Recording - January 2017 - 30

8

How We Drum
just checking out what is available from
Native Instruments and its third-party
developers. In addition to the standard
fare (great acoustic kits, pounding rap
kits, zapping electronic kits), you can run
across all sorts of fun/bizarre options,
like Hans Zimmer's cinematic percussion
libraries from Spitfire Audio or the glitch
wonder of Soundiron's Crystal.
And this doesn't even begin to dive into
the world of loop libraries, where you can
get both your sounds and your programming in a single shot. Want another way
to lose a Saturday? Jump on over to a
place like The Loop Loft, Soundtrack Loops,
or Producer Loops, and start surfing.
Loop libraries have come a long way
since their origin. One of the beefs about
using loops in our music is that they are
often variation-free, leading to boring percussion tracks. It can be difficult to have
the loops sit well in a mix, since they will
have their own effects and production
qualities that might not fit with your style
or sound. Not any more.
Nowadays, many loop libraries provide
incredible professional performances,
numerous variations for tracks, include
stems for more extensive mixing, and
some even include separate effects tracks
so you can take advantage of their studio's high-end effects... but only if you
want them. And the online nature of the
loop library business means that you can
check them out, review what you get for
your money, and be back to musicmaking
without ever having to leave your studio!

Help For The Drum-Challenged
It can be a little intimidating to navigate all of the options available; it's
especially disturbing if you aren't completely comfortable with hand-playing
your own percussion track. In these
cases, it's useful to consider some of the
'helper' systems that are available in
both DAWs and plug-ins.
One of the cool things about many of the
software packages that we've described is
that they have some way of helping you
produce your track. For example, MOTU's
BPM has a drum grid that is a deep mockup of a traditional 808/909-style drum
30

RECORDING JANUARY 2017

machine, while plug-ins like BFD and Geist have extensive grid-and-control functions that
can help you both program the patterns and modulate the sounds. These functions are
super-helpful, and improve your ability to bridge tools by not being DAW-specific.
If you are willing to depend on your DAW for percussion programming, you'll
find a lot of help. Most software packages have drum programming techniques,
from Cubase's iconic Drum Editor to Logic's Ultrabeat, and you can often get what
you need just from those tools.
Perhaps the most integrated way of working with samples, synthesis and programming is with a DAW like Ableton Live, which combines all of these into a system that
allows you to smoothly transition from one form of drum programming to another.
Loops become malleable as tracks, but can be easily enhanced by drum racks containing one-shot samples, other loops, or synthesized sounds. And with Live's ability to
tightly integrate with plug-ins, you can also add all of the other kinds of tools as well!
Even that might be too off-putting for you; maybe you want a real drummer, but
have no way to deal with the complexity of it. Today's brave new world of drum
software was created with you in mind-the virtual drummer.
You can find virtual drummers in many places. One of the most interesting is in
Apple software; both Garageband and Logic Pro include Drummer tools (Figure 9),
where you don't control the beats, but rather control the 'direction' of the play by
changing the loudness, complexity, fill percentage and hi-hat use of the software.
While it might seem half-baked, it is actually quite effective in practice, and at the
very least can provide you with a useful starting track.
A plug-in like AIR's Strike actually includes a performance interface, allowing you
to, with a few button pushes, 'play' the virtual drummer and drive it in the direction
9



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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