Which drum VI does the best job of forbidding physically unrealistic performances?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
thephank
KVRer
7 posts since 10 Mar, 2018

Post Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:45 am

Hot take: why would you want to limit yourself like that? I find it intellectually dishonest to try and fake a realistic performance ITB. As a drummer of 20+ years, I've spent countless hours wishing I had an extra limb or two. Computers have made it possible, and you can make some really kick ass drum parts by ignoring the rules of reality.

Ok, I'm done. Off my high horse. For everyone in the real world, here's some tips:

1) No more than two hits at once on snare/toms/cymbals. It is possible to hit two drums or a drum/cymbal with one stick, but extremely difficult. It always results in a funky timbre that is impossible to recreate with clean, center-hitting samples.
2) Double kick and hi-hat pedal stuff is possible at the same time, but very rare and requires either special equipment or very big feet. Avoid.
3) For normal single kick applications, my foot tops out at about 4 hits in rapid succession before crapping out. YMMV
4) Be mindful of how physically far apart different drums are. Playing very fast singles across snare/toms is conceptually only limited by the drummers ability. Most of us aren't Buddy Rich, however, so moving between snare/floor tom is harder than, say, rack tom 1 and rack tom 2.
5) I've never heard a VI that can do proper hi-hat pedaling. Sure, you can play closed in one section and open in another and have it sound good. Rapidly switching back and forth, subtly changing the groove with variations in pressure, and swells are very fake sounding. Any experienced listener will hear the "quantization" of different sample layers.
6) Sample noise builds up very quickly when playing rapidly. Voice limits can help, but setting them too low will cause weird volume jumps when playing dynamic material. Example: I set the voice limit on snare to 4. If I play a 5 stroke roll quickly with the first hit being loud and the last being quiet, the tail of the loud hit will suddenly cut off. If I set it to infinite and play a 15 stroke roll, there will be a lot more noise by the end. Especially in VIs with bleed samples, things can get extremely noisy.

To summarize: almost anything is possible in terms of speed if you don't mind sample noise. Humans can do amazing things. Making it sound realistic has more to do with feel, groove, and understanding the limitations of sampling technology in terms of timbre/lack of nuance.

I hope this helps. Go forth and make awesome beats!

househoppin09
KVRist
145 posts since 11 Nov, 2017

Re: Which drum VI does the best job of forbidding physically unrealistic performances?

Post Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:17 am

Wow, excellent info there! That really does help, thank you. Still interested in what anyone else might have to say as well, of course... :)

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jancivil
KVRAF
16186 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Which drum VI does the best job of forbidding physically unrealistic performances?

Post Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:01 pm

thephank wrote: 5) I've never heard a VI that can do proper hi-hat pedaling. Sure, you can play closed in one section and open in another and have it sound good. Rapidly switching back and forth, subtly changing the groove with variations in pressure, and swells are very fake sounding. Any experienced listener will hear the "quantization" of different sample layers.
Jesus. What are you using??

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jancivil
KVRAF
16186 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Which drum VI does the best job of forbidding physically unrealistic performances?

Post Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:07 pm

Seriously, if that was universally true, no one would f**king bother. Joe Barresi Evil Drums would not have a 4 GB hihat in a library.

https://youtu.be/nrOEdrsCSvQ?t=8s

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jancivil
KVRAF
16186 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Which drum VI does the best job of forbidding physically unrealistic performances?

Post Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:08 pm

thephank wrote: 6) Sample noise builds up very quickly when playing rapidly. Voice limits can help, but setting them too low will cause weird volume jumps when playing dynamic material. Example: I set the voice limit on snare to 4. If I play a 5 stroke roll quickly with the first hit being loud and the last being quiet, the tail of the loud hit will suddenly cut off. If I set it to infinite and play a 15 stroke roll, there will be a lot more noise by the end. Especially in VIs with bleed samples, things can get extremely noisy.
I've never experienced this once in my life. You would appear to be using something... odd and not quite up to the job tbh.

thephank
KVRer
7 posts since 10 Mar, 2018

Re: Which drum VI does the best job of forbidding physically unrealistic performances?

Post Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:26 pm

I offered advice on admittedly extreme situations, but realism requires extreme attention to detail. If you don't hear noise build-up, get better monitoring. I know it usually gets covered in the mix, but again OP asked for realism. If you can't tell the difference between samples switching back and forth compared to a real drummer manipulating real pieces of metal, that's fine. I'm a stickler for minutiae because I've been playing drums in solo situations for more than a decade. When you're totally alone on stage, every little thing matters.

Companies bother with this because they know people will pay for convenience rather than having to find and pay talent, setup mics in a good room, and the average listener couldn't care less if it's real or fake. How many gigs of hi hat samples does Superior Drummer 3 have? Don't know, don't care. It still exhibits these problems.

Take some deep breaths. I'm not attacking you personally. I'm sure the music you make with your VI of choice sounds great. Anyone with almost 14,000 posts is obviously dedicated to the craft of music.

EDIT: I just listened to your Youtube link. I was right! It sounds awesome. Doesn't change the fact that I can tell it's definitely samples.

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tonedef71
KVRian
921 posts since 21 Sep, 2007 from USA

Re: Which drum VI does the best job of forbidding physically unrealistic performances?

Post Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:04 am

Sometimes it is not necessary to limit the drumming possibilities. I have witnessed virtuoso drummers do some truly amazing things that I did not think were playable. Also, there are bands that play with two drummers simultaneously or a drummer and a percussionist simultaneously; fantastic layered beats are possible that use polyrhythm and such. Programmed electronic drum grooves also need not be limited.
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MrDuke
KVRist
123 posts since 9 Aug, 2009

Re: Which drum VI does the best job of forbidding physically unrealistic performances?

Post Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:14 am

DrMEM wrote:
Even if that's possible, it's not going to sound good or right unless you program it like a real drummer would play it. "Physical possibility" by itself is not enough. Why not just listen to a few songs (or better yet, watch a few videos) in the genre you're working in and try to emulate that?
+1 Just like with any "real" instrument that you need to "fake" with a VI, it's very worth your while to listen (and watch) actual drummerers and drum tutorials; transcribe and learn drum grooves and patterns - and try to replicate their performances, not just the notes / drum hits.

I have Addictive Drums 2 and absolutely love it!

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