Making Programmed Drums Sound Real

A while back I shared some of my thinking on how to make drum patterns using MIDI plugins for songs. That post contains a section with my best tips on how to make the drums sound like they’ve been played by a human drummer. You can, however, take this humanization process a number of steps further to create amazing-sounding programmed drums.

Drumkit closeup

While I’m no expert, EtherealEntity of the forums is. He has collected his best tips on bringing programmed drums to life a comprehensive post:

This post contains very concrete tips on the following topics:

  • Verifying that beats are playable by a human
  • Tempo behavior with human drummers that you can replicate (slightly rushing fast fills, tempo wandering in verses etc.)
  • Velocity – ghost hits, different strength in the two hands etc.
  • Quantization or not

Read the full post here:

Also, just out is Bulb’s (Periphery) Drum programming tips and tricks video, the first of a two-part series:

When you are done with that excellent thread and the video, here are more posts and articles on the matter: