Archive for the ‘drums’ Category

Play drums like a hero

In drums, music theory, push, sample, software on December 16, 2015 at 14:41

Many hip hop musicians are used to play beats with pad MIDI controllers like Ableton Push, Maschine, or MPC. To be honest, hip hop is not my favorite music style, but I’m envious of their dexterity when playing pads.

Today, I stumbled over Melodics. Melodics is an app like Guitar Hero for Mac and PC. The idea is simple, you are trained to press the right button at the right time in order to create something like  music.

The download of the app is free and there are 20 free lessons. The training starts with simple lessons (with kick and snare), but they become more complex with the time.

Yes, it’s really similar to Guitar Hero.

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

After playing a while, you get a feedback about the precision of your playing. Missed notes and too early or late ones. Gamification, do a job good and reach for that reason the next level.

Melodics: get feedback

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

The lessons are labelled with musical styles. You get a short explanation, what’s typical for the actual  style. There are even fingering tips for each lesson. Great, although they only make sense when playing complex patters.

Melodics: fingering

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

From that perspective, Melodics is like Guitar Hero should be. But what I do miss is the opportunity to create your own stuff with the given samples. An export function or (even better) Ableton Live integration would be nice.

The payment model is not my favourite. You have to pay for month or year. I guess, it’s suitable for beginners, who will – after a few weeks – stop learning with that app and start making their own stuff. For me, occasional users will not be pleased with subscription. I guess, Guitar Hero is paid once, isn’t it?

However, this app makes sense and is really fun. So, give it a try.



Routing NI Maschine into Ableton

In daw, drums, instrument, ni maschine on August 4, 2013 at 16:37

After discussing NI Maschine’s output routing in my post NI Maschine’s (output) routing, we able to map Maschine’s output to different Ableton channels. Let’s see what’s our plan.

Routing each group into different channels.

So, we will rout each Maschine group into a different Ableton channel. Unfortunately there is no automation for this step. You have to select each Maschine group output and choose a different output. I think, you shouldn’t use Out 1, because it’s something like Maschine’s Master channel, but I’m not sure.

Select a different output

When this is done for all groups, you can create new channels in Ableton Live. Each channel get its audio from NI Maschine’s (output) routing and one of its outputs. Don’t forget to choose Monitor in, otherwise you will hear nothing. I think, it’s a good idea to save this settings to a song, so you haven’t to do this in Ableton again. Where there is light, there is also shadow. I shall not hide that you have to map every group to different Maschine outputs for every of your existing projects.

Getting audio from different outputs

That’s all for today. Best regards!


NI Maschine’s (output) routing

In daw, drums, instrument, ni maschine on August 4, 2013 at 15:36

Hello! Yes, I’m back. Today I would like to tell you something about NI Maschine’s default output routing. I was stumbling over this subject while routing every group to a different output channel in Ableton Live. This will be the second part of this series. But everything at its time and on its place.

Maschine's default output routing

This diagram contains the three relevant types. Maschine’s sixteen output channels (green) and the groups (brown) including their sounds (blue). Maschine’s default will route everything to the ‘out 1’ output channel.

Select one of the groups

You can select one group by clicking one block in the upper left area of Maschine’s interface – for example B Synths. The middle section contains the corresponding tabs Master, Group, Sound. Don’t forget that the Master tab is effective for every group and sound. As you can see (default) every sound is routed to its group.

Each group is routed to out 1

This picture shows that every group (per default) is routed to the output channel Out 1.

Different types of sounds.

Actually you can rout every group and sound to everything. Here is an example, how to implement an effect channel.

There are different types of sounds. The normal type is Sampler, but if you choose Input, you can rout the output of everything to this sound, but the Input can not root its output to the Input itself. You can add some effects to this sound, in order to get a common effect channel for some sounds. Yes, I think the label sound in that case is misleading. Anyway… in this example the output name is Drum FX with the letter of the group G.

This channel is available for every sound

This channel is available for every  group

Finally as you can see in the last two pictures, those effect channels are available for every sound and group. I know, these concepts and naming are a bit confusing, but from now on, we can use rout every output to a different channel in Ableton Live. And – of course – there is more stuff for creative routing in NI Maschine. The first one will be shown in the next post.

Best regards!


Generating drum fills

In ableton, drums, midi on January 1, 2013 at 19:54

Today, I like to generate drum fills with the help of Ableton‘s MIDI effects. My starting point is a drum rack with samples I made and a programmed drum pattern:

The drum beat sounds no so bad, but probably a bit boring. I would like to get something like that:

And here is the way I created this drum variations and fills. First of all I grouped three MIDI effect devices. Ableton‘s Arpeggiator, Randon and Scale.

Generating drum fills - The whole group

Please consult the screenshot for getting the parameter settings. Of course you can’t use all of my Scale device settings. In case you are not familiar with the Scale device, think about a matrix or filter. The horizontal axis represents the incoming MIDI note and the horizontal axis the outgoing MIDI note. Such a filter leaves the notes as they are, if all red squares are building a diagonal from the lower left to the upper right. Enough with theory – I would like to hear only the clap, snare and bass drum when the device is enabled. There is no need to say that the these settings depend on the drum rack. You have to find your own settings.

Generating drum fills - Tuning the scale

The mapping of the macro knobs is a bit tricky. After pressing the Map Mode button you should map the Chance parameter of the Random device to macro one. Then map the device on/off switch of the Arpeggiator and Scale to this knop, too. I like to switch on the Arpeggiator and Scale only, when the chance value is over 50 percent. This is achieved by editing the upper Macro Mappings table. The minimum value should be 64.

Generating drum fills - Random chance

Finally I mapped the Arpeggiator’s Synced Rate to macro knob two and the Style to macro knob three.

Generating drum fills - The arp

So, we are done. Just vary the Random Chance in order to get drum variations and fills like in the example above.

I hope that helps. Happy new year!


Program your TR-808

In drums on April 22, 2012 at 00:37

Today, I like to post something different. First of all step into the 80th. You may know, that I don’t like to indulge in analog memories. But what about posters? The graphic designer Rob Ricketts made 2011 a four poster series about programming the TR-808.

For example the Afrika Bambaataa Planet Rock beat:

A series of informative posters detailing how some of the most notable drum sequences were programmed using the Roland TR-808 Drum Machine. Each sequence has been analyzed and represented as to allow users to re-programme each sequence, key for key. Rob Ricketts

The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer was one of the first programmable drum machines (“TR” serving as an initialism for Transistor Rhythm). Introduced by Roland Corporation in early 1980, it was originally manufactured for use as a tool for studio musicians to create demos. Like earlier Roland drum machines, it does not sound very much like a real drum kit. Indeed, because the TR-808 came out a few months after the Linn LM-1 (the first drum machine to use digital samples), professionals generally considered its sound inferior to sampling drum machines; a 1982 Keyboard Magazine review of the LinnDrum indirectly referred to the TR-808 as sounding like marching anteaters. However, the TR-808 cost US $1,195 upon its release, which was considerably more affordable than the US $5,000 LM-1. Wikipedia

A3 prints are available to buy at Rob’s Shop.

That’s all for today. Maybe you got something for your studio. Bye.


Recurring topic – Reaktor

In drums, ni reaktor on July 19, 2009 at 23:40

It is time for one of my favorite toys. Reaktor from Native Instruments.

Yesterday  I stumbled over a Reaktor ensemble called SineBeats 2.  Those who likes minimal, crunchy or experimentell beats will be impressed.

Take a look and try my sound example.


Sinebeats 2 ensemble

Sinebeats 2 ensemble