Monday, March 3, 2008

Pimp my Beats

I'm sure many of you that use hydrogen or play drums, have made several beats which just lack spunk. So, in this post, I'm going to show you a very simple way of turning your bland beats into slightly funkier ones.

Here is an .MP3 of a simple beat which is currently unpimped: Plain.mp3 (415kB)

You can pimp this beat by adding what is called a 'drag' at the end of the bar. This is done in Hydrogen by adding two 32nd snare notes just at the end of the bar and one on the first beat (see figure below).

The three 32nd snare notes must be significantly quieter than the other snare notes. Also, each 32nd note should be a slightly different volume to make it sound more human.

Take a listen to the new pimped up version of the previous beat: Drag.mp3 (416 kB)

Real drummers hardly ever play straight ordinary beats. They often add frills and cymbals to the straight forward beats just to spice them up a bit. So I encourage you to use the drag technique on any beat which sounds like it was played by Sony.

Another important tip is to remember that humans have only two arms and two feet (generally). This means that your programmed drum beats should have no more than two hand hits and two foot hits at any one time. Note: this does not apply when recording a cover of one of Def Leppard's songs.

Lastly, and most importantly, drummers typically have a weaker hand. This hand will produce a softer note, so if you are using two hands on a drum, make sure the each alternate note is softer. This will make it sound a hundred times more human.

Other posts you might find interesting:
How to make a Hydrogen Drumkit
Making a Roll Sound Realistic
Multiple Outputs for Hydrogen
My Attempt at a Hydrogen Drumkit
Hydrogen Drumkits


Post Paint Boy said...

Awesome advice. Thank you!

Also, maybe you can answer a related question that I've been wondering about: how does one program good rolls with a drum machine? They typically tend to sound like AK-47s firing off rounds. Is there a specific way to modify the loudness of each hit?

Brian said...

There is definitely a certain way to edit each hit's volume. It's actually quite a good topic to write on, so I will explain it in my next post.


Brian said...

Check out my post called:

Making a Roll Sound Realistic