When using SD2/Metal foundry/EZdrummer DFH, how do you know it sounds good?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by WhiteLightOfDeath, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. WhiteLightOfDeath

    WhiteLightOfDeath Hidden Sword

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    I am a horrible drum programmer. I have to say. I’m not proud of it, and i cant seem to get a good tutorial on how to make metal drums on a DAW like Toontracks Ez drummer or SD2 which I use.

    I usually take a groove, drag and drop it, and rinse and repeat....however, when i listen back it sounds like a drum machine on a looper. I am not good at knowing where to put fills or backbeats or stuff like that

    I have been trying to listen to all kinds of rock and metal to see, but every band has a different approach to drums because they aren’t dragging and dropping, they are live and organic

    So how did you learn to program drums on Toontrack products? OR BFD or whatever...and how did you finally learn what sounds good? Did you learn from someone or a tutorial? If so can you recommend?
     
  2. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    Try to play it like a drummer, at least in your head. Sometimes it pays off to punch in your own drum rolls, etc. into programmed track to add a layer of human performance.
     
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  3. WhiteLightOfDeath

    WhiteLightOfDeath Hidden Sword

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    Ill try that .... thats a very obvious idea that I haven’t thought of, reading it out loud made sense though
    Thx
     
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  4. MrWulf

    MrWulf SS.org Regular

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    You can also humanize MIDI tracks. In Reaper it means you can tweak the velocity, timing and such to make it sounds less mechanical. Having a good drum mix with a sense of space also helps make it sounds more alive as well
     
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  5. WhiteLightOfDeath

    WhiteLightOfDeath Hidden Sword

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    Do you mean like in the actually midi track that is running it lets say EZ player (thru SD2)? Like change the velocity on each of the midi??

    If thats what i understood that makes a lot of sense, great great idea man!! Thanks so much
     
  6. MrWulf

    MrWulf SS.org Regular

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    Idk about your case but in Reaper you can pull up the MIDI piano roll and it has an option to humanize the MIDI by tweaking its timing/velocity/timing bias. I think this is more in your daw than in SD but you can look around.
     
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  7. WhiteLightOfDeath

    WhiteLightOfDeath Hidden Sword

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    Ok
    I am using Studio one 4
    Coming from PT 8 it was easiest transition

    What do you like about reaper?
     
  8. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    So, you're asking two questions here.

    1) How do you learn what sounds good? You already know what sounds good, otherwise you wouldn't be asking this.

    2) How do you learn to program drums? I started by reverse-engineering drum performances I liked, trying to replicate drum parts from songs, starting simple and getting more complex. Also, spending some time behind a real drum kit and having a drummer show you how to play a basic rock beat probably helps, and will give you an idea of some of the technical challenges facing a drummer. I.e - you have two feet and two hands, so you can't hit more than four things at once.

    My general process, for what it's worth, is I'll usually start by creating a couple drum loops, for the main "verse" and "chorus" sections of a song, use them to flesh out a basic track, and then go in and starting cutting them up and editing, adding fills in by hand, etc. It's a lot faster than programming everything click by cllick, and provided you vary your velocities as you work (and do so with an eye on how the intensity should support the ebb and flow both of the song as a whole, the emphasised beats in each measure, and even things like thinking about dominant and non diminant hands and realistically how hard COULD a drummer hit a particular note in a fill, etc) you can get some pretty decent results.

    Not being perfectly on the grid can definitely add some human realism, but IMO getting your velocities right is the far bigger deal to programming drums that don't jump out at you as sounding "programmed." And, for the instrumental rock I write, that's kind of my bar to hit - drums that people don't notice as not being a drummer.
     
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  9. PatientMental76

    PatientMental76 SS.org Regular

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    It really comes down to understanding drums dude. You said you dont know where to put fills & that really comes down to serve the song you write! Think of it as if you would put a guitar solo on a track, does it serve the song at that certain time? What i do is when writing is i get the tempo i want put a generic groove from DFH or something from the library lay down the guitars then erase the generic groove & write the drums to the riff using the grid. Like Drew said velocity & humanize is key in getting the drums to sound natural! Try to think as a drummer & how drums work & what a human drummer is capable of! For instance if your playing something fast a real drummer is not going to be able to hit the drums at certain parts as hard as if he was playing something slow!
     
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  10. WhiteLightOfDeath

    WhiteLightOfDeath Hidden Sword

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    @PatientMental76 guilty as charged man. I often get the effects i want confused, like i know kick is the “bass drum”, cymbals are the metal, ride is the tss thing with 2 like cymbals (right?) lol, the snare is the rat tat tat from the army and the toms are the boom boom tribal sound, and the crash is that cymbal you smash, and the splash is a quitter one, and i think i guess as well as i could

    Your right, there were great suggestions, Drews as well, thank you. I guess maybe , i know this is silly question, but do you have a link to a tutorial like on just the basics of what constitutes good metal drums because i am not a good query searcher on you tube and i get videos of 19 year olds teaching me how to use vst’s like, thats not helping lol

    Thanks again
     
  11. PatientMental76

    PatientMental76 SS.org Regular

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    I dont know what you mean by good metal drums dude, the drums go with what you write on guitar! Do you know how to use the grid? If so try using the method i said before
     
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  12. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah man, you KNOW what good metal drums are. :lol: You know them when you hear them. You just don't know how to program them. And, there's no tutorial on "how to program good metal drums" any more than there is "how to write good metal riffs." You just start by learning the fundamentals, how to program simple beats, and build from there, and let your sense of taste and personal style inform what you think is "good."

    So, find a pretty simple metal beat you like, and try to program it yourself, making it sound as close to the original performance as possible. Then tackle another one, etc. You'll learn a lot. I think I started with "When the Levee Breaks" if you want something pretty basic to begin on.

    There's no "easy button" solution here, just as there isn't for guitar - when you're writing something, it's a creative endeavor, it's putting your own stamp on a performance.
     
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  13. WhiteLightOfDeath

    WhiteLightOfDeath Hidden Sword

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    Hahahhahhahaahha GUYS YOU GOT ME PEGGED

    Ok....off to hit the work bench

    Listen, because you guys not only helped so much, but whipped my ass as much, I’m going to send you my first drum file that i write in the metal foundry or metalheads/DFH

    And you should be as honest with that as with this....ill be in touch (you guys really broke my balls man lol and i think its hilarious)
     
  14. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    EZD also has humanize option. Best "humanize" I've seen is on Digital Performer though, that was fantastic, just importing my stale drum machine patterns in it and using it to auto humanize made it much better.

    Some tips in no general order:

    https://flypaper.soundfly.com/produce/10-tips-realistic-midi-music/

    https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/cubase-humanise-your-programmed-drums

    https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/man-vs-drum-machine

    Recordingmag.com did a great edition all on drums and drum programming, mixing, production technique, I have the issue but can't find it on their site now. I think it was 2018 - sometime last year.
     
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  15. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    :lol:

    I promise, it'll take some work, but writing drum riffs is just like writing guitar riffs. Listen to bands you think have great drummers, and really focus on what the drums are doing, and try to figure out what you respond to about those performances and take them as influences.
     
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  16. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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  17. WhiteLightOfDeath

    WhiteLightOfDeath Hidden Sword

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    Thanks for the links guys

    Where do you get your pre made preset midi for metal?
    Like is there a place or library for metal grooves? I remember groove monkey back in the day or something, anything else?

    And if anyone has library of the extreme, please lmk

    Btw i started a song, and its coming out alright, not the best, but its just a learning track
     
  18. WhiteLightOfDeath

    WhiteLightOfDeath Hidden Sword

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    Guys
    I found something called Ssd or Steven slate drums
    It’s helping immensely ?!!!!
     
  19. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, that's a good one. You can lookup midi packs in your genre as well. A friend bought some really good midi packs, I'll send the link when I get a chance.
    I use EZDrummer and DFH midi pack for almost all of it nowadays. I just don't like the DFH sounds as they're a bit early 2000s Children of Bodom if you know what I mean :)
     
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  20. WhiteLightOfDeath

    WhiteLightOfDeath Hidden Sword

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    Thanks so much man.....i love them as well. I think anything classic metal is beautiful honestly.

    Thanks Descent, you’re a really cool dude
     

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