Randomness in drum machines sounds (not the sequencer)

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madtheory
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Randomness in drum machines sounds (not the sequencer)

Post by madtheory » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:59 pm

Was reading the specs for VLinn:
http://www.alyjameslab.com/alyjameslabvlinn.html
And it's a revelation to me that it has several randomising factors, accidental or deliberate I don't know. Then I wax wondering if the Roland analogue drum machines do it. For exsmple, are the oscillators free running or re-triggered?

I might have to revise my theory that a sampler is all you need for drum machine sounds! But the TR-505 is still a piece of s**t ;)
Last edited by madtheory on Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Randomness in digital and analogue drum machines

Post by synthroom » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:48 pm

That looks pretty neat!! The LM-1 is a cool sounding machine for sure!
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Re: Randomness in digital and analogue drum machines

Post by Cumulus » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:14 am

Not to fire up the old analog vs digital debate but samplers are not all you need for drum machine sounds.

I like my samplers but there is some awesomeness in he randomness.

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Re: Randomness in digital and analogue drum machines

Post by pflosi » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:59 am

Groove means tightness, not random jitter :mrgreen:

Here's what the man Roger has to say on the matter: http://www.attackmagazine.com/features/ ... pc-timing/

Plugin looks fun though :thumbleft:

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Re: Randomness in digital and analogue drum machines

Post by sigment » Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:16 pm

Cumulus wrote:Not to fire up the old analog vs digital debate but samplers are not all you need for drum machine sounds.

I like my samplers but there is some awesomeness in he randomness.
I agree with that 100%
I gotta say though, removing time correction when putting in beats on the mpc gives the groove a much less 'clinical' feel. No need to worry about shuffle if you just bang it in by hand. And, unfortunately, that will have to work until I obtain every drum machine ever made, ever. :lol:




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Re: Randomness in digital and analogue drum machines

Post by madtheory » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:40 pm

I wasn't clear so here's a correction- I'm not talking about the sequencer, I'm talking about the sound generating bits. That's why I mentioned the oscillator issue in the Roland analogue machines (all of which use a digital sequencer!)

In the link I posted there's a good explanation of why it's not randomness that gives "that" groove to the swing, it's the low resolution of 48PPQN. So the exact opposite of random- pretty much what Roger explains in the other article. So again, I'm not asking about the sequencer.

The stuff about the filter CV, and the hi hat looping, is pretty cool. And the way the companding keeps the sound bright no matter now much it's tuned down. I'm just wondering if anything similar happens in other machines.

@ synthroom, used as a drum machine I'm pretty sure the Fairlight plays the sound back with absolute consistency apart from some jitter that's inaudible. But the way the Fairlight transposes is quite different to the Linn. The sound gets distorted in a cool way, but you loose the top end especially with the anti- aliasing filter engaged, that's quite brutal. Whereas the Linn fabricates top end :)

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Re: Randomness in drum machines sounds (not the sequencer)

Post by Cumulus » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:33 pm

I understood what you were asking butI can see how it could le to a discussion about the sequencer as well.

You're talking about the sound, as in every snare hit sounding the same.

There are often variations with analog machines, whether or not the oscillators re-trigger or not.

Sometimes it's mistake matter of the machine warming up and the sounds changes over time but there can a.so be small variations between fdifferent hits of the same instrument.

This could be achieved with sampling, too, of course, but you'd have to have several samples of each instrument.

Now, whether the average listener would care or even notice is another story...

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Re: Randomness in drum machines sounds (not the sequencer)

Post by madtheory » Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:40 pm

Yes, round robin sampling does the trick. I used that for my Casio CZ samples, some sounds on that synth have a variation and I'm not sure what causes it- although it does use a companding DAC like the Linn does.

I would think the average listener wouldn't be able to identify what was going on, but it would certainly make a track sound a certain way, and it's definitely a factor in why musicians (for example Prince) did amazing stuff with the Linn, and still do.

But I'm looking for actual technical reasons, as described in the Linn link. Not conjecture.

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Re: Randomness in drum machines sounds (not the sequencer)

Post by hageir » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:00 pm

madtheory wrote:Then I wax wondering if the Roland analogue drum machines do it. For exsmple, are the oscillators free running or re-triggered?

I might have to revise my theory that a sampler is all you need for drum machine sounds! But the TR-505 is still a piece of s**t ;)

Yup!
I realized after countless software projects that I was using CR-8000 samples from the internet a lot so I picked one up (currently using it with a SBX-10 to convert the DIN or Trigger to MIDI Clock and it's sure got quite sloppy-but-good groove so there's this pushing+pulling going on as a Master clock… Very nice as a choice, against a more modern steady MIDI clock from some other sequencer...)

BUT on the other hand, if I'm using the internal sounds from the CR-8000, the hats for example, are indeed free-running so the transients are NEVER the same = which means you can actually listen to this live-sounding drum machine for AGES without it getting boring/static (like a sample based drum machine)

So yes, indeed this "randomness" of the start portion of the transients really does (subtle) magic...
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Re: Randomness in drum machines sounds (not the sequencer)

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:34 pm

I have to say that the explanation of swing at Aly James Lab made no sense to me. I'd argue that he got it totally backwards. Which is bad because on teh interwebz this will soon become fact.

What it really shows is that the accuracy of swing is less when resolution is less. His example showed how 57% swing came out to 6.84, which rounded to 7. Well, using his math there are other values of swing that will also round to 7:

0.12 X 55 = 6.6 rounds to 7
0.12 x 56 = 6.72 rounds to 7
0.12 x 57 = 6.84 rounds to 7
0.12 x 58 = 6.96 rounds to 7
0.12 x 59 = 7.08 rounds to 7
0.12 x 60 = 7.2 rounds to 7
0.12 x 61 = 7.32 rounds to 7
0.12 x 62 = 7.44 rounds to 7

That means any value from 55% to 62% gives the same feel. Notice that it's a range of 8 percentage values, and 8 x 0.12 = 0.96 which rounds to, um 1...so they all round to the same value :roll: The actual swing is 58.33%. That's because the ppqn of 48 contains a factor of 3 (2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 3).

If the clock resolution in the DAW is 20x (per his example) the equivalent of 7 would be 140.

140 / 2.4 = 58.14

Reverse that to get:

57 x 2.4 = 133.8 rounds to 137
58 x 2.4 = 139.2 rounds to 139
59 x 2.4 = 141.6 rounds to 142
60 x 2.4 = 144 exactly

So you can never get exactly 140 (which would be 58.33%, wot a shock) but every single percentage value gives you a unique feel...which is better, innit? :mrgreen:
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Re: Randomness in digital and analogue drum machines

Post by pflosi » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:02 am

madtheory wrote:I wasn't clear so here's a correction- I'm not talking about the sequencer, I'm talking about the sound generating bits.
Ah, my bad. In that case I agree, there's something nice about no two hits sounding exactly the same :thumbright:

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Re: Randomness in drum machines sounds (not the sequencer)

Post by madtheory » Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:32 am

meatballfulton wrote:That means any value from 55% to 62% gives the same feel.
But I don't think the Linn gave values between 55% and 62%?

Can we stop talking about the sequencer now? (Just kidding!!)

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Re: Randomness in drum machines sounds (not the sequencer)

Post by vicd » Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:49 pm

I don't see why most digital (S&S or anything) sound generation engines would not be able to achieve the same effect - unless we're talking "pure romplers without any sound shaping capabilities" or similar designs.

Probably, does not even need to be modular/patchable - just apply a small amount of a continuously running S&H LFO to your filter, pitch or resonance (or whatever destination you have on your box), and here's your instant "humanization" (or "analog drift", or whatever you like to call it...) so each time you have a slightly different snare hit.

I don't like the drums, but the drums like me!

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Re: Randomness in drum machines sounds (not the sequencer)

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:51 pm

It's easy enough to emulate the random phasing of analog oscillators with sample playback by randomizing the start point of the sample every time it is triggered.
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Re: Randomness in drum machines sounds (not the sequencer)

Post by madtheory » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:23 am

Yes, or round robin sampling of the original.

But what other machines, besides the Linn and the CR-78, do this? Does the 909 re trigger or free run?

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