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Drums and programming

permalink   Thu, May 8, 2008 @ 7:32 PM
I’ve asked a few mixers out there about how they go about dealing with drums. I’m sure it’d help if I was a drummer, but I’m curious about the programming and software aspects. I have Reason 4 and Battery, though Battery is more of a host for samples. I also have FL7 and have done some beat programming with that and Reason, though not much yet.
Several of the mixes I’ve heard which have great sounding drum lines make me wonder how much looping versus/including straight bar programming is going on. Some make me think the entire stretch has been programmed and for seasoned producers who can do this with greater efficiency and speed, I feel not jealous, but a bit of wonderment. I get stuck when working with these aspects of songwriting and haven’t really explored them too much. I’ve set down several patterns in Reason, but am still on the learning curve there.

The two programs I’ve noticed specifically mentioned otherwise are BFD and Groove Agent, which spinmeister used on Unforgiven. Do these tools make setting up drum sequences and tracks smoother, easier or quicker than step programming? Is there something I am missing? Or is this just an issue of spending that much time on that aspect of production? This is not a plea to get out of investing time, just wondering if focusing in certain areas will provide what I’m looking for without pushing through the learning curves of several systems before finding one that works decently?

For example, say I want to program a pretty basic medium jazz kit, I’ve got all the samples I’d need to do this, and loops and what not, but the programming sticks me. I’m looking for opinions on Reason and Fruity for these purposes and whether I need to look into something else for this matter. I’d rather not get stuck on this and have it be the wall between my songwriting/remixing and nothing.
Also, I’d like to know how many people use Rex loops or whatnot for predominent portions of their remixing and whether it makes much of a difference. I do have access to Ableton Live 6, but haven’t messed with it. I currently primarily use Cubase SX2 for mixing. Help, please,

permalink   Fri, May 9, 2008 @ 10:59 AM
I bought Stylus RMX a few years ago and was totally unimpressed - but now, all of sudden I’m using it all over the place.
permalink   Fri, May 9, 2008 @ 9:16 PM
I end up using Groove Agent about 10% of the time and Stylus RMX 90% of the time, but I really like having both :-)
John Pazdan
permalink   Sat, May 10, 2008 @ 6:17 AM
I use a combination of RMX, Acid and Reason, both the the drum machine and the Rex player..also two specially “tuned” Foster Bitter Ale cans (lots of fun getting these, looking forward to having a full set), two paint buckets..a clay drum..and my $200 xio 25 synth/controller for the whole mess.

ummm, not to get OT..but….one of the side benefits (after reading Vic’s rmx review from 1976, gebus, I have to hang out here more often)of RMX and the Chaos thing is putting in saxophone and or/bass lines..I did this for a long time with the Rex player in Reason as well..and have a lot of new good things to compose with… then chop up in Sf and/or Acid.

The only thing I don’t like so much about RMX are the “RMX” sounds..the fahnking thing is so popular with crap music providers for film and teewee that you hear the “rmx” sound all over the place…last time I was in NewYawkNewYawk, there were quite a few wicked jokes about this..anyway, the best way to defeat that thang is to rex your own loops (like from the sample and loop collections here at the Mighty ccMixter, grasshopper) and start from there… then it becomes a really good processing tool..which is what it should be anyway.
permalink   Mon, May 12, 2008 @ 9:04 AM
I can’t speka for other programs, I can only speak for Reason, and only Reason V4.0

I like it alot. It was crap in version 3, but I have a feelign they ripped the good elements out of Steinberg’s Groove Agent, and now the Regroove Mixer in reason 4 is very good indeed.

In terms of drum programming, I’m yet to meet anything that does all your cool variations and grooves for you without a fair degree of work. Even though I often record real drums and slice them up, I spend 99% of my drum programming time inside reason 4. This isn’t because the drum machine or the groove agent are any better than any other host, its just because with the mulitiude of inspiring routing options I get a real kick out of it. So I spend a lot of time on it. I make at least 5-10 patterns to start with, copy them to track, then tweak and tweak and tweak some more. It suuureeellly doesn’t save any time, but by god its fun and satisfying :)
permalink   Surveillance_Party Mon, May 12, 2008 @ 9:06 AM
By the way take this with a grain of salt, because there is another thread in the DIY forum where I bemoan my perceived limitations with reason and ponder into ableton live territory :)
permalink   vo1k1 Thu, May 29, 2008 @ 2:51 PM
Nice to know. I had moved away from Reason 3 for similar feelings - and wondering if 4 was worth the time for experimentation. Now I’m going to check it out!
permalink   Thu, May 29, 2008 @ 2:41 PM
I find sequencing drums a challenge. Said another way: I find sequencing percussion to be a lot of fun, but my sequences never sound very much like conventional electronic or rock drums. My main problem is not with my software (a simple softsynth or two), but the music theory problem of how best to pick the sequences of percussion that will sound good.
permalink   Mon, Feb 8, 2010 @ 3:37 PM
I use Drums on demand! It’s a real drummer playing and they are chopped up into sections! Protools has elastic time and they will conform to the the timing of the song as long as you have it

checked to do so ! Give a listen to them. Sounds like I can really play the drums lol