As a drummer myself i'm struggeling to get MIDI drums to sound right. I've tried automatic humanizing and manual editing, which improves the end-result, but I'd like to know how to get the drums to sound as human as on the Animals as Leaders albums for instance.

Here is an example of one of my MIDI tracks and the sound through my SD2.0 preset:

MIDI track

SD2.0 track

If you guys have any tips on how to improve my MIDI, maybe the drum mix itself, it would be much appreciated!
Think like a drummer. Which beats will have accents on? Which hits are syncopated or not holding the tempo (more keeping groove)? Adjust velocities accordingly.
Especially with things like cymbal hits, they never sound exactly the same throughout a whole bar of hitting the same on. Either set up another instance of the drum VST just for extra cymbals to increase variety, or edit the velocities every hit.
Also quantization. No human, no matter how good, plays like a computer. There will be slight changes to time keeping in places where the 'mood' of the song either slows down or gets more aggressive.
Another thing on the topic of quantized beats, make sure when you have times where 2 or more pieces are struck at the same time (cymbals and snare, hi hat and kick, toms and snare etc) that the 2 hits don't start in the same millisecond. Add a tiny amount of delay by shifting one of the notes a few milliseconds forward or back to compensate.
Lastly, don't fall into the trap of copy-pasting and leaving it at that. By all means, do that to get a basic structure down, then perhaps record some guitars/bass over top, but then come back and work out which bits could be changed up slightly each time around. No professional drummer repeats themselves endlessly. Add a new hit in here or there, grace notes, different fills, use different cymbals on the second verse etc etc
It gives the track some motion and progression without sounding like someone just figured out loopmaster.

It's never going to be an easy task; programming human-esque drums is a massive pain in the hole but with perseverance and practice you get the techniques down efficiently.
Humanize with a full mix going. Even some live drum tracks sound fake solo'd.
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Do the drums on Animals as Leaders sound human? They don't to me, take whole genre sounds cut and paste.

The way to do it is to play some of it, like fills and cymbal work. Pads/e-drums/old drum machines can all be into that service.
Last edited by diabolical at Feb 25, 2014,
Nothing in modern prog metal (aka djent) sounds human. It's all way too compressed.
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Solid advice in this thread and good truths, a lot of the particular above mentioned drums are not that real. I take a premade pattern, record guitar and bass over it, and the end result is drastically different.

That being said, if u want a particular swing in your groove, and not necessarily the blues swing, but more of a light swing, then assign a key on your keyboard and tap the rhythmic hits of for example the snare or hihat. Offcourse without quantization turned off, then shift the notes to the correct drum hit.

This is particulary effective for accenting, cause even a non musician is often able to tap a rhythm more natural than a computer can. This is more enhanced if u also record the guitar as ur right hand tapping the keyboard would most likely do it just as you accent guitar chords with the same hand.

To come back to the other posters, think like a drummer. Just as all the guitar pro "guitar solo's" where the pentatonic scale is typed in basic 8th sequences sound fake, the same applies to drums.

I guess your best bet would be to just view drummer video's for a month straight. I did this and it helped me immensely and I have even jammed on real drums with a bass player and guitarist and could hold the groove. I lacked offcourse a 100% accurate time keeping, but the other members could definitely groove on what I played, even though it was pretty basic.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Feb 26, 2014,
If ALL else fails you can buy drum loops recorded with midi kits.

But honestly I would ONLY recommend that if you've tried learning to do it for yourself, they're a rip off for the most part.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself

Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!