Dissatisfied with drum sounds in general

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Dissatisfied with drum sounds in general

Post by cornutt » Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:36 pm

I'm not happy with any of the drum machines I've tried, and I don't know of any drum machine that will do what I want. I want to be able to create the same variety of pitches and inflections that a real drummer can create with a particular drum. Has anyone here ever seen Andy Newmark? I saw him in Roger Waters' band some years ago. As I recall, his entire kit consisted of a snare, two toms, a kick, a hi-hat, a ride cymbal, and a crash cymbal. That was it. And yet, he managed to make it sound like a much larger kit, by the way he worked different areas of the drum heads and hit things from different angles, etc.

I currently have a DR-202. Yeah, it has velocity on the drum sounds, and it can cross gate the open and closed hi-hat sounds. But that's it. The velocity pretty much only effects volume, and there are only eight levels; there's very little effect on tone. What I've taken to doing is mapping the same drum sample to all 12 slots, with different settings of attack, filter, reverb send, and pitch transpose. Then I can play that drum sound (using an Akai pad controller) with some variety of expression. I also use this trick to imitate jazz cymbals -- take a ride sound and set it at various pitches. But of course it means I can only do one drum sound at a time, which kills the spontaniety.

So is there a drum machine and controller that can do what I want? I'm thinking of something like a pad controller that does some of the things that, say, a V-Drum kit does, where you can get different sounds depending on which part of the pad you hit.
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Post by pricklyrobot » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:18 pm

I think trying to convincingly emulate the dynamics of a real human drummer to the degree of realism that you seem to want is ultimately going to be an exercise in futility.

Kind of like trying to get a synth to convincingly sound like a guitar, you might be able to get close with a whole shitload of effort but in the time you take you probably could've learned to play guitar or found a guitarist with whom to collaborate.

I think part of using drum machines involves appreciating what they do well (i.e. sounding like drum machines) and finding a way to make that part of your sound. Otherwise, you're probably better off spending your time and energy tracking down a real drummer.
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Post by space6oy » Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:05 pm

out of my pile of drum machines, only time i turn on my SR-16 is to fake live drums. add a little reverb and it's amazingly easy to pull off.

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Post by tunedLow » Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:37 am

I'm convinced that drum sounds are only partly about the sounds or patterns, but that the context they're in has a lot to do with how you hear them. Ever noticed the drums in a killer song - they migt be really simple, but rock because the tune and the percussion work together in a nice way. Also, have you ever had a pattern that just sounded really different when you apply it against different tunes? I once had convinced myself I was using two different patterns, when in fact they were the same.

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Post by Automatic Gainsay » Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:53 am

I think if you want the sound of a real drummer, no drum machine is really ever going to work for you.
If you want rhythmic sounds, drum machines STILL fall short.
Other than referencial usage, I really don't know why anyone tolerates drum machines anymore.
That's why I went to sequenced samples, and eventually just to playing my own drums, sampling them, and manipulating the loops to suit my needs.
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Post by tunedLow » Sat Mar 29, 2008 3:40 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote: I really don't know why anyone tolerates drum machines anymore.
You really have a knack for writing some pretty absurd statements.

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Post by JSRockit » Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:09 am

tunedLow wrote:
Automatic Gainsay wrote: I really don't know why anyone tolerates drum machines anymore.
You really have a knack for writing some pretty absurd statements.
In all fairness, he has alot of good things to say as well. I can play the drums, but I love the sound of drum machines better.
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Re: Dissatisfied with drum sounds in general

Post by zoomtheline » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:32 am

I think you are searching for the holy grail there!

closest I can think of is sample every sound you want from a real drum kit and map the sounds on to an MPC and get busy with your fingers. It also means recording s**t loads of secuences to get get the quirky beats (leaving the quantize off obv)

What I do sometimes is get a drummer (luckily my brother is an awesome drummer) to play a couple of drum solo's incorporating as much strange beats as he can think of, mic them all up, record onto seperate channels, mix, then sample, chop, arrange etc possible to get some amazing new sounding rhythms!

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Post by Yoozer » Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:44 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:I really don't know why anyone tolerates drum machines anymore.
It's rather obvious that this is aimed at "natural" drum machines, but even then; they're tolerated because they don't show up late, stay in time, and don't try to hit on your girlfriend. Plus, moving a drumkit is much more like moving an entire studio every time.

It used to be so that demos sent to record companies were easy to filter; just listen if the drummer's able to keep tempo properly. If not, you could throw the demo away. This was in the pre-machine era, though ;).
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Post by Soundwave » Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:48 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote: If you want rhythmic sounds, drum machines STILL fall short.
Other than referencial usage, I really don't know why anyone tolerates drum machines anymore.
I hope your mainly referring to real/played type percussion here dude? :P

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Post by shaft9000 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 3:32 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:I really don't know why anyone tolerates drum machines anymore.
(sarc)

never, ever dis the holy 808 and 909, AG, or you'll draw boatloads of ire around here.

i guess you've never been in the throes of a full-on, throw-your-hands-in-the-air-and-jump around-uncontrollably-to-the-beat moment, the likes of which rock n' roll (much as i love it) is pitifully inadequate at achieving to the degree that a great dance record is.

for shame!

i guess you like being an iconoclast :lol:
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Post by kuroichi » Sat Mar 29, 2008 3:43 pm

You can get most akai samplers to alter the sound dependant on the triggering information (velocity, length etc). this could be triggered from something something like V-drums or pads of an mpc.

I dont think theres really a stand alone machine that can do things much beyond velocity and so on yet.

I think thats the goal with the linndrum 2, for there to be more modulation sources like pressure for example. rather than just velocity.

how complex are you thinking though, and using what kind of sounds analog or digital, or both?
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Post by griffin avid » Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:20 pm

I think you need to get a sound module that has serious dynamic range/velocity. AND a MIDI interface capable of capturing your performance.

I suggest a Zendrum.


Zendrum ZAP


http://www.zendrum.com/
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Post by thestreets » Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:56 pm

JSRockit wrote:
In all fairness, he has alot of good things to say as well. I can play the drums, but I love the sound of drum machines better.

It's so weird how that happens. I've been a drummer for about a decade now, but once i got into drum machines there was no going back, i much prefer them.


Cornutt maybe you could try some sampling drum sounds.

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Post by modulator_esp » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:07 pm

check out the Yamaha RY30
mostly enjoying adventures in sound :)

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