Tip: Programming drums with Toontrack or Steven Slate

A friend of mine sent me a song he was working on and complained that the drums sounded awful. This was surprising to me since I recommended he use Toontrack’s Superior Drummer or Steven Slate Drums, my goto apps for drums.

What was more surprising was that when I listened to his song, he was right, they sounded horrible. However, it didn’t take long to figure what he did wrong.

For example, one of the fills he had going into the chorus of the song was especially messy at the beginning. Then I counted the hits: tom, snare roll (multiple hits), crash, tom, kick.

The kick is fine. One foot, one kick hit. But how is a real drummer supposed to hit two toms, a cymbal and do multiple hits on a snare all at the same time? He can’t.

When you program drums in MIDI in Pro Tools or Logic remember that a drummer only has two hands. Everything you program should take that into account.

Drum samplers have come a long way in the past few years, but they can’t make stupid shit you do sound better or more realistic.