Every time I hear an iPhone ring, or just about any music that doesn’t have drums, I’m always thinking of what I would put under it as a backing track. I guess that’s what happens to your melon after being a drummer for a while.
I put this together a few weeks back by hand, then was delayed in doing an actual take when my camera decided to kick the bucket. Thankfully, after a few emails and $10 shipping later, it’s functioning again.
I had a fierce battle with iMovie with the screenshot overlays, and I ended up just going with the garbliness and inconsistencies of the images in this video, so my apologies for that, but there’s nothing I could do. My Apologies!
I had a lot of fun making this, and if you have any requests, or comments, let me know!
Oh, and I put up my OSD (Online Session Drummer) page to help get the word out there for potential new clients, so take a look at that too when you get a chance!
I get a ton of questions from comments and e-mails about my rig and what I’m using to track with all this gear and it’s actually a fairly simple setup. Leave any questions or comments in the comment section below. Thanks!
- Roland SPD-30 Octapad
- Toontrack’s Superior 2.0
- Mbox 2 (any MIDI input will do)
- MIDI Cable
- Snare Stand
- Drum Throne
- 2 Guitar Hero Kick Pedals (any trigger with a 1/8 or 1/4 inch out will do)
|Roland’s SPD-30 Octapad is the most responsive and accurate MIDI controller for drummers I have ever played, and I’ve played on almost everything out there that’s electronic you can hit with a stick.|
I’ve owned a ton of Guitar Hero drum controllers (at least 30), Rock Band and Ion Kits, a Roland TD-10 & TD-20 kit, and a Roland SPD-S.
The most common issue I’ve found with MIDI drum controllers is not being able to pick up those light taps for ghost notes and crescendos, or even just upbeat hits on the Hi Hat. So what do you do when this happens? Turn up the sensitivity 1 notch at a time until it starts picking up those low velocity hits.
The problem with this is when you turn up the sensitivity on one pad, hitting other pads around the controller/kit might fire off a hit with your pad with low sensitivity now. This is what we call cross talking.
I have yet to experience any double hits with the SPD-30 either. This happened pretty frequently with other controllers where you would get flam-like MIDI output sporadically throughout your performance.
These are easily the most common problems with drum MIDI controllers these days, and the Roland SPD-30 Octapad had none of these issues straight out of the box.
The combination of the Octapad and Superior 2.0 is absolutely awesome. It’s allowed me to track demos and even full-on final recordings at 4 AM in my apartment. Using MIDI output with Superior 2.0 has never been easier to get a good fully modifiable drum sound.
Superior 2.0 delivers amazing sounds straight out of the box, and comes with a bunch of presets to make them sound better, and you don’t need to know the first thing about audio production or mixing. At the same time, the software allows you to run Multi Output to go straight into your DAW (Logic, Protools, Reason etc.), and treat them as actual drum tracks letting you add your own plugins like Compression, EQ, Noise Gates, Reverb and etc.
Superior Drummer 2.0’s samples were recorded by Pat Thrall, Neil Dorfsman, and Nir Z at Hit Factory, Avatar Studios, and Allaire studios, NY. The three have worked with artists as diverse as Meatloaf, Celine Dion, Nick Lachey, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Beyoncé, Björk, Kiss, Joss Stone, Genesis, John Mayer, and Chris Cornell.
It has recently gained more popularity with bands like Periphery, Meshuggah, and Animals As Leaders.
This bad boy plugs into your Mac or PC via USB, and lets you plug your Octapad into its MIDI-in with a MIDI cable.
I would recommend the M-Audio USB Uno 1X1 MIDI Interface if you’re just recording MIDI output, otherwise the Mbox 2 has multiple inputs allowing you to record vocals, guitar, and etc. with its analog and digital inputs.
This guy runs from my Octapad into the mbox which carries all the magic.
This is a spare snare stand that I’ve had for about 6 years now, with no problems at all. A lot of snare stands don’t go high enough to my liking (which is unusually high), but this one does.
Guitar Hero Kick Pedals
Say what you want about Guitar Hero Kick Pedals, but they cost me nothing and get the job done, and they are more responsive and dynamic than you think. All I needed was a couple 1/8 to 1/4 inch adaptors to plug into the Octapad’s expansion slots, and voilà.
I’m currently looking into products such as the Roland KD8 Kick Drum Trigger Pad, but it’s not totally necessary at the moment (even though one of my pedals is being held together with duct tape..
Well that’s pretty much it (minus things like my mixer, sticks, PC, and headphones and what not).
Please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything you need help with!
Slappin’ da bass, mon. This one is a really comfortable BPM for me to add in tons of little flairs and fills. Really digging the riffs in this one too, Brian is a pretty sick guitar player.
I actually worked with Brian Effinger at Neversoft for a couple years, and he’s a really cool dude. We had a lot of pretty awesome late-night Left 4 Dead sessions. He wrote this to compete in a community-based League of Legends contest which is pretty sweet.
“Each winner and up to four band members will receive 2800 RP for their musical mastery”
Another great piece by Nathan Matthew David.
I really enjoyed working on this one. Lots of room for fills and energy. Definitely don’t want to get too crazy and drown out the mood. This was one of those tracks where there were so many possibilities and such a great piece, that it was hard to decide on which drum parts to go for and when to switch from one to the other.
In the beginning I opened with a double floor tom build-up to a flam to really explode into the big open beat which leaves open a lot of breathing room for the tremelo on the guitars to really show in between snare accents, and I think it sounds great.
haha, it’s all about the 16th tom fills with the syncopated double kick to pierce through the mix like a machine gun.
Nathan has been a pretty close friend of mine for a while now, and it’s always a pleasure to work on compositions of his. I hold a lot of respect for him considering the type of approach he takes with keeping the big-picture in mind at all times.
Most of his work is done scoring films ranging from independent to full-length features.
This piece was a bit challenging to find a straight-forward rhythm that wouldn’t sound too busy, but still had a drive.
With the song being at a slower tempo and in 6/4, and after toying around with the snare accents on the “3” and “6”, I/we found that placing them on the and of “2” and on the downbeat of “4” and “6” worked a lot better. Even though it ended up being a simple track, it was really fun and easy to get into.
I’ve started this site as an outlet for original recordings and compositions I’ve made over the years. I also like to rant about random stuff or talk about video games, drumming, and music.