Recording - January 2017 - 28

4a

4b

How We Drum
and editing controls... but the central player in the interface is a large
touch screen that changes how you interface with the system-and how
you manipulate the sampled material within.
The software focuses your attention on the hardware, and provides
super-quick access to virtually every control in the software. Pattern and
sample editing are both provided as full-screen, high-resolution actions,
and completely reinvigorate the MPC work environment. Akai has found
a way to modernize the way you interact with its system without throwing away the efficiency of the original hardware workflow, and this
hybrid approach is keeping Akai well into the game.
There are other controller/software systems-Arturia's Spark system
(Figure 6) is outfitted very similarly to the Maschine structure, and
MOTU's BPM, in conjunction with something like a Korg padKontrol,
can also work in this way. Each of these systems has its own unique
angle on hardware/software integrations, and it's worth spending a little time reviewing the options that might be important to you.

Rhythm Plug-ins
3

For many, if not most, recording musicians and producers, hardware
isn't a great option for one reason: the limits of sound and sample storage. Let's face it: the most capable drum machine pales in comparison
to the brute force available from even the most humble laptop, and
DAWs provide much more capability than what's found in a standalone
machine. So unless you are married to the workflow of a hardware
device, you are probably looking at drum-based plug-ins, which combine sound libraries with a "virtual studio" for mixing and treating the
drums as they play back MIDI grooves.
One of the strongest contenders in this area is a plug-in by
FXpansion: BFD3 (Figure 7). This monster plug-in/library combo combines amazing sonic variety with advanced sound design features and
programming/performance tools that leverage the sound with its integrated sequencers. The sounds provided by BFD3 are a thing of beauty,
and FXpansion is justifiably proud of the heritage of the recordings, with
in-depth information on the studio, recording gear and instruments. The
result is mind-blowing-a depth of sound that would be very difficult to
achieve in your own studio.
Another massive system is provided by Steven Slate Drums, with the
new SSD4 drum plug-in. This series includes some focused, genre-specific
kits that are screaming for use in metal, indie-edge and funk grooves,
and work within a highly tuned, custom plug-in format. The SSD4 series
28

RECORDING JANUARY 2017

is also remarkably reasonably priced, and can provide world-class drum sounds for a fraction of the
price of a good drum mic.
I'll make a quick mention of Toontrack's Superior
Drummer, arguably the first and best-established of
these tools and still a top contender, but I'll have
more to say about another Toontrack product below.
There are other plug-ins of this type as well, like
Steinberg Groove Agent and XLN Audio Addictive
Drums, each with its own advantages.
Another place to look for awesome sample sound
is on your hard drive, especially if you use Native
Instruments' Kontakt sampler. While there are a
plethora of great drum and percussion libraries available for this plug-in, it also comes with some very
nice libraries, with the Abbey Road series among my
favorites. This set includes drum sounds of various
vintages, and can help you tweak a track into perfection by matching both the drum and recording
tones to the sounds inside your head.
Another approach to creating rhythms is drum synthesis and modeling: using physical models to create
interesting and playable drum sounds and kits that
might not be as ultra-realistic as sampled kits but can
give tracks a life of their own.
One of my favorite drum modeling plug-ins is Drum
Spillage from Audio Spillage (Figure 8). It provides a
4x4 grid (sound familiar?) of drum models, each one
providing all of the tools of a good percussion-focused
physical modeling system. Twelve different models are
available, and each one provides the tools (sound
generators, modulators, filters and envelopes) necessary to fine-tune the sounds to your need.
The nice thing about physical modeling is that
small tweaks can have significant changes in the
resulting sound. Drum Spillage, in particular, is nonintimidating: it uses pretty standard naming conventions for all of its parameters, and comes with a nifty
set of presets that are great starting points.
A similar set of functions, but with a completely different interface, can be found in Image-Line's
Drumaxx plug-in. The system has a simpler design,
and also incorporates a step sequencer that is pretty
useful when you are creating complex patterns. This
5



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - January 2017

Contents
Recording - January 2017 - Intro
Recording - January 2017 - Cover1
Recording - January 2017 - Cover2
Recording - January 2017 - 1
Recording - January 2017 - 2
Recording - January 2017 - 3
Recording - January 2017 - 4
Recording - January 2017 - 5
Recording - January 2017 - Contents
Recording - January 2017 - 7
Recording - January 2017 - 8
Recording - January 2017 - 9
Recording - January 2017 - 10
Recording - January 2017 - 11
Recording - January 2017 - 12
Recording - January 2017 - 13
Recording - January 2017 - 14
Recording - January 2017 - 15
Recording - January 2017 - 16
Recording - January 2017 - 17
Recording - January 2017 - 18
Recording - January 2017 - 19
Recording - January 2017 - 20
Recording - January 2017 - 21
Recording - January 2017 - 22
Recording - January 2017 - 23
Recording - January 2017 - 24
Recording - January 2017 - 25
Recording - January 2017 - 26
Recording - January 2017 - 27
Recording - January 2017 - 28
Recording - January 2017 - 29
Recording - January 2017 - 30
Recording - January 2017 - 31
Recording - January 2017 - 32
Recording - January 2017 - 33
Recording - January 2017 - 34
Recording - January 2017 - 35
Recording - January 2017 - 36
Recording - January 2017 - 37
Recording - January 2017 - 38
Recording - January 2017 - 39
Recording - January 2017 - 40
Recording - January 2017 - 41
Recording - January 2017 - 42
Recording - January 2017 - 43
Recording - January 2017 - 44
Recording - January 2017 - 45
Recording - January 2017 - 46
Recording - January 2017 - 47
Recording - January 2017 - 48
Recording - January 2017 - 49
Recording - January 2017 - 50
Recording - January 2017 - 51
Recording - January 2017 - 52
Recording - January 2017 - 53
Recording - January 2017 - 54
Recording - January 2017 - 55
Recording - January 2017 - 56
Recording - January 2017 - 57
Recording - January 2017 - 58
Recording - January 2017 - 59
Recording - January 2017 - 60
Recording - January 2017 - 61
Recording - January 2017 - 62
Recording - January 2017 - 63
Recording - January 2017 - 64
Recording - January 2017 - 65
Recording - January 2017 - 66
Recording - January 2017 - 67
Recording - January 2017 - 68
Recording - January 2017 - 69
Recording - January 2017 - 70
Recording - January 2017 - 71
Recording - January 2017 - 72
Recording - January 2017 - Cover3
Recording - January 2017 - Cover4
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