 around here someplace, which I bought for my wife to use when she's writing at the piano... she likes having a beat to play off of, but she hardly ever used it for some reason. :idk: Oh, and I have an Arturia SparkLE hardware controller, IK iRig Pads, some self-made triggers (mounted into modified Remo practice pads), and lots of different drum software. Like Anton, I've used just about every DM out there at one point or another, and while I haven't owned everything, I've owned a bunch of them over the years... starting with my very first one - a Boss DR-55, which I bought right away when they first came out... yes, I'm getting old... :o 

But getting back to your point - when I was younger, for me, it was all about trying to find what I thought of at the time as the holy grail - a drum machine that 1) sounded like and 2) felt like a real drummer. When I first heard the Linn and the DMX, which used samples instead of analog synthesis for the sounds, I thought it was a huge step forward... but the ultimate promise of a drummer in a box / drummer replacement was never really met IMHO, despite the fears a lot of people initially had when DM's first started to become popular. But they ARE great for "drum machine" parts, and they're still darned near essential for some genres. Especially analog drum machines... today, their lack of realism vs. "real drums" is what people seem to like about them - which is the exact opposite of what I was once looking for in a DM. :lol: But now I can appreciate them for what they are and their own unique sounds, as opposed to wanting them to always be "something else." 

One thing I do like about drum machines is that they beat (pardon the pun) the heck out of a metronome for practicing. I'd much rather hear a DM beat than a constant CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK... 

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12 minutes ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

 

One thing I do like about drum machines is that they beat (pardon the pun) the heck out of a metronome for practicing. I'd much rather hear a DM beat than a constant CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK... 

This is actually something I disagree rather vehemently with. Any beat or pattern from a drum machine is going to lock your practice into a rhythmic feel "straightjacket" - whereas a metronome (on 2 and 4  ONLY) allows you to keep tempo discipline while also allowing you to "breathe" rhythmically. One of the goals of metronome practice is to "make the click disappear", and you really can't do that with a DM pattern. 

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Back in the 1980s when I was making 4-track cassette recordings on a Tascam Porta 3 I had a zoom drum machine whose model I don't remember and then I got a Alesis HR 16.

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17 minutes ago, Red Ant said:

This is actually something I disagree rather vehemently with. Any beat or pattern from a drum machine is going to lock your practice into a rhythmic feel "straightjacket" - whereas a metronome (on 2 and 4  ONLY) allows you to keep tempo discipline while also allowing you to "breathe" rhythmically. One of the goals of metronome practice is to "make the click disappear", and you really can't do that with a DM pattern. 

Is that a quote from Jamie Faunt? I took lessons with him and that was one of his key ideas; learn to disappear the beat. Also being able to create a flam with the sound of the metronome and your muted string pluck.

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2 minutes ago, ohmygod said:

Is that a quote from Jamie Faunt? I took lessons with him and that was one of his key ideas; learn to disappear the beat. Also being able to create a flam with the sound of the metronome and your muted string pluck.

No, it's a quote from me. Not familiar with Jamie Faunt.

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5 minutes ago, Red Ant said:

No, it's a quote from me. Not familiar with Jamie Faunt.

Faunt school of Music. Played bass with some noteables Chick Corea. https://www.discogs.com/artist/401733-Jamie-Faunt

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The Cakewalk drum module! Never used a real drum machine. I've always just composed in Cakewalk. An upgrade many years ago came with samples (supposedly) of a drum kit used by John Bonham. I met a drummer on Tuesday to work on songs I recorded in Cakewalk with these samples, and he didn't even know they weren't real drums. 

What an age we live in.......

Going back to a recent discussion though, perfectly click-aligned drums can't be the real thing.

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16 minutes ago, arcadesonfire said:

 

What an age we live in.......

Going back to a recent discussion though, perfectly click-aligned drums can't be the real thing.

Since I started working in my current format (DAW/Addictive drums) some 8 years ago, I've yet to have a drummer guess that there is no live drummer on my tracks. But I am also obsessive about "human feel" on my programmed drums :lol:

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16 minutes ago, Red Ant said:

Since I started working in my current format (DAW/Addictive drums) some 8 years ago, I've yet to have a drummer guess that there is no live drummer on my tracks. But I am also obsessive about "human feel" on my programmed drums :lol:

Impressive. .... I find myself going in and drawing velocity curves (freehand) or even adjusting  each note manually to pull it off. I wish I didn’t waste the time like that on freakin demos. I should be spending more time noodling around with bluesy licks on the guitar!

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20 minutes ago, arcadesonfire said:

Impressive. .... I find myself going in and drawing velocity curves (freehand) or even adjusting  each note manually to pull it off. I wish I didn’t waste the time like that on freakin demos. I should be spending more time noodling around with bluesy licks on the guitar!

Well, this one ended up released as a single with my "placeholder" drum track still on it... complete with my little "Bonham kck drum triplets" :lol: The plan was to have Glenn Sobel play the drums, but he was out with Alice Cooper, and when we sent him the track to learn, to "re-play", his one-word reply was "why?" :D

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ydvlolyumg238jr/Over You Final Master.mp3?dl=0

One of my "tricks", if you want to call them that, is to quantize ONLY the hits that fall on each 1/4 note, and free-hand the rest, including velocities. And sometimes I will go back and nudge the 1/4 note hits as well to match the feel and dynamics of a particular passage. 

 I've done so much drum programming that I've gotten really fast with "adjusting single notes manually", but its still fairly labor intensive. Not only that, the real "trick" with programming is to think like a drummer

 

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I tend to avoid electronic drums, the Chris McHugh drum loops from Discrete Drums (sadly, no longer available) are beyond wonderful. Actual drummers are convinced I hired a drummer, because in a way, I did. But I also know how to work with loops to make them come alive. Just rolling out a loop does not work.

That said, electronic drums are a different instrument with a different purpose. There are some genres of music that almost demand it. However, I have to say that my whole attitude about "click tracks" changed 180 degrees when I figured out how to add tempo changes to make a song "breathe" after the fact, on the two-track mix. I wrote about this in the last Sweetnotes, I can't find it online anywhere but I wrote something similar for my web site

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Red Ant said:

Since I started working in my current format (DAW/Addictive drums) some 8 years ago, I've yet to have a drummer guess that there is no live drummer on my tracks. But I am also obsessive about "human feel" on my programmed drums :lol:

My brother is an accomplished drummer - when he had knee surgery on his kick drum leg he was able to use the RX11 and his healthy limbs to shorten his down time.

I believe the reason he was able to effectively program and use a drum machine is because he thinks like a drummer.

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1 minute ago, onelife said:

My brother is an accomplished drummer - when he had knee surgery on his kick drum leg he was able to use the RX11 and his healthy limbs to shorten his down time.

I believe the reason he was able to effectively program and use a drum machine is because he thinks like a drummer.

See my very next post on the subject :D

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