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using drum loops?
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Author using drum loops?
chamomileshark
After a couple of years of incorporating drums in my music I gave up. That was nearly 40 years ago. I went beatless because basically all my drum tracks sounded crap.

I'm now wondering about using MIDI or audio drum loops.

Does anyone else here do this?

Do you use them as they are, or do you use them to start you off and then construct something of your own?
TranscendMoreDimensions
I'm terrible with drums as well. Always have a hard time coming up with a beat. I'm using a Digitakt loaded with Samples From Mars right now for making ambient/downtempo. For acoustic drums I use BFD3.

As much as I hate doing it, I now try to start my compositions off with the drums and try to build around that. Normally, I'd do all the synth parts and everything else and then try to force some drum beat in and make it fit. Now I at least try to have a very basic beat going in.
BenA718
I do not, I have too much fun using drum machines! When I am using my DAW I will sometimes start with Logic Drummer and then alter the loop to taste but I’ve fallen away from doing that the last couple of years. When playing live I much prefer using drum machines or drum modules.
xthrasherx
I think it largely depends on the type of music you are making. I’m not a drummer, so for tracks where I want acoustic drums, I’ll start off with a loop that’s close to what i want and tweak from there (jazz, rock, and metal oriented stuff). In electronic music (broadly speaking) the drum voices tend to be simpler meaning fewer voices making it a bit easier to program IMO. Even if your groove is a basic four on the floor techno inspired groove with hats on the off beat and snare/clap on 2&4, there are a lot of tricks to keep it interesting with creative panning and more space in the song to mix other elements. Also check out the book (you can find the pdf online) 260 Drum Machine Patterns by René-Pierre Bardet. Might give you some inspiration and patterns to try or mix together.
CF3
I’m big time into drum programming. I play drums and percussion. Have used macines like MPC’s for decades.... and I still enjoy drum loops*

*But not the canned “apple loops” type of drum loops. I enjoy sampled breaks and deconstructing and manipulating them (think: Drum & Bass production techniques).

REX files are the way to go with drum “loops” (or other similar protocols that allow you to slice and rearrange w/ midi notes). You can take any generic loop and make it interesting in seconds by messing with the midi file. Of course, the same can done just by chopping and splicing the audio, but something like REX files lets you add in midi sequencing tricks like randomization, etc.


In general though, I program everything from the ground up and don’t use loops of anykind (except ones I make myself).
chamomileshark
thanks for the replies - I should have clarified (and I now have done in the OP) that I'm doing ambient, downtempo stuff and may add IDM to that.

So that's more electronic drums than acoustic. Maybe more minimal too.

Since posting I went through some loops I had from Computer Music / Future Music plus some in Groove Agent SE and some other things - found nothing that really appealed! I did try beat slicing and moving stuff around for the first time and that produced something of interest.

It looks as if I'll need to create my own stuff (which is my preference anyway). Hoping to get a Digitakt later this year.

Not really found any instruction stuff for ambient beats online - but maybe that's because it's such an open field.

Oh and I actually have the 200 Drum Machine patterns which looks as if it was more or less volume 1. Shockingly expensive on Amazon UK! Just got the 260 pdf.
WisdomWriter
chamomileshark wrote:

Do you use them as they are, or do you use them to start you off and then construct something of your own?


thats one way to do it. find a tollerable drum loop sample as a "place holder" for tempo, sidechain effects or to even hear how the sound works with drums with it. then once you feel satisfied with your production. get rid of the place holder drums and find your own samples or create your own samples. then build a drum loop that you want, with your flare and character. the main issue with this though is depending on the sample, adding soemting in later may not sound "right" due to feeling like the "place holder" drums started to mesh well. so there are trade offs.

ill make melodies and sometimes try to fit drums in and it just ruins the mood of the melody. so i just add a drone bass or something like that.
lisa
I love making my own beats but now and then I’ll import a funk drum loop in one of my projects just to enjoy the vibe for a while. Funk drummers are ace. we're not worthy
felixer
CF3 wrote:
I’m big time into drum programming. I play drums and percussion.

this is key. the only really good programming i've heard comes from people who can actually play the real thing ...
as for drumloops: the way i use drums is that i always have an idea about chords/melodies/sounds before i even think of drums. so i'll have to find a drumloop that fits ... which is very hard (try finding a drumloop in 9/8). much easier to program the thing ...
methinks the best way is to start with a drumloop and built the rest around that. but then you usually end up with clichees as most drumloops are in 4/4. and fairly simple at that ...
Panason
Layer drum loops with programmed beats, yo
powertran
I have a CD called breakbeat encyclopedia. Its got hundreds of short bar drum breaks on it. I splice and loop them in Renoise. I use Renoise to clock my modular at the same time FYI.

BenA718
Panason wrote:
Layer drum loops with programmed beats, yo

I have started doing this recently, mixing MIDI sequenced drums with Euclidean Circles. Sounds great!
ersatzplanet
As CF4 said above, REX files or Recycle or similar programs are the way to go. They slice up a drum track and assigns each hit to a MIDI note number and then creates a sequence that will play said note slices in the order and timing of the original. If you do nothing to it, you have the original drum loop. The magic is that you can mess with the midi file and do subtle or extreme changes in the loop if you want to. take fills out or extend them. stuff like that.

Recycle is sold as a separate program, and I'm sure there are lots of similar programs out there now, but Recycle and REX files are the king.

I forgot to mention using drum loops in a modular with modules like the Nebulae where you can do realtime tempo changing and pitch changing (doing one without affecting the other) to the loops. I have done a video about using one channel of the nebulae for a drum loop and the other for a beep track to drive a sequencer via a gate detector module. changing the loop speed also changes the sequencer tempo. very useful.

slumberjack
the nord drum is an ace drum module which sounds very good and you can feed midi, (almost any) cv or audio to trigger each of the 6 available sounds individually.
imho it's more important to get good sounding percussion (at least to your ears) than an advanced beat programming. often 3 carefully selected/crafted percussion sound in a minimal arrangement is more appealing to me than a song loaded with an intense drum pattern using all sounds of a specififc drummachine.
alexander92
Using drum loops is fine I guess. Though generally find myself uninspired when I use them & its a bitch to match the tonality/frequency of the loop because of the way they were processed. I myself keep it basic and just use a tr-8. Might upgrade to the tr-8S or analog rytm, though I was not keen on the workflow with the digitakt, sold it after 2 weeks.
BailyDread
i like to use superior drummer 3 and then purchase some funk drumming MIDI loops so I can get the feel of a real drummer. Superior drummer is super flexible and can be used for all kinds of drum duties, and this way I have control over individual acoustic drum sounds. plus there are room mics etc that can all be bussed to individual channels within your DAW etc.

it's a pretty pricy solution but gives the best of both worlds. and if you get a 4 bar loop youre liking but you want the consistency of a looped breakbeat (each 4 bars is an exact copy of the previous), you can sample from it.

it's very easy to arrive at totally authentic sounding breakbeats and loops this way.
nostalghia
Anyone interested in midi drum files should check out groovemonkee.com if you haven't already. Lots of style packs including various funk and breakbeat loops, >500 loops per pack, played by a drummer, not quantized. Grooves, fills, intros/outros in different time signatures, lengths and BPM. Notes mapped for all popular drum software (Superior, BFD, Addictive, Ableton, Battery, Slate, etc). Great quality and variety, normally $19.95 per pack, on sale now thru 7/16 for $12.95 each. Fun stuff to jam along with or use to build a tune. They have some free loops with GM mapping too.

https://groovemonkee.com/collections/midi-loops
calaveras
drum loops can work really well, but like any other kind of loop, you have to either embrace the periodicity of it. Or work really hard to introduce variation.
I did a few things with drum loops where I used 'convert loops to regions' in Logic. Then went back and arbitrarily shortened a bunch of regions, or cut out a few hits. Sounded really nice and organic without losing solidity.


In the more recent versions of Logic and I think also Garageband, Apple has introduced the drummer softsynth. Which works like a drum loop, but you can move the sliders to change the complexity and character of the beat without explicitly changing the pattern.

I'm a (crappy) drummer myself, so I prefer to use drum machines. Luckily drum machines can execute my ideas much better than I can when behind a kit.
peripatitis
I feel bad using drum samples (a set I bought when I got renoise), let alone drum loops and generally don't like going thru sample libraries. Having said that, a lot of the music I was listening growing up had drum loops in them, some times creatively other times blatantly so I guess the outcome can justifiy the use.
Funky40
chamomileshark,

a to me very pleasing and giving way to experiment with Drums and more so "electronic Percussives" is to just setup *super simple* beats and then create the rest over using FX. Mainly Delays.
A nifty Delay on the master, or delays per sound, or anything inbetween.

i more and more experiment with even just one soundsource, prefered: one module, and then i jamm that sound wild.
That goes thru a good Delay ( euro-module).
i might jamm manually the sound OR the delay.
the programmed beat can be SUPER simple !!


i find it super rewarding to see how much mileage one can get out in regards to having nice percussive loops just by using super minimal basic beats and to see what FX can make out of those.

its really simple to get the hang for such techniques.
and those work well vs. programming every tiny detail yourself ( which i´ve donne in my first DAW livetime)
chamomileshark
Funky40 wrote:
chamomileshark,

a to me very pleasing and giving way to experiment with Drums and more so "electronic Percussives" is to just setup *super simple* beats and then create the rest over using FX. Mainly Delays.
A nifty Delay on the master, or delays per sound, or anything inbetween.

i more and more experiment with even just one soundsource, prefered: one module, and then i jamm that sound wild.
That goes thru a good Delay ( euro-module).
i might jamm manually the sound OR the delay.
the programmed beat can be SUPER simple !!


i find it super rewarding to see how much mileage one can get out in regards to having nice percussive loops just by using super minimal basic beats and to see what FX can make out of those.

its really simple to get the hang for such techniques.
and those work well vs. programming every tiny detail yourself ( which i´ve donne in my first DAW livetime)


I've done similar in the past. In Bitwig I automate the time divisions of a delay to create varying patterns.

Since my original post I've tried to make my own rhythm tracks rather than use loops. It's slow going but I'm making some progress.
smithjohn
For an album I did, I made some drum loops myself playing a drum set I had access to. Been thinking about doing it again now that I have a couple of samplers that color the incoming audio. I'm a shitty drummer too but picking the best bar or two and editing works always Mr. Green

Creating drum loops by sampling from my modular should be fun too.
Navs
chamomileshark wrote:
Not really found any instruction stuff for ambient beats online - but maybe that's because it's such an open field.


Orb's lesson 1: "layering different sounds. On top of each other" wink




powertran wrote:
I have a CD called breakbeat encyclopedia. Its got hundreds of short bar drum breaks on it. I splice and loop them in Renoise. I use Renoise to clock my modular at the same time FYI.



Thanks, I enjoyed that. Nice interplay between the music and video, which got pleasantly mad post 2 mins grin
dubonaire
chamomileshark wrote:
Funky40 wrote:
chamomileshark,

a to me very pleasing and giving way to experiment with Drums and more so "electronic Percussives" is to just setup *super simple* beats and then create the rest over using FX. Mainly Delays.
A nifty Delay on the master, or delays per sound, or anything inbetween.

i more and more experiment with even just one soundsource, prefered: one module, and then i jamm that sound wild.
That goes thru a good Delay ( euro-module).
i might jamm manually the sound OR the delay.
the programmed beat can be SUPER simple !!


i find it super rewarding to see how much mileage one can get out in regards to having nice percussive loops just by using super minimal basic beats and to see what FX can make out of those.

its really simple to get the hang for such techniques.
and those work well vs. programming every tiny detail yourself ( which i´ve donne in my first DAW livetime)


I've done similar in the past. In Bitwig I automate the time divisions of a delay to create varying patterns.

Since my original post I've tried to make my own rhythm tracks rather than use loops. It's slow going but I'm making some progress.


This a good tutorial for that.

dubonaire
BailyDread wrote:
i like to use superior drummer 3


That looks like it would be a giant rabbit hole for me!
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