Best Software/Libraries For Writing Drum Tracks In Original Compositions

Discussion in 'Software' started by digitaldragon, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    Just saw a thread here talking about not finishing songs, and it got me thinking.
    I've had an itch for the last few weeks to start working on some new songs. Everything I've recently done has been a collaborative effort with the band I'm in, and I'm certainly happy with that, but I'd like to explore completely writing some material from the ground up, and creating a demo of what I write.
    I can handle guitar, bass, and vocals myself. Some real simple keys as well. I have the instruments at hand, and what's needed to record them. I'll likely start with DIs and amp sims during the construction/writing phase.
    What I need help with is percussion.
    What's the easiest way to get some drum beats together and refine them for use while writing/recording my material. I've got Slate Trigger 2 and Slate SSD4 already. Just no library of beats/fills to go to to create the drum parts. I'm currently working in Sonar Platinum, and would prefer not to switch to another DAW, unless the ease of creation of the drum parts justifies learning a new DAW at least until the drum parts are done, and then importing that into Sonar.
    I've entered drum beats note by note into the piano roll before, and I see that as a huge hindrance to the creative process as well as a time consuming undertaking and the end result always sounded pretty mechanical to me.
    Could some of you guys who are already doing this share your workflow with me. Any tools you are using to do this.
    I've mostly written rock/metal, but who knows what I'll come up with on my own?
    Also would like suggestions on entering keyboard parts for more complicated things that I can't play given my level of playing. I'm a beginner at best with the keys. Guitar to midi conversion certainly isn't something I'd oppose if it would work well for this.
    I've seen the Band In A Box stuff. I wonder if there's anything to this. Anyone have experience with it?
    Thanks in advance, and LONG LIVE AUDIOSEX!!
     
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  3. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    I've changed the thread title in the hopes that it nails down what I'm asking. Surely there are some out there doing just this thing already who are willing to share...
     
  4. Peki7i

    Peki7i Newbie

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  5. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    Thank you. Looking at the videos, this seems like exactly the ticket. I've actually looked at it before, but didn't try it so forgot about it. I wonder if their EZKeys answers the other question...
     
  6. funkytoe

    funkytoe Noisemaker

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    MT-PowerDrumKit-free..................grooves and fills.....
    like EZ Druummer.........
     
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  7. Cudo

    Cudo Member

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  8. Cudo

    Cudo Member

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    Oh forgot to mention, Addictive Keys.
     
  9. famouslut

    famouslut Producer

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    I would second AD as a simple, easy-to-use source. BFD is a bit of a mess now, but still worthwhile. Check out Groove Monkee et al for some groove inspiration. If ur using Sonar, and used to drum machines, the step sequencer is... ok. Ish. If u use quantise / step, then it's worthwhile learning about groove quantise, which can be a life-saver.

    As far as editing goes, I find Cubendo's drum editor to be like rly easy to use, but you do have to edit length separately, or choke / gate etcs. I suppose the best way is using loop record, but it always seems to take far longer =(
     
  10. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    Was playing with EZDrummer 2 last night, and I love the tap to search feature in that. I see just that one feature alone saving lots of time rummaging through grooves to find the one that fits. Kit design is very easy also. I like the fact the you can set separate output as if you had mic'd the kit up yourself. Plus the groove editor feature is really cool, how you can add extra beats to a groove just by selecting the drum/cymbal, and turning a dial. I think I would definitely need to grow the library, though.
    Just need to figure out the best way to enter a groove manually into it for punches, stabs, and things like that which are very song specific, and likely not in a library anywhere. But from initial testing, this may be the winner.
    @Cudo, @famouslut, I'll look into Addictive Drums also. Thank you everyone for the suggestions.
    @funkytoe, MT-PowerDrumKit looks awesome to be free.
    I think the speed of finding the beat/groove I'm looking for is going to be the deciding factor here. Previewing beats has always destroyed the spark of inspiration in the past.
     
  11. G String

    G String Platinum Record

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    I like Spectrasonics' Stylus RMX . Kinda like Omnisphere and Trillian but for drum loops.
     
  12. Cribs

    Cribs Noisemaker

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    Akai have recently released their Akai Advance 61 Midi Controller Keyboard (http://www.pmtonline.co.uk/catalogsearch/result/?q=akai+advance) and it looks fantastic. It catalogues your entire VST libraries and loads whatever sounds you want from any VST and you can layer them. I'm very tempted to get one! Not entirely relevant but it needs checking out!
     
  13. TwinBorther

    TwinBorther Ultrasonic

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    EZDrummer 2 has some amazing beats in it, and you can export it as midi and use it with whatever drums you want.
    That as for the midis; the question in hand would be "how good are you with mixing them?".
    In that regards, if you are not so good I would go with a vst that sounds as in the mix right out of the package (Slate Drums are one... mostly metal and Rock, but are solid), EZDrummer is more pop - rocky right out of the package but got some exquisite extension packs for each style. Addictive Drums, you could say exactly the same as EZDrummer but with different tone (and some could argue quality too).

    Now, if you can mix them from the ground up (and you want to) I would go with the most sterile packs out there; those being Superior Drums, and BFD3. You have presets there, but as samples is concerned, those are in my opinion the most raw samples on the market.

    Now to spread some love to Native Instruments, Studio Drummer and Abbey Road 60s/70s/80s Drummer are amazing libraries with that vintage studio vibe imprinted in them.
     
  14. Voo

    Voo Producer

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    Its easier than that.
    In the setting menu of Ezdrummer under Midi Events TURN ON THE MIDI OUT
    When using other software use EZ as the midi in.

    I use the song writing engine and power of ez to trigger in real time BFD and other software. (it will trigger anything)
     
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  15. TwinBorther

    TwinBorther Ultrasonic

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    sir... you've just made my life a little easier... thank you for that
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  16. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    @TwinBorther, thanks for the rundown.
    At the moment, I'm just writing songs so getting it to sound decent without getting tied up in a lot of technical details is paramount. Not expecting anything beyond demo quality, I suppose. I was really searching for something that would get beyond the mechanical sound of the piano roll editing I've done in the past and have some human groove to it, and EZDrummer definitely does that. It's nice that I can take it farther if I'd like such as triggering SSD4 with it, or even processing it's individual outputs myself.
    But if I write a killer song that's going to get produced, I'd likely call in my drummer, and we'll mic up the kit and do it "for real".

    This is what I was tinkering with last night. Just a chugger so far.:rofl:
     
  17. rhythmatist

    rhythmatist Rock Star

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    Band in a Box has some great drum parts that sound pretty organic. My friend Burninstar uses some of that stuff, and it sounds pretty amazing to this drummer.
     
  18. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Platinum Record

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    @rhythmatist, I'll have to check out a few videos to see what the workflow for Band in a Box is like. I was only after drum parts, maybe some keyboard stuff, so didn't know if it would be useful in that regard.
    My biggest challenge for the snippet above is the next prechorus part that I've written doesn't seem to fall into the time signature or tempo of the previous parts. Not surprising, though, since I have tried to show it to several drummers and each has struggled with moving into that part. The stock MIDI libraries in EZDrummer2 could only get within 45% of what I had tapped in. After I loaded a few more libraries, I was able to get to 89%. That felt close enough, but now I'm having to adjust my timing to match.
    I'm hoping that my creating these demos of song ideas can help iron out any of those tempo difficulties before working with "live" players. I don't see my being forced to make adjustments to the parts as a bad thing if it will improve the flow of the part.
     
  19. Generation Modulator

    Generation Modulator Noisemaker

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