fbpx

Getting in the Groove – 6 Tips for Programming Realistic Drums

It’s a great time to be a music producer. You can produce full songs with nothing more than your laptop and a DAW. While getting good drum sounds is easier than ever with more and more options expanding beyond the limitations of old drum machines, even with good drum sounds your tracks may feel like they are missing something. That something is often the groove, with your rhythm locked in so tight to the grid that your drum programming feels programmed as opposed to feeling played in by a real human being. We’ve got some tips below to help you spruce up your drum programming even if you aren’t a good drummer yourself.

1. Tonal Variation

As much as we try, human beings aren’t machines and therefore will introduce variation into drum playing naturally. Each hit of a drum will have a unique tone slightly different than the one before it and after it, so it’s important to add those subtle nuances into your programming. The easiest way to do this is to use a plugin that uses Multi-timbral Samples which swaps drum samples constantly while playing the programmed MIDI notes. MT Power Drums is a very capable plugin that uses Multi-Timbral Drum Samples and it’s free! If you feel more comfortable using your own samples, a simple way to recreate the process is by automating slight changes in velocity, pitch, stereo placement, frequency content (use and EQ or Autofilter). The point is that drums sound different in real life, so help them sound that way when programming.

2. Timing Variation

In addition to tone, timing is key to bringing a realistic feel to your drum programming. Introducing slight timing variations in your programming will add the sway of a real-life drummer and add energy to your song. J Dilla is infamous for his swung beats that pull and push the rhythm forward with slightly offbeat snares and hi-hats. You can achieve similar feels by manually pushing your sample/MIDI notes forward a few beats or dragging them back a few beats. Whichever you choose you only need to do to a few to achieve a groove, then feel free to copy and paste from there. If you use a drum plugin that has a ‘randomize’ feature for the timing then use it! If you’re using Ableton Live then utilize the Groove Pool’s ability to do this.

3. Phrasing Variation

Drummers are typically responsible for holding down the groove and tempo of a song, but as much as they are responsible for repetition they are responsible for spicing up the beat. To make your programming more realistic you have to mix it up like a real-life drummer – adding a drum fill before each section change is a good start, but also throw in fills for energetic emphasis throughout the song. Switching the hi-hat pattern for different sections of your song can add anticipation and then allow you to defy those expectations. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the thought of adjusting each individual drum hit, but start by breaking down each section of your song, then work in 4 or 8 bar patterns. It will go by much quicker than you realize if you chop away at the little pieces one-by-one rather than getting ahead of the process in your mind.

4. Four Limbs = Four Hits

Human drummers most often are limited to their four limbs – two arms and two legs – and thus are only capable of hitting four pieces of the drum kit at the same time. If your drum programming is attempting to sound human but has become too cluttered or busy it will sound unrealistic. Remember that a drummer can’t be using both hands to play a tom fill AND be hitting the hi-hats at the same time, while the average listener may not think about those logistics they will recognize that it doesn’t sound right. Though having separate percussion players in a band is not unheard of, the same rule applies to any percussion instruments being played.

5. Stereo Placement

Drum Kits occupy a unique space in a mix in that they can have their individual pieces placed throughout the stereo field, but will be perceived as one instrument that holistically creates the rhythm. Kits are often placed according to the dominant playing hand of the drummer, so Hats will be on one side while Toms will be on the opposite. Typically the kick and snare are panned dead center due to their low-frequency content, while toms and cymbals are panned outside of center on either side; clearing those other pieces out of the middle will also allow space for the rest of the drums and your other instruments/vocals.

6. Room Sound / Ambience

Another aspect of drums’ unique space in the mix is the space itself, also known as ‘room sound’, this sound is not much noticed if present but extremely missed if not. Drums recorded in a garage, studio, closet, bedroom, etc. will each have a reverb that is representative of the room the drums were recorded in. Drum samples often include that room sound included in the sample, but plenty of samples don’t if they were recorded in a more treated recording environment that dampened reverb.  Sending your whole drum bus to a reverb is the easiest way to achieve a cohesive room sound, but for more control send the individual pieces to the same reverb to create a space for them to bounce around in.

0 responses on "Getting in the Groove - 6 Tips for Programming Realistic Drums"

Leave a Message

top

© 2020 Beat Lab Academy

X
X
About The Lab
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL1g5UXZtUG5TOHEwP3JlbD0wJmNvbnRyb2xzPTAmc2hvd2luZm89MCIgZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9IjAiIGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbj48L2lmcmFtZT4=
Signup for Free Workshops and Ableton Goodies
Enter name and email below and we'll get you lit
Foundation of Music Theory
  • Rhythm Theory
  • Using Semitones and Intervals
  • Diatonic composition
  • Harmonizing and building chords
  • Styling
Learn the language of music to help you make the music you want to make, To communicate with other musicians and reveal the magic behind your favorie songs.
----------------------
Progremming Beats
  • How Drum Racks work
  • Choosing the right samples
  • How to use Syncopation
  • Layering Techniques
  • Drum Processing methods
Sequence drums in any style using Ableton Live's Drum Racks. Learn tricks and techniques to take your beats to the next level.
----------------------
Ableton Live 101
  • Why Ableton Live?
  • Session vs. Arrangement
  • Recording & Editing Audio
  • Live's Warp Engine
  • Using & customizing MIDI controllers
Experience the leading software today for modern music production.
Demystify the world of Ableton Live to make any style of music.
----------------------
Thank you! We'll contact you shortly with more info and discounts.
Sampling
  • History of Sampling
  • Hardware Samplers
  • Simpler vs. Sampler
  • Sampling your own instruments
  • Slicing Samples
Explore the endless world of sampling.
Add organic texture or make it into an instrument
Everything is possible with sampling
----------------------
Using MIDI Controllers
  • Which Controller Should I Get?
  • Setting Up
  • Expression Controls
  • Advance MIDI Utilities
  • Playing Live Beats
Choose the right MIDI controller for your production/live needs.
Use MIDI remote scritps to enahce your workflow
Learn tricks and tips to customize your controller
----------------------
Recording & Warping
  • Choosing the right mic
  • Setting up recording session
  • Working with other musicians
  • Time Stretching
  • Live's editing tools
Learn how to setup and record mics and instruments in Ableton Live.
Master the warp engine for syncronizing audio and sound design
----------------------
Class Jams
  • Play in a band with your computer
  • Try out different instruments and MIDI controllers
  • Improvise on any given scale
  • Develop your ear for melodies, harmonies & Basslines
Play live with your classmates in the first modern ClassJam environment.
Develop collaboration skills, performance focus and improvisation techniques.
----------------------
Structure & Styling
  • Active Listening
  • Pre-Determined Arrangement Techniques
  • BPM Ranges
  • Song Segments and how to use them
  • Finishing a full song
Get your own sound from analyzing and deconstrucing modern song structures.
Learn different musical genres to help you achive your own unique sound.
----------------------
YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD
Please provide your name and email
  We hate spam as much as you. You will only get valuble content delievered.
Get Notified About Future Events
Music Theory 202
  • Parallel Harmony
  • Relative Scales
  • Pentatonic & Blues Scales
  • Jazz in Modern Music
  • Voicing Techniques
  • Borrowed Chords
Progress your composition skills by learning advanced music theory methods.
You will get a deeper understanding of how to produce strong harmonies, melodies and arrangements.
----------------------
Ableton Live 202
  • The Launchbox
  • Modulation Vs. Automation
  • Session View Production Techniques
  • Advance Audio & MIDI Editing
  • Clip Envelopes
Learn advance Ableton techniques to take your production to the next level.
Everything is possible with Ableton Live let your imagination be your guide.
----------------------
Styling
  • Analyzing Electronic vs. Acoustic music
  • Odd Time Signatures
  • Arrangment Styling
  • Sound Selection
  • Deconstructing Methods.
Learn the key characteristic of all popular music styles.
You have a specific style in mind you want to produce? We'll show you all the secrets.
----------------------
Synthesis
  • Analog vs. Digital
  • Synth Signal Path
  • Oscillators, Filters, Envelopes and LFOs
  • Advance Modulators
  • Reverse Engineering
Take the sounds in your head and create them in the computer using synthesizers.
Demystify the vast world of virtual synths.
----------------------
Sound Design
  • Advanced Time Stretching
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Fractal Soundscapes
  • Experiments in Sound
  • Field Recordings
  • The Art of Layering
Develop creative thinking by using multiple techniques to create unique and complex sounds.
Become a sonic master.
----------------------
Collaboration
  • Ableton Link
  • Class Production Sessions
  • Project Managment
  • Real vs. Virtual instruments
  • Live Performance Routines
  • Rewiring
Collaborate with class mates with in-class synchronization.
Develope the skills needed to productevlly work with other musicians.
----------------------
Remixing
  • Choosing The Right Song to Remix
  • Flipping a Sample
  • Remixer Tools
  • Stems and Multi-Tracks
  • Preparing your Original Production for Remixing
Learn the art of remixing from top remixers in the industry.
Take your favorite songs and filp them with your own style.
----------------------
Live Performance
  • DJing in Ableton Live
  • Preparing your Songs for Live Performance
  • Playing with a Band
  • Live Looping
  • DIY Controllers
Use the computer as a live musical performance tool.
DJ or play your own orgianls in any way you can imagine.
----------------------
Max for Live
  • Max for Live Essentials
  • Modifying Exciting Devices
  • Creating your own Devices
  • Ableton as a Modular Environment
  • Live's API
  • VJing using Jitter
Explore the infinite potenital of Cycling 74's and Ableton's Max for Live.
Control Live in ways that weren't possible before.
Anything is possible with Max for Live
----------------------
Mastering
  • Win the Loudness Wars
  • Mastering Song vs. Album
  • Prepering Your Music for Distribution
  • Understanding the importance of Dynamic Range
Master your songs to sound as good as possible on as many playback systems as possible.
Learn the secrets on how to make your songs loud and punchy.
----------------------
Finger Drumming
  • Choosing the Right Controller
  • Sound Design for Live Performance
  • Building Custom Racks
  • Using DIY Controllers
  • Planning your Controller's Configuration
Humanize your production or impress your audience on stage.
Build your own sound packs and develope your live performace skill with finger drumming.
----------------------
Live Looping
  • Hardware Looping
  • Using Live's Looper
  • Live Looping in the Session View
  • Automatic Loop Recording using MIDI Scripts
  • Setup and Routing
Master the art of live looping with virtual instruments, conventional instruments and mics.
Come up with quick musical ideas, build your songs live on stage.
----------------------
Online Presence
  • Social Media
  • How to Reach Out to Labels
  • Booking Shows
  • Getting Signed
  • Getting more Followers
  • Making a Music Video
Develop your artist brand and get your music heard by the right people.
Book shows, tours and festivals.
Find the right label and make music your career.
----------------------
Entertainment Law
  • Clearing Samples
  • Commercial vs. Indie Distribution
  • Getting your music on TV and Film
  • Working with a Manager
  • Copyright your Music
  • Performance Rights
Understand the legallty behind the music industry.
Get the most out of your shows and releases. Maximize income streams.
Distribute your music the right way.
----------------------
Production Sessions
  • Class Jams
  • Live Routines Assignments
  • Additive Composition
  • Produce other Classmates
  • Online Collaboration Methods
  • Musical Chairs
Collaborate in class.
Get private mentorship sessions from Beat Lab's instructors
Learn how to add part of yourself creatively to an exciting song.
----------------------
Mixing
  • Understanding How Sound Work
  • Gain Staging
  • Controlling the Stereo Field
  • Using Compressor & EQs
  • Using Time Based Effects
  • Bussing and Pre-Mastering
Master the art of sound mixing.
Make your music sound more clear, punchy and loud.
Learn the techniques and tools to help you take your music to the next level.
----------------------
NEW CLASSES START NEXT WEEK!
Mondays-Wednesdays: 4/25/16
Tuesdays-Thursdays: 4/26/16
Now Offering Day Classes
Our certification program is now available during the day. 6 months of intensive, comprehensive music production classes. Fill your email below and we'll send you ALL the details. Dates, scheduling, pricing & payment plans available.
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Free Class Visits Available
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
GET FREE CHEAT SHEETS, TUTORIALS AND MUSIC TECH NEWS!
We got the exclusives
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Free Class Visits Available
THANK YOU!
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NOW?
Free Class Visits Available
Your Free Download
we hate spam
FREE SERUM SOUND DESIGN COURSE WITH CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
Sing up for the 6 months certification program and get Serum - Wavetable Synthesis class for free.
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Your Free Download
we hate spam
CONTEST - Accusonus x Beat Lab Giveaway
Win Free Plugins!
Your Free Download
we hate spam
*optional
Interested in a free class? Enter your number below to join
Application for 2020 Winter Semester are now open.
Fill Your Email Below or more details
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Free Class Visits Available
THANK YOU!
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NOW?
Free Class Visits Available
Your Free Download
we hate spam
To book a FREE class visit to any of our other courses please click the image below.
This promotion has ended. Visit the Modules page to purchase access to our Masterclasses.