Drummers who use technology without attending college

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
For those of you who use tech. in a professional setting, such as laptops, i.e.m.,click, triggers, samples pads, recording equipment etc...
How and where did you learn to become proficient at their use without attending college or technical schooling?
 

Frank

Gold Member
I had to come here. That's a thread setup I could not leave on the table. :)

Do you believe that use of tech in a professional setting requires college or technical schooling as a pre-req? :)
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Youtube is the be-all and end-all. That said, a lot of equipment these days is designed to work out of the box. My Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 audio interface provided a decent live sound for my drums without any DAW, using only it's default MixControl software. I do find it helpful to draw diagrams on paper (or ipad) to lay things out pictorially in my mind about what I'm reading in manuals or even from youtube. But I wouldn't call myself an expert yet in any way for the Scarlett. I still don't feel happy with my BD sound. I also don't qualify as unschooled if you consider I have an electrical engineering degree and almost a minor in computer science. Good Luck!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Mine was a gradual and ever-growing process. I had my first brush with electronics in 1984 with a Simmons kit, and my first drum machine followed in 1985. By 1989, I had an AKAI S900 sampler and triggered it with an Octapad, and by 1994 a giant leap with a Kuzweil K2000 and a KAT. By 2011, I had simplified with an all-in-one SPD-SX. On the recording front, I initially used machines, then midi sequences and samples from the Kurzweil, to eventually mapping out samples and parts in ProTools.

Everything was self-taught by reading the supplied manuals. Until maybe the mid-late '90s, there was no network of users and knowledge (Internet...) and among my drummer friends, I was typically ahead of the pack anyway. As for learning to create and manipulate samples, I did that by listening.

So the answer is, I did it by myself. I don't think it's something you'd learn in college as much as in a workshop or two sponsored by a music school or the manufacturer, and that would be simply how to utilize the gear and programs. They can't teach you to be creative.

Bermuda
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Four things have helped me:
  1. Trial & many errors
  2. Youtube channels from the companies I buy gear from (iZotope, Presonus, etc.)
  3. Books
    1. The Recording Engineers Handbook
    2. Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
    3. Mastering Audio, the art and the science
  4. Sweetwater Sound workshops
The workshops at Sweetwater Sound are what really helped me. I’ve been to only two workshops but it’s like drinking from a tasty fire hydrant along with a small group of other like-minded peeps.

How to Record Drums with Kenny Aronoff

Sweetwater workshop 20150817 07 small.jpeg


How to record a live rock band with The Dead Deads.

Sweetwater Studios 20170718 01 small.jpeg
Photo Jul 19, 1 23 20 PM small.jpeg
Sweetwater Studios 20170718 05.JPG
 

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Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Thank you for your helpful answers. I get the general impession that it's a slightly hit or miss approach to learning about.
Though technology in musical performance is rather ubiquitous, it's not as studied and schooled by some drummers when compared to things like rudiments or grooves, but exciting for me to dig deeper into nontheless.
 
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Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
Learned as I went along. A new gig called for a new "tech" aspect and I had to just figure it out.
I'm actually going to be doing a series of clinic later this year that focuses exactly on this kind of thing. Showing drummers what the demands are in the modern world of performance. Having to make charts, run tracks, using a click live, etc.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I got used to it with a lot of trial and error...lots of starting something, making a mistake, and then deleting and starting over

thank god for "Apple Z" and Apple S" (I am a Mac guy)

there was also a lot of "plug this into slot A, and Slot b"....no sound..."plug into slot C, and A" ...no sound..."plug into slot B and D"...SOUND!!! WOO HOO!!! Now remember that...
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Wait, I went to college and PIT and I didn't learn any of that stuff in school.

I learned it as I needed to in bands that needed that kind of stuff.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Thank you for your helpful answers. I get the general impession that it's a slightly hit or miss approach to learning about.
Though technology in musical performance is rather ubiquitous, it's not as studied and schooled by some drummers compared to things like rudiments or grooves, but exciting for me to dig deeper into nontheless.
During the drum recording workshop, Kenny told us about his Los Angeles home studio, where he records for clients. He hired an acoustician, a contractor, built out a studio and outfitted it with quality mics, preamps and console. He told us, “Now I had all this great gear and had no idea how to use it!” So he hires freelance tracking engineers when needed.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
For those of you who use tech. in a professional setting, such as laptops, i.e.m.,click, triggers, samples pads, recording equipment etc...
How and where did you learn to become proficient at their use without attending college or technical schooling?
"Laptops, i.e.m.,click, triggers, samples pads, recording equipment" - that's a lot of stuff. Start with one thing and see if you can do something useful with that. It takes years to learn so much and the process never ends, because technology is changing.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I remember my first computer language course was on punch cards-my has the technology changed. Took three languages (what a waste to time), everyone use to build the devices, write programs to run them-then a shift to companies taking the rudimentary technology to new levels with all kinds of bells and whistles. Becoming tech savvy really means knowing how to get the most out of the new technology-you don't need to program it or understand how it was built. It's great-no more typewriters and white out, no more crappy ink graph plotters, taking photos of photos and hours in dark room. Photoshop changed all that. I remember when all the labs first receive it-everyone was pouring over manuals trying to figure it out. I started reading the manual and quickly realized I just need to start doing it. So I learned how by messing around with a pic a friend took that I morphed it in a million pornographic ways. I soon was teaching everyone how to use it LOL. But man the technology almost makes it idiot proof-not quite though I discovered LOL. I love the tech as a tool but I have some trepidation we will become the tool and become digitized-evolutionary implications. And I don't want tech to replace acoustic drums-because I still think analog. But I've gone from thinking of time as relative to now a more quantum notion time is absolute so I'm not completely resistant to change. The keys of a piano are a "percussion" instrument so if you are punching on keys or buttons or triggering devices it's all in same realm in it's roots. Why not is the short answer-sheez blather blather blather.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
"Laptops, i.e.m.,click, triggers, samples pads, recording equipment" - that's a lot of stuff. Start with one thing and see if you can do something useful with that. It takes years to learn so much and the process never ends, because technology is changing.
Correct, and many drummers aren't directly involved in some of those things around them. For example, recording equipment. I do just about everything when programming a song: create samples, create the sequence, apply some production value, and make stems that are studio-ready. But, I'm not set-up to record live drums. For me, that's something that occurs in a studio with perhaps special acoustics, a supply of mics, a capable ProTools system, and an engineer who knows what they're doing. I know how to mic drums, but only because I've seen it done hundreds of times.

Triggers may not be implemented by the drummer, and the sound module may not even be within their control. Same for clicks - not every drummer starts & stops clicks & tracks. I used to do that and was in complete control of it, until it was all integrated into our video system. That change was fine with me, the less I have to worry about up there, the better! We have a dedicated video op who's as much a part of the show as the musicians, and I only have to think about playing drums!

A sample pad is a bit of a different thing though, that's still normally the drummer's domain. I started using custom samples in 1985 on a Simmons SDS1 pad. It was hopelessly inadequate, but the only somewhat affordable solution for playing custom samples. Today's pads are fairly easy to operate, they're powerful, and relatively inexpensive.

Bermuda
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
We learned it the old school way.

Before the internet:
Lots of trial and error.
Reading the manual.
Networking with people who knew what they were doing.

After the internet:
Using the internet.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Networking with people who knew what they were doing.
But pre-internet, it wasn't so easy to tap into the knowledge of working pros. You literally had to 'know somebody' or you were stuck. Now, those pros are all over the 'net talking about and demonstrating gear and techniques.

Bermuda
 

danondrums

Well-known member
To move a little off topic.
What is it that you’re looking to achieve?

Learning of a new technology typically only happens for me when there’s something I want to do, but can’t achieve with my current set of tools.

This approach will guide you to incrementally learn the tech that will help you with your goals.

Recording was my first desire to need tech. It started with a 4 track and a couple of mics. Then it went to 8 tracks and protools.

Then it was composing. That inspired switching from ProTools to Ableton, a Push 2 and a midi keyboard with 22 tracks.

Each time I hit a spot in the process where I couldn’t do what I wanted, I research that one thing and learn and move to the next.

They key is focusing on the next thing you want to do, keeping some sort of mind on what the few things after that one thing might be and doing it. Having a broad goal of learning tech can be quite intimidating and might prevent someone from making that very first step.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Dan after watching guys on Drumeo , I'm interested in getting a decent recorded sound to mix into pre-recorded tracks into a laptop while I play along to them with in ear monitors on. Eventually adding video also.
Not too fond of Apple things, I've tried them but they give me fits of frustration trying to figure them out compared to regular computers, especially the I-tunes.

Of course I don't want to make this about me. I'm hoping this thread will be continue on and be beneficial to those who are curious as to how to incorporate these systems into the traditional drumkit in a practical means for practicing or playing live.
 
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danondrums

Well-known member
Cool. Well, you can get a fairly decent start with a 4 track handheld recorder with 2 built in mics and add an sm57 for the snare and a beta52 for the kick.

That’s probably a $400-500 investment. The 4 track recorder will be eternally great for quick recordings (great for rehearsals) and the mics will be good for when you upgrade to more tracks. You could bounce those tracks to a free multi-track mixing program like audacity or GarageBand and start to learn adding eq and fx (reverb, etc.) to get a more polished sound.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I'm interested in getting a decent recorded sound to mix into pre recorded tracks into a laptop while I play along to them with in ear monitors on. Eventually addding video also.
Like Dan, I recommend beginning on a 4-track recorder, adding 2 condenser mics overhead, 2 dynamic mics for snare & bass drum, 4 stands, 4 cables. Stuff/costs adds up quickly.

Start by learning the Recorderman technique, which actually provides a great stereo image of the kit.

Here’s something I made with that method and a Tascam DR-70 and bass & guitar tracks from loopmasters:

 
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