#1
Hello. I'd like to know what do you people think is an effective way to write down drum notation into the DAW? I got EZdrummer last week, and trying to notate a drumbeat in REAPER using its keyboard-style MIDI editor feels quite cumbersome. I got a weighted MIDI keyboard I should probably use (even if small, spring-action ones are likely a better choice for this application), but I assume it isn't easy to get a drumming rhythm as tight as you'd like in a recording this way; the question is whether you can then just quantize it all in two clicks, or do you still usually need to manually sort out more tricky rhythms like triplets?

Another question is more recording-related: do you prefer creating the drumbeat before recording the rest of the instruments and then and then play along it, and do you prefer/believe it's better to record along the clicks of a metronome? Regarding the second option, I'm thinking about compound rhythms with which I usually prefer dividing the way the beat is laid out within the measure (let's say 15/16 – I'll usually play and think of the beat as Q-Q-Q-S-S-S), and the metronome–in REAPER at least–rather just plays straight-forwardly the numerator amount of the note value at the denominator.

Thanks in advance.
#2
So, I use a Matrix editor to do drums.

Basically you take a MIDI track and designate it to ONLY output one note, so when you draw a note in it's always the right one. Then I copy this for each individual drum I'm using. This keeps it clean, and allows much better surgical control of the individual notes. As well, this will give you the ability to edit your drums IN PLACE with the rest of the audio instead of tiny little notes on a piano roll. From here, I set the track's output to the appropriate MIDI channel for the VI to grab. Drums are always 10. ALWAYS, that's MIDI design and standard.



You should have the ability to do this in ANY DAW, as setting a MIDI track to single note output is a standard feature.
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#3
My first approach was to export the midi file of drums I wrote in Guitar Pro 6 as I am familiar with writing drums there and then import this into my DAW as a midi track. I use SSD4 which has a slightly different midi map so I use map conversion in the plugin so that they correlate.

I think in future I may try to learn writing drums just in my DAW as this removes a few steps. I never try live performances on my midi keyboard. I'd rather get everything perfect on the grid and then humanise the timing in Reaper by 5-10% and then make further manual adjustments until it feels right alongside other instruments.

You may not like to work like this but I spend most of my time in Reaper adjusting drums. I can't record a drummer but I'm also not satisfied with rigid stock beats from a midi roll. I like to get in there and make adjustments throughout. The best thing you can do in a mix when programming drums (and useful in general) is pull in a reference track and listen to the drums compared to yours. Listen to how dynamic the hi-hat is (for example), variance in how open and closed it is on different hits, variance between tip and shank hits (changing just velocity won't get you there on its own).

I track using the programmed drums and metronome at the same time. The reason for this is that some of the transients don't seem to come through when I'm tracking or maybe just my brain picks up on the hits a little late. With a crash, for example, i will try to play guitar in time with this but the resonance/tail is more prominent than the hit to my ears. The metronome fills in the blanks and provides a more obvious beat to follow while the drums provide more nuance and feel.

In terms of your quantise question: for me, i'd quantise the performance and then go in an edit any triplets or parts that don't quantise as desired. Again, my approach is laborious and you may not like it. I like what the chemist suggested as an alternative to the piano roll.
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#4
the chemist Excuse me for not completely understanding, but do you mean by "designate it to only output one note" that when you click to add a new note it would automatically create a note of a specific note value? And this Matrix editor thing, should it be available in REAPER or is it some plugin you download? And regarding the MIDI channel, I don't seem to need to set anything in REAPER. I just create a new MIDI item and apply the EZdrummer VST under FX.

USCENDONE BENE Regarding your quantization remark: you said you don't perform your drums live on a keyboard. So I assume you just meant "IF I were to... I'd use quantization+manual adjustment"?
#5
Yeah I should have been clearer - yes, if i were to perform using a midi keyboard i'd quantise it and then make minor adjustments after that. I could see that being a potential time-saver in terms of laying down midi notes but otherwise the performance aspect does not appeal to me, i'm not a drummer so i could not lay down the 'feel' with a performance but rather have to magic one into existence ITB.
"If you want beef, then bring the ruckus." - Marilyn Monroe
#6
Quote by TLGuitar
the chemist Excuse me for not completely understanding, but do you mean by "designate it to only output one note" that when you click to add a new note it would automatically create a note of a specific note value? And this Matrix editor thing, should it be available in REAPER or is it some plugin you download? And regarding the MIDI channel, I don't seem to need to set anything in REAPER. I just create a new MIDI item and apply the EZdrummer VST under FX.


Yeah, basically. I know in pro-tools you can set a MIDI track to only display and edit one note (for example, a bass drum at C1). That is the only note you will ever see in that track, and it's the only one it will play. This makes it easier than going through a piano roll and editing just that note in the batch.

As for the matrix editor, I call it a matrix after the Matrix Editor in Logic, where the drums are mapped to individual tracks. There's no download for this, I basically create all the tracks I need (so, for example, one MIDI track set for only C1, one for Db1, one for E1, etc. until I have all the tracks I need) then group the tracks for Editing so that any time I cut a section out it is removed for all tracks. I set them all to the same output (MIDI 10) and set the input of my drum VI to MIDI 10 (as is expected). From here I would normally take the individual outputs from each track and send them to an appropriate mono audio track to record them once the MIDI editing is completed. I ensure that the VI is only playing raw sounds as I want to EQ/Compress/process these myself to fit the song better.
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#7
the chemist Well, I wonder if that would be an easy approach in REAPER, though having each component of the drum set in a separate track doesn't sound all that comfortable to me, either. Anyway, I think I just have no idea what should you do with drums, plain and simple. I mostly write things in Guitar Pro and never bother to record them, and I rarely write drums into my tabs. I tried writing some drums for my latest piece and have them played out by EZdrummer, but they mostly just sound awkward to my ear. You can listen if you want (the whole thing is the Guitar Pro sound with some external enhancing):

#8
I always use the piano roll style editor in any DAW as it gives me most control over all the note properties (velocity, timing, humanization, note variance, etc.).

In Mixcraft 7 (My DAW) you can output the sampler (in my case EZD2) to all of it's individual tracks, so I only need one midi track, but I still get to mix the drums individually outside of EZD itself.

I know a few people who ONLY use a keyboard (then tweak afterwards) because that's what they're most comfortable with, and that's the most important thing
#9
When using the Midi editor in Reaper make sure you switch to a drum mode.
Alt+6 for flags or Alt+7 for diamonds (my fav)
This allows you just to click and have the note pop up instead of worrying about note length and shit
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#10
Quote by Kyleisthename
When using the Midi editor in Reaper make sure you switch to a drum mode.
Alt+6 for flags or Alt+7 for diamonds (my fav)
This allows you just to click and have the note pop up instead of worrying about note length and shit

Ah, yes. That's definitely less cluttered. But I have this question: how are you supposed to stop the ringing of a cymbal like you could physically do with your hand? Is there another note for that on the piano roll?
#11
I know there is a separate note for chokes in SSD4 so i'd assume if you can view a midi map of EZ you'd find one in there.
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#12
Quote by TLGuitar
Ah, yes. That's definitely less cluttered. But I have this question: how are you supposed to stop the ringing of a cymbal like you could physically do with your hand? Is there another note for that on the piano roll?

It's another note. I can't remember which, but if you click on the menu button for a cymbal and click 'Details', it'll tell you the notes for all the different articulations of that particular drum.
#13
EZD has the chokes higher up so basically what I do is move up a note and it plays every time you move it until you find the choke. Also some of the programs in EZD have "misc" and they have some programmed chokes, like kick and cymbal choke, etc. I sometimes also use an outside cymbal sample (wav) of the right choke or swell as these are hard to get right on midi editor.
Back in the day we also used single trigger notes (don't remember what it was called exactly), the idea was that you can assign a group of sounds that mutes as soon as another sound is triggered, so we'd do the cymbal and right after that another hit at 0 volume but that will essentially mute the ring of the previous hit.

For tap editing, quantize function is your friend. Look it up in the manual.