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Real Drums Vs. Computer Drums Challenge. Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 13th December 2018
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Real Drums Vs. Computer Drums Challenge.

Gentlemen! Ladies! Both or neither!

I've run across some amount of debate over the virtues of tracking a real live drummer versus using one of the more popular drum programs like BFD or Superior Drummer or Steven Slate Drums.

Some call using programmed drums cheating. Some say you can't program drums for rock music. Some say that in this day and age, you can't tell a difference. Some say, "I don't have access to a drummer or a good room or the equipment to record good drum tracks, so I use the software."

There are many who poo poo the methods of others while extolling the virtues of their own methods.

Let's do an informal experiment.

The challenge: below I have put up a rough mix of a song I'm working on for my own chitts and giggles. I either recorded a real live drummer playing real live drums using real live mics in a real live room, or I programmed the drum tracks and employed one of those multi-output drum programs.

My question to you is, which is it? Real drums or computer drums?

To obfuscate matters a little more, I am a drummer. I've been playing for almost 30 years. When I program drum tracks, like I do from time to time, I use the same approach to writing parts that I use behind a drum kit.

I mentioned in another post that I suffered the loss of my personal drum kit some time back. This is the reason I started exploring the world of computer drums in the first place. I do, however, have access to drums via other facilities than my home.

I'm interested to see how this plays out. Thanks in advance for playing.

-J
Attached Files

For Douglas no 1 rough.mp3 (6.12 MB, 2440 views)

Old 13th December 2018
  #2
Gear Nut
 

Drums sound good to me...snare and kick not punching hard enough for me and are drowned out by the guitar a bit, but not sure what else to say accept waiting for the reveal.
I think the biggest issue with software drums is the feel, not so much the sounds if one knows what one is doing.

Eric
Old 13th December 2018
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xcycle View Post
Drums sound good to me...snare and kick not punching hard enough for me and are drowned out by the guitar a bit, but not sure what else to say accept waiting for the reveal.
I think the biggest issue with software drums is the feel, not so much the sounds if one knows what one is doing.

Eric
Yeah. I still have vocals to record and a guitar solo. I still have some punches to do on the bass guitar track. This is just my working mix.

With everything tuned down to C standard, I can already tell I've got to do some work in the bass and low-mid end of the spectrum.

Feel is definitely the hardest part of working with MIDI drums.
Old 13th December 2018
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Too bad it’s a drum part without a steady hat and ride as that’s most-always the giveaway to me.

That said, being one who hasn’t done any drum programming in today’s world, I have a feeling if these were programmed, everything would already be perfectly in time.

Either way though, they sounded great. I don’t think anyone argues that today’s programmed drums don’t sound great a lot of times. However, I’m already tired of it all sounding the same! It amazes me too considering all the possibilities today!
Old 13th December 2018
  #5
Fun concept! I don't personally take issue with how drum tracks are made, be it sequenced, played, sampled, beat detective'd, etc, so I guess I don't have any real skin in the game, but I do like the idea behind the thread. So, here's my take...

The drums sound a bit stiff to me, especially for the style. If I had to guess, I'd say they're either programmed or they've been augmented in some way (via samples or editing). The cymbals and tom rolls are particularly bland and kind of lifeless to my ears. Again, this has more to do with my personal preferences for drumming in this sort of stoner rock, rather than any hard and fast rule about how drums "should" be. Such consistency and stiffness would work great in a LOT of other rock genres, but I want a bit more sleaze and looseness in my stowner rawk.

On the other hand, i wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find out i'm totally wrong and that this is a totally natural performance (btw, if that's the case, you've got some SERIOUSLY consistent hands and GREAT time, my man!). I've heard plenty of examples of really great programing, and i've been convinced many times that a programmed performance was a live take. I've also heard my fair share of crap drum performances. Ha.
Old 13th December 2018
  #6
Gear Head
 

Programmed. But I have little confidence in that assessment. Press roll seems too consistent both times its played.

For me its not a matter of programmed drums being able to be convincing. They definitely are. Its just that for music I like to listen to I like to hear what people are bringing out of their instrument. I feel the same about overly processed recordings much of the time. Striping the humanity away leaves me cold.
Old 13th December 2018
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrovertigo View Post
Programmed. But I have little confidence in that assessment. Press roll seems too consistent both times its played.

For me its not a matter of programmed drums being able to be convincing. They definitely are. Its just that for music I like to listen to I like to hear what people are bringing out of their instrument. I feel the same about overly processed recordings much of the time. Striping the humanity away leaves me cold.
Yeah 100% agree, it sounds totally real, but lifeless somehow, using a midi kit can help but even then there is a mechanicalness to the sounds, real sound is more random.
Old 13th December 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
 

I'd say the drums are programmed.
Old 13th December 2018
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teofunk View Post
I'd say the drums are programmed.
Any particular reason?

Last edited by Mag J; 13th December 2018 at 01:31 PM.. Reason: stoopid auto correct
Old 13th December 2018
  #10
REAL or FAKE?

Old 13th December 2018
  #11
Gear Addict
 

MagJ, interesting thread.

I just did a fake drum part using my personal "programming style", to partecipate to the discussion.

here is it:
Attached Files

drums_.mp3 (450.1 KB, 1702 views)

Old 13th December 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 

Whether programmed or played, the drums sound quite stiff and ungroovy to my ears.........

I have heard programmed drums that groove really hard and plenty of real performances that feel terrible.

There is no right way and taste is everything...........

A great drummer would make this track feel MUCH better.
Old 13th December 2018
  #13
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronsmith View Post
REAL or FAKE?

Sampled
Old 13th December 2018
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimi777 View Post
MagJ, interesting thread.

I just did a fake drum part using my personal "programming style", to partecipate to the discussion.

here is it:
You have some great natural rhythm there don't you
Old 13th December 2018
  #15
Lives for gear
 
roger's Avatar
 

Looped samples. And a short loop at that. More imigination and/or a longer loop would sound a bit more human.
Old 13th December 2018
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronsmith View Post
You have some great natural rhythm there don't you
the trick that works for me is moving some hits of a 1/(small number) on the time grid and playing with note velocity to avoid the machine gun effect or monotony in the dynamism. Also a touch of reverb helps.

But to be honest I'm a fan of the Marco Minnemann drums style so probabily trying to Minnemannize the track a bit (for what is possible) is the main ingredient for me.
I have his official 50 minutes drums solo (drum only) derived from the Normalizer 2 album, it is a WOW! experience to listen. Also "Above the Roses", "Schattenspiel ", "Life of Dante" (metal progressive here), , the "LMR" project with Jordan Rudess, and the work with Aristocrats.
But I love also Dave Lombardo; Mike Portnoy and Danny Carey
Old 13th December 2018
  #17
Gear Addict
I'm going to vote programmed. Something about the ride cymbal sounds too similar on each hit, and if my ears are good enough to tell, I'd say it's programmed without using bleed options.

The kit sounds a bit too separated to be a real kit somehow.

Could be wrong of course, I've never heard your drumming before or recording, but I'm fairly confident
Old 13th December 2018
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post

A great drummer would make this track feel MUCH better.
That's exactly it. However...those can be hard to come by.

With the amount of editing I am having to do on our last session, I almost would have preferred using VST drums.

It's like when bands talk about how they want to do it live, or they think they can get things tracked super fast. "Black Sabbath did their first album in two days, including mixing!" ... Yes, Black Sabbath was also playing multiple times a week and rehearsing as well... AC/DC used to come in to record AFTER playing a gig and sometimes would play 2 gigs in a day! That's MUCH different than your band that rehearses for 3 hours a week if you're lucky...Some bands today can certainly do it, most can't.

Sorry, bit of a rant there.
Old 13th December 2018
  #19
Lives for gear
They sound programmed, but even if they weren't, it's no high accomplishment to make live drums sound like programmed drums.
Old 13th December 2018
  #20
Gear Addict
 
dcwave's Avatar
 

My main issues with programmed drums (and I use them a lot) is the cymbals. there just isn't enough variation in hits. I have a friend that is a pro session drummer that also runs a studio and he can always tell programmed drums by the sound of the ride. and if the same crash is hit more than 2x in a row he says it sounds fake.
Old 13th December 2018
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

I'd say that they are programmed.
Sounds fine by the way!
Old 13th December 2018
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcwave View Post
My main issues with programmed drums (and I use them a lot) is the cymbals. there just isn't enough variation in hits.
Yes.

I find useful to change note velocity.
This is the best I can do with a programmed ride, I think.
Attached Files

ride test.mp3 (167.4 KB, 1382 views)

Old 13th December 2018
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

"Programmed" drums were used for this and I'm quite pleased...

Everything Is Going Strange, a song by AKA|michael on Spotify
Old 13th December 2018
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

Okay. I posted this 14 hours ago. I figure I'll let it go for the full day (in 10 hours) and then I'll do the reveal.
Old 13th December 2018
  #25
Sounds programmed to me. Does not sound like a *typical* live drummer at all to me. More cymbals would cement this idea, as they are more of a dead giveaway.
Old 13th December 2018
  #26
Gear Addict
 
dcwave's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimi777 View Post
Yes.

I find useful to change note velocity.
This is the best I can do with a programmed ride, I think.
yeah... i change velocity, move hits +/- but my drummer buddy can always tell. he says it's just too static sounding, too one dimensional in the way it feels, like its the same hit, just eq'd different between louder and softer hits.

Thankfully, the fans don't know or care.
Old 13th December 2018
  #27
Gear Head
 

Sounds programmed to me as well. If I’m wrong and this is the sound/feel you’re going for then I’d suggest just using programmed drums as it will get you to this sound/feel much faster and less expensively than using a live kit.
Old 13th December 2018
  #28
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
Programmed. Cymbals and snare roll are the giveaway. If it's not, your drumming sounds programmed.
Old 13th December 2018
  #29
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag J View Post
Gentlemen! Ladies! Both or neither!

I've run across some amount of debate over the virtues of tracking a real live drummer versus using one of the more popular drum programs like BFD or Superior Drummer or Steven Slate Drums.

Some call using programmed drums cheating. Some say you can't program drums for rock music. Some say that in this day and age, you can't tell a difference. Some say, "I don't have access to a drummer or a good room or the equipment to record good drum tracks, so I use the software."

There are many who poo poo the methods of others while extolling the virtues of their own methods.

Let's do an informal experiment.

The challenge: below I have put up a rough mix of a song I'm working on for my own chitts and giggles. I either recorded a real live drummer playing real live drums using real live mics in a real live room, or I programmed the drum tracks and employed one of those multi-output drum programs.

My question to you is, which is it? Real drums or computer drums?

To obfuscate matters a little more, I am a drummer. I've been playing for almost 30 years. When I program drum tracks, like I do from time to time, I use the same approach to writing parts that I use behind a drum kit.

I mentioned in another post that I suffered the loss of my personal drum kit some time back. This is the reason I started exploring the world of computer drums in the first place. I do, however, have access to drums via other facilities than my home.

I'm interested to see how this plays out. Thanks in advance for playing.

-J
I've not read any other comments in order to respond without influence. They definitely sound programmed to me...

Tony
Old 13th December 2018
  #30
Gear Head
 

first "hit"on the ride and i initially thought: not real for sure.
btw, if one want to cheat he would most likely "play" the hihat as you did (are there any hats?)
cymbals move in the room, and with traditional recoding technics this fact alone will produce millions of effects in combination with other acoustic
sources.
my tip: dont mimic, tecno drums are fine, but they are what they are with all advantages, but they never will be the real thing.
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