Drum machine vs. Software. Which?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by ap1, Jun 27, 2006.


  1. ap1

    ap1 Member

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    I'm wondering if I can get some opinions on whether to go with a machine or software in order to lay down drum tracks. This would be for fairly simple projects - building a tune from scratch, putting together a demo I can bring to the band, looping so I can jam freely, and for just plain facilitating creativity. I'm not particularly keen on doing a lot of detailed programming, although I'm aware that some will be necessary, especially if I want a good bit of variety in the patterns and so on. I have some trepidation about going the software route, only because of the increase in the bug factor. Some of the horror stories in the forums about the difficulties in getting everything to work just right make me wonder whether it's worth it. Ultimately, ease of use and minimal headaches are my friends here (as they are for all of us, I guess...).
    Software-wise, I've looked into Jamstix and Groove Agent, and I'm woefully ignorant of the machines out there. Well, maybe not woefully, but I haven't explored that much. So if anyone has any thoughts as to what products they're happy with, I'd appreciate that too.

    Thanks,
    Alan
     
  2. Grun

    Grun Member

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    I find for live ( especiallyspontaneous) playing a drum machine can't be beat. Select a beat and tempo and go.

    For recording, the flexibility of software can't be beat. I have used DoD (Drums on Demand) with good success. A lot of people like BFD.

    If you want to do any programming at all (all other things being equal) software is tough to beat.
     
  3. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    I can't see any reason to spend nickel one on a drum machine at this late date.

    What can one do that ggod SW can't?
     
  4. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Prince says that his LM-1 locks up a beat like nothing else.

    I really don't know beans about it, that's just what he said in an interview I read.
     
  5. UnderTheGroove

    UnderTheGroove Supporting Member

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    I'd say if you want to do programming, definately go for software. If you just want some basic beats to jam or throw down song ideas, get some drum loops. Personally, I'd only look at drum machines if you were going to be working away from a computer.
     
  6. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Another vote for software drums. Besides BFD and DFH, the studio standards, ReelDrums looks interesting.

    FWIW, I have a td10/pintech kit, which can be used alone or to trigger SW via midi.
     
  7. ap1

    ap1 Member

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    Thanks for the input, folks. Much appreciated...
     
  8. livedead13

    livedead13 Member

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    I vote for Reason with the Reason Drum Kits refill.

    or if you want portability, go for a sampler and load your own drum samples.
     
  9. flatfinger

    flatfinger Member

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    The midi is whats going to trigger things and make it happen! The interface and thus the actual programming can be a little clunky on the machine whereas a windows gui and mouse(if the programmers had their caffene) can be allot easier

    I still use an old roland machine sometimes because I put such an investment and learning curve into the interface and know my way around it. I get good results this way.

    There is no yes or no answer here, just what works for you!!:JAM
     
  10. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    Software is easier to tweak. If you want, you can even get close to a "real" sounding performance. The interface with software is easier for me to use, as well. I like BFD, and a small keyboard to trigger. I put down kick, snare, toms, then go back and line things up, and get the fills the way I want them, then add Mr. Hat and Cymbals. Works for me.
     
  11. Sofus

    Sofus Member

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    I've gone with software. Not that difficult to controll from a laptop while gigging either.
     
  12. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    I don't know if anybody else has mentioned this one but it looks really cool, and most importantly easy to use. Its called EZDrummer, and you can check it out on www.ezdrummer.com Speaking from past experience, software like Battery were you have to play the beats with a keyboard is a MAJOR pain in the ass, and not easy to do. Getting those C.D's with sampled loops and fills is a lot cooler and realistic sounding, but one of the hard things is pasting in fills etc. I don't know to much about drum machines, but my take on it is the more work you have to put in to those things the less I like it. From what I have heard the EZDrummer gives you best of both worlds. You can paste beats with Midi or Wav, or if you like you can program and play along with a keyboard. If anybody gets one of these before me, let me know how it sounds, because as soon as I get the 150 I am gonna snatch it up.
     
  13. ap1

    ap1 Member

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    So with ezdrummer, a midi controller isn't necessary? This is something else I've been confused about; I take it that with most of the software packages, you need a midi controller to trigger the sounds. But aren't there alternatives, e.g. using the mouse in lieu of a controller? And isn't there any software that simply comes with ready-made loops that just require a little tweaking by throwing in fills and so on?

    I've also heard that an enormous amount of RAM is required in order for drum software to work properly. Can anyone weigh in on this? Doesn't it depend on how much detail one wants?
     
  14. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    Yeah you don't need a midi keyboard to work EZDrummer. All you do is find a sound that you like. Click and drag that loop into the track you want. Like I said before using those keyboards to do drums is a major pain in the ass, and doens't sound to good either unless your Neil Peart with your hands. I am no expert on EZDrummer, because I don't even have it yet, so go to that website and check it out before.
     
  15. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux Member

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    I'm pretty much in the same boat. I'm looking for something that will let me record preset drum patterns, then add my own bass lines with a keyboard and trigger the intro, verse, chorus, and drum fills on the fly. I've tried software based stuff like Jammer Pro and Band in a Box but with these you're pretty much limited to the stock rhythms and accompaniment. I'm strongly leaning toward the Boss DR-880. Any suggestions?
     
  16. homerayvaughan

    homerayvaughan Supporting Member

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    I was looking at the BR 880, but for $495! I am looking at software as well.
     
  17. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Once you have everything as MIDI notes you can send it to s/w or outboard. There is no easy way, AFAIK, to create realistic, varied drum accompaniment.
    My preference for input sources:
    -drummer with MIDI kit
    -DIY Midi kit or MIDI pads (Yam dd series for instance)
    -hitting those little drum machine buttons
    -keyboard of a MIDI instrument
    -keyboard of the computer
    -and finally mousing every stinkin stroke into place and adjusting the velocity/layers/sounds:mad: :eek: :messedup :NUTS :crazy :rolleyes: :FM :worried
     
  18. ZenFly06

    ZenFly06 Member

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    My preferred workflow is:
    write the song.
    Record a scratch guitar track to a click.
    Play "real drums" via a Vdrums kit (roland vPro) record midi to Sonar
    Record other instruments/vocals
    Rewire GigaStudio Ensemble Larry Seyer drums
    Figure out which set works with the song
    copy the original midi track X as many drums in the Larry Seyer set
    solo out each drum and freeze midi track in Sonar
    Bounce to Track each drum so they are on seperate un-frozen audio tracks
    Mix

    This is a decent way to achieve very realistic drums with human feel and timing, the LS drums are light years better sounding than the roland kit, but I'm much more adept at playing drums than keyboards.

    The Freeze/bounce tracks bit allows using extremely deep samples one at a time without "freezing" the PC.

    In the past I've used Oberhiem DX drum machine, Boss DR660, and Roland SPD-8 drum pads (real time playing).

    YMMV.
     
  19. Guyote

    Guyote Member

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    Might look at a Korg PadKontrol for 200 bucks. It comes with a specially developed set of ToonTraks drum samples, enough to get you started. Both the Korg unit and the drum samples have been getting great reviews. You can always buy more samples at your discretion if you want to expand on the freebies that come with the PadKontrol.

    http://www.korg.com/gear/info.asp?a_prod_no=KPC1

    G
     
  20. gregit

    gregit Member

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    I had a BR-880 for a while then sold it when I went DAW. IMO the 880 is a pain to program and not nearly as flexible as BFD, Reason, etc...
     

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