how the hell do you do this


Active Member
Dec 28, 2008
I've been trying to program some beats for a while and although I can handle a sampler and basic production techniques, I realize I simply have absolutely no clue as to how to write these kinds of beats. How the hell do you even begin to do something like this:

I mean, it all sounds so smooth and flowing, and broken up at the same time... HELP! Are these chopped up loops? Carefully constructed/sliced midi loops driving ezdrummer? What!? Anything I've put together so far sounds totally robotic and lifeless.
my advice. get some pre programmed loops. cut them up yourself, put them back together yourself, start shifting hits around and you'll soon see what works and what doesn't and then how to make your own breaks. failing that, youtube it, look for some tutorials.
I'm sure you could write this in midi if you had good enough samples and enough time to play around. Chopping up loops is probably easier. That robotic feel is more to do with the quantizing that goes on in piano roll (I would guess)
the reason i wondered if these were cut up loops, is that it just doesnt sound like cut up loops. the decay on all the hits seems intact, at least as far as i can tell. it doesnt sound chopped up or like it's been through liveslice or bbcut
i watched some very helpfull videos by chase and status on youtube about making beats,

Cheers, for the video link, but I think their beat is exactly what I mean by lifeless and robotic. I am much more interested in techniques for creating groove, and realistic fills and variations, rather than the kick, snare, add a hipassed break in the background, compress, done method which these guys are talking about.
Depending on your sampler (I only really know Battery) you should be able to create what you want in midi. If it's realism you want, remember that with a real drummer there are a lot of variations in the firmness of the hit (velocity) and timing (quantizing)
The difficulty will be that hitting a drum or cymbal harder or softer also affects it's tone, decay etc, Also where on the drum the hit lands (centre, edge, rim)
So a sample with a single velocity layer (eg velocity 127 or 98 or 54 triggers the same sample, just changing the volume) will not give 100% realistic sound.
A sample with multiple velocity layers (eg midi note velocity 127, 98 or 54 triggers the same drum but it has been sampled multiple times being hit hard, not so hard, soft etc) will give you a much more realistic sound.
Also remember that with live drums the mic from one drum also picks up ambient noise from the rest of the kit, giving a much fuller sound than pure single triggered samples.

You can do what you want to do, but you'll need good samples, good sampler (one that gives you room to modulate/envelope/voice group each sample) and plenty of time.
Oh yeah voice groups. That's another thing, but I have to go to work.
i do like the shuffle in this. i think subprime hit the nail on the head. when i first started producing dnb, i realized i wasn't pitching up the drums enough. they get punchier as you pitch. watch videos of real drummers, better yet get to a rock gig and watch the drummer. it gives you an idea of how much actually goes on behind them skins. i got talking to a drummer, he was telling me about his kit. Kickdrums, floor toms, splats, chinas, splashes, rides, hi hats, cowbells etc. all of them sound different and have different jobs. but put them together right and :cowbell: bpm also comes into play, the slower the drum n bass the stronger the humanist beat sounds.

hope this helps.
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Use "Ghost Notes" - beat hits that are so low velocity you almost cannot hear them, but they fill out teh sound, and make it less "Skiey"...also a "Universal" reverb setting on the drums ( say at 1% wet) will make it all sound like part of the same thing.
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