Writing tips? (drum machine)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by count_funkula, Oct 11, 2001.

  1. I have been trying to write some stuff and I'm having a really difficult time. I want to make some recordings with nothing but bass and a drum machine. I have a lot of pretty cool drum tracks and some good bass lines but can't seem to make a song out of them.

    My biggest problem seems to be the drum machine. I have no problem programming a straight repetative beat but the rolls and fills are killing me.
    Any body got any tips? How do you guys create your drum tracks.
  2. Another question would be, does anybody know some good web sites for discussion of drum machines and such?
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It's really, really hard to get organic-sounding drums out of a drum computer, which has only a simple step sequencer.

    I usually use sampleplayers like Native Instrument's Battery with some good drum samples (oneshots and loops) from AKAI sample cds like Wizoo Platinum Drums or Charlie Morgan Master Drums.
    You can use Battery as a standalone, but I mostly use it as a VST instrument from within Cubase or Nuendo.

    You can download a demo here:


    Sampleplayers are a big step up from drum computers and much more versatile, but it's still very hard to emulate a good drummer.

    This is not a site about drum computers, but lots of info about drum sequencers and other computer software:


    Update: This site seems to have some helpful tips:

  4. OK, learn me something here....

    For recording I have an Aardvark Direct Pro 24/96 audio card and Cakewalk Pro Audio 9.0. Are you saying this "Battery" software could replace my drum machine and work directly with cakewalk?

    Is it easy to use?

    Forgive me but I'm still new to this stuff.
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hm, it's not that simple.

    You could use Battery directly as a DX Instrument in Sonar, but not in Cakewalk. And you need samples to feed Battery with (a CD with drumkits is included).

    Although you can run it as a standalone, it's really only useful in a host program like Logic, Nuendo, Cubase or Sonar, where it's used as a virtual instrument that you trigger with a miditrack.

    I try to compile some more info later. Check out those links for more info.

    This is also a great resource:

  6. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    You could also use MIDI to program the drums. If you have some quality samples, you can make them sound pretty darn realistic if you put some work into it (or cheat your way through it with Cakewalk's Session Drummer or the likes ;)). If you have an SB Live! card or other means of using Soundfonts, visit www.sonicimplants.com and listen to what you can do with their samples (they have some short demo MP3 clips). The song in my sig was done with their drum samples... I have fooled a few people, who believed it to be real drums... I was even close to fooling a real drummer! :)

    This guy also used those samples, and he spends a lot of time programming them. If I didn't know better, I would have mistaken his work for a real drummer.

    But samples alone are not always enough: to make them sound like a real drummer, you really have to think like a drummer.
  7. You can hear a sample of something I did here:


    I like the drum track but it is just the same thing over and over. I wrote this using the "step write" function on my drum machine. I might need to do the rolls and such manually.

    I'm going to read up on all this "sample, midi, mass confusion stuff".
  8. Oysterman, are you a big Geddy Lee fan? I listened to your recording (very nice) and I thought I heard some Geddy influences.
  9. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    You got that right!

    I listened to your Noodle Groove as well... your drum programming there is very good (as well as your bass playing, I might add)! But yes, it does need some variations. But I'm having a hard time understanding your problem - when you've thought out a drum pattern that advanced, I can't see why a simple fill would be that hard to pull off?
  10. The problem with the fills is the timing. They never seem to start and end in the right place. They just don't flow with the rest of the track. Maybe with more practice I'll get better at it.

    I also found this "Drag and Drop Drummer" product that seems pretty cool. Souds really good but I guess your limited to the tracks provided.

    Thanks for your help.
  11. Sizlack


    Aug 17, 2009
    Dallas, TX.
    EZdrummers drumkit from hell is what I use in either fruity loops or cubase.
  12. Saxn


    Oct 23, 2010
    Nashville, GA
    A big plus whatever to Battery! With quality samples you can get a fantastic sounding kit! Plus, if you are into recording you can mic and record the drumkit of your choice and 'build' a kit that sounds terrific, too.

    As for programming fills... If you already have the groove down I think your best bet is to use a decent MIDI controller with the samples programmed to your liking. You can then play the fills 'live' yourself. That saves a ton of time and (IMO) the fills sound a bit more 'organic' than step programming them in, as you can vary your velocities appropriately.