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5 Techniques For Making Your Programmed Drums Sound Realistic

3Unless you have the right friend, or enough money to hire a studio musician, finding and honest-to-goodness drummer for your recording project can be a challenge. Luckily, with the right production techniques, programmed drums can be made to sound almost as realistic.


In this new post to MusicThinkTank, Nick Cesarz offers up five ways in which canned drums can be manipulated in order to give them a more realistic sound on recordings.

"One surefire way to make your drums sound like a machine gun is to have the velocities set to 127 the entire time. Sure, it will be loud and in your face, but your drums will lack any sense of dynamism and will be very robotic. 

I like to go in and randomize the velocities by hand, creating buildups before choruses, lightening up snare hits during verses, and adjusting cymbal hits to sound more realistic. Eighth-note hi-hat and ride patterns, for example, often give more emphasis on the down beat rather than the up-beat. Be sure to keep this in mind when programming parts.
Your DAW may have a feature that allows for humanization, but I have found these functions to often be too random and haven’t provided me what I want. Try it out and see."

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