Solutions for drums without recording drums?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by JakeAndAirwaves, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. JakeAndAirwaves


    Jun 3, 2011
    So, my band which was honestly going nowhere and I really wasn't digging it has disbanded. One guitarist and I have very similar tastes in music, and we've begun writing some songs and recording bits in my home studio that really isn't much of a studio.

    Neither of us can actually play drums, but we would like to have some percussion in our recordings. Can you guys suggest some solutions for getting drums without actually having drums?
    I'm running Reaper on Windows 8, and I have an audiobox 22VSL that does have a MIDI input.
    I also have an M-Audio Axiom Air Mini 32 MIDI keyboard with 8 pressure sensitive pads.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, guys!
  2. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    I realise you're running Windows 8, but do you have access to a Mac? The latest version of Logic has an auto drummer feature, that is quite incredible.

    Or the smartdrums in the iOS version of garageband are quite useful too.

    I'm not sure if there's windows programs that do similar things to the above - might be worth investigating.

    Otherwise, there are plenty of drum loops available online/cd that you can string together, but IMO they always lack something - they feel like loops.
  3. I certainly hope this would be for demo purposes only. I would only think playing live would go over like a lead balloon, minus a drummer.
  4. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    EZ Drummer?
  5. JakeAndAirwaves


    Jun 3, 2011
    Unfortunately, I don't. And I don't ever see myself shelling out the money for an Apple computer.

    That's one thing I'm worried about, not sounding natural.
    I'm not sure exactly how much I can do with the 8 pads on the MIDI keyboard I have. I'm currently downloading a trial of Addictive Drums to see what that can do for me.
  6. JakeAndAirwaves


    Jun 3, 2011
    Absolutely not for live situations. We're just trying to get some music out.
  7. EZ Drummer
  8. EZ Drummer does a pretty good job for natural sounding drums.
  9. DubnBass


    Jul 25, 2010
    Chch NZ
    Is getting a local drummer in to do some one-off recordings not an option?
  10. OOZMAN


    Jun 16, 2010
    ez/superior drummer
  11. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Yes, a live drummer would be nice.
    A lot of talent out there doing next to nothing.
  12. I have been using midi triggered .wav files for several years. The .wav files are short clips of recordings of real drums, so the clips sound "natural". I trigger the clips with a midi controller that has "pads". Each of the pads is assigned to a different midi note. Each midi note is assigned to a specific drum hit. I usually record one drum sound, at a time. On one track I do all of the snare hits. On another track, the kick. So on. When the midi instructions are played back, the midi triggers the .wav files, and turns all of the midi into audio. Then, I adjust timing. Then, I mix all of the audio tracks into one, combined stereo track. I think it sounds really good. It is a lot of work. There's no automation. No canned beats or pre-programmed clips. It takes time, but I enjoy the process, and the results are pleasing. Over the years, I have collected a lot of different .wav files, so I have many kids of sounds to use. I forgot to add.. except for the midi controller, it's all free!
  13. Fuzzbass666


    Sep 24, 2010
    Interested in this as well... with EZ drummer, can you arrange a whole song within the program natively and then out put as say a WAV to be used as the basis of a "live" recording... or pull the WAV into something like Audacity and make simple demos?
  14. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    Alesis SR16. Record the The track then record another track adding More fills and cymbal work as needed. pretty simple to do it this way.
  15. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    but EZ Drummer is a midi based software that integrates into your DAW session on an instrument track. Once you build the drum track- intro, groove, fills, ending, etc - you can then just send it (Buss) to another track and capture with the record function and either keep in the session or export in the format of your choice.
    You can also adjust the tempo after you've built the drum track.

    The drum grooves are recorded by real drummers, in real studios, Nashville I think, and cut into 2-4-and 8 bar loops with lots of variations on the grooves. And it's EASY.

    You can also get more grooves from Groove Monkee for EZ Drummer.
  16. ddhm


    Mar 18, 2011
    Memphis Tn USA

    EZDrummer is fantastic.
  17. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: DNA Amplifiers
    There are also a lot of guys doing e-sessions, where you e-mail them the file, and they will send you the drum tracks back. For instance, I play in a group with this guy:

    Who has a slammin' home studio with great mics and pres, and would do a couple of different takes for you for really cheap. PM me if you want to get in touch with him to get some quotes. Seriously, he's a pretty big time guy who will take care of you for less than a big night out on the town.
  18. LeopoldBoom


    Aug 27, 2012
    Another option would be to use a programme like Sibelius (or maybe Finale, but I'm not experienced with that particular piece of software) to write a drum part in standard drum notation. You could then export it as a midi file and use a programme like Reason to open said midi file and craft a good drum sound.

    While this is time intensive it gives you complete control over each aspect of the drum beat. Depending on the type of music you have in mind this could be desirable.
  19. JakeAndAirwaves


    Jun 3, 2011
    Okay, EZ Drummer seems to be a very popular solution. Is there a way I can demo that before I drop $180 on it?
    How exactly does it work? I don't really want to dig through a bunch of pre-made beats, that sounds lame. I was thinking something like triggering drum samples with MIDI pads.

    As for getting a session drummer, I don't think that's feasible. The drummer from the old band might be willing to do it, but it would mean using my recording gear, which, won't work well for drums because I only have 2 inputs on the interface, and only one mic.
    We're not aiming to make some top-hit album here or anything. We just want a quick demo that we can show people.

    I appreciate all of your responses, keep them coming. I've got some research to do.
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