Go Back   Cockos Incorporated Forums > REAPER Forums > Recording Technologies and Techniques

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-16-2017, 01:20 PM   #1
mete0r
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 108
Default Is there a drum library on the market that you can't tell is a library?

*Provided that the midi programming is flawless*, is there any one drum sample library that is capable of a render that an human isn't realistically going to be able to tell if it's a real recording or not, in a variety of genres and unprocessed?
mete0r is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2017, 02:27 PM   #2
ivansc
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Near Cambridge UK and Near Questembert, France
Posts: 15,334
Default

Drummers will always claim they can tell no matter who does the playing/programming.
Me? I am not a drummer but have bashed a lot of stuff in with my E-kit & most punters cant tell the difference if I do a competent job.

Andf in most cases all the front runner drum rompler libraries are equally good in terms of the quality of sounds as any recorderd kit.

Dont waste time worrying over which library, worry about how good you are at getting the groove you want down as MIDI.
__________________
The UK EU referendum - nature`s way of saying "your politicians are really dumb and arrogant"
ivansc is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2017, 02:31 PM   #3
mete0r
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 108
Default

I'm actually researching how to make a drum sample library I will probably release as a freebie. I have a friend with a professional recording studio and I might be able to record one. I'd like to buy the gold standard and check out the best midi programming you can listen to to have something to compare to.
mete0r is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2017, 02:34 PM   #4
karbomusic
Human being with feelings
 
karbomusic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 18,533
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mete0r View Post
*Provided that the midi programming is flawless*, is there any one drum sample library that is capable of a render that an human isn't realistically going to be able to tell if it's a real recording or not, in a variety of genres and unprocessed?
It's far more related to what is being played and the near unreachable goal of flawless based on what can actually be done. It isn't just a case of the sample sounding good. Some songs, sure, not even a drummer would know, others, based on what the performance actually is, would be given away every time in some form. AD drums for example can be 'dried up' and virtually unprocessed but again, that isn't really the issue in my experience. It's an issue if you can't get them dry but you can mostly.
__________________
Your whole life people will tell you what you can't do. Getting past them is the first step to actually getting things done.
karbomusic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2017, 02:36 PM   #5
mete0r
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 108
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
others, based on what the performance is, would be given away every time in some form.
I see, that makes sense! Do you have any example of the kind of stuff that's hard to "fake"?
mete0r is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2017, 02:40 PM   #6
Tod
Human being with feelings
 
Tod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 10,395
Default

I think if the programmer knows what they are doing and knows their drum library inside out, it can be made pretty believable. All to often that is not the case.

There are some pretty good sounding libraries out there today and a lot of detail has gone into trying to make them sound more real.

I think being a real good midi drum programmer would require a person who is a good drummer in the first place and knows many styles.

If I've got a real played set of drums to copy, I can usually do okay, but other then that I keep things pretty simple.

Also I think midi drums have become so prevalent, they're actually accepted on their own turf for what they are. Heh heh, and if they sound good I don't think it matters.

EDIT: Heh heh, I was slow in typing and I see some of my favorite guys beat me to it.

Last edited by Tod; 06-16-2017 at 02:46 PM.
Tod is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2017, 02:43 PM   #7
karbomusic
Human being with feelings
 
karbomusic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 18,533
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mete0r View Post
I see, that makes sense! Do you have any example of the kind of stuff that's hard to "fake"?
Usually articulation based stuff, where you can strike it (drum or cymbal) in near infinite ways, but the samples could never cover that much ground. That's really the trick to me, you could water down the performance to trick someone but it is at the expense of what it could have been.

Not knocking drum samples at all, I use them all the time as a guitarist and completely happy with whatever I created. The same issue would exist for say bass samples. You can do quite well within certain limits but you can't reach IMHO that near infinite amount of articulation you'd get with it in your hands. Things like piano are easier because the pallet of articulations is smaller, I'm sure a great key player could still find flaws, just stating the myriad of articulations is smaller I'm guessing.

There are some here who do very good at this so I shouldn't blab too much because I don't want to sound negative being someone who does use some samples without worry. Maybe Tod will chime in, he is excellent at the articulation thing.
__________________
Your whole life people will tell you what you can't do. Getting past them is the first step to actually getting things done.
karbomusic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2017, 03:06 PM   #8
James HE
Human being with feelings
 
James HE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: I'm in a barn
Posts: 4,246
Default

It's mostly just the programming. And depending on the style and context of the music, live performances may be enhanced and quantized to sound more "perfect" than they really are anyway. So what exactly is "real" to you. That's the question.

I use AD, but I use my own cymbal samples half the time. Cymbals are the hardest thing to get sounding real.
James HE is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2017, 03:22 PM   #9
Tod
Human being with feelings
 
Tod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 10,395
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
Usually articulation based stuff, where you can strike it (drum or cymbal) in near infinite ways, but the samples could never cover that much ground. That's really the trick to me, you could water down the performance to trick someone but it is at the expense of what it could have been.
Yeah, well said, it's impossible to cover all the bases and as Karbo hints, midi will never replace a real player, whether it's durms, bass, piano, guitar, whatever.

However, I will say I use midi all the time, for basically everything. Piano, electric piano, B3 organ, bass, strings, drums, horns, acoustic guitar rythm, etc..

So far I don't think they've come up with any good synthesized drums that sound nearly as good as acoustic drum samples, not like they have other instruments. There are a lot of synthesized drums sounds but they are just that, and might sound good in their own way, but don't sound like real drums at all.

Heh heh, maybe you'll get a kick out of a couple of little videos I reprogrammed, I took the videos off of the net and reprogrammed them with SMDrums.

https://youtu.be/7vhneROTFmo

https://youtu.be/CELVct47OT0
Tod is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2017, 04:24 PM   #10
karbomusic
Human being with feelings
 
karbomusic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 18,533
Default

Quote:
However, I will say I use midi all the time, for basically everything. Piano, electric piano, B3 organ, bass, strings, drums, horns, acoustic guitar rythm, etc..
I use it a bit too. If the thing that would have been played and fit the song doesn't go to far out of the norm it should be believable enough. Then again of the instruments I can play decently, I'm likely just going to play them for the simple reason an hour of articulation = 1 minute of playing the part. I like the videos, I wish I had an electronic kit but I don't have the room. I have the room but now that I have a fairly sizeable home than I used to (4200 sq ft), I don't want to fill it to the walls and ceilings like I tend to do.
__________________
Your whole life people will tell you what you can't do. Getting past them is the first step to actually getting things done.
karbomusic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2017, 07:27 PM   #11
Aeolian
Human being with feelings
 
Aeolian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Somewhere PRO
Posts: 889
Default

There are always exceptions to the rule, but imo faster stuff is harder to fake than slower stuff, because faster tempos usually are more complex and laced with unique fills.

It wouldn't be hard to convincingly fake Aerosmith - Don't want to miss a thing... Compared to Led Zeppelin - Rock and Roll.

ACDC.. I think even Angus could be fooled.

The high hats at the end of Walking on the moon by the Police?
No way in hell, ever
__________________
Resistors are futile, you will be simulated ...
Aeolian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2017, 12:16 AM   #12
ivansc
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Near Cambridge UK and Near Questembert, France
Posts: 15,334
Default

For 99% of all the popular genres, YES there is enough dynamics and hit variation in most of the major players to cover most of what you are ever liekley to need to emulate, but s has been said earlier, it does get trickier when a high degree of finesse is required.
That said, MY drummer (who is bit good and very experienced) sat down at my E-kit as his first experience of playing one and nailed the Steve Gadd 50 ways to lave your lover intro flawlessly.
It really does come down to how good a drummer you are, I suppose.
Oh and the OTHER Chris Blackwell is a friend and I have heard him do subtle cymbal work every bit as sophisticated as the Police thing.
Using Hart triggers to a Roland brain.
__________________
The UK EU referendum - nature`s way of saying "your politicians are really dumb and arrogant"
ivansc is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2017, 03:00 PM   #13
dub tree
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 184
Default

BFD3 has a "Cymbal Swell" function which attempts to simulate realism with cymbal repetitions. The idea is that if you hit a cymbal while it's still vibrating from the previous hit, it will give you a different tone. It's stuff like this that is important in getting realism, because you can have the absolute best drum samples ever, through the best outboard gear possible, in the best room ever (etc) but that won't matter if your sampler is just layering hit upon hit. Even round-robin isn't enough to mitigate this effect, and can actually lead to other undesirable effects (machine-gun-in-disguise). You could have a hundred round robins at a hundred velocity layers, but things would still get mechanical-sounding just due to the nature of how drums behave physically.

So, in essence, it's not about the quality of the samples, so much as how they are handled by the playback engine. And then, of course, programming the actual MIDI is very important, as pointed out by others.

The thing is, a lot of drummers' "groove" comes from the subtleties like ghost notes and hitting the "pocket," which doesn't always fall exactly on the beats. And then, of course, there is the variation of the actual location struck on the drum head. Drum heads will often have a sweet spot where you're going to want to hit it 95% of the time, but sometimes a certain beat or fill will call for deviating from that, just for the slight variation in timbre. A lot of the time, this happens in the spur of the moment, but it is still so very controlled that no amount of randomization or humanization will convincingly simulate it.

The "feel" is the most important thing, though. Beats flow a certain way, and it can be very dependent on the way the stick bounces off the drum head, or the motion of the drummer's wrists, or the very musical context of the beat itself. It's almost like how guitar purists say that amp sims just can't compete with how real amps move air. Drummers are so very physical, constantly in motion, and with so many moving parts, there are so many openings for imperfection and "humanity." Feel depends so much on nearly-imperceptible variations of timing and velocity, which can be a nightmare to attempt to program (or even perform on an e-kit).

Honestly, I think BFD3 can get you most of the way there, in the same way that a good piano library can get you most of the way toward a convincing grand piano sound. I've been a drummer for nearly twenty years, and have tried a bunch of the drum packages out there (Superior, EZ, Slate, NI Abbey Road, Addictive) and I think BFD3 is the clear winner, but that could just be personal taste and musical style. I don't think the quality of the samples, or even of the programming, is the limitation. I think it's a combination of the limits of the actual interface (whether that's an e-kit, a midi keyboard, or a piano roll), and how the humanity of the performance gets altered in the translation.

But that could just be personal bias. I'd be willing to bet most TV viewers and moviegoers couldn't tell the difference between Symphobia and a real orchestra, for example. So it all depends on who you are trying to convince...

For my recordings, I just bang out the drums in BFD on a midi keyboard, and it's good enough for me. It beats lugging my kit to the studio and mic'ing it all up, for 99% of the music I make anyway.

Last edited by dub tree; 06-18-2017 at 03:06 PM.
dub tree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2017, 03:24 PM   #14
Tod
Human being with feelings
 
Tod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 10,395
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by James HE View Post
I use AD, but I use my own cymbal samples half the time. Cymbals are the hardest thing to get sounding real.
Hi James, would you mind explaining a little bit about what you're doing with the cymbals?

I agree, they can be difficult, especially the Ride, not because it can't be recorded to sound good, but it's the actual physical aspects of the way a ride reacts when it's played in real time.

In the real world there is only one ride, but with samples, they need to be played on top of each other, so you end up with several rides, all playing at the same time.

I can reduce this problem using "Voice Groups" in Kontakt, but I know of no way to eliminate it all together.

So, would you mind?

EDIT: Heh heh, sorry dub tree, you popped in while I was typing and you're saying much of what I'm saying.
Tod is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2017, 03:54 PM   #15
James HE
Human being with feelings
 
James HE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: I'm in a barn
Posts: 4,246
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tod View Post
Hi James, would you mind explaining a little bit about what you're doing with the cymbals?

I agree, they can be difficult, especially the Ride, not because it can't be recorded to sound good, but it's the actual physical aspects of the way a ride reacts when it's played in real time.
Not much to explain articulation wise. I just really prefer the sound of my old drummers cymbals to anything in a library that I've heard. I do have a few recordings of him doing washes that do try to incorporate when I can. I'll be working with him again soon and hope to expand my library. I will share
James HE is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2017, 06:44 PM   #16
dub tree
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 184
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tod View Post
In the real world there is only one ride, but with samples, they need to be played on top of each other, so you end up with several rides, all playing at the same time.

I can reduce this problem using "Voice Groups" in Kontakt, but I know of no way to eliminate it all together.
The problem with voice groups is that it could potentially lead to unnatural muting of the cymbal, particularly during a busier section. I have no idea how BFD does it, but my guess would be some sort of clever scripting to enforce some kind of envelope or crossfade, so that the tail of the hit blends into the following hit without any kind of instant muting. Perhaps this is possible with voice groups in Kontakt; I don't really know too much about the inner workings, as I've only recently acquired the full, non-Player version.

The suggestion of recording cymbals separately is definitely a good solution to this. My problem with that is, I like to do my beats all in the same take, for the sake of continuity within the rhythm, rather than going the multi-track, multi-take route. But I have a couple friends who swear by this technique, particularly for ride and hi-hat overdubs, while handling the rest with something like Addictive Drums.

As a drummer, it pains me to say this, but... honestly, as long as your kick and snare are in the pocket, the rest is really just extra noise anyway. So I'd worry way more about those two things than about some cymbals. Those are just white noise.

My solution, aside from spending way too many years developing my keyboard-drumming, has been to try to write to the weakness of the samples. If the beat doesn't sound good with samples, then rather than bemoaning the shortcomings of the technology, I just change the beat in order to suit those limitations.

It's the same approach I take to doing orchestral stuff. The samples are more like a caricature of the actual instrument, so I just try to think, "What would a caricature of this instrument do?" After all, most of us aren't writing demo tracks for sample library developers, so we needn't focus too much on hyper-realism and pushing the library to its fullest. It's a compromise, for sure, because I'm not directly translating the music in my head. But we must do the best with the tools we have. So, as a result, while I love to just go nuts on a drum kit (which, thankfully, I get to do in the prog rock band I play in), I try to keep my MIDI beats on the simple side, so as to conceal the flaws inherent in the sampling technology (and in my finger drumming). Yeah, it's less than ideal (and isn't that the way life is), but it gets the music made.

Last edited by dub tree; 06-18-2017 at 06:55 PM.
dub tree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2017, 08:41 PM   #17
Tod
Human being with feelings
 
Tod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 10,395
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by James HE View Post
Not much to explain articulation wise. I just really prefer the sound of my old drummers cymbals to anything in a library that I've heard. I do have a few recordings of him doing washes that do try to incorporate when I can. I'll be working with him again soon and hope to expand my library. I will share
Okay James, I understand and it sounds good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dub tree View Post
The problem with voice groups is that it could potentially lead to unnatural muting of the cymbal, particularly during a busier section. I have no idea how BFD does it, but my guess would be some sort of clever scripting to enforce some kind of envelope or crossfade, so that the tail of the hit blends into the following hit without any kind of instant muting. Perhaps this is possible with voice groups in Kontakt; I don't really know too much about the inner workings, as I've only recently acquired the full, non-Player version.
Hey dub tree, you've definitely hit on one of the draw backs of using "Voice Groups", however, with a little experimenting you can certainly make it a lot better and improve it considerably. It also helps to have RRs, as many as possible, within reason. I don't have Kontakt in front of me right now, but there are quite a few parameters you can adjust or setup.

Quote:
The suggestion of recording cymbals separately is definitely a good solution to this. My problem with that is, I like to do my beats all in the same take, for the sake of continuity within the rhythm, rather than going the multi-track, multi-take route. But I have a couple friends who swear by this technique, particularly for ride and hi-hat overdubs, while handling the rest with something like Addictive Drums.
So you're basically talking about audio loops when you say "for the sake of continuity within the rhythm", or am I not understanding correctly. I've been using samples and drum machines since the early 80s and I just never got into the loop thing and have never really used them.

Yeah, if you have the luxury of being able to record real drums it's a no brainer, even if it's just the cymbals, and acutally especially if it's the cymbals.

Quote:
As a drummer, it pains me to say this, but... honestly, as long as your kick and snare are in the pocket, the rest is really just extra noise anyway. So I'd worry way more about those two things than about some cymbals. Those are just white noise.
Heh heh, well I can agree with you about the kik and the snare and there are times when the rest don't seem to matter, and I know of times it was just as good without anything but the kik and the snare. But I think most of the time it does matter, if for no other reason than it's expected.

I do agree though, that with many recordings it's not nearly as important as when you're playing live.

Quote:
My solution, aside from spending way too many years developing my keyboard-drumming, has been to try to write to the weakness of the samples. If the beat doesn't sound good with samples, then rather than bemoaning the shortcomings of the technology, I just change the beat in order to suit those limitations.
Here's where I have to disagree, I don't consider my samples as being weak. If I've got good samples, then any weakness is going to be me. On the other hand, I don't have to program a lot of R&R, and absolutely no metal. My clientele are mostly song writers who are in the country and pop fields which is much easier.

Quote:
It's the same approach I take to doing orchestral stuff. The samples are more like a caricature of the actual instrument, so I just try to think, "What would a caricature of this instrument do?" After all, most of us aren't writing demo tracks for sample library developers, so we needn't focus too much on hyper-realism and pushing the library to its fullest. It's a compromise, for sure, because I'm not directly translating the music in my head. But we must do the best with the tools we have. So, as a result, while I love to just go nuts on a drum kit (which, thankfully, I get to do in the prog rock band I play in), I try to keep my MIDI beats on the simple side, so as to conceal the flaws inherent in the sampling technology (and in my finger drumming). Yeah, it's less than ideal (and isn't that the way life is), but it gets the music made.
Well I think you've got the right idea, but I do think differently. I started composing orchestration back in the early 90s for wild life films, when all I had were my K2000 sampler, M1 synth, and a few other outboard sound modules. Although it was limiting, I simply refused to think of it that way and put it together the best I could, without feeling limited. If you click on the "Elk Opening Vid" in my signature you will see and hear one of those videos.
Tod is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:53 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions Inc.