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Old 10-05-2008, 07:14 PM
O.G. Killa's Avatar
O.G. Killa O.G. Killa is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,152
Default Re: Calling all that write/program midi drums by hand in the Pro Tools midi editor.

After you have your beat finished. Open up the quantize window (yes I know you already placed the midi to the grid)... turn on the "Randomize" check box and set the slider to maybe 2~5% and and turn the strength to maybe 90 or 95%... Instant human slop! Works pretty well if you are into that sort of thing...

For me personally, I would rather have it dead on the grid. I've done TONS of midi programming and tons of beat detective on live drums... and I've been lucky enough to work with some of the "greats" drumming-wise.

One of the things I've noticed... Drummers like Vinnie Coliauta, Greg Bissonette, Nathaniel Morton, etc have such perfect time that they are dead on to the grid. I measured Nate's tracks once... at 96KHz, he was never more than +/- 100 SAMPLES away from the grid. For all intensive purposes that's tighter than the variation you get with midi!!!

And did he (or any of the others I've worked with) sound "robotic"? No way. Quite the opposite. The closer something is to the grid (being perfectly quantized) the HARDER it grooves. The more random/loose/unquantized something is the more it loses the groove.

So what makes something sound robotic then if it isn't time? Dynamics!!! It could be you need better drum sounds, or it could be you need to get better at varying the dynamics. Having ALL the snare backbeats at the same level, all the kicks at the same level, all the upbeat hihats at one level and all the downbeat hihats at one level is what is making the beat sound robotic.

Select the pencil tool, and choose the "random" pattern... draw that across your drum velocities just a little... it will probably start to help... but even more so, if you think like a drummer your programming will sound more realistic. The downbeat of one is usually hit the hardest. If the kick is doing the "&" before 3 it will be noticeably lighter than the downbeat of 3. Most drummers when doing fills or 16th note patterns will always hit their right hand (if they are right-handed) a little harder than their left... this makes the "e" and "ah" of each beat inherently lighter by a hair.

Some of the newer drum VIs will do this for you. BFD, EZ drummer, Addictive Drums etc will all randomize the midi input into the plugin for you so you don't have to do it manually... they will also switch samples. BFD for example usually has 10 different samples at velocity 127 for each drum and cymbal and it randomly selects which one of the 10 will get triggered from one hit to the next, which makes it sound more realistic.
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