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Thread: Roughing up a drum machine

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    Roughing up a drum machine

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    Does anyone have any suggestions for techniques to make a subtle difference to drum machine beats so they sound a little more live and less programmed?...touch of distortion etc. I've been playing around myself so just looking for any tried and tested techniques to have a go with. I'm currently using the MT drummer vst.

    Cheers
    Mark

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    You could try recording the basic feel 1st and then overdub the fills by hand.
    Rick Ruskin
    Lion Dog Music - Seattle WA
    http://liondogmusic.com

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    I used to face this a lot back when a Roland drum machine was my primary source of drum sounds.

    I tried a ton of different things with varying degrees of success. The trial and error (mostly error) part was actually quite fun at times.

    I have tried, and you might consider, the following:

    * augmenting with hand percussion or manually add additional fills with the drum machine (as noted above).
    * run the drum machine through an amp, and mic the cab much like you would a guitar.
    * experiment with distortion...I've used guitar pedals and sims for this in the past.
    * anything else you can think of.

    All of my efforts resulted in somewhat lo-fi, arguably quirky drum tracks, but I found at least some to be pleasing.

    At some point I did decide to just let it sound like a drum machine, and make my arrangements blend with that sound rather than trying to mask it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heatmiser View Post
    I tried a ton of different things with varying degrees of success. The trial and error (mostly error) part was actually quite fun at times.

    I have tried, and you might consider, the following:

    * augmenting with hand percussion or manually add additional fills with the drum machine (as noted above).
    * run the drum machine through an amp, and mic the cab much like you would a guitar.
    * experiment with distortion...I've used guitar pedals and sims for this in the past.
    * anything else you can think of.

    All of my efforts resulted in somewhat lo-fi, arguably quirky drum tracks, but I found at least some to be pleasing.

    At some point I did decide to just let it sound like a drum machine, and make my arrangements blend with that sound rather than trying to mask it.
    I've tried a few of those things too Heatmiser... small set of 3 drums played with soft beater worked well on some of my folky stuff but not so much other styles. I'm gonna try out a few guitar plug ins to give it a more live feel.

    Mark

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    The simplest technique would be throw a midi humanizer plugin on there. Reaper comes with one stock if that's your DAW.

    My strategy with MT is:
    1. Sequence the drums live
    2. Quantize them to 80% accuracy (because I did a bad job of step 1)
    3. Fix remaining error
    4. Do some manual velocity tweaking
    5. Put a midi humanizer set to randomize the velocities another 10% or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VomitHatSteve View Post
    The simplest technique would be throw a midi humanizer plugin on there. Reaper comes with one stock if that's your DAW.

    My strategy with MT is:
    1. Sequence the drums live
    2. Quantize them to 80% accuracy (because I did a bad job of step 1)
    3. Fix remaining error
    4. Do some manual velocity tweaking
    5. Put a midi humanizer set to randomize the velocities another 10% or so.
    Awesome...I use reaper so will check it out 👍

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    Awesome...I use reaper so will check it out ��
    Word. The one "gotcha" I've noticed with this specific chain (and reaper) is that the quantization menu in reaper's midi editor likes to periodically reset itself to 100% (which snaps exactly to the grid, losing any human element you'd had.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by VomitHatSteve View Post
    Word. The one "gotcha" I've noticed with this specific chain (and reaper) is that the quantization menu in reaper's midi editor likes to periodically reset itself to 100% (which snaps exactly to the grid, losing any human element you'd had.)
    What is the plug in called? ...I had a look in JS and Cocko files whilst doing something yesterday and couldn't see anything with a name that seemed like it would do the randomizing?

    Mark

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    Quantization is done in the built-in midi window (hit "q" to bring up the menu)
    The humanization plugin is called "JS: MIDI Velocity and Timing Humanizer"

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    Quote Originally Posted by VomitHatSteve View Post
    Quantization is done in the built-in midi window (hit "q" to bring up the menu)
    The humanization plugin is called "JS: MIDI Velocity and Timing Humanizer"
    👍

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