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Simple virtual drummer instrument

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Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby blinddrew » Tue May 05, 2020 9:52 pm

It has been remarked upon previously that one of the weaker points of some of my recordings is the drumming.
This is because I keep trying to do the drumming.
However I find myself in receipt of a partial refund of a railway season ticket that would cover a copy of UJAM's Solid.
I mostly play a range of stuff from singer-songwritery through to medium rock-ish stuff. Nothing too heavy. Not generally particularly EDM'y either but I'd be happy to take a normal set of kit sounds and mangle them if I wanted to head down a less 'real' route.
Re-reading January's review suggests that this might be a useful route for me to head down, but whilst I go and see if they offer a worthwhile demo, is there anything else I should be looking at as well?
Thanks
Drew
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby James Perrett » Tue May 05, 2020 10:22 pm

Have you tried Manda Audio's MT Power Drumkit? I find it very useful for putting ideas down quickly. Only one set of sounds but they're very usable and the price is right...
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby blinddrew » Tue May 05, 2020 10:59 pm

Yep, thanks James, i have used that a fair bit but i'm not so keen on the cymbal sounds and the kick is a bit clicky (this i have subsequently fixed).
But mostly I struggled to get something credible out of the rhythms.
I appreciate that the most likely reason for this is my own incompetence, but it's there nevertheless. :)
So it's not just the drum sounds i'm after, it's the pattern creation side of things as well.
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby Kwackman » Tue May 05, 2020 11:03 pm

Toontrack's EZDrummer?
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby desmond » Tue May 05, 2020 11:03 pm

Anyone who can play a musical instrument has a sense of rhythm, and if you have a sense of rhythm, you can play drums.
And if you can play drums, you can program drums. ;)

So - either you want to get better at playing/programming drums, or you instead want to choose existing patterns/feels etc and chain them together to paste up a backing track. Something like EZ Drummer will let you do both/either - you can use it as a drum module to play, with a variety of different sounds (and expansion packs), plus it has a whole library of pattern and song creation tools if you prefer to go that route.

So how do you best want to work with your drum parts? From existing pattern presets?
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby blinddrew » Tue May 05, 2020 11:05 pm

Good shout Kwackman. For some reason I had it in my head that that was about twice the price.
Will add that to the investigation.
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed May 06, 2020 8:20 am

Jamstix is quite good at producing pretty convincing drum tracks, I believe they're on version 4 now. https://www.rayzoon.com/
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby blinddrew » Wed May 06, 2020 8:54 am

Cheers Rich, I see they also have a brushes kit in the expansion pack that might just squeeze into budget.
Will look at that too.
Should keep me going for a bit.
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby garrettendi » Wed May 06, 2020 9:13 am

I use Melda MDrummer (I bought the full version last year).

As well as the sounds of the hundreds of kits it has, it comes with pattern generation. Give it a basic beat and it will generate fills and other beats for you, which can then be edited by hand.

Sound wise... It's harder to get it to sound as good as EZDrummer, but the latest 2020 updates in the works (all updates are free) should make a massive difference if it lives up to hype.

(Melda plug over... but seriously give the free trial a belt)

...

...

I er... Don't work for them. Honest. :lol:
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby The Elf » Wed May 06, 2020 9:40 am

I program my own patterns, so can't really comment on that aspect. But for sounds I'm still getting 80% of everything I need out of Steven Slate drums.

Stylus is still a great resource for percussion patterns, or for just getting a rhythm going to work to.
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby CS70 » Wed May 06, 2020 9:46 am

I use EZDrummer, mostly for demos but it's made its way into one actual production as well - where drums were more of the metronomic sort and it was too short to warrant the usual drum recording sessions with my drummer :D

I can heartily recommend it: for the less than drum-obsessive persons (or, in my case, for the totally unskilled in the drumming field) it's very easy to use, inexpensive, it has great sounds, a large amount of loops to start with and it's expandable (they often do sales and there's lots of MIDI drum loops floating around the internet).

That said, my experience to get a good result programming drums you have to work hard - it's as time consuming as recording a kit, even more. And while "humanization" in terms of velocity is not a big deal (at least in Cakewalk), it's harder to really bake in that tempo elasticity that occur naturally when playing (the choruses a little faster, then back in tempo if possible etc) that, in the right small doses, makes a performance so groovy. It's not something you can just do by running a script - it needs actual musical sense.

For actual productions it might be better to entail the help of an actual drummer - maybe online session men? Not sure about the prices but it might be worth it to give the material the quality that it deserves..
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby Music Wolf » Wed May 06, 2020 9:59 am

I started with BFD (which may, or may not, have been a naughty copy from a guy down the pub :oops: ) then went 'legit' with EZ-Drummer. I liked that and upgraded to Superior Drummer 2.0 and then to 3.0.

SD is fantastic for sounds (but requires a lot of disk space). There is a huge library of very useable grooves which, of course, you can edit (if anything there is too much choice). I use a mixture of off-the-peg grooves and programming from scratch.
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby blinddrew » Wed May 06, 2020 10:13 am

Hmm. I see Steven Slate drums is currently on sale for $99.
I appear to have underestimated how competitive this area of the market is! :)

Going to have to see which ones have brush options.

CS70, it's a good shout about a session drummer - but round here there's only a couple of people operating at a serious* level and, quite reasonably, they charge professional prices.
Which i can't justify for my noodling. :)
Our band's drummer would happily volunteer but he's very much a more-is-more drummer and that's not often what i'm looking for with my solo stuff.

* I appreciate this may seem like a contradiction but what I mean is that there are a couple of people who have decent rooms and understand the recording side of it, then there's a bunch of people banging around in their garage. Competent drummers, but the recording side is not up to much.
Given the inherent challenges of recording live drums it shouldn't be a surprise that there's not really anyone in between.
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed May 06, 2020 10:30 am

The advantage to Jamstix is that the patterns are generated on the fly and the AI limits it to what a real drummer could play (but you can switch that off if you fancy giving the drum kit to an octopus :D) so you're not limited to just the patterns provided. You can also jam with it (sort of) with its additional plug-in, albeit it only responds to the loudness of your playing.

It also generates MIDI and has maps for most of the popular drum libraries.
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Re: Simple virtual drummer instrument

Postby CS70 » Wed May 06, 2020 10:35 am

blinddrew wrote:CS70, it's a good shout about a session drummer - but round here there's only a couple of people operating at a serious* level

Well I was more thinking of people operating in their studio and sending you tracks, so "local" is quite irrelevant.. :D

The only minus is that you are bound to make and send 'em a base and if you use a metronome I suppose their performance will be more.. metronomic - this can be a bad or good thing depending..
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