New song: semi-soar

Started off trying to do “Portishead lathered in mellotron.”

Wound up with something like “guitar hero having a bummer day.”

Used a microfreak and an ultranova on this, as well as DSRKit, a mellotron soundfont and the mighty zynaddsubfx fingered bass preset which is my favorite bass preset.

Ardour is a great product that I am happy to support. Thanks to the contributors for all your hard work!


Nice one, I like the Trip-Hop style and the frequencies sound good on my headphones. Thanks for posting it :sunglasses::desert_island:

that’s great to hear! I have some low-frequency hearing loss and have had a lot of trouble getting my mixes right so I really appreciate hearing it.

Nice drums, can you comment on their process? are you just using hydrogen?

yay, thanks for listening! And I love to talk drums, I’m actually a drummer first (though I cheat and sequence all the drums in my solo stuff)

The drum sound starts with Drumgizmo and DRSKit ( DRSKit sounds exquisite to me, it’s a gorgeous set of 13-channel (some stereo!) samples that all are each recorded with all the mics open, so you get a very wide and organic cross-mic bleed from them.

The Drumgizmo audio channel outputs are each routed to their own Ardour audio track for mixing and effects. These are all routed to a final drum bus for mixing against the other instruments and for global drumset effects, and that bus is routed to master. I think this is the standard way to route a detailed drum mix in Ardour but this is the first time I’ve done it.

For a wetter/crispier sound, especially from the hat and ride, I turned the overhead and ambiance channels up and dialed everything else back. I had to turn up the snare a bit to get the delay the way I wanted it too. The kick drum is low-passed at about 400hz but that’s the only filtering / EQ on the kit.

To get that busy but laid-back feel, I used delays on both the snare top and snare bottom channels.They are synced to the tempo, one is playing at 7/4 and the other is playing at 3/4 and they both decay after a single echo. The really awesome thing about this is that you get a tiny bit of delay on every other drum in the kit because of the cross-mic leaks, and that further widens the sound, especially on some of the ride pings.

from the composition side: there’s a ton of ghost noting in there and a tamborine on the &s to fatten up the chorus drums. I started out with straight eighths rides and hats and cut hits out of them until I found rhythms I liked. Also I discovered that a strong ride ping 16th note on 4a or on 1a can really launch a backbeat or fill, especially in a quiet part of the song.

The rest of the song is all stupid simple, just long tron chords and triplet arpeggios everywhere that I dragged until they sounded ok.

1 Like

Arrangement definitively shows you care about detail, drums have a nice feel. I’m experimenting on sequencing some drums myself and usually encounter the “too robotic” sound problem, I’ll have your approach in mind, still haven’t tried Drumgizmo although it’s pretty high on priorities list.


Great stuff! What’s your approach to drums programming? Do you spend a lot of time fiddling with the velocities to make it not sound so robotic?

Is anyone interested in an Ardour template with my basic drum setup? Wouldn’t take much to throw one up on google drive for public consumption.

@philsuess I’m not fiddling with velocities so much, no – I just do that for ghost notes and accents, like I would if I was actually playing the part.

I think a lot of the organic sound is probably due to Drumgizmo. DG’s sample packs support multiple samples per velocity band, with DG selecting (randomly?) between them every time it triggers one. This mitigates the robot effect of hitting the same sample over and over and over again. DG also has a “humanizer” option – I think that puts additional fuzz on the input velocity, so you’ll mix in samples from neighboring velocity bands as well.

This is all beautiful except for the compute resources it eats. With 34 drum sounds in it, sampled across many velocity bands, and each sample driving 16 channels of audio … the footprint multiplies fast. The kit weighs 4.1GB on disk and eats at least that much RAM when it’s loaded. Luckily the DRSKit folks know this and provide alt configs that don’t include all of the 34 drum sounds, so if you’re running in a RAM-constrained environment you can still get the goodness.

DG and DRSKit are super great products, we’re lucky to have them.


+1 for the template, I can surely put it to use. The RAM consumption though will be a problem for my 4gb system xD
What is that you refer to “alt configs”? sorry if we are asking too much, but you seem to know your stuff : b
Using less than those 34 sounds would affect though the organic feel I assume… :frowning:

cool, I’ll throw that drumgizmo template together and post it!

When you start Drumgizmo, you configure it with a pair of files that specify which drumkit to load, which sounds you want to bring in from that drumkit, and how to assign those sounds to midi notes. The alternative configurations include fewer sounds.

That sounds bad, but for me it’s not. DRSKit’s 34 different sounds include a lot of variations on the same drum – it has two crash cymbals and each crash cymbal has a tip, shank, and whisker sound, so that’s six sounds right there. The hat has ten different sounds for various stick and pedal positions. I’ve been able to get a plenty organic feel without ever using two different sounds from the same drum – I can get sufficient expression for my purposes with just velocity.

And I’m always happy to talk about this stuff, I’m still learning it all too and trying to answer questions is a great way to learn more. :slight_smile:


I’ll certainly have a look at drumgizmo again. I thought I knew it. But listening to your drums makes me notice some potential I’ve been missing.


By the way, do you write directly on Ardour? or do you use an alternative midi sequencer first :thinking:

I’ve uploaded a project with the semi-soar drum goodness and started a new thread about it: Drumgizmo / DRSKit drum template for Semi-soar

@bluebones I compose everything directly in Ardour. Occasionally I’ll noodle on a keyboard to try to get inspired for a melody or progression, but none of the notes you hear are performed/recorded, they are all mouse painted in Ardour.


I really enjoyed this. Listened quite a few times. I also like creating music with the DRSkit in Drum Gizmo. Very lifelike.

1 Like

@12strings2hands thanks!