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Drum machines

Mr Blab Blab Bla

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Originally posted by neil loughran:

Does anyone here still use drum machines?


I'm thinking of perhaps getting something as I miss banging on pads and stuff...




has a new piece of kit that looks interesting, Sound On Sound reports it as the most sophisticated drum machine ever...





What I can see... you won't be able to bang its pads... those little buttons seem to be just like the on/off switches at ancient ROLAND machines...


I have a venerable ALESIS HR16-B. Killer sounds. However, with nowadays sample technologies and Virtual instruments, I don't use it any longer. I have tons of drum sample libraries and loops.


For electronic drums, I'm ok with that. Even for acoustic ones.

But if I still require real drums, nothing better than a real drummer...



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Sorry folks, I have 3 drum machines. Boss Dr-760, Alesis SR-16 and Yamaha, and still use them. I can't get into using someone else's pre-programmed work. I program all of the patterns, with my own talent. I also own and play on a miked 7 piece Pearl Export set which I lay down to tape. I plan on getting a set of V-Drums that will be plugged directly into the mixing board. Maybe some day I'll use drum loops developed by others, but I feel that It's not me.


There are some good drum machines out there, but you need to know what your doing to make any of them sound like a real player, I've done it.


Practice makes perfect. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif



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Well, the way I work nowadays, every sampler and keyboard I have is a "drum machine." I haven't owned a dedicated rum machine since my frist HR-16 and then the Roland 808 that I gave away, thinking it was some antiquated piece of sh*t, which it may well be, but a very valuable and coveted antiauted POS.


I've spoken before about my love and need for extravagantly sampled drums. Many of my synths have pretty decent drum samples, but nowhere near the memory or programming effort necessary to make them expressive and playable. Here's why Gigasampler comes in. I primarily use two very cheap drum packages: The sonic impants Blie Jay Small #2, and the kit that comes with the Acoustic Essentials guitar and bass library. IMO, it takes at least 3 or 4 velocity layers, very well programmed, to fool the fingers into beieving in the reality of the snare drum.


To my knowledge, nobody really gets cymbals right. Maybe they can't afford to lavish the memory for a realistic decay or enough velocity layers to make it reac something like a real cymbal. Apparently, in the opinion of many, Studiocat.com's Purrrfect drums comes about as close to a real cymbal as anyone has.

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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Hi magpel, I agree with you regarding the cymbal sounds on drum machines. Sometimes I lower the volume on some of them just for that reason. I forgot to mention that some synth sounds from other modules have some good and very realistic sounds, Roland percussion sounds, JV 880/1080 drum sections, etc. Just as there is a sweet spot on the keyboard for certain sounds to sound real, I feel that applies to the drum machine. As every thing gets more sophisticated there will be sound pallets to chose from.


I sometimes use real cymbals to complete the feel that I'm looking for. It takes up a track or two but it's worth it. The better drum modules have a wider range of attack, to allow for that realistic feel. You should set up drum machines as though the drummer is in front of you playing. Not all of the sounds that make up the kit should have the same attack or volume to complete the feel. More than one pattern sounds good. The SR16 has an easy way to apply the fill-ins with the touch of a floor pedal. It has two patterns and two fill-ins.


Just my thoughts......... I hope this helps you.


Jazzman http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/cool.gif

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Actually I've got another drum machine question. Hope you don't mind me using your thread to bring it up Neil.


Getting drums on my tracks has been the biggest killer to me recording my own music. I can come up with bass, guitar, and even some basic keyboard parts but I can't get the drums to sound the way I want. I own a Roland R8MK2 Human Rythm Composer drum machine, which I bought from a friend before I even took some guitar lessons.


That's been several years ago, and I tried for a while to learn to use it but I just can't *Get a groove* going with it. I can program some basic 4/4 type stuff but it doesn't really turn me on, and it's certainly nothing I'm willing to put on tape.


Could this be because of the drum machine itself? I don't have much experience with them but the R8 seems overly complicated to me. I know I'll never get it to sound as good as some of the drummers I've jammed with but I have heard some pretty darn good sounding drum tracks programmed from a drum machine. I also own a Korg N364 but I don't like it's sequencer so I've never really tried to use it for this purpose, maybe I should just to see what happens.




Anyone got some advice? Would another drum machine be better to program tracks with or will my lack of knowledge on how to do this be universal for all DM's? Would an alternate controller such as a Roland SPD-20 that you can use sticks on help? Any reading material or tutorials out there on how to produce better tracks with a drum machine that could help me out? I would really appreciate any help, this is very frustrating area to me and something I would really like to get better at.


Btw, I've tried loops, and they can be fun but I can never find one with the right feeling that I'm looking for.

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Originally posted by Magpel:

To my knowledge, nobody really gets cymbals right. Maybe they can't afford to lavish the memory for a realistic decay or enough velocity layers to make it reac something like a real cymbal.


You are exactly right that it's pretty much a memory issue.


The Alesis DM Pro has excellent cymbal samples; unfortunately, it's just a drum module, not a drum machine.





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I think the decision to use or not to use a drum machine depends on your writing style and when you started purchasing your gear. I begin in the early 80's and I've had the 808's, 707's, 727's, R8's, Mpc's, etc. Why because when I set down to write, thats were my groove begins (R&B hiphop). Even though I'm a good keyboard player I almost never start with the melody or some progression on the keyboard, and when I do, Its not very long before I am back on the drum machine banging out beats.

For those that started later or consider themselves purist, they may have never owned a drum machine, but many of them have embraced the computer which has changed music forever. It amazes me that these guys use there computers for everything, not knocking it, I guess I'm just old school. I like dedicated boxes.

Currently I use a Yamaha SU700, which is and isn't a drum machine in the truist since, but I use it that way. I wanted something that would change my approach to music, and with all its quarks it certainly has, but its still a very important piece of my overall formula. I find my self digitally tranfering or sampling alot of sounds from my Kurzweil PC2X, 2600, and Esynth into this box, creating killer loops or beats, and then tweaking the sound with the envelope, filters and effects which are quite good. Nothing like tweaking a sound while its looping to get it just right!!!! Them I finish the track, lol.

I looked at the machinedrum and its interesting, doesnt seem like its really a beat machine(were you play in your beat ala MPC) seems more like a grid/pattern programmer, which might be interesting (memories of the 707/727).

Best thing to do is to demo one and see if it gives you a new approach and sparks your creativity, thats whats really important. I've seen guys that will make the most trashest gear , from my perspective, just sing. Not that the machinedrum is trash, just enforcing that the gear you use is personal and should be approached in that manner.







This message has been edited by callen@gowanco.com on 09-16-2001 at 11:42 AM

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Stratman, Carl makes an excellent point regarding your dissatisfaction with drum programming. My guess is that you're writing a song on guitar or in your head and then trying to "make it happen" rhythmically with a drum machine. Try writing groove first. Get something happening on the drum machine that moves you, and build melody, harmony, structure from there. It may not be the optimal way to work, but you certainly imprve you chances of programming a drum part you can live with.


Good samples make a huge difference as well. A good memory-intensive snare sample lets you play with grace notes and all kinds of subtlety, opens up worlds of grooves and drum patterns that just aren't possible on the older machines. What used to kill me about my HR-16, and drums on my Korg module, and on the QS 8 is that you hit the snare: crack. You hit the same key lightly: same crack but quiet. Great for holding down the 2 and 4, but as far as infusing some realism and variation into a drum groove, forget it. The "gigasnare" a snare drum mapped over 8 keys that comes with the gigasampler, is a revelation the first time you lay your fingers on it. I believe it has eight velocity layers, and that seems like just enough to create a convincing drum experience. I found myself immediately playing drum roll grooves on it, something I had been yearning for for years.

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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I still use my R-8 for doing drums. I have mapped 2 of the 5 kits to the Triton and Roland XP/JV drum kits to play via midi. I will program a beat on the R-8 and record the pattern into the sequencer. Once I have gotten the basic rhythm parts down, I will build it up on the sequencer track. That way, I don't have to sync the drum machine to the sequencer. I am not 100% proficient at doing grooves from a keyboard, but having the basic loops down helps alot. Once the basic traking is done, I dump it down to audio and go from there.

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32


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Originally posted by Stratman:

Actually I've got another drum machine question. Hope you don't mind me using your thread to bring it up Neil..


Hehe.. doncha just hate it when people take offence to posting stuff in 'their' threads :-D


No really.. talk about what you want.. its all interesting. My personal thoughts on the drum machine is that its something that hasn't evolved that much since something like the Alesis SR16. How can we improve on the interface to drums in order to allow more expression?


I too started all this music lark in 1986, had a Korg DDM110 at first (yuk) some Boss digital (DR-220?) then a TR707 and since then nothing.


What I want from a drum machine is something that I can take to band practices and play over but it would be nice if I could program effective drum parts... esp jazz loops with brushes. What about sampling drum machines like the Korg ES-1 or the Akai MPC series... anyone use those???


At the moment I'm using Peter Erskines CD which has some nice sounds on it but I hate being locked into someone elses groove.




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The MachineDrum looks interesting and I think it sounds great, but it's not even available so far as I can tell. It looks like they make them 100 at a time, which would also mean it's expensive. Basic rhythms seem to come out of the Alesis and Roland drum machines pretty well. I think the Alesis I used to use was an SR-16 and the Roland I still have is a DR-660 and a DR-202, both of which I enjoy. I have an Akai MPC-2000XL and it's a great little box if you can overcome the learning curve. It seems like everything you need to make beats and sequences is in there, but sometimes it feels like pulling teeth to drill down to the menu you need to accomplish what you want. I've heard mixed reviews on JoMox stuff, which you may also want to check out.


So far as coming up with real sounding drum beats, the best way IMHO is to read some online drum lessons sites and learn from the sources that real drummers learn from. There's a guy who was featured in Keyboard and a couple other magazines for being a great drum programmer, even though he didn't play drums or keyboards. He just bought some jazz and funk drum transcriptions and entered them into a notation program and then had it play back the beats. He then tweaked and learned how the great drummers did beats and his stuff sounds very fresh drumwise. His website is at www.scottjonesmusic.com and the links to the magazine articles where he describes how he did/does it are there too.



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