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BFD - sequencing drums?
Old 8th July 2005
Gear Head

Question BFD - sequencing drums?

I'm a rock-head, thats the music i was raised on...

the problem is getting authentic sounding drums without a drummer. Reason doesn't do it great but well enough to play along to and record.

I have read about this programme BFD, looks great and exactly what i need for authentic sounding sequenced drums, 9 different kits, 11 different mic placements etc.

just wondering what people think about it if they have used it.

I mean i can play drums but i do not own a drum kit nor do i have space to record them in my university dorm, nor do i have multiple mics etc etc...

has anybody made an authentic sounding drum part using this programme, or are there any other suggestions other than BFD.
any advice is greatly received
Old 8th July 2005
Gear Addict

I haven't worked that much with BFD, but i have both custom and vintage and DFHS and you can get pretty damn close to authentic drums, provided they are being played by a good drummer on a decent e-drum kit.....keep in mind, your computer needs mega ram for DFHS .....

the bottom line really is ....

if you want authentic drums, use loops or hire someone to play drums for your tunes....or pick up a used kit somewhere and get a basic kick mic and a couple economy overhead mics like the Octava mc012's and bang out some drum parts while you experiment with mic placement in your might be surprised at some of the drum sounds you might get....

don't forget, by the time you purchase the drum software, upgrade your computer, and get some decent e-drum pads, and a good host sequencer, you could have bought yourself a used kit and some cymbals and some mics, and had some fun recording real drums...

I do have a sample of a tune I did with the DFHS Custom and Vintage and a set of Vdrums......."CV Ultrabeat test"
Old 8th July 2005
Lives for gear
mac black's Avatar
I use BFD all the time.

If you want it to sound like a drum kit then the best way is to program it like a drummer would play with velocity and "real" quantize while choosing your sounds carefully .
Then you need to bounce it to audio (all 8 mono seperate drums and 3 stereo for OH/ROOM/PZM) and then treat it like a real kit.

It takes time but well worth it if you haven't got the time for a drummer to come and drop a take for you .

Old 8th July 2005
Lives for gear
max cooper's Avatar

BFD will get you some fairly 'real' sounding drums, but I recommend two things:

The only way to make the drum part sound convincing is to play it in real time and don't quantize it. You can use an electronic kit, a MIDI Kat, a keyboard, whatever... I've never heard a pre-rolled midi part that has anything to do with any song that's in my head, and I'm not Frank Zappa.

Use hardware comps and EQs and a decent converter (24 bit mode helps keep the cymbals from sounding rough...BFD's weakest link, BTW.)

You'll be able to fool a lot of the people most of the time.
Old 9th July 2005
I'll echo the others, here. Even the best drum sounds won't save badlly programmed beats. For some, loops offer a better (and potentially cheaper) way to get good sounding drum parts. For others, like myself, who essentially grew up with drum machines (at least as a recordist), loops just can't offer the flexibility we've come to depend on.

I haven't used DfH (or DKfH, if you prefer), but I've heard lots of good stuff about it.

I got BFD because I got the general impression that it was not as resource-hungry as DfH. But BfD definitely can suck up a chunk of RAM.

I would strongly recommend at least a GB of RAM on the host machine. I was able to limp along on my somewhat modest laptop with 512 MB with the BfD libraries on an external 7200 rpm drive but I ordered an extra GB of RAM the same night I ordered BFD -- and it was definitely the right thing to do. (I had to swap out a 256 chip so now I have 1.25 GB, which seems to be plenty for what I'm doing. My laptop also has a 7200 rpm drive which is where audio files are currently written to. I need to explore to see if there are performance issues moving audio project files to the same drive as BFD's liraries.)

I've had BFD for a month and a half or so. Having a dayjob, I haven't been able to finish any of the projects I've started with it, but I'm generally impressed by the system, particularly being able to dial in varying amounts of distant and room mics. That said, I find myself longing for some dryer sounding rooms. It's great for that John Bonham in the chateau kind of sound but if you want a dry 70's sound, you may have to start gating... how ironic is that? (Okay, it's not irony -- what are we calling it, then? Divine irony? Kismetic irony? [That's my contribution.] Y'all know what I mean. It's just kind of, whatever, to buy a drum system for its ability to mix in room sound and then start using gates to suck up that room sound. Anyhow.)

Maybe if I were to pop for the add on I'd find some drum kits recorded in the kind of drier, carpet on the walls thing I sometimes feel the need for... but it's like another 300 clams or so, I think. (I can hear all the pirates laughing at me as the jerk who can't afford his own scruples. But, hey, that's my dharma and their kharma. Or something.)
Old 9th July 2005
Originally Posted by theblue1
I would strongly recommend at least a GB of RAM on the host machine.
Using it on a Mac as a VST plug-in in Cubase, I found that I absolutely needed 2 GB to get it to run without glitches. (I upgraded my RAM immediately after purchasing it and finding 1 GB didn't cut it).

It is definitely a resource pig.
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