Computerized Drums VS Human Drummer - Open Discussion

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Electronic drums are as good as the person programming them. Often, they're sub-par but you would struggle to tell the difference between a well-programmed, high-quality sample pack and a live drummer. I think anybody would, even those that know what they're listening for.

In isolation, one could probably tell the difference but not in a mix. Plus, add in the fact that it's fundamentally quite difficult and expensive to record drums and it's much cheaper to program and you have clear advantages to programmed drums.

Please don't think I'm all in favour. I'm on the fence. On the one hand, I like human-played drums. On the other, programmed drums are in many cases much more practical and in the music that I like to write myself, they're even the right stylistic choice because I'm not trying to emulate a human feel.
 

StiGy

Member
Electronic drums are as good as the person programming them. Often, they're sub-par but you would struggle to tell the difference between a well-programmed, high-quality sample pack and a live drummer. I think anybody would, even those that know what they're listening for.

In isolation, one could probably tell the difference but not in a mix. Plus, add in the fact that it's fundamentally quite difficult and expensive to record drums and it's much cheaper to program and you have clear advantages to programmed drums.

Please don't think I'm all in favour. I'm on the fence. On the one hand, I like human-played drums. On the other, programmed drums are in many cases much more practical and in the music that I like to write myself, they're even the right stylistic choice because I'm not trying to emulate a human feel.

thanks for the comment! real and professional ideas and points you made there - this is why i`d like more ppl to comment but it seems like Drummers here prefer talk about Huge DrumSets and speedy DrumFills.

Well, i do myself kind of on the fence but going toward the Human-Side cause i do feel like music is very precise and if you want to get close to perfection you really don't have any chance with programmed drums (up to the softwares we have right no) - i mean if you want to say something strong, or make somebody feel a deep feeling cause of your music. i dont see how it`ll happen cause of a programmed Drums right now.

Madonna? of course! this music is flat from the beginning!
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
...i mean if you want to say something strong, or make somebody feel a deep feeling cause of your music. i dont see how it`ll happen cause of a programmed Drums right now.

Madonna? of course! this music is flat from the beginning!
This is my point. Programmed drums are just as capable of 'deep feeling' if they're programmed well. With modern sample kits being better in terms of sound than many professionally-recorded studio kits, you can more easily select an appropriate kit and put it into a song - provided you know what you're doing. With high-resolution PCM samples being available, you can do whatever manipulation you want to. It's really very easy.

There are certain times when programming won't work so well. Brushes, for instance. Highly swung music is harder to program well - but 'humanising' the electronic groove is something that many, many producers can do very well. To the point that in the mix, you're not going to be able to tell the difference.

If all a programmer is doing is putting notes in the grid, then that's different. But, like drummers, the drum take is only as good as the person inputting it.

Again, I'm not discussing the ethics of this or whether it's the 'right' thing to do - but that's irrelevant. The technology is good enough now as to be indiscernible.
 

StiGy

Member
If music is very precise then why not program everything. All instruments and voices? Then you could get everything in the song to be perfect.


.
the definition to `Precise` doesnt has to be `Accurate`- doesnt has to trim the bars perfectly - the opposite in my opinion.
the computer can >only< trim the bars even - when a human being will always `slope` - and that slope in my opinion is the most important thing when you try to influence and get deep attention and emotions.

For example: Benny Greb a lot of times `Miss` the 2, 4 with the snare - and his Kicks ofen coning in a almost random places - its bcs he`s making a mistakes, its bcs his human thinking allow him you input a `Mistake` in the right place, in a Human place. thats what makes you feel the deep and full emotions from a song i think (my opinion of course).

lets take the intro of Chad here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb5aq5HcS1A

i strongly feel like no top-tier proggramer can get the same feel and groove of this intro.. makes your body shake!!!
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
thanks for the comment! real and professional ideas and points you made there - this is why i`d like more ppl to comment but it seems like Drummers here prefer talk about Huge DrumSets and speedy DrumFills.
How would you know?
It's only been a few hours since your first post and only 73 people have seen it.
Give them some time to formulate an opinion.

I think I remember Porter pointing out that this song was made from programmed drums.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WruxLsBxB0

Try this on.
https://www.xlnaudio.com/products/midipak/sloppy_grooves
 

StiGy

Member
This is my point. Programmed drums are just as capable of 'deep feeling' if they're programmed well. With modern sample kits being better in terms of sound than many professionally-recorded studio kits, you can more easily select an appropriate kit and put it into a song - provided you know what you're doing. With high-resolution PCM samples being available, you can do whatever manipulation you want to. It's really very easy.

There are certain times when programming won't work so well. Brushes, for instance. Highly swung music is harder to program well - but 'humanising' the electronic groove is something that many, many producers can do very well. To the point that in the mix, you're not going to be able to tell the difference.

If all a programmer is doing is putting notes in the grid, then that's different. But, like drummers, the drum take is only as good as the person inputting it.

Again, I'm not discussing the ethics of this or whether it's the 'right' thing to do - but that's irrelevant. The technology is good enough now as to be indiscernible.
again - a lot of Intelligent coming with your words..
can i ask? - do you believe we wont have `Drummers` and `Guitarists` in the world of 2116? just for fun of course' nobody can know...
 

StiGy

Member
How would you know?
It's only been a few hours since your first post and only 73 people have seen it.
Give them some time to formulate an opinion.

I think I remember Porter pointing out that this song was made from programmed drums.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WruxLsBxB0
Yeah sorry, i admit: i have to be more patient and have a strong believe - but up to the time only 1 comment was and 5 views was to this thread...

i know this song! this is one of the reasons i cant say for sure that human drummers rules - the Drums in this song is terrific!! very good example man TY!
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
again - a lot of Intelligent coming with your words..
can i ask? - do you believe we wont have `Drummers` and `Guitarists` in the world of 2116? just for fun of course' nobody can know...
The guitar is a very different type of instrument. Drums are a simple set of individual instruments, played at the same time in rhythm. They have their own resonances and each part does interact with each other part but in a limited way. Snare buzz is the best example - but that can even be simulated.

Guitars are a bit different. You're dealing with harmony, rhythm and melody at the same time and the relationship between each part of the guitar is much closer than with a drum kit. On the other hand, we have instruments like the Variax guitars that whilst still played by a human use digital signal processing to model the sound of a variety of guitars (and non-guitars, like banjos) and do a pretty good job of it. Acoustic guitars are much harder to model because of the various physical reactions in the instrument but the technology is getting close.

Orchestral recordings for quick-turnaround work are getting more and more rare. TV themes, even film themes are being produced using virtual orchestras and whilst they're still not quite there in terms of realism, they're good enough most of the time and much, much cheaper and more flexible than trying to hire an orchestra.

Will we still have guitarists and drummers in 2116? Probably. I hope not though, in a way - in that I would hope music would have moved on by then or at least that those instruments are being used in a more interesting way. I am of the opinion that guitar-based Rock music is mostly a dead end these days and that most of the possibilities have been thoroughly played out, although I might very well be wrong.

Everything will still exist as live performance, though if that's any comfort.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
There's a place for live drumming where a sequence is inappropriate and not an improvement, and a place for sequencing where a live drummer is inappropriate and not an improvement. There's also some crossover where a song can go either way and sound great. Period.

This sounds like the big scare when the LinnDrum was introduced around 1980, and drummers thought they were being replaced. I suppose a few were in some cases, but the smart drummers bought a Linn and kept working. Honestly, there were things going on that no drummer could have played anyway. In 1985 I bought my first machine, and it was the smartest career move I could have made. It led to sampling and eventually doing tracks on a computer, although even now I still play live more than I program. And it amounted to me working and participating on everything offered, whether I was using sticks, or a keyboard. I'm the drummer either way.

Granted, technology in the last few years has become pretty amazing, I've heard sequenced tracks I'd swear were played live! But there's not a widespread threat to live drummers in the studio, and live shows have live drummers in the same numbers as they did even during the rise of rap & synth band performances. That is, nothing's really changed for drummers in the last 35 years despite advancing technology.

Bermuda
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
I believe that for recording , drummers bass players and percussionists will be gone for most of the popular music. Softwares will be made to "grove like this guy" or "sound like this type of music" with bass lines to go along as well.
The key will be on how to use it .

Live situations, the drummers have more chances but live music going down in general (compared to the 50's 60's) because of iPods, dj's, etc, I'm not sure there will be that many gigs to start with.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
As long as there is Software that listens to all of this i'm all for it. Then as we evolve we will all lose our thumbs and only button pushing fingers are needed and our ears will disappear because a higher technology will hear it better than us. Cool!.. Then we can dance to Architecture like we are meant to. I mean what a great advancement Sequenced tracks that you swear were played live! Couldn't it just be played live? HUH? I don't see the advancement i just see advanced technology that produces the same thing that was done in many other more " primitive ways" albeit more advanced of course. Siri could do my gig for me tonight i'm a little weary from thinking too much. Thank You! you beautiful program you..
 
Last edited:
J

JohnoWorld

Guest
It depends if I'm buying it.

If I'm buying an album that lists a drummer as part of the band then I expect to hear live drums recorded. That is what I am paying for.

I am not paying for electronic drums masquerading as live drums because it's just cheating. That's how it pisses people off I reckon.

Some people believe that you cannot tell the difference. I believe that I can tell the difference between something like a Roland TD kit, Live drums with their hits replaced, programmed drums and live drums.

Each one has it's own nuance that if you listen carefully you can easily tell by listening to the cymbals and hit-hats, listen to the dynamics and the dynamics of the fills. Also check stereo panning and level of the toms compared to the rest of the cymbals.

Each approach has it's place, just not in anything that I buy. A band I quite like is tesseract but they cheat like muthafuckers, especially on their previous album.

If you're a live band playing with a live drummer, don't make the album with programmed drums. Some say that it's because they need to control the whole sound and live drums don't match the tone of their equally cheating Axe FX racks.

I just think that bands like this are lazy and/or crap at recording and/or don't want to pay for studio time.

Programmed drums are fine, programmed live drums really are not
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
I once did a recording for a guy (a friend) who wanted real drums, but then with the help of the producer proceeded to bury them in the mix and make them completely indistinguishable from the samples they used as sound replacements. Completely pointless! That was the last time I worked for free as it was a total waste of my time and they should have just programmed the drums.

That being said, while there are some great drum programmers out there, samples will never completely replace real drummers.

Samples suit some styles of music, as do high quality, fully electronic kits with good quality sound libraries.

But I'd love to see the sort of person who can replicate Vinnie Colaiuta or Dave Weckl and capture the spirit of their playing.

I'd rather listen to a real drummer any day, but I also acknowledge that samples and programmed drums suit some styles (mainly modern styles that I dislike anyway :)) better than a real drummer.

And there are some really great programmers out there - Carl King (under the pseudonym Sir Millard Mulch) once did a massive (and weird) album many years ago where he programmed drums and it was very difficult to distinguish some of the programmed parts from the parts he used real drummers such as Marco Minneman and Virgil Donati for.
 

StiGy

Member
The guitar is a very different type of instrument. Drums are a simple set of individual instruments, played at the same time in rhythm. They have their own resonances and each part does interact with each other part but in a limited way. Snare buzz is the best example - but that can even be simulated.

Guitars are a bit different. You're dealing with harmony, rhythm and melody at the same time and the relationship between each part of the guitar is much closer than with a drum kit. On the other hand, we have instruments like the Variax guitars that whilst still played by a human use digital signal processing to model the sound of a variety of guitars (and non-guitars, like banjos) and do a pretty good job of it. Acoustic guitars are much harder to model because of the various physical reactions in the instrument but the technology is getting close.

Orchestral recordings for quick-turnaround work are getting more and more rare. TV themes, even film themes are being produced using virtual orchestras and whilst they're still not quite there in terms of realism, they're good enough most of the time and much, much cheaper and more flexible than trying to hire an orchestra.

Will we still have guitarists and drummers in 2116? Probably. I hope not though, in a way - in that I would hope music would have moved on by then or at least that those instruments are being used in a more interesting way. I am of the opinion that guitar-based Rock music is mostly a dead end these days and that most of the possibilities have been thoroughly played out, although I might very well be wrong.

Everything will still exist as live performance, though if that's any comfort.
Very well said again.
can you give me some bands\music youre listening to? sounds like a worth to listen.. well i already become smarter cause of you.
 

StiGy

Member
There's a place for live drumming where a sequence is inappropriate and not an improvement, and a place for sequencing where a live drummer is inappropriate and not an improvement. There's also some crossover where a song can go either way and sound great. Period.

This sounds like the big scare when the LinnDrum was introduced around 1980, and drummers thought they were being replaced. I suppose a few were in some cases, but the smart drummers bought a Linn and kept working. Honestly, there were things going on that no drummer could have played anyway. In 1985 I bought my first machine, and it was the smartest career move I could have made. It led to sampling and eventually doing tracks on a computer, although even now I still play live more than I program. And it amounted to me working and participating on everything offered, whether I was using sticks, or a keyboard. I'm the drummer either way.

Granted, technology in the last few years has become pretty amazing, I've heard sequenced tracks I'd swear were played live! But there's not a widespread threat to live drummers in the studio, and live shows have live drummers in the same numbers as they did even during the rise of rap & synth band performances. That is, nothing's really changed for drummers in the last 35 years despite advancing technology.

Bermuda
Many thanks for sharing! it was very helpful to hear from a actual drummer who doing it since the beginning of it..
Well for me your massage is calming - we are here to stay, with sticks or mouse in our hands - the beat will go on.
 

StiGy

Member
I believe that for recording , drummers bass players and percussionists will be gone for most of the popular music. Softwares will be made to "grove like this guy" or "sound like this type of music" with bass lines to go along as well.
The key will be on how to use it .

Live situations, the drummers have more chances but live music going down in general (compared to the 50's 60's) because of iPods, dj's, etc, I'm not sure there will be that many gigs to start with.
Very interesting idea to think of.. maybe the big question is about LIVE music overall you say :)
 

StiGy

Member
I once did a recording for a guy (a friend) who wanted real drums, but then with the help of the producer proceeded to bury them in the mix and make them completely indistinguishable from the samples they used as sound replacements. Completely pointless! That was the last time I worked for free as it was a total waste of my time and they should have just programmed the drums.

That being said, while there are some great drum programmers out there, samples will never completely replace real drummers.

Samples suit some styles of music, as do high quality, fully electronic kits with good quality sound libraries.

But I'd love to see the sort of person who can replicate Vinnie Colaiuta or Dave Weckl and capture the spirit of their playing.

I'd rather listen to a real drummer any day, but I also acknowledge that samples and programmed drums suit some styles (mainly modern styles that I dislike anyway :)) better than a real drummer.

And there are some really great programmers out there - Carl King (under the pseudonym Sir Millard Mulch) once did a massive (and weird) album many years ago where he programmed drums and it was very difficult to distinguish some of the programmed parts from the parts he used real drummers such as Marco Minneman and Virgil Donati for.
you right! i feel like you..
some DrumParts are still cant be reprogrammed even with the best programmer
 
Top