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How to Add Drum Samples with Melodyne & Addictive Drums

Transcript
It’s Warren Huart here. Hope you’re doing marvelously well. And today, we’re going to talk about using Melodyne and Addictive Drums to create drum samples.

This is how I’ve been doing it for a few years now. As well as pasting in samples by hand, of course. If you go to producelikeapro.com and sign up for the email list, you can download all of those samples that I use for pasting in by hand, but this — the thing that’s great about using Melodyne is it creates MIDI information, and gives you the ability to get all the velocity of each hit. So as opposed to just putting in a sample with the same volume every single time.

So that’s why I started using it, I think it sounds fantastic, and we’ll go through it. So please, sign up, go to producelikeapro.com, subscribe at the link below, and we’ll send you lots of free stuff.

Okay, fantastic, so let’s get started. I’ll just take a small section of the kick and snare. I won’t use an enormous amount of it, because it’ll take ages to process for the video. So let’s just go take this first few bars. So we’ll cut here and here, just for the heck of it. We’re going to export these, we can do it as export regions up here, and you see here, export regions as files, or you can just use the shortcut, which is Shift+Command, or Shift+Apple, as I would always say, +K. We’re obviously going to keep them as they are, which is 24-bit, 48kHz. So let’s export them.

On the desktop, let’s just create a new folder. We’ll call it Work Files. And put it in there. Export. Great.

Okay, we can go down here to our Melodyne Editor, go to File, Open, let’s find Work Files, let’s grab the snare. Sorry, let’s grab the kick, and here comes the kick.

Okay, so let’s go up here and select the tempo properly. Specify Tempo is estimated at the moment. So let’s do 168. Okay. Then File, Save As, MIDI File, then hit Save.

Okay, next, let’s go to Open again. Go to the snare. Open. Then Specify Fixed Tempo. 168. Okay. File, Save As, Format, MIDI, Save.

Now in that Work Files destination is just saved. Okay, that was quick and easy. Okay, now, let’s import the MIDI. Option+Command+I for import, MIDI. Open. New Region. Okay. Option+Command+Import, kick. Open. New Region. So what we’re going to do first is switch to notes, so we can see where the transients are.

So yeah, we’ll pick a transient there, like the first main hit, which corresponds to the transient there. So you can tab to transient in regions. So tab, cut. Tab to transient with the corresponding transient up here. So we’ve selected the transient here, now we go to the grabber tool on the MIDI file, select it, and hit Control at the same time, and it’ll snap to where the transient is. Pull it back over there. Your file’s now lined up. The transient of the MIDI files were lining up now to the transients of the original audio file.

Okay, let’s do the same thing with the kick. So we’ll put the kick underneath the MIDI track and kick track. Same thing, selecting the MIDI, track, transient on the first main kick, highlight with the grabber tool, Control, and Snap. Great. Now, let’s clean up our MIDI. We’ll go to Option+Y, which is Event Operations, select Split Notes.

Select all notes and pitch criteria. So if we select velocity between one and 60, it will basically get rid of all hits that are below that velocity. If you see the way it’s highlighted, it’s really cool, it’s got rid of all of that weird, random transient information where it’s other drums bleeding into the kick. Kind of cool.

Then hit delete, and off they go. It looks like we have got a couple of stragglers. So you can highlight that and delete that. Pretty straight forward.

Okay, kick is always easy, because with the exception of — there’s not many grace note kick parts, but on the snare, sometimes you get grace notes, and you have to be more careful. So let’s go to the snare MIDI track. So we go to Velocity and click on this and read it. So we’re clicking on the velocity here, we can see it’s 105, so basically, we could just say anything — I think that’s our quietest hit by the looks of it. So we could say, anything below even 100 could go. Quick check, and then delete. There we go.

Okay, so now we’re going to make instrument tracks for our MIDI files. Just Shift+Command+N, then select Stereo Instrument Track, and create. So I have two new tracks: kick and snare instrument track. Addictive Drums. Let’s drag our MIDI file down. Go back to regions, we can grab it. Grabber tools. Drag it down.

Okay, so we’re going to move the note to select it for the kick. We’re going to hit Apple+A to select everything. We go to Event Operations, Transpose…

[drums]

Okay, so I found the kick note, which is C1, then I’m going to transpose all notes to C1. I’ll reselect, highlight them all, and there it goes. C1. Okay, so let’s try the same thing with the snare. Let us locate the snare.

[miscellaneous drums]

There’s the snare. That is at D1. Apple+A, select everything, change it to D1, apply, and…

[snare]

Great. So now we have the kick and the snare. Now let’s print those audios, and we’re going to print them separately. We’re not going to print them as a stereo file, because we need to be able to mix them independently, so we’ll create two audio tracks, and we’ll record them back on — you know, record them out of the Addictive Drums into separate audio tracks.

So we just select from our Addictive Tracks, and buss input to our audio tracks. Okay, so we’re coming out 21 — buss output 21 and 22 out of our kick track, buss output 23 and 24 of our snare track, and then making the audio tracks correspond with that. I’m using output 25 and 26 on the console. Obviously, if you’re just using a stereo return, 1 and 2 would be your output so you could hear them.

I’m going to print them obviously both at the same time, because they’re going to two individual busses, and here we go. Let’s go into record.

[kick and snare]

Okay great, so now we’ve printed the Addictive Kick and Addictive Snare. Take it out of record. Let’s check kick and snare live tracks together. See how they’re syncing.

[drums, samples and live]

First thing I would do here is just check — well, here’s our first issue. We should — I’m just going to take this little chunk here — Obviously, we’re just doing this little chunk here — Here’s our first issue, so bring our Addictive Snare down underneath our snare top. A couple of things. This happens from time to time when it doesn’t read the transients on, say, something like this. You’re going to have to build it really quickly.

Well, first thing here is the phase — the polarity is exactly the opposite. So first, go to AudioSuite, go to invert under other, and you can just invert the whole thing. Process. Invert. Okay, now our phase is pretty darn good, you see there. So that makes our life a little bit easier. Okay, so next thing, if we listen to this front…

[snare]

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It’s weird. You see, if we take the snare out here, you’ll hear a little, [mimics snare]. You know, when you’re using samples, you’ll never get exactly the right thing, but let’s just take this hit here and kind of build something quickly. I just literally took a piece of it, and what I’m going to do, I’m going to sort of cheat and create something. See, now that’s basically it here, you see all the polarity here? It’s basically lining up. It’s going to sound a little machine gun like initially, but we’re going to get creative with it. So lay in the next one. I’m just trying to find one that is pretty good.

Always a compromise with some of this stuff. That looks good around there, so now what I’m going to do is invert that. Okay. Pretty close. Close enough for jazz.

Okay, now that you’re going to probably think is going to be a little machine gun like. Let’s have a listen.

[snare]

Not bad. Not bad. So what I would do is I would come in here personally, you can do it with clip gain, or you can just do it with gain. I like to do things with gain because they’re permanent. Maybe take that first one down slightly. That’s note much. Take it down to, I don’t know, 70% of its current volume. Take this one down to 81% of its current volume, and then leave the last one. So volume wise…

[snare]

I mean, it’s a little machine gun-ish. Sometimes, in these instances, where I get really fast snare drum rolls, I’ll push the original up above it, and bearing in mind, there’s nothing going on here.

[drums]

You could also do that on the MIDI, if you discovered this stuff earlier on, you could sit there with the MIDI and you could copy and paste the MIDI information and turn the velocity information up and down. It’s really up to you, I mean, quite frankly, when I’m doing really complicated drum parts, I might do it all in MIDI, then miss things, and then fix it in audio. I mean, there’s no geniuses here. I think that really, as long as you’re paying close attention to it, you’re going to be fine.

Okay, let’s do the same thing. We’re going to pull down the kick here, put it underneath the kick sample, and basically the same issue. The phase is going a few different ways. So we’re going to go here, we’re going to go to AudioSuite, go to invert, and you could put a plugin on here. You could put the trim plugin on here and invert it that way, but here we go. It’s ever so slightly late, as far as I’m concerned, it’s slightly — I’m just going to tug it along slightly here. There you go. Okay, let’s listen to that little chunk done.

[drums]

Okay, so it’s going to come out of suspended groups for a second, I’m going to turn on my — I’m going to create a group, my Addictive Kick and Snare here. Just call it ADD. Okay, so you might not want to get rid of these instrument and MIDI tracks, so let’s just highlight them like this, what I’m doing is I’m holding down Command as I go through. Like that. Then I’m going to go and go hit Control and hide and make inactive.

So they’ll be there if we need them. You know, if you want to adjust the MIDI later, or you want to create a MIDI, and use a different sound. Like, put — you’ve just created MIDI for a snare, let’s say in the chorus, you want to add something on the snare, like the tambourine hits. Your MIDI is already there. So you could open up your MIDI again, you could put tambourine on it.
The more you do this, the easier and quicker it’ll be, and you know, it’s remarkable how fast creating MIDI is with Melodyne.

Okay, so now I’ve got these two soloed.

[drums]

That’s just our Addictive.

[mix]

Drums without the samples. Very natural sounding snare. Quite a soft kick. The kick in my room is — I just mic the front head, so it’s got a lot of “oom” to it. What the kick does is give me the attack.

[drums]

With samples. Without. Without. And with.

Now, the drummer’s pretty even on this track. One thing we didn’t talk about, which I think is important to know, see, he’s quite even, see, the MIDI information, there’s definitely some dynamics there, but they’re very natural looking.

Now, if you get a very, very dynamic drummer, first of all, you’ll get more MIDI information you’re going to have to go through and delete and figure out, but you can also, when you’re looking at the MIDI, you can literally highlight all the MIDI and push it towards the top, and as you push the velocity MIDI information towards the top, the really loud ones will get closer to the softer ones. Now, you might ask why you’d want to do that? Well, it evens out the dynamics.

You can push everything to the top and get everything at the same volume, not that you’d want to do that, but there are easy ways to increase the dynamics. I’m sorry, to decrease the dynamics. To increase the dynamics, you can also do manually as well.

Cool.

[drums]

Great. So thanks for watching. That’s one of the ways that we’ll put drum samples in while mixing and recording. For me, I’ve got a small drum room, which I’m sure, if you have access to recording drums, you drum room is probably small, and Addictive with Melodyne allows me to really kind of make my small drum room sound pretty big and pretty powerful. I’m using a very small amount of drum mics, I’ve only got one kick mic, two snare, snare top and snare bottom, one hi-hat, overheads, and toms.

There’s no room mics here on 90% of what I record, so if I want to increase the ambience, I can go to an Addictive drum kit, and I could print the room mic sounds for kick and snare as well. You can do all kinds of crazy things. So it’s a really, really cool trick. Melodyne, you know, getting those MIDI from the transients, you saw it takes seconds to do, so it’s really wonderful.

So please, as ever, leave some comments, any questions, please, if you do this as well, and you have any other tips about how you do it, that would be really awesome, I’m sure we can share information, and subscribe, go to producelikeapro.com, and sign up for the email list, and you’ll get loads of fun, free stuff. We’re actually just putting up a new video of Sunset Sound, a little tour of Studio 2 that should be up in the next few days.

Okay, so thank you ever so much. Have a marvelous time recording.

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Warren Huart

Warren Huart

Warren Huart is an English record producer/musician/composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at producelikeapro.com.

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