quantized beats


Active Member
Dec 28, 2008
Question for all of you building beats from single drumhits, do you consider it essential to have a groove, ie some notes slightly ahead of behind the beat? I'm using a hardware sequencer/sampler (esx) and it locks all the hits exactly to the beat.. just wondering what you think about that.
Depends what you are trying to do. If you want to make a 'live drummer' sound then quantizing is your enemy. Electronic music obviously doesn't have to sound like it's being played live all the time, if at all, but you can change the feel of a track so much with a bit of groove.
Someone might be able to tell us exactly what effect it has moving a snare/kick/bell slightly off the beat. For me it's just trial and error.

I don't know how hardware works but with software it's pretty flexible.
I tried a few times writing 4 bars in piano roll (quantised), looping that then going back, zooming in and moving individual notes off the beat slightly and altering velocities to give a bit of feel. TBH that's a pain in the arse, especially with hats and anything with a million individual hits.
Now I'm trying using voice groups (in Battery) which means basically assigning x number of samples to, say, C1, then altering each sample (volume, envelope, starting point, pitch, whatever) then setting them to play back in order or randomly. Now I can bang in a million C1 notes, quarters, 8ths or 16ths..., quantised, but without that robotic feel. The samples cycle through in the order I set. It's especially good for drum and bass which has lots of fast notes. That's how I got rid of my machine gun hats and cymbals anyhow.

Sorry, not strictly about quantized beats I know, but it's just how I am starting to get a bit more feel in a beat, getting around that overly quantised sound.
Someone might be able to tell us exactly what effect it has moving a snare/kick/bell slightly off the beat.

Moving the snare a little ahead of the beat can make it seem tighter, snappier and more upbeat (this is a really nice trick), where leaving it a little late will give a sort of laid back feel. you only need to move it a tiny bit, so its barely noticable. Its also neat to swing some of the hihats a bit.
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remember you can quantize hits down to a very small scale, i wouldnt suggest placing them willy-nilly
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