How many ways do you know for creating drums?

Newbie question here. I’m trying to figure out an efficient way to create the drums. So far this is what I know about creating drums:

  1. via samples placing directly in the editor. The cons is that if you need to change something, you will need to go manually through the whole time line to make the changes.

  2. via a drum machine like hydrogen and export to wav. The cons is that if you need to make changes, you will need to go back to the drum machine and export it again.

  3. via a synth soft like Vital. No samples here, so you will need to create all the sounds by yourself. But after that, do I export them to wav or midi? In the end it seems to have the same issues as #1.

  4. via midi. For that you will need a sampler(is that right?) like Sitala, where you will load the samples into the sampler and the sampler will map the audio to the midi. This way you can use your piano roll to create the drum’s pattern.

Sorry if it’s not clear or if the terminology is incorrect. I just need a little help to get my head around it.


#0 Record a drummer? :slight_smile:


#0 bis → record sampler played live on pads or midi keyboard :smiley:

I think you got it pretty much down. Some hopefully helpful details:

  • You can host some drum machines in Ardour (like Drumgizmo) and program them with midi.
    This way you don’t have to export everytime you make a midi change.

  • You can send hydrogen output to Ardour tracks/buses through jack and synchronize them, no need to export everytime with this technique either even though I found it a bit clunky :slight_smile:

  • In general, synths (like Vital) are controlled by midi and there’s no need to export anything. But it’s of course possible to record their output to an audio track!

  • I’d like to point you to Geonkick too which is designed for drum synthesis and can be controlled by midi.

What’s interesting is that workflows can be mixed. Vital can load a sample that you modify using the synth. Then bounce it to an audio track to further play with it, load it in a sampler… :man_shrugging:

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To expand on #4, I would recommend AVL Drums, that is very easy and fast to setup, and produces pretty good results out of the box.

AVL druns.
Also my recommendation.
For me the quickest way do get drum programming done. Comes in 2 flavours Black Pearl and Red Zeppelin (Ludwig kit)
Once you master this you can expand in using LSP sample player with Hydrogen drum kits if you need other drum sounds e.g. eletric stuff.
I found more than 100 kits for Hydrogen on the web.
If you need more realistic (acoustic) drum sounds you can turn to Drum Gizmo but for me thats more than I really need.

Drumgizmo is my go to. The humanizing things make loos so much better.

For electronic drums and hydrogen kits, I have better luck with DrMr as it loads the samples into the piano roll correctly where LSP multisampler requires some editing there. There’s also drumkv1 if you can get it to load correctly inside Ardour.

One other way I am trying out right now is having a MIDI track with the drum patterns that then forwards MIDI to a bank of individual sampler tracks - basically so that I’m able to break out each sample as a separate mixer strip with its own FX chain etc. Unless you can tell me about a drum sampler that can convince Ardour to give it multiple audio outs :wink:

From the AVL drums description:

Compatible stereo/multi-out variant: Allows to in-place replace the stereo version with multi-out. Start with stereo when sequencing and when moving to the mixing stage use separate outputs to process or customize level and pan of individual drums.

From the DrumGizmo description:

DrumGizmo is an open source, multichannel, multilayered, cross-platform drum plugin and stand-alone application. It enables you to compose drums in midi and mix them with a multichannel approach. It is comparable to that of mixing a real drumkit that has been recorded with a multimic setup.

There may be others, those are probably the best known.

This should work. It is certainly working with drumgizmo at least.

Which sampler are you using?

I’m using Poise (which is a VST) - it’s an MPC style sampler where you can change the number of outputs at runtime. It’s good for more electronic stuff and maps perfectly to 4x4 grid controllers.

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So it would be because of the dynamic number of output? I have no idea how to help sorry :confused:

Is it just me using Fluidsynth and .SF2 soundfonts? I don’t bounce the channels (unless I want the tracks to be mixed by someone else). I keep them in MIDI.
I am newbie and very open to new ideas. What are the cons about using Fluidsynth?

The only downside is if it doesn’t sound the way you want. If it sounds like you think it should, then it works for your needs.

For me the downside is that I cannot have processing of individual voices, e.g. a compressor and EQ on the snare - whatever.
Also I want to make some adjustments of kick snare hihat toms cymbols levels during mixing.
Therefore a stereo out is not enough for me.
However it depends. I could imagine for electronic music I might have just one drum loop for the whole song so I could adjust the levels via midi editing

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