Virtual Drum Programming and you?

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
Just curious to know if any of the forum brethren are into programming drums?

It's something I always meant to get into in order to aid song writing in a band context, but only recently started doing.

I've found its an excellent way to be creative with drums, learn, be ever more conscious of writing parts that fit the music whilst being away from the drumset.

It also enables me to get out whats in my head and then go away and learn how to play it, forcing me not to be limited by my own habits at the kit.

So how many of you write songs for your bands/projects with the aid of computer software?

What's your drum VST of choice?

For the teachers, do you use these kind of tools as teaching aids?

Do any of you even offer your services to others in the form of writing and producing VST drum parts for those people and projects who can't afford to pay you to record in a studio? Is this a part of your money making arsenal?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Been using electronics since 1984, machines since 1985, sampler/hardware file editing since 1989, and computer 'sound design' and sequencing since maybe 1999?

Software-wise, I use Sound Forge and ACID for editing and layering sounds, and ProTools, Logic or ACID for sequencing. Recently I discovered a (probably obsolete) audio program from Adobe called Audition*, which already has really nice processing and takes VST plug-ins, although I haven't explored any yet. Typically, I leave the heavy processing to the studio engineer who can best employ that in the context of the whole track.

Bermuda

* It's part of the old CS2 suite, which Adobe gives away for FREE on their site! You can nab the entire suite, or select individual programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Premiere, GoLive, etc., they provide the serial numbers.
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
Thanks bermuda, definately a shopping list of things to have a look into there.

My old bass player was telling me about a DAW called Reaper the other day and there is a new version of fxpansion's BFD drum VST out now.

Do you ever try out drum parts using a vst as part of the early writing process?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Never used a plug-in for sounds, I have my own raw samples and libraries on disc (I'm old school!)

But there are lots of programs and software out there, and it all depends on what's needed, and what the user may already be familiar with. I used ProTools as a midi program for a while, then tried Logic, which I found to be VERY hard to learn, and didn't do some basic things that ProTools did. ion the end, both programs did exactly the same thing. On a more basic level, ACID and Garage Band also accomplish much of what the others do.

Bermuda
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I bought an Alesis Hr-16 drum machine back in 1988 or so as a practice tool. I've often used it over the years to program parts I wanted to learn to play.

In the 90's I got in cakewalk and Acid. In the late 90's I was in an industrial-hard rock band (think Rob Zombie) so I did a lot of programing and laying of loops and such, that real drums would be added to.

And then 8 or so years ago I got into protools.

So yes, I program drums all the time for song writing purposes. And even some for a film sound track. In addition to programming keys, strings, full orchestras, and whatever else.
 

porter

Platinum Member
So how many of you write songs for your bands/projects with the aid of computer software?
I tried to get into Superior Drummer 2 and Reaper but I just could not figure out how to approach it without the most base level tutorials. Of more use to me would be something like 8dio's Progressive Metal Guitar but I couldn't even figure out how to access it once installed. I think I'll just stick with Sibelius until I can get somebody knowledgeable about those programs in the same room as me.

Travis Orbin occasionally does drum programming for bands, according to his site, though I don't know anything beyond that.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I bought an Alesis Hr-16 drum machine back in 1988 or so as a practice tool. I've often used it over the years to program parts I wanted to learn to play.
I bought one as well around the same time, $425 as I recall, and really liked the sounds (except where they needed to be tuned way up or down) and especailly the ease of programming compared to my existing Yamaha RX-11 (which was $795 in 1985! It did less than today's free drum pad apps...)

But as people began bringing computers into the studio in the '90s, I learned the HR16's dirty little secret - it didn't run at exact tempos. 96bpm was probably closer to 96,3bpm, etc. Not a big deal if nobody tried to lock with it, but even the Roland SBX-80 SMPTE/MIDI interface had trouble getting everyone sync'd.

I eventually sold the HR16 and RX-11 (and other Yamaha, Roland and Alesis machines) in favor of hardware samplers and midi files, and have been completely virtual since 2" tape had its last gasp about 10 years ago. After programming now, my stems are uploaded to a drop box, I don't need to see a studio at all except to record live drums or percussion, or to be involved in the mixing process.

Bermuda
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
I tried to get into Superior Drummer 2 and Reaper but I just could not figure out how to approach it without the most base level tutorials. Of more use to me would be something like 8dio's Progressive Metal Guitar but I couldn't even figure out how to access it once installed. I think I'll just stick with Sibelius until I can get somebody knowledgeable about those programs in the same room as me.

Travis Orbin occasionally does drum programming for bands, according to his site, though I don't know anything beyond that.
I'm actually finding its a useful learning aid. I'm currently going back to basics and learning to read and transcribe and being able to throw stuff into a real sounding piece of drum software is really helping my understanding of notation. Granted I couldn't print it out as sheet music and give it to anyone, but its very similar and quick to hear when I've mis-understood something.

Very interesting to hear the wide range of different programs people use though.

The more metal orientated guitarists on a couple of forums I've visited when looking for help on digital music creation, seem to all use Superior Drummer, I wondered if the drumming community had a similar preference. I suppose in the context of writing within a band you need software that all band members have and understand to streamline the process.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I did a bit of writing on guitar pro a few years back.. I didn't really enjoy it because its easier to play something than click away changing note values and instruments. I can see its value.. But I like to think the software in my head is better.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I bought one as well around the same time, $425 as I recall, ....

I eventually sold the HR16 and RX-11
Bermuda
I still have mine, somewhere in the back of a closet. But I haven't used it in well over 10 years (probably closer to 13 or 14 years at this point). The internal battery kept getting loose, and I got tired of having to always open it up and re-sodder the connection.

One thing I grew to like about the HR-16 is it had an input for a start/stop footswitch. Before things like the Tama Rythm Watch were invented, I could have the HR-16 on stage and give me exact tempos into ear buds, and I could use the foot switch to turn it off at any time.

In another band, the keyboardist had no realistic way to replicate the layers she made in the studio live, so she wanted to run a sequencer on certain songs. This was pre-mp3 players on stage. So I ran a long midi cable from her keyboard to the HR-16 so I could have a click.

That thing saved the day many time.

The more metal orientated guitarists on a couple of forums I've visited when looking for help on digital music creation, seem to all use Superior Drummer, I wondered if the drumming community had a similar preference. I suppose in the context of writing within a band you need software that all band members have and understand to streamline the process.
Superior markets itself to the metal community, with numerous packages of pre-processed drum sounds commonly found in metal music. So it's not surprising many metal guitarists prefer it.
 
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