#1
Me, i'm oldschool. I play the guitar, bass, and sing and what comes out is what you hear. But these days it seems every musician has their guitar or voice running through a computer with 20 different programs altering the sound. I'm not a technophobe, it's just not my generation of music. We didn't have computers when I was young.

I never payed any mind to any of this, but now that I'd like to do some recording and drum creation it seems I have to jump in to this world feet first.

I have this USB M-Audio Fast track my nephew gave me, with it I'm using a SM57 to mic my electric guitar amp, acoustic, bass amp, and for vocals.
After doing alot of reading it seems most everyone agrees that you can't go wrong with REAPER for track organization.

My problem is the drums, I don't own any drums nor do I know someone who does. I need to use one of these programs like Fruity Loops to create them. Aside from the fact that all of these programs are so complicated I feel like my head is going to explode after just 5 minutes of messing around or reading tutorials. All of the sounds that come with it don't sound like a real drum set. I'm not trying to make techno music here.

So I have two questions.
Should I be using Fruity Loops? I don't want to spend weeks and weeks learning a program only to find out it's not what I need. What's a good program for bluesy type music?
I've also read that you can apparently download and add custom sound files to these programs, so where would I acquire a good set of acoustic sounding drum files? If this is indeed the case.


Thanks
#2
First, how much are you willing to spend?

There are some very good drum sample plug-ins you can use in Reaper such as EZDrummer or Superior Drummer (there are others too, can't remember many names though, I'm sure someone else will chip in). Look it up and see what you think.

If you need any help getting started with them, just ask
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#3
I've been using Superior Drummer 2.0 for quite some time now and IMO, it's the BEST VST to use if you want some great acoustic drum sounds.
You can run it with Reaper and use the grid editor to set up the data that will trigger each drum at the given time.

For sound quality, check out my drum covers on my youtube page. All are shot and sampled with Superior 2.0
#4
Fake sounding drums is the result of a few different factors:

1. A fake performance!! If you point and click a drum track onto a grid - especially if you are not a drummer and therefore do not think like a drummer - you can have the best samples in the world and it will still sound fake.

2. Impossibly consistent dynamics: When you hit the same drum 100 times, what are the odds that you will hit it with exactly the same velocity each time, particularly when music tends to have accented and unaccented beats? (never mind, in exactly the same place...) Good drum programming means having varying velocities on each drum between and within measures. Add to that the fact that the harder or softer you hit a drum will *also* have an effect on the tone of that drum - not just the volume.

3. Sound quality: Yes, samples of well-recorded 'real' drums will sound more real than poor samples - most noticeable in things like cymbals. But all that aside.... without #1 and #2 in place.... you're still screwed.

So, I guess what I'm saying here isn't so much that it is the software you should be worried about as much as the quality of the programming of the tracks.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#5
I recommend you learn some drumming concepts if you want a realistic performance. Learn about how the bass/snare/toms are actually used and realistic open/closed hit-hat use etc.

Everything else is summed up pretty well in the above post.


I've also read that you can apparently download and add custom sound files to these programs, so where would I acquire a good set of acoustic sounding drum files? If this is indeed the case.


Yes, they're called samples and come in a lossless audio format (.WAV/.AIFF etc). There are some websites where you can download free packs which can sometimes sound good. But if you want professional studio recorded drums, you can't beat sites like primeloops or loopmasters and alike. Some quick googling with show you a wealth of information.

I'm afraid I can't really help you on software as I use Reason 4 for drums, and I doubt you want to fork out the cash if you're only using it for drum programming.
Last edited by MapOfYourHead at Jul 16, 2010,
#6
If you want to go the free route, I recommend getting shortcircuit and finding samples on the internet.
#7
listen to axemanchris!!!

I use a combination of superior drummer, addictive drums and recently acquired steven slate drums (worth every penny) and found that to get even these "real" kits to sound right requires a bit of attention. after laying down the groove midis i go back and edit them to give varying velocities to the different instrument hits (much in the same way a drummer never hits something the exact same way twice)

also i try to think about the physical possibilities (like having a double kick going while doing open/close hi hat fills along with snare hits and toms and crashes.... most humans with 2 arms and legs can't do all this at once)

all in all its not easy to get a realistic sounding drum track but to me its worth it in the end. i recommend adjusting the velocities once you've got the guitars recorded (or at least scratch tracks) so that you can hear in the song how hard each drum needs to hit. the extra 4-6 hours spent on dialing in the perfect velocities, reverbs etc can REALLY bring out a drum sound and make it almost indistinguishable from real drums
#8
I don't suppose any of these recommended programs have a demo/trial, or something?
#9
First off, +1 for the comments by axemanchris. I've posted a tutorial on programming realistic drums elsewhere on this forum (there used to be a sticky on this) and these are very important points.

Quote by sryug
I don't suppose any of these recommended programs have a demo/trial, or something?


Not really since the content, as in the samples, take up so much room most of these don't offer demo/trial versions. You can hear examples on their respective sites or you can browse a lot of the recordings on this site for examples (although it's a bit short on blues stuff around here, everybody's a metal-head these days).

I'd whole-heartedly recommend EZ Drummer and, if possible, getting the Vintage Rock add-on. It's not a prohibitively expensive package and it has some really good stuff. You also get a number of pre-programmed beats in various styles and tempos, that are usually programmed fairly well compared to what beginners can muster, that you can drag-and-drop in your DAW and get a nice little tune going.

If you want to know what these drums sound like in a (relatively) good mix you can check out my two country recordings here: http://www.planetemil.com/DustyRoads.html The song Lovin' and leavin' showcases the outstanding tom sounds using the Vintage Rock kit using brushes. The second project, Long gone, has less impressive programming but the second tune It bothers me uses a few of the pre-programmed MIDI files from EZ Drummer so you can hear how those can sound.

Quote by sryug
Me, i'm oldschool. I play the guitar, bass, and sing and what comes out is what you hear. But these days it seems every musician has their guitar or voice running through a computer with 20 different programs altering the sound.


This is something you should try to get out of your head right away. Yes, a lot of people who weren't around when recording meant analog (big shout-out to cassette portas in the 80's!!!) can pile on the stuff but in all honesty, there have always been a mass of gear in any studio to alter sound. I guarantee that of all your favourite albums recorded in the last 30 years or so not one of them is just a guitar through an amp. There's always been EQ added on the board or via outboard, a little bit of compression, etc. Digital, at its best, just tries to re-create those signal chains but without all the cable mess. (Anybody who really likes a patch bay can just leave now...)
"If money is the root of all evil, I'd like to be a bad, bad man."

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#10
Quote by ebon00
(Anybody who really likes a patch bay can just leave now...)


LOL! .... listens to the sound of all the kiddies saying "patch-bay.... wtf is that?"

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#11
Quote by sryug
I don't suppose any of these recommended programs have a demo/trial, or something?


i recommend this: http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/products/producer/powered-by-kontakt/abbey-road-70s-drums/

or something similar from native instruments.


go on here and download kontakt 4 for a vst with some demo drum kits on.
http://www.native-instruments.com/en/support/other-pages/demo-versions/
unfortuneately they time out after 30 mins.

x

edit: here is a vid with some extra info http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EqdW9KlihE
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Last edited by shinhoman at Jul 17, 2010,