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Topic: Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

  1. #1

    Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

    Hi all,

    I was at a colleague of mine who has Drums On Demand. I noticed that the loops are all .wav files. When I heard the sounds of the swirling brushes, I said to myself, you can't beat this authentic sound compared to a sampled brush sound. There were so many fills within this Jazzy Brush folder (to cover any transition in a score) and I might consider getting more into looped drums here rather that playing them in real time. Let's face it, the timing with loops and the grooves they present are key in scoring pop and jazz compared to losing the groove while playing in real time with of course limited fingers that truly can't produce what a real drummer has recorded in a .wav file.

    What are you thoughts?

    Alan Russell
    Please Visit My New & Revised Official Website Below


  2. #2

    Re: Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

    I think many do and many don't for the same reason they do or don't use any other kind of loops. To some it feels like they are cheating.

    If you have a passionately played riff by a string quartet why not just drop that into your score instead of writing something for it?

    Just because we don't think of drums and percussion having notes like we think of a violin as having them, doesn't mean that it doesn't take time and talent to proerly write and play them.

    Loops can be useful when looking to do something in a hurry, or a special genre you may not be able to play (I could never play/write salsa) but for my rock tunes I always program the drums by hand from individual samples, or hire a drumme rto play for them.

    Patterns are great for sketching out a track - or for singer/songwriters to play along to (Smashing Pumpkins did their very first performance to a drum machine on stage before Jimmy Chamberlin joined). But in final compositions, just like any bass line or vocal line, or harmonica, or whatever, I feel "dirty" using loops.

    Others, however, make a great lving off of loop work...
    Alan Lastufka | www.BelaDMedia.com
    Producer/Artistic Design | Content Producer

    20 Things

  3. #3

    Re: Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

    Thanks Alan for your reply,

    I was basically focuessed on drum loops here in the Jazz or Pop genre with all other instruments being in real time with real samples. (giga, Kontakt etc..)
    I may have had a backward approach when scoring in real time by not starting out with the percussion as my first track. (The groove seems to be the key here) I scored a slow ballad with this drum loop and found it to be more inspirational playing the other parts. I didn't have to concern myself with the pulse since it was already laid out. I noticed that I did get drop outs in Sonar using these drum loops. I have to research this a bit.

    Thanks for the come back!

    Alan Russell
    Please Visit My New & Revised Official Website Below


  4. #4

    Re: Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

    Actually, Alan I'm kind of with you on this topic. I went from

    "I'll do it all myself."


    "well, I'll use midi drum grooves and plug in the sample drum set I want."


    "real nashville session drummer with on-line drum service."

    In order to sketch out what i want the session drummer to do, I use loops and Stylus RMX.

    In the end, hands down the real drummer wins for me every time.

    I mean there are many times with a great product like Stylus or a looped product as you're referring to, where it is sooo convincing. The grooves are wonderful!!!

    But still in the end, the real drummer always surprises me. Accents a place I wouldn"t have...does a fill with more finesse or more appropriate to the song I'm doing.

    But having said that, if I didn't do real drummer, I'd go for extensive loop library as you've done.

    Be the composer and leave the performing to the performers (which includes loops peformed in real time). You're compositions will always sound better.

    I just yesterday was using Whole Lotta Country which has lots of performed licks for fiddle, dobro, etc. My tune went from sounding like scratchy country crap to a convincing country band with some inserts of real time performed licks.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

    For me, it always rests upon the nature of the music's purpose.

    For better or worse, if I'm working on a commercial track which will play 12dB below a compressed voiceover, I am going to knock it out as cheaply and quickly as possible, and worry very little about its artistic significance beyond having a commercial-quality slickness of production. In the end analysis, it's artistically appropriate...that music should not call attention to itself anyway. If it does, I have done something wrong.

    And I think it is perfectly fitting and desirable that this condition exist, since many good people profit from the making of loop and library products, and should do so.

    If we start bringing the dreaded art-filter into the equation, we are certainly speaking of individual concepts about what represents highest and best practice. It's little wonder that the artists we remember are always those who puncture our idea of barriers, and who pioneer some new way of communicating musically.

    Electronica obviously comes to mind as a genre where a good part of what we consider the mastery of that music is based in the ability to construct ingenious grooves electronically. In my own experience, I worked with Modereko on this (Heart of Seoul, scroll down to examples, tune #10) tune, which I would still call electronica despite the fact that it's very acoustic sounding. It is mostly constructed of loops from a live session, plus some that I made. But it's on a jazz label with a band that's definitely a jazz group by definition, and they play the tune live--but ironically what they play live is based on the remix that we constructed in ACID, and not what the band actually "played" when creating it.

    Funny really, because now that I think about it, this was produced on probably the first beta version of ACID, and I'm fairly sure it's the first ACID production to be on a commercial label, although clearly looping had been around before that. Wow, I just realized I'm the Godfather of loop-app Jazz. Hahahahahahaa.

    But in all seriousness, I think that almost any genre can be electronica, and that what makes something an electronic production is that we understand that everything we hear is a manipulation and the skill that is judged ultimately is the person who is doing the manipulating. How effective was he? How cool is it? He was the final arbiter. In my mind, electronic music IS the genre of all sampled work. An orchestral soundtrack is electronic music, unless it is played by a live orchestra. The person who considers himself even the "purest" composer is crossing the line to producer and manipulator of electronic music when he chooses to be the person "performing" the work electronically, and manipulating the performances himself. The Modereko cut above is definitely electronic music, because even though the band played almost every note there, I determined the placement of every sound on that piece, down to the note, and oftentimes what was radically different than what had been played by the band in session.

    I would have live playing on almost anything I considered a band. Of course, there are varying degrees of that. I have often set up drummers with cymbals and snare, and had them play pads for everything else. I still consider that a live track, because it it basically through-created as a performance, and my only manipulations would be the same editing one would use on any studio album with live players. I think if you're selling something as a band, then a band is by definition a group of humans contributing collective energy. There is a genuine palpable phenomenon of what it feels like and sounds like to play in a trio, vs. a quartet or duet or quintet. Each is a different level of musical density from a performance perspective, and a different level of realtime collaboration.

    Thinking back on even the commercial music side of things, the production technique is really a factor of the producer's experiences. I like to play, so my production techniques center around either me playing with other people in real time, or with myself in the studio (minds out of the gutter, please). So I have no idea what I am saying and I think I will stop the rambling now...

  6. #6

    Re: Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

    Loops are terrific in the initial stages of composition - specifically in the pop/jazz realm. As a 'finished product' - I agree with the sentiment that it 'feels like cheating' for some reason.

    As a one-person production team, loops in their various forms are so frickin' useful. With the editing capabilities available in most high-level DAWs these days, you can easily (and quickly) spice up loops so they don't sound static. But even at that - most of the better loop libs don't sound static anyway!!!

    They're just another tool...in the end, live will ALWAYS be the way to go. But I am soooooo glad we have the tools we have - loops, samples, orchestral libraries, etc.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2003

    Re: Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

    Yea, I'm another one who bailed on "programming" drums, to using live loops. There's simply no comparison.

    Obviously, a "live" drummer, playing to your song, is the best case scenario, but the live loops are a close second. Especially if it's a loop that is what you would have programmed anyhow. We all know that it's the cymbal work that gives even a straight backbeat groove away. So for that reason alone, I'll grab a loop first.

    That's not to say that you can't program a drum groove from scratch. I have just decided there are better ways of spending my time, that's all.

    And ELP71's right. With all the editing available to us these days, you really aren't locked completely in to what the drummer played originally. It's the best of both worlds....

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Los Angeles

    Re: Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

    For me it's this simple....

    • I like loops for when I want a looped sound (electronic / whatever)

    • I like programing drums when I know no loop is gonna work. Also because I know I'll need to mix each drum "individually" for the mix to sound right (think Rock / Metal). I always hate rock 'type' loops, they never sounds right.


  9. #9

    Re: Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

    I don't program drums very well at all, so loops are either the final drum part or a temporary reference, depending on whether there is a drummer that shares my vision of the song. But where to find a great tabla player, or dholak, or djembe? Not in Monterey, that's for sure. So RMX to the rescue! (Ta-daaahhh!!! look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane - it's a pigeon. Arrghhh. No, wait it's - Captain Spectrum!)

    Brush Artistry's REX loops and RMX Chaos really sound natural, and for those clumsy breaks, do the midi editing. But I haven't found a straight-ahead jazz stick ride groove that works for me yet, there I have real drummers.
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  10. #10

    Re: Why not use "Looped Drums" instread of individual samples?

    Let's build on this thread folks,

    After reading these 7 or more posts, the drum loop is "Second" to a real drummer..this I concur.

    Kudos to Dasher who brought this to my attention when I first entered the NS forum and realized that the "Groove" must be rock solid before scoring anything else.

    Question to research,

    Which loop library gives the most flexilibilty in inserting fills, intros, endings, etc..into your sequencing software such as Sonar, Cubase etc..

    Keeping in mind that the drum loop library needs to be fairly large in size that does accomodate many favorite BPM tempos in the Pop Jazz Rock etc..Genres

    Drums on Demand in using it with Sonar seems to have its limits when copy and pasting certain fills and where they occur.

    Is there better looping software out there that sounds authentic and easy to assemble in your sequencing software.

    Alan Russell
    Please Visit My New & Revised Official Website Below


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