Why I don't record more at home...

soulgeezer

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...because I HATE programming drum machines!

How do you go about it, when you want to record a track? In the old days, I sat down behind a set of drums and played. It wasn't perfect, or even very good, but it was serviceable and it sounded fine when the song was finished. Definitely more than enough for a real drummer to use as a starting point.

Today, I lament that I live in a small apartment-style condo and don't have room for a kit. (Not that I could play it anymore, probably -- It's been over 30 years since my last "live drum" recordings.) So, I'm stuck using my Zoom drum machine, which sounds great, but it's a PAIN to program.

Is there an easier way that doesn't involve a huge learning curve using digital software and clicking little dots on the screen?

This may be more of a rant than an actual question, but if some of y'all have any suggestions, maybe I can learn something useful here...
 

naveed211

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EZDrummer.

You can get as complex as you want and click MIDI dots to your heart’s content. But more often than not I just splice together their library of pre-recorded loops.

Drag and drop, easy peasy, and it does the job for the music I make at least.
 

bowman

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Back in the old Tascam 4-track cassette recorder days, we always played the drums in real time on a keyboard. Most of those old keyboards had a percussion patch that would have a few each of snare sounds, cymbals, toms, kicks, etc. Since we didn't have a lot of tracks to work with, two of us would sit side-by-side at the keyboard; one guy would play the snare and kick, the other guy would play the toms and cymbals. It sounded rough for awhile until we learned how to do it that way. You could probably do the same thing with the Zoom machine, and it would sound a lot better these days. Since there are so many tracks available now, you could put each drum and cymbal on its own track. Not very professional, but...
 

mexicanyella

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Troy, MO
I don’t find clicking little dots to be an issue; that part seems intuitive to me and is kind of fun. I bounce between BandLab on my iPhone (free, also does multitrack recording and music file sharing), and Caustic 3 and Groove Mixer on my old Android tablet. The latter two both have free trials and the purchase price is small.

Now, I’m a beginner, and haven’t gone beyond a 16th-note resolution and haven’t gotten into really slick syncopation and fills yet. But if I put a snare sound on the 2 and 4 and then start trying kicks and closed high hats here and there I generally stumble on something that sounds interesting to me and things start to snowball. Once I have a bar or two, hey, copy and paste it into a track and loop it or paste more of them and you’ve got a verse or chorus drum track to build on.

Here’s something I did recently with drums from Caustic 3 imported into BandLab, where I added guitar and bass. The bombastic reverb, delay and distortion on the drums came from Caustic’s effects and were just me having fun. I was actually composing to the delay in parts, getting a kick out of how it added to the syncopation.

https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/m2F3suAsnfFMETHJ9

So basically I was sitting around on a lunch break or two with this beat-up old tablet running Caustic, which cost $10 or something, and a pair of cheap headphones, eating a sammich and poking dots on a screen. You just have to approach it like a clueless guy having fun and not be intimidated by the process. That’s the headspace I was going for, and it got me there.

A music buddy gave me a Boss DR-5 awhile back and I can’t figure that thing out. Software is waaay easier, at least for me.

Seriously...be a caveman and just go for it.
 

bendercaster

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I have a Roland Dr. Rhythm that I used to use, and I agree, programing drums was tedious. I haven't used it in years though because Garage Band's drummers are great. You just preview them and drop the one in that sounds good.

Music Memo is another cool app. Just play your guitar into it and it will fill in bass and drums for you, then import that into your DAW. I don't usually use their bass lines, but the drums sound as good if not better than any drum machine I ever used.
 

Middleman

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Superior Drummer 3. Tap in the beat of your song and it suggest hundreds of options for intro, verse, prechorus, chorus and bridge. Build the track in their timeline, drag and drop it into your session. Basic tracks in minutes. Hundreds of drums in various rooms and studios across the globe. Aggravation reducer for sure.
 

Obsessed

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Going through all of the other options over the years, I too have evolved to EZDrummer2. It is the answer for my needs and never looked back. I do use the Trio+ looper for development, but when going to recording, Toontracks has my back.
 

matrix

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Apr 13, 2016
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Vancouver, BC
So, a couple of suggestions. I like to have weirder drum sounds and rhythms, and dislike the idea of using prepackaged loops.

I use Ableton Live, and I find finger drumming to be really fun. Anything with velocity sensitive pads should do the trick. I use a cheap Akai unit like this:

z3cnWZwMXHWRmwQ7A


You can loop through, record the kick on your first pass, snare on the second. Fun, easy, and a world of sounds at your finger tips.

Maybe more program-y that you like, but I also bought a Roland MC-101 to use as a drum machine. It is way more powerful than that, but can be an easy, quick way to lay down drum beats, bass lines, pads...a lot of fun:

n8hwnpUoupX9hWwc8

In a very similar vein, Roland just released the TR 6s, which for pure drumming looks to be even more powerful and more intuitive to program. I have not plumbed the depths of the MC-101 yet, and cant justify the purchase, but sure looks tempting:


If you go the MC-101 route, there are some excellent tutorials on Youtube that I recommend - the Roland manuals are kind of awful.
 
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24 track

Doctor of Teleocity
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kamloops bc
I really like stylus and cakewalk drums, I disslike drum machines always have and always will, for fast rhythms I can use the Kaosolator pro, or KP3 , and only becuase I can messup the rhythms and have 4 tracks to loop ( well 8 with the 2 units) plus I can midi lock the units to my sequencers.) I cannot tolerate 4 beat kick techno thumps , total garbage and lack of originality ,
recently I secured a set of alesis DM5 electronic kit with 4 pads and 2 cymbals ( the brain has 12 outs and full midi so that may be fun if I dont sell it first.)

stylus has so many very cool kits sounds and rhythms and a massive library you can play them backwards on the fly program fills and manipulate the drum sound individually.

this vid does not in any way do this justice.

 
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superjam144

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Jan 19, 2020
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EMPIRE STATE
...because I HATE programming drum machines!

How do you go about it, when you want to record a track? In the old days, I sat down behind a set of drums and played. It wasn't perfect, or even very good, but it was serviceable and it sounded fine when the song was finished. Definitely more than enough for a real drummer to use as a starting point.

Today, I lament that I live in a small apartment-style condo and don't have room for a kit. (Not that I could play it anymore, probably -- It's been over 30 years since my last "live drum" recordings.) So, I'm stuck using my Zoom drum machine, which sounds great, but it's a PAIN to program.

Is there an easier way that doesn't involve a huge learning curve using digital software and clicking little dots on the screen?

This may be more of a rant than an actual question, but if some of y'all have any suggestions, maybe I can learn something useful here...

Great tool, the beat buddy by singular sound. So easy and fun. It switches to a different beat if you hold it down, and does a fill if you tap it. It has many beats loaded into it.

419XlNtYE1L._AC_.jpg
 




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