of the drums to re-record a new part. Automatic correction of note positions through the use of ‘quantising’ can also be easily performed with MIDI, although I always try to get a good performance which I don’t need to correct so that I keep a human-sounding performance and personal style. On the rare occasions I do quantise, I rarely apply the full 100%, preferring values of under 80%. Now, on to the Emotional Vertigo recording. Here’s how we did it: 1. I created a stereo audio track in Sonar and dragged and dropped the MP3 backing song in at bar 1 beat 1. 2. I connected the MIDI out of the TD-4 kit to the MIDI in of the audio interface; in this case, a Roland UA-25EX USB audio/MIDI interface. 3. I set the song tempo to match the beats per minute of the MP3 I’d been sent (ask for this!). If they’ve correctly bounced their track down from a bar, it should line up perfectly and remain in sync the whole song. If not, use the visual waveform of the backing track as a guide to whether it lines up with the bar lines and listen to the track with the click to confirm they are in time. Most professional sequencing programmes now also let you create a ‘tempo map’ or flexible click to suit any piece of music if the original was not done to a set BPM. 4. I then created a MIDI track below the audio track and set its MIDI in port to match the TD-4’s connection; in this case, UA25EX port 1. I set the MIDI ‘channel’ to the standard drum channel of 10. Into this track, I also inserted the Superior Drummer 2.0 plug-in which I would
Creating a song: Superior Drummer screen and audio and MIDI files (opposite) and various takes (above). use as my drum sounds for the song. 5. I connected the audio outputs left and right of the TD-4 into two separate inputs of the UA-25EX for stereo sound so I could monitor while playing in real time, without any delay or ‘latency’. Most modern recording interfaces allow this ‘direct’ via a switch on the front panel. 6. Monitoring through headphones or an external amplifier, I played back the song from the start and adjusted the volume so that the backing track and my drums were balanced. This is a good time to turn the click on and set its level to help guide me (see box). 7. Once I had an initial take, I listened to a few similarly styled/sounding reference songs in iTunes for some sound and playing ideas, then listened back to my take, adjusted drum sounds and levels, saved my kit settings and made mental notes of what worked and what didn’t. I
Long-distance collaboration set to increase Advances in software are enhancing opportunites for long-distance collaboration between drummers and other musicians, according to Andreas Sundgren, chief executive of Toontrack Music. “When we started developing virtual instruments in 2003, they were almost exclusively the domain of professional or semi-pro producers with heavy computer rigs. The plug-ins were used to replace the presence of a drummer in the studio.
accomplished professionals. He cites Harry Stinson, a drummer who has worked with artists like Dolly Parton, Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle, and who recorded the samples and MIDI for the Nashville EZX for EZdrummer.
“Now, six years later, the revolution in computer standards and the strong development of electronic playing pads has opened up to an entirely different picture,” he says.
“After having finished the Nashville EZX, he started using that in conjunction with a Hart Dynamics kit to deliver MIDI files for sessions in LA. The producer would send him backing tracks, Harry would record MIDI using EZdrummer and the Nashville EZX and the producer would then use the same combination of software and expansion pack to re-create the drumtrack in the studio,” he explains.
Sundgren explains that the software and sample library are now the “sound source for the player rather than a replacement”. Furthermore, the tools enjoy multiple use from beginner level to the most
Sundgren predicts a continuing growth of this way of working in the future – “both as a solution for pros, but also as a fun and creative way of interacting between musicians on all levels”.
digitalDRUMMER, JANUARY 2010