What gear do I need?

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Here’s an article about it. The software will know what drum to play when you hit F# on the keyboard vs D

https://macprovideo.com/article/audio-software/everything-producers-need-to-know-about-drum-maps

dzd's picture
dzd

cajon with "snare" wires and tape a tamborine to the side, or just stomp on it Wink ....make handy guitar stools too Wink ..........oh you said keyboard Wink

with any plug-in mentioned above...there's all sorts of percussion options or some of the digital pianos not necessarily midi capable have preset drum patterns/voicings you can set tempo/key change, etc,...........or just run it through some pedals Wink

dzd's picture
dzd

@Fuzzy I just hope once/if you do go the midi controller/plug-in route you don't get sick when you realize how easy it is to throw some same old same old together once you get a handle on the basics hahah.

Maybe, @dzd, maybe, although I do tend to go with off-label usage pretty often with instruments and software.
I like to find ways to twist stuff around.

dzd's picture
dzd

@Fuzzy Yeah I think you'll be alright Wink Just don't get lost in swirly whirlies and forget to eat hah!

sph's picture
Donatedsph

Old guitar pickup like from ca 1965, @Dragondreams? Let's see what I come up with Wink

http://files.fawmers.org/5090_2020/sph/WheelPlusPU.jpg

IA's picture
DonatedIA

Yes, I use Addictive Drums, and love them. Usually play kick and snare first and then overdub cymbals.

There are many drums VSTs tho. Superior Drummer is also very well liked.

dzd's picture
dzd

@sph Perfect! You'll be surprised even what the far side will sound like as it resonates.......I'd recommend a mic over the whole contraption as well Wink
have fun! I'm jealous hahaha

@sph - that'll do it. Wink
Try sitting the actual spindle of the wheel on top of one of the pups too. Smile

dzd's picture
dzd

@sph just thinking out loud here, but yeah the spindle on the pups, or even wedging it in there so an entire spoke runs across the entirely of a pup or several, if you don't want to get into dismantling the thing and doing some welding Wink and gets all 6 poles, or if strip magnet, not familiar with what lies underneath those pup covers Smile

I haven't read all the thread up to now but have seen the emphasis on daw and vst. Though if you want a quick little mess around with what Audacity can do I'll give you a few pointers.

Dont worry, I dont have a cats ears about what I'm doing on software either. I just mess about with stuff until it sounds like anything I like.

Audacity has a menu at the top that contains loads of effects. Paulstretch, pitch change, change speed, reverb, delay, and tons of others. One day I was annoyed that I had to pay money to get all the good intuitive stuff and eventually caved and bought fl20.

I use only limited things in it. I experimented mostly until it became clearer what I could do to change anything.

Okay so these are the only things I use. Bear in mind I am no way a producer or a sound technician.

FL studio - Sytrus and all those weird knobs and dials, master effects (the thing where you can set preset track effects like Fruity reverb, aoundgoodizer compressor), piano roll

I place a one take recording from my dictaphone into audacity/fl20 and just go haywire with the above until I make something I like the sound of. I'll do different tracks like guitar, drums, vocals, etc sometimes. But mostly just go crazy and see what sounds good.

Of course you're wanting more pre effects and modifications. Well I'm not all clued up on that but deffo want to learn how to do it. So when I come across methods I like it's guaranteed I will be using something like that somehow.

In the meantime, maybe do stuff that's natural to you, like whatever instruments you have, voice, etc and see what different things you can do 'live' if it were. Like banging your hand on the base of an acoustic guitar, impressions of actors and TV characters.i like goofy sounding stuff and it may be apparent in a few of my pre-5090 tracks if you take a listen.

For an example of me using all of the above effects, check out the first two tracks on my playlist on my yt channel:

https://youtu.be/DdNfH02Dg-0

Sorry I couldn't provide the answer you were after, but I'm after similar solutions to you and just went with the methods I knew for now until funds/inclination arrive Smile

Edited a few words

Another comment to add about your question about keyboards - I have one that is the plug and play sort that doesn't link to a computer. my keyboard has presets which you press in a number on a keypad to select them. E.g. 1 being piano, 27 being cowbell, 56 being synth etc. A nice thing I have on there is a button that looks like a vynil. I press it and it changes the keys to preset DJ sounds. Scratching, samples, and a drum loop in different speeds. It's a lotta fun to use. The keyboard itself was used from a pawn shop, for 35 quid I think it were. It's the sort we used to have in school music lessons, but doesn't have keys missing from kids wanting to find out if it really is as sturdy as the teacher claimed Wink haha
I haven't checked if it has a drum kit on there, but I'll see if I can find one and use it on one of my future tracks, maybe I could let you know how it goes?

@Fuzzy since you mentioned you didn't know what a MIDI controller was, I'll give a detailed explanation, I hope you don't mind.

You can think of MIDI as a way in which electronic objects communicate instructions about notes. A MIDI instruction has no sound associated with it; it's just an instruction like "start playing middle C now", or "stop playing middle C now". That's the core of what does, saying when to play notes, and which notes to play.

You probably know that if you tell a pianist to play middle C it will sound very different than telling a saxophonist to play middle C. The same happens with MIDI: you need a way of converting the MIDI note to something audible, and depending on what you choose it will sound different. For example you could use a synthesizer to make sounds from MIDI notes, and depending on how you adjust the synthesizer it will sound different.

A MIDI controller is just "something" that sends MIDI notes. It could look like a piano, and when you press the C key it will send a C MIDI note. But it could also look like an 8x8 grid of buttons, or even a headband that sends different notes as you move your head around. If you plug the MIDI controller to the synthesizer it would send note instructions to it, and the synthesizer would play them out for you. Again, MIDI has no sound, so we need something to translate the instructions into audio — a MIDI instrument.

Another type of MIDI instrument is the sampler. While a synthesizer produces its own sounds on the fly, a sampler has one or more records of sounds. Imagine recording with a microphone all the notes from a piano, one at a time. You could load these recording (samples) into the sampler, and then use your MIDI controller so that when you play C on the controller it will send that information to the sampler, which will then playback the recording of the corresponding C note on the piano! You could do the same with recordings of a saxophone, and now you would be able to play the saxophone using the piano keys in your controller, without knowing how to play a saxophone.

You can do the same with weird sounds, anything you imagine. And you usually don't need to record every note: samplers are usually smart enough to extrapolate the information. With some samplers you can just record a single note, and it will repitch it across all the keys, so you can even play it polyphonically.

So now back to your question: how do you play drums on the keyboard?

First, you need a MIDI controller. Let's say you have a MIDI controller that has piano keys. When you press the keys, it will send MIDI information about each note.

Second, you need a way of translating those notes into drums sounds. An easy way is to run a VST (software plugin) in your computer for that, and there are a few free good options: https://www.musictech.net/guides/buyers-guide/freeware-drum-machines/

You would then configure the VST so that each note that you send from the MIDI controller triggers a different sound in the drum kit. For example, C might be the kick, C# the snare, etc. (A cool thing about drum machines is that they have a concept called mute groups: if you play the open high hat and play the closed high hat while the first hit is still going on it will mute the first one, reproducing the behavior of a real drum kit.)

Some keyboards (an example: https://www.amazon.com/Akai-Professional-MPK-Performance-Ready-8-Assignable/dp/B00IJ6QAO2) have in addition to the piano keys a grid of square pads, which are used for playing the drums. They will also send MIDI notes, and can used to play any MIDI instrument. Drum pads have better velocity sensitivity, which is great for playing drums, but you don't need them.

That's basically it. One thing I didn't mention is that MIDI contains more information than just which notes are playing and when to play them. As you can imagine, there's more to music interpretation than that. MIDI also tells how strong to hit a key, if there's vibrato, or if a note should be pitched, for example.

Thank you, @Elesimo, that is a perfect explanation.
I guess what I'm really looking for is a sampler, then.

IA's picture
DonatedIA

Addictive Drums drums is a very good sampler.

You can also use sampled sounds with a sequencer. Basically, you tell the sequencer which sample (sound) you want played on which channel & at what time. Often you can mix in effects as well (Reverb, Chorus, Distortion, &c…).

Trackers (which is the Computer Music background I come from), are basically complex sequencers. Tracker files are small in size (compared to WAV or even MP3 files) because, like MIDI, a tracker file just has information regarding what note to play when & by what sample (instrument). Tracker music (usually saved in *.mod; *.xm or even *.it files) was the backbone of music in Video Games in the nineties & even into the early 2000's because the file sizes were so small & the audio results were so good.

Now-a-days, modern trackers integrate MIDI & VST technology & can compete with most DAWs for production value. Albeit, the way they go about making their sounds is completely different from your standard DAW (don't expect to see your usual DAW timeline & WAV diagrams). It's a different headspace & UI, but it can give you some interesting results. Tho, you do have to understand HEX code - which can be a little bit intimidating for some. The "tracker" I use, Jeskola Buzz, goes beyond the limitations of traditional trackers. It's modular approach to composition & its powerful Peer Control Machines make it (& its clones, like Buzé) rather unique. But Buzz has a steep learning curve if you don't have that Tracker background. Especially if you're coming at it from a traditional DAW workflow.

I could see you having a lot of fun with a sampler & a sequencer, @Fuzzy. They would be right up your alley.

See You In The Shadows…

You can also use sampled sounds with a sequencer. Basically, you tell the sequencer which sample (sound) you want played on which channel & at what time. Often you can mix in effects as well (Reverb, Chorus, Distortion, &c…).

Trackers (which is the Computer Music background I come from), are basically complex sequencers. Tracker files are small in size (compared to WAV or even MP3 files) because, like MIDI, a tracker file just has information regarding what note to play when & by what sample (instrument). Tracker music (usually saved in *.mod; *.xm or even *.it files) was the backbone of music in Video Games in the nineties & even into the early 2000's because the file sizes were so small & the audio results were so good.

Now-a-days, modern trackers integrate MIDI & VST technology & can compete with most DAWs for production value. Albeit, the way they go about making their sounds is completely different from your standard DAW (don't expect to see your usual DAW timeline & WAV diagrams). It's a different headspace & UI, but it can give you some interesting results. Tho, you do have to understand HEX code - which can be a little bit intimidating for some. The "tracker" I use, Jeskola Buzz, goes beyond the limitations of traditional trackers. It's modular approach to composition & its powerful Peer Control Machines make it (& its clones, like Buzé) rather unique. But Buzz has a steep learning curve if you don't have that Tracker background. Especially if you're coming at it from a traditional DAW workflow.

I could see you having a lot of fun with a sampler & a sequencer, @Fuzzy. They would be right up your alley.

See You In The Shadows…

IA's picture
DonatedIA

By the way, Analog Lab 4 is now 50% off. I had to get it. But I bought it at their site and just realized that pluginboutique is also throwing in RX 7 Elements by Izotope. Damn!

Well, if you're interested, get it here. The synths are to die for.
https://www.pluginboutique.com/products/5324-Analog-Lab

To reinforce @IAs comment, there's tons of Analog Lab on my songs. It's a glorious collection of sounds. 50% off is a bargain!

@Fuzzy On the bleeps and bloops front take a look at the Korg Monotron series. They're little ribbon controlled VCO analog synths that make all sort of bloopy sounds. So here's a super simple explanation: A VCO synth (voltage controlled oscillator) uses a voltage to control some aspect of the sound (pitch, vibrato, volume, etc.) The cool thing about that is you don't really need to know exactly how it works to get some good sounds. It doesn't really matter what creates the controlling voltage either. For example in college we used to take the output of a microphone (super weak voltage) amplify it (increase the voltage) and plug it into the pitch input of an analog synth. So the louder we sang or spoke into it, the higher the pitch got.

Basically what I'm saying is you just plug stuff into other stuff and see what you get. Just google cheap analog synthesizers and you can find a lot of them. If you do go the midi route, there are digital simulations of an analog synth out there too - like other people have mentioned (Analog Lab that @headfirstonly mentioned for example). BTW I used Alchemy (almost exclusively) which came with my DAW on my first two songs this year.

Further to @IA's post, Arturia have knocked 50% off ALL their software synths as part of their 20th anniversary sale. If you want to pick up a glorious Mellotron emulation, fancy yourself as a budding Fairlight CMI programmer, or just want to rock out with a Hammond B-3 like Tony Banks or Keith Emerson, now's the time: https://www.arturia.com/summer-20

Hey Fuzzy I've only just seen this thread.
Now, you've heard my stuff and how wild it gets, well that's because I use all sorts of gear hardware and software but I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing with it. Basically all you need is a spirit of adventure, if you read the manuals for all this stuff you end up making music like every one else. I know you wouldn't want that, and nor would I.

IA's picture
DonatedIA

Once you know the rules, you know how to break them and get just what you want. Smile

That's my outlook too, @G3 Darnell. Ignore the "official" approach to software and instruments and go off-label to see how far I can push it.

I'll second that @G3 Darnell & @Fuzzy!

See You In The Shadows…

I used a large steel kitchen mixing bowl with water in it as a percussion instrument for a FAWM song this year. I noticed the sound it made while I was doing the dishes. It sounded like a frog when I eq’d it with a good reverb level so I used it in a song about a frog.

The kitchen is full of noises. It’s getting noise to sit in the mix that I find tricky.

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