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Cubase Tips & Techniques By John Walden
Published November 2012

To illustrate the ideas and tecnniques described in my SOS Cubase column about programming realistic drums, in SOS November 2012, I've prepared an audio file, Cubase-1112.mp3, which includes seven short examples. Each example is separated by a bar of silence:

Example 1. Our starting point, a two-bar loop entered using a MIDI editor and with eighth notes played on the hi-hat, kick on beats 1 and 3 and snare on beats 2 and 4. All notes have the same MIDI velocity and are placed exactly on the grid.

Example 2. The same loop but with accents added to the hi-hat to emphasis those that fall on the beats.

Example 3. A four-bar version of the same loop where small random variations in timing and velocity have been added to every note using the Logical Editor.

Example 4. The same four-bar loop with further velocity editing, snare grace notes added and some short 16th note left-hand/right-hand hi-hat playing added.

Example 5. An eight-bar version of the loop with some further minor edits, including a crash cymbal in bar one, a snare roll with left-hand/right-hand hits in the last bar and the 'alternative snare' layered underneath the main snare pad.

Example 6. The same eight-bar loop, but with all the effects removed (no compression, no reverb). The only ambience is that recorded in the original samples. It still sounds good, but a little less punchy.

Example 7. A 16-bar version of the same loop with all the effects switched back on. In addition, the parallel compression channel is blended with the main stereo drum output and the Velocity Shift parameter in a MIDI Modifier plug-in has been automated on the main MIDI track to add some additional dynamics through the performance.

Example 7. We've moved things on a long way from example 1, but the editing process itself took just a few minutes. The GAO kit used for these audio examples was built using the free Analogue Drums Big Mono sample set mentioned in the main article text and available from  

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