Help with drum machine choice

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Help with drum machine choice

Postby Fearcandy666 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:17 pm

I am new to drum machine technology and am looking for a machine I can use at home. I could really use some recommendations but I have some pretty specific requirements...

I want to be able to do block programming on the Mac and then transfer the completed song to the drum machine. I’ve found laptop apps/programs hugely unreliable.

I need to be able to program multiple tempos which will change automatically mid-song (the main problem I’ve found with laptop drum machine programs)

I need something fairly low priced (under £200 if possible) because it’s for personal projects not live/band/recorded releases.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
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Re: Help with drum machine choice

Postby meatballfulton » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:20 pm

What do you find unreliable about computer apps (and which apps do you mean)?

I can't think of any drum machine that can do what you want, let alone a cheap one. An Akai MPC (which is not a drum machine, it's a sampler with a mulitrack sequencer) might ba able to do it. Finding one cheap enough will be tough.

Any MPC experts want to weigh in?
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Re: Help with drum machine choice

Postby Fearcandy666 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:30 pm

I’ve found that as the memory clogs up they ‘stutter’ and don’t produce the right rhythm (although that was on a PC not a Mac). Also trying to work around a constant BPM was an issue when I was writing songs that would drop in tempo at given points. I would consider a reliable Mac program if it had the ability to insert a tempo marker where it would automatically adjust to that . As I said, I’m new to this. I’ve been playing guitar for years but not really recorded myself because of the inability to get reliable rhythms going.
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Re: Help with drum machine choice

Postby ninja6485 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:24 pm

Mac vs PC plays no role. Its probably coming down to how powerful and dedicated your computer is, and what else is running and taking up resources. What you need to do is "print" the rhytm you wrote and use that instead of trying to play the whole thing using your cpu.

What that means, is that you write your drum parts on your computer, then mix down just the drum parts to audio files, and use those audio tracks instead of your samples or plugins. It should take less resources to play those files than it does to reproduce the whole drum part in real time.

You should get rid of timing problems that way, and you can save a new instance of your project each time you do this, so that you can clear everything but the audio you're working with in your new project, but still have your software set up in the old project in case you need to edit anything.
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Re: Help with drum machine choice

Postby madtheory » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:46 pm

Notwithstanding ninja's advice above, I think it must've been a very low spec computer if it was unable to keep the rhythm going reliably. You shouldn't have to "render" or "print" the drum parts as audio files, normally. Was it a netbook? Did it have less than 4GB of RAM? That would explain the problems you had.

Some internal sound cards might cause the problems you described too. For example, Realtek is a popular internal sound card, and they cannot really handle this kind of thing. This is why people use external USB/ Firewire/ Thunderbolt sound cards.

Almost every DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) features a Tempo Map where you can program in tempo and meter changes. Apple Logic, Steinberg Cubase, Avid Pro Tools and Cockos Reaper are all good for this.
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