Recording electronic drums

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by bertbass666, May 12, 2009.

  1. bertbass666 macrumors newbie

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    May 8, 2009
    #1
    Hi all, I'm new to the site and this is my first post so let me start by saying hello to all you knowledgeable people and hope that you are all doing well.

    I have a band. I play bass and voice. I have my own studio. We record on to a Fostex VX160 16 track hard disc recorder. Bass is DIed as is the guitar through a Line 6 Pod Live. I have an electronic drum kit that I made myself. It works very well. I use an Alesis DM5 for drum sounds. I have a mac. All this just so that I don't annoy the neighbours.

    At the moment I record the drums, via the DM5 straight to the Fostex using 6 tracks. This works well but while mixing down, I'd like to be able to change the drum sounds to suit the track instead of guessing before hand.

    My theory is. Record the drums from the DM5 straight into the Fostex as a guide track and also record the midi tracks, from the DM5 midi output, to the mac to suitable software. Then when I mix down, play back the midi tracks through the DM5 to the fostex replacing the guide tracks on the Fostex. What do you thinK?


    Is this possible and if it is what software do I need too install on my mac and how do I get the midi in and out of the mac.

    You might guess that I understand analogue recording and am getting to grips with digital.

    Any help would be appreciated. All the best to you all,

    Bertbass666
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #2
    I know nothing about the DM5. But if it has midi in and out then recording and playbackis easy. You can even edit the performance to correct a mistake or whatever.

    On a Mac you already have Garage Band which can record and playback midi. Logic does more but you may not need it. Try GB first as that's the zero cost option. You wil need a midi interface the $45 "Uno" works for my and my Roland keyboard.

    The big problem you will have is how to sync the midi playback with the other tracks. Is there a way to nudge tracks back and forth in time by very small fractions of a second? I think this part might be hard. the way you fix it is to also record all the audio tracks to the Mac and use GB, Logic. (or Pro Tools or whatever DAW you like) Then you don't really need the analog drum tracks. You would need an audio interface for the DI'd guitars and vocal mics.

    Maybe some one else knows how to sync a 16 track recorder to Logic? Some kind of time code maybe?
     
  3. Dr Sound macrumors member

    Dr Sound

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    #3
    Not sure what program you use...

    A great Plug-in that I live by is Sound Replacer..

    [​IMG]

    I am pretty sure its a Pro tools Plug in only, but there might be ones out there that do the samething with other software programs..

    This plug in allows you to replace any sound with another..
     
  4. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

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    #4
    The only problem with GarageBand in this case is that, although the DM5 will transmit MIDI notes played on the drum pads to a GarageBand "software instrument" track, GarageBand will not reroute them back out to the DM5 upon playback. GarageBand plays MIDI notes only using its internal synth; it cannot send MIDI Out. The only way to get around this limitation in GB would be to sample the DM5's sounds individually and create a new GB effects kit from the samples, then assign that new effects kit to the "software instrument" track that contains the MIDI drum notes.

    If this is not enough, a more full-featured DAW application like Logic or ProTools is needed.

    GarageBand's limited MIDI routing is probably the biggest reason I use it only as a sketchpad. It's a really fun sketchpad, though. :D
     
  5. bertbass666 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 8, 2009
    #5
    Thanks all. I do have Garage Band and use it to trim the start and finish of the tracks recorded to the Fostex. If I try to do it on the Fostex I lose the beginning of the track. I don't know why.

    I'll investigate Logic as I think that I'd really like to play the midi tracks back through the DM5 although using GB might be the way to go. I suspect that the problem that I'm going to have is 40 years experience with analogue and understanding the possibilities of digital.

    To get the drum track in time with all the other tracks I was just going to press play and hope for the best.

    Thanks again,

    Bertbass666
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
     
  7. Paul Ashton macrumors newbie

    Paul Ashton

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    Manchester
    #7
    Logic Pro

    I have done exactly what you are asking in Logic Pro. Garageband is not a fully featured software for doing this sort of clever I/O stuff.

    I record the drums as both audio and midi
    In fact my setup is more complex as I do the same with keyboards too using different midi channels and 9 midi ports + 2 USB devices.

    Basically these steps
    1. DM5 midi In and Out into your midi interface I use a Midisport 8x8 but you only need 1 in 1 out
    2. In iMac Audio/Midi system set up define your midi devices. The Midi interface should appear automatically. Create a new device which you define as the DM5. Join the MIDI in/out to the out/in on your midi interface
    3. In Logic Pro Environment screen/ Ports: create an instrument that is your DM5. You will use the settings/port names that you defined in the Audio/Midi setup. You could actually create and connect a keyboard, in fact you should to test, which will play your DM5 from the computer by pressing the on screen keyboard with your mouse.
    4. In the Arrange recording screens create 2 channel strips, 1 which uses the newly defined instrument, the other is your audio channel

    I just wrote this from memory so I may be a little inprecise on a few details. As I did an 11 midi in, 8 midi out setup, it took me a couple of days. Doing it again, I could do it less than an hour.

    If you decide to go ahead and do this in Logic Pro I will be glad to help further with screen shots
     
  8. bertbass666 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 8, 2009
    #8
    That's brilliant. I was hoping that it was possible. Now all I've got to do is get Logic. Will it work with Logic Express?
     
  9. Paul Ashton macrumors newbie

    Paul Ashton

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    #9
    Logic Express

    Yes Logic Express does have the same ability. As a Logic Pro user I am answering this on the basis of searching using keywords that I know were relevent with having done it already and I found this
    http://www.logic-cafe.com/Article_View.asp?ID=37
    which covers 1 half of the story but does use Logic Express

    To me the steps are (without the instructions listed here)
    1) cabling and setup so that you can play the physical drum pads and get to play the sounds in your iMac
    2) cabling and setup so that you can play the environment keyboard on iMac that plays your Alesis DM5 - so that's what that article above is.

    If you are on Facebook you can see my very extended conguration with a few diagrams. It is very keyboard based but does include the drums input.
    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=78999392863
     
  10. Talicio macrumors newbie

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    Jul 8, 2009
    #10
    So how do I make the computer play the Drum Kit?

    Hi guys,

    Apologies for arriving so late to the thread.

    At the moment I'm using GB and program my drum tracks using iDrum, which is good enough.

    I'm tired of clicking buttons though, so I'm getting an electronic drum kit (Roland TD-9KW, any views??) so I can get the real feel of playing the drums.

    One of the reasong why I'm getting the Roland is because it has a MIDI IN, which (in theory) will allow me to do what I describe next:

    1) Play the drum track on the drum set and record it as Midi in the DAW
    2) Correct the timing and sequence on the DAW
    3) Make the DAW play the part back through the MIDI OUT, therefore triggering the sounds of the Drumset sound engine
    4) Record the result as an analog track in the computer using the analog OUT from the Drum set sound engine.

    I think, from what I've understood from your posts, that with GB I won't be able to do step 3, since GB does not have a MIDI OUT capability. Is this correct?

    If yes, what software should I get? Will the latest Logic Express ($199) do the job of playing a MIDI track back to the drum set sound engine?

    (Although it could give me syncing problems when laying the tracks together) Do you know of any plug-in, or software that will allow me to play a midi track through a midi OUT?

    Thanks in advance for your help guys!

    T
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    Are you doing #3 and #4 because you like the tone generator built into the Roland better than any of the software drums you've heard?

    I have a Roland keyboard that can play drum sounds via midi in but I don't think it sounds better than the sounds I can get in software. But then I don't play drums and don't have a good ear for this. Now if we were talking about Piano, I can hear that, and by far, the better software pianos are very good. Better thean the piano sound on my keyboard.

    I think you might get better sound if you did not loop the midi back into the Roland drum set. For one thing, the analog link and the preamps and a/d then d/a conversion all add noise. Maybe if the drum unit had spdif digital outputs
     
  12. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    Jun 18, 2009
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    City of Angels
    #12
    vouching for the Roland drums as a good investment

    I use the cheapest V-drum set (HD-1) as a drum controller and MIDI OUT into Logic. I can then quantize the midi within logic as it comes in to clean up the hits

    Difference is my HD-1 only has 10 kits and no MIDI in. So I can't retrigger the drums via MIDI and I'm sick of the built-in kits already

    I don't really care though, because the Logic drum patches sound better than the ones on my Roland module, so I prefer those

    I have a feeling that if you have enough software drum patches on your macbook to play around with, you won't care about the Roland module anymore
     
  13. Talicio macrumors newbie

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    Jul 8, 2009
    #13
    Thanks guys.

    I haven't got the V-Drum kit yet, but I thought that I might as well get a drumset with MIDI IN capability, in case I want to use the sounds of the Sound generator of the drumset. (But to do this I need to get new software as well, apparently!)

    I do have a few drum patches on GB and iDrum to play around, and could get more eventually...

    Anyway... need to reassess if I really need the MIDI IN !!!

    What are your views on the Yamaha DTExpress 4 ??

    Thanks again!
    T
     
  14. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    #14
    Yea just remember if you're using a software sequencer with patches, your computer pretty much takes the place of your drum module. Recording wise, there's really no reason to go through the extra work of adding a second audio loop unless you absolutely happen to love that particular kit on the module and can't find a software substitute. Some kits, like the 808 kit that I'm pretty sure is on that Roland, are widely available as software patches you can import into any sequencer. If you can afford Logic Studio ($500), you'll have a ton of drum patches to play around with. Not sure how many kits are in Logic Express though

    I've never tried the DTExpress 4 but that's pretty much a personal preference on what drumset feels best to you. Bang on it in the store. Personally I prefer the Rolands because the mesh heads make it easier for me to roll. Also might be a good idea to check the boards for any MIDI latency issues and bugs. On the earlier version of my HD-1 for example, there was a bug where the hi-hat close wouldn't trigger through MIDI. So if you used it as a controller, you'd have a nonstop open hi-hat, which ruins almost everything

    Good luck
     
  15. Talicio macrumors newbie

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    Jul 8, 2009
    #15
    Thanks for the reply.

    Yeah... I have a few good patches on the computer already, but I would like to have the flexibility of using the V-Drum sounds as well. But anyway... your advice is very good.

    Now... another question. Which software has the capability for outputting MIDI? I've read in this thread that GB cannot do it. So... can Logic Express do it? (the latest version)

    Thanks for your help!
    Tirso
     
  16. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

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    #16
    Yes, Logic Express can send MIDI Out to your V-Drum module, if you wish.
     
  17. sroycec macrumors newbie

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    Aug 7, 2010
    #17
    Recording electronic drums

    My son is trying to record with Garageband using the Roland HD-1 V-drums lite drumkit using a MIDI out connector/USB. Garageband recognizes a MIDI connector, but no sound is recorded when the drumkit is played. I spoke with two different Apple help staff yesterday, but they weren't able to help. If anyone is doing this, I would love to know the specific settings to make this work.
     
  18. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

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    #18
    This illustrates the difference between audio and MIDI. MIDI communicates mostly note on/off and controller data; no sound is transferred. Think of MIDI as the paper roll on an old-time player piano; it tells the piano what notes to play and when, but the paper itself doesn't contain the sound.

    sroycec, in order for you to "hear" sound using the MIDI connection, you will have to record onto a Software Instrument track and select one of the "Drum Kit" instruments. There's a catch: GarageBand will use its own internal synth/drumkit to make the sounds, not the Roland V-drum module. GarageBand is not flexible enough to record the MIDI notes and pass them back to the V-drum module to generate the sound.

    If your intent is to record the actual Roland V-drum sound (and I'll bet it is-- Roland electronic percussion rawks and has for decades), you'll have to connect using audio cables and record onto a Real Instrument track.
     
  19. sroycec macrumors newbie

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    Aug 7, 2010
    #19
    Thanks for the explanation. We connected it as you suggested and it works great!
     
  20. EmJaneJackson macrumors newbie

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    Sep 25, 2010
    #20
    URGENT Question about Roland HD-1 V-Drum Lite with Tascam US-122L and GB - Sorry!

    Hi there,

    Sorry if all queries have been answered on this thread but I have a query that I can't get answered in Google and it's related to previous posts here.

    My husband is looking to get the Roland HD-1 V-Drum Lite Kit to use in Garage Band via a Tascam US-122L audio/MIDI interface for recording purposes.

    He already uses Garage Band and the Tascam interface to record in his guitar and bass - he selects a new audio track, presses record and plays; he'd like to do the same with the electronic drum kit.

    I just want to make sure it's possible to do this and if so what connector would be best to use. I know below dXTC said use audio cables but I wanted to get clarification as to what sort of audio cables would be best to use. 1/4" Jack, XLR or what?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  21. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

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    #21
    Surprisingly enough, I use a Tascam US-144, which is almost exactly like the US-122L. I've done a bit of research on the HD-1, so I know its output capabilities. Your best bet is the 1/4" jack.

    My guess is that your husband's already using the 1/4" jacks for connecting the guitar, though. Two ways to rectify this:
    • Unplug and switch cables between instruments. No additional cost, but it can be rather inconvenient.

    • Purchase a small analog mixer, with just enough inputs to handle the guitar, bass, and drums, and connect the mixer's outputs to the US-122L's inputs. A four-channel mixer will do the trick; the drums take up two (left and right), and the bass and guitar each get one.

      The Peavey PV-6 sounds perfect for this task, and allows left and right on each of the 3rd and 4th channels. This would leave one stereo channel free for a friend's keyboard/synth. The PV-6 is under $100 at most online outlets, like Sweetwater or Musician's Friend. I'm sure that Behringer probably has a competing product, too.

      Myself, I use a Peavey RQ-200 six-channel mixer to handle and mix my audio from my various external synths (Roland XP-10, Roland JV-880 and Yamaha AN-200). The output from the RQ-200 goes into the 1/4" jacks of my US-144. My MIDI is handled by two M-Audio USB MIDI interfaces in combination with the MIDI interface built into the Tascam.
     

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