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Pro Tools Essentials

Lesson 8 of 31

Segment 8 - Audio to MIDI Mapping of Drums

 

Pro Tools Essentials

Lesson 8 of 31

Segment 8 - Audio to MIDI Mapping of Drums

 

Lesson Info

Segment 8 - Audio to MIDI Mapping of Drums

we're gonna try a technique that basically allows you to replace drums by creating a mini map right within pro tools of the entire performance of the drums, so that then you could use a sampler to replace those sounds or even reinforced those sounds. Sometimes there's a couple scenarios that I found this really valuable, especially mixing a lot of live stuff. You don't have ideal conditions, sometimes recording live, especially with things like, you know, kick drums and snares Tom's You get a lot of bleed from the rest of the instruments and you end up with just a really sloppy sounding drum kit. A lot of times to you have samples that you want to be able to incorporate into the sound to give you a little more, you know, like based response to the kick like a little more 60 hertz kind of punch. Sometimes you want to use a different samples snare to be able to replace. It doesn't fit the song anymore. When she finished production, all these things are changes that happen is you start to...

go about recording, and sometimes you want to change the sounds of the drums themselves. Plus, there's been so many great sample packs out there, different types of drum libraries that you can use and they we cover this in another course, the advanced drum production course, if you want to see, like, a more complete version of specifically getting drum tones But in pro tools specifically, there's a way of doing this using what's called keyboard command focus that allows you to speed up kind of the whole process. And so I'm gonna show you sort of how we walk through that and kind of get all that done. It makes it makes a lot of sense. So the first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna listen to these drums. These are the ones we looked at this morning. I'm gonna go ahead and, uh, get rid of the beat detective stuff that we did, and instead we'll start with just the performance here. This is gonna make it easier once we get to sort of the recording or the MIDI editing portion. So we've got these drums, we're going to pull up the group of the drums. Listen to him. It sounds OK. Like they're okay. Tracks Maybe we recorded at home. Or maybe they were recorded in a studio. We don't have a lot of time, and so we didn't get the tones that we necessarily wanted. Or maybe we love the terms of the time. But once we started adding on the instruments, they just didn't really fit the tones anymore. And it only so much you could do with a Q and compression to be able to change the actual tones of the instrument. There are a couple plug ins that you can use that are pretty cool. One is called dream agog, so I'll pull that up and kind of show you really quick what drum agog looks like. Andrew Magog basically goes through, allows you to load in what they called gog files, which are samples of different drums hit basically at, like, 16 different ways on Do you could go in and set the threshold so that automatically just reads the media or the audio track and then triggers the live performance. And the problem with this is that it's really hard sometimes to set the sensitivity right to hit all of those drum hits exactly how you want them, and you always have to go back through and sort of fine tune and sort of trick the sensitivity with Cem clip gain to be ableto get the samples that you want. So what I've started doing is using this next technique to be able to actually transcribe sort of this live drum performance into MIDI and then use the midi notes with specific velocity changes to trigger live drums on door to trigger sampled drums. And that way I have a lot more control. And once I finished transcribing, I never have to think about the performance again. I can just focus on the tone and allows me to really like, separate the two in my mind. So we're gonna go and just start with the kicks. I'm gonna turn off the group. I'm gonna solo just the kick drum and listen to that for a sec, and that's after I did a bunch of mixing on it. So we sort of mute the plug ins. You can hear what it sounds like originally, which is not bad. It's not a horrible kick drum sound, but it's definitely not what I want. Um, so the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to add a new midi track and I'm going to add a stereo instrument track the MIDI input track. I'm gonna call Kick Midi in the incident track. I'm going to call Superior Drummer. I'm gonna move. He's both back up to the top of the session, and the first thing I'm gonna do is put the MIDI track right underneath the kick drum and we'll come back to that in just a second. So I got the audio kicked from here. The MIDI track right underneath the the next thing, we just go to the mixer window and I'm going to pull up on the instrument track. Superior Drummer multi out. So we use Period drummer and easy drummer quite a bit here, creativelive. They're both pretty similar. You can do a lot with Easy Drummer. The thing I really like about Superior drummer is that you can actually bus each of the individual drums out two separate tracks back in the mix window and mix them as if you were mixing Justin actually track drum kit, which is really helpful. So I'm gonna show you how to do that to in just a second. So this is superior drummer. You can kind of. See, um, there's some specific sounds you could pull up. This is just kind of the standard kit. It's just the sample one which we're not gonna worry about Tones right now, we just need to know what they sound like. So we'll just keep the standard kit pulled up and then get rid of that. And the next thing we're gonna do with this MIDI track, the mini kick is we're going to send it to Superior Drummer. So now the MIDI track is being sent to Superior Drummer. We should be all good to go. Um, now the next step, this is where it gets a little bit tricky. So we want to be able to do is quickly go through and create a mini map of every single one of these kick drum hits. And I know what you're thinking that, like, Wow, that sounds like incredibly time intensive. But there's a way that you can do this. That's actually pretty simple. And I'm gonna show you how to do it. Using sort of three different steps. The first step is what's called strip silence. Second step is what's called tab to Transient and the third step is what's called a keyboard focus mode, the sort of moves that you could do in keyboard focus mode. And once you get into this routine, it actually becomes pretty fast. So first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna just start with this first section, select the section, zoom out so I can see most of it in the view, and I'm going to edit and hit strip silence. Now what's gonna happen is it's gonna go through and find all of the sounds when it's actually making sounds and delete when it's not making sounds. And I can set the threshold of how loud it has to be for that to happen and also how long the clips have to be. So I'm gonna just threshold here up, bring down the minimum strip duration someone address the threshold until we have pretty much every hit covered just once and then I'm gonna dress the end pad to be a little bit longer is just so I can see the entire kick drum hit. And if you see now, I can kind of see every kick drum head. I think I should be good. I'm gonna go ahead in that strip now, Thing to think about is you're not actually going to use this audio, so you don't have to worry about, like, the actual envelope of the sound. You're just using it to find the transients because what we're gonna do next is to be able to record a kick drum or mapping kick drum sound by tabbing to transient, which is kind of a specific thing to do. Um, so the next thing I have to do is we want to find on the keyboard where the kick drum is a Sfar is what noted is that it uses the easiest way to do this is we're gonna go back to Superior Drummer and you can go up to mapping, which pulls up the keyboard, and I'm gonna click the kick drum. I'm gonna see that. See? One, which is just see on the keyboard like middle C is the kick drum. That's great. I'm gonna go back to the, um at it window and I am going to switch the mode on the kick drum midi track from clips to notes, and then I'm going to scroll down until I see C one so right on the second active there is C one and then I'm gonna zoom in a little bit, so it's a little bit wider, and I'm going to draw just one note right at the beginning for C one right here. I'm not gonna make it too long, cause I want to make sure that I can copy it and not run into the next note, so we'll just drag it right here. So it's playing that note. I'm gonna go ahead and turn up the midi track a little bit, so place it a little louder. Um, now, remember, from when you're talking about editing midi, I can also change the velocity by holding down command and clicking on a note after Zoom in a little bit here so I can change the velocity. So I'm gonna set it at, like, kind of the standard hit What I feel like the most common hit he's gonna give is what sound? I wanted to be sort of the baseline Set it 90 feels like about about a standard kick that feels right. Um, not the next step is that I'm going to go up to the corner way up here in the in the upper corner. And you see this little a dizzy button that a dizzy button is what's called keyboard command Focus mode in pro tools, and what it allows you to do is use your actual keyboard. We're gonna go over this in a little more detail this afternoon, but we'll just show you how you use it specifically for this. For now, it allows you to use keyboard shortcuts without any modifier, so you don't have to hit like Command V to paste. You just hit V or if, instead of hitting command sita copies to see, um and you can work a lot faster if you're trying to do something really quickly. So we're gonna do is I'm gonna click on this note and hit a making sure this is on. I'm gonna hit, See? And so now that notice copied. And then the other cool thing is that there's arrows to navigate around pro tools. If you can see I'm using P l apostrophe and, um, semi colon to move up, down and across. If you could see the cursor moving, it's super easy to go around and do that. So what? I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go through. Oh, yeah. There's one more thing you want to make sure you have on there's a little option appear in the corn. This is tab to transience. And what that means is that when I tab next, instead of having to the next region, it's gonna tab to the next transient. It's really helpful to do this. Once you've stripped for silence, you can actually turn that off and you can navigate between each of the hits. Since I've already stripped silence out, I've already found where all those transients are, and I'm gonna go back in and just jump to the next region. And what I want to do is basically identify where the region is and then move down and copy and note for each one of those hits on. And that's just the letter V ones have copied. I could just sort of get into this routine where I'm just copying and pasting Amidi note at each hit. I'm not going to go through the entire performance because you get the idea after a little bit, Um, now the question I ask is, Well, why wouldn't I just go and put it on all the good points, and that's a good question. Let's say that I really wanted to keep the performance of the drummer. I'm trying to make a mini map of what he actually played, not what would be exactly gritted out. So maybe for the kick drum, ITT's exactly snap to the grid. Or maybe it's close to the grid, but maybe the high hat and snare, which we're gonna do next on the toms. I want to keep a little more organic, keep sort of the feel. I want to be able to put a MIDI note exactly where he played it and not where I think the computer says It should be playing according to the grid, because we want to sort of keep some of that feel. So we're still not done once I go through. So let's say I have the whole track down. I just did this one section. Um, Now we're gonna go back through and build some custom velocity changes for each of these notes. Remember, I hold on command in order to change the velocity of any mini note. The 1st 2 are pretty consistent. This one looks a little louder, so I'm actually gonna bring it up to, like, 100 on. Maybe the next one is a little bit louder to bring about 200. Um, this one looks all right. This one looks like 5 And it doesn't have to be an exact science. You kind of just want to estimate what it actually looks like. Their performances using sort of your eyes. And obviously, if you want to go back in and listen, you can even get even more accurate types of hits. Uhm, with kick drums. It's pretty simple. Most kick drums are pretty consistent. When we get into snares, there's things like flam size and stick hits that we want to specifically program is different notes That will be a little more complicated. This may seem like really tedious work, but when it comes time to actually like programming and drum performance, the more detail you put in it, the more accurate results you're gonna get, you're gonna get a better performance. Um, somebody go through and change all these note velocities. And, you know, sometimes I might even want to add in musical elements. Like if he's building up to a chorus sorts towards the end of the song, and I feel like the drummer was getting tired. Aiken change the velocity by adding Mawr or putting more velocities to those kick notes even if he didn't play it. Because I feel like it serves the purpose of the song. You sort of have to just make those decisions yourself. Um, so once I'm done with that, I'm gonna go through and listen back to beginning here. And can you hear how the velocity really makes a pretty big difference when you actually like program that stuff in? You could hear the different performance and maybe like if I go back and listen, I decide, Well, that was a little more than I anticipated. Once I have that done, the kick drum is pretty much done. I'm obviously not going to go through the whole song. I've only done just the beginning, But once you get fast at this, I mean, I could knock out each part in about, you know, 15 minutes. So I'm really just putting in like, an hour of extra work to do the kick snare and toms and maybe the high hat. And now I have those symbols program that I don't have to use it and mixing. Maybe I end up not using all of them, but they're there and easy to pull up when I when it comes time to mix. So once that's done, that track has already sent. I'm gonna go and hide that because I don't need to look at it anymore. Once the once the settings air done once already programmed it, it's done. Um, I'm gonna go and create a new mini track. And I remember this time I don't have to add a whole new superior drummer and another instrument track. I'm just gonna bust the same MIDI track to the same superior drummer. Sound just a different, Um, on a different note, um, two questions about this one. Why wouldn't you just program the snare on the same midi? Track it because it's a different note. What we're actually doing is we were going through and copying and pasting the paste mode pastes the entire role of the piano and so using paste in that way, if I try to go over and paste over the noose snare drum even though there are different notes, it would actually delete where the kick drum was. Um, there's sometimes ways to get around this. If you're recording it with a note with many merge where it just adds to the performance instead of deleting it. But it doesn't really work with paste. So I've found it's easier just to put kick snare Tom's and hi hats on each on a separate mini track, bust them to the same superior drummer set and then hide the many tracks. Never think about it again. Plus, then everything's on a separate performance, and you just it's a lot cleaner. You don't have to go searching around through which note you're using. So the same thing we're gonna go through and find, um, what the snare sound is, So I have the mapping pulled up to hit the snare. It looks like it's d D one on the on the piano row switched to notes. I'm gonna find D one here, Zoom in and dr just one snare hit here at the beginning, and what I forgot to do was solo the snare and bus it to Spirit drummer. So this is a good time to mention if you notice superior German school and that it has different types of snare hits. So I really want to be specific about what snare hit I'm hearing and replacing and not just doing just the generic snare hit, which is sort of a cross it right here. So it's sort of like 44 different hits. Let's listen to this scenario. Hear what it sounds the most like he's playing. It's a pretty standard snare drum hit. So let's try e think just are standard one right there seem to find. So once it's there, gonna hit copy, monitor the exact same thing that I did with the drums. Edit this forward a little bit to go up to edit. Go strip silence set the threshold a little higher So it looks like when are getting any fake? It's there, um, at the end pad a little bit and then hit strip. Now, when I go back in here when you go back to keyboard command focus mode, which is still on, I'm gonna use P l apostrophe and semi colon to basically just go and replace or build transcribing to these and midi. So now that's mapped out again. Pretend that I've done the whole song like that. I'm gonna go back through and work on the transience, especially with snare. I think using velocity is really, really helpful because it makes a pretty big difference as far as the samples that they use. So I'm gonna again hold command down, Bring this one up a little bit. So now if I go through and listen second wanted to fight a lot of it is really trial and error. Like you want to just go through and figure out like, What's the best way to do this? Um oh, the other thing that you could do to it's helpful. Before you hide the tracks, hold down command and click solo. It's called solo latch mode. And that way you never have to look at the kick again. It will always be solo, just like every other track. Um, in case you're selling the drums that way, you can still hear both of them. Zack, we have a question about snare. Um, how about snared double strokes? Wouldn't they sound machine player until Akeley? That's a great question. So if you notice when we were looking at the snare sounds, there's actually a specific superior drummer Sound. Four double hits. Um, so you can sometimes, like, go through and find. See, like there. It's like a natural drummer. Trouble hit. So if I find it a double hit in the song like an actual snare where he does do, like, kind of a flam like that, um, like, and program that note for just the first hit instead of having two hits, that would sound much more, you know, like, programmed and drummed. So that is a three was going back and programming that, like, let's just say, for example, I would say for pretend that this, uh, listening back up that this snare right here was a double hit. Even though it's not, we'll just pretend that it is instead of doing the standard one. Um, we're actually gonna change this note to be, um we're gonna change two's a What did I say? It was a three. And now if you go back and look that no is actually moved up to a three. So when we listen to this snare performance, I wasn't a three figure What? Iwas Let's see. Yeah, it was a three. It was the mountain. See, where this is that here? Way? Go. So, yeah, you program in the double hit instead of that specific it. So that's the nice thing about superior drummer versus, like, just drum replacement like drama. God would just see to snare heads and we try to replace it with superior German. You can actually program in exactly what the drummer plane or as close as possible, what they were doing. So what I'm gonna do eventually and, um, we'll do that to snare will do the same thing. We could do it with high hat. We could do it with Rack Tom and Floor Tom on. Once those are all done, I would hide all of the drum. It's and I just have superior drummer. So, like I said before, one thing that's cool about Superior Drummer is that I can actually bus out each of those individual tracks to individual drums that individual tracks in the mix windows. So when I come time to mix, I don't have to think about it anymore. Before I do that, I usually want to go through and find what drum kit I'm gonna use. These Superior drummer has multiple drum kits that you could pull up. And once you get the drum programmed, are the part programmed out transcribed? You can actually go through and just kind of like listen to different drum kits so we'll try to like, see which sounds we want, And then I'll show you how to bus all those out. Two separate tracks. We'll just kind of loop this part here. Maybe I want to swap the snot snare out with different snare drum kick. I won't take a bigger kick or I can change entirely different drums, um, and bring up. Let's see if we wanted, like vintage. The cool thing about this is that it gives me so much control after I've already done composing, been mixing to go through and change those sounds. They were rigid recording, which I couldn't do if they were just live audio tracks. Oops, I don't have that one. Try slinger one kid. The other thing I could do is I could actually bring up Elektronik drums and program in more of like a NATO eight sound to blend in with the natural drums. So maybe I want to include the original kick, but just blend in in the exact same part some some different type of the performance. Um, so you could bring up all these different types of sounds and this just gives me a lot of control to like, um, it gives you a lot of creativity to pull out even a certain section. So maybe, you know, the first two parts of the song are live drums. And then when you cut to the bridge, you switch to like this Elektronik kit. You can totally change the tone of the sound and create more interesting parts of the sound without just sticking with the same sound all the way through. And then you wouldn't have toe rerecord that part of replay it. You could just take the original performance, transcribe it and then turn it into an electronic kit. There's a lot of stuff you could do, so we'll go ahead and we'll just go back to sort of the main kit just seeking, kind of see, now what we want to do in Superior Drummer. We're gonna go to the mixer window, and if you notice the cooling about spirit Germans, they have all these mikes that they recorded it and they were actually recorded drum kits with an actual studio. There's a lot of different makes you can choose from. What we're gonna do is send these out to each bus. So I'm gonna send all the kick drums right now. Everything is just being sent out. One and two. I'm gonna send the kick drums out three and four, and I'm going to send the snare drums out. Let's see, five and six. Um, And since we only have kicking snail, just do those two for now. But you can kind of see how that works. Um Then what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna add two new stereo obs tracks. Once those pop up, I'm gonna call this one new kick this one new snare and then go up to input. And if you see input usually says I could set the interface bus. Now there's a plug in option, and I can pull the plug in from, um, superior. Drummers five and six or three and four is what I think we said. And the snare drum from five and six. And now, if you look, you can see the kick drum actually come out of these channels. So now, while I'm mixing. I can actually go hide the original superior drummer track and just look at those odds returns, and it's almost like they're actually just tracks that I was recorded. But I think about it. You've got the MIDI track feeding with superior derma track feeding to the Auxerre. Put that you're mixing with, um, and it's really helpful. One thing to keep in mind just because you set the kick drums in the snare drum mikes out to those tracks doesn't mean that all of the other Mike's in Superior Drummer are still not picking up those sounds. If you notice about unsold these, I'm still hearing some of the kick and snare. And the reason being is that all of those mikes and superior Drummer the room makes the ambient Mike's there recorded as if they were actually recording in the studio. So those are all still going to come through. You can either go through and mute all those, or you could just keep superior drummer opposite extra, you know, source of ambience if you want to add that or blend that in. But just keep in mind that those other mikes are still used as you kind of walk through that stuff. So I feel like it's a pretty good stopping point. Drew. What do you do? You think? Is there any questions from their weight? Teoh Humanize the velocity and pro tools? Or would you do that in Superior Drummer? It's in pro tools eso and when you say humanize, I mean, like, you're still doing it by hand. But with each of these kicks, I'm gonna click command and change the velocity manually, and I'm gonna try to visually match it toe what his kick drum actually Waas and they go back through and listen and make sure that they match up. It's just it's just your human here using it. There's no way to, like, measure at least that I'm aware of. Maybe there is. There's no way to measure the actual audio away form and match the velocity to that that I've seen. At least I think it's better to do it by ear anyways, because you might want to make musical changes as you go along and decide that the performance actually should have had a stronger kick there or, you know, that kind of thing. Okay, great

Class Description

Learn the ins and outs of Avid's Pro Tools HD, the recording industry’s most comprehensive DAW, with Zach Varnell. Zach is an industry veteran, who has worked in dozens of studios throughout Seattle. In this comprehensive guide to Pro Tools, he’ll share the best practices he's picked up over the years.

In Pro Tools Essentials, Zach will walk you through the entire mixing platform including the intricacies of bussing, VCA groups, key input, HD functionality, and notable plug-ins. He’ll also show you how to create custom impulse responses from time-based outboard gear and rooms.

You will learn about Elastic Audio and Beat Detective along with a comprehensive workflow and track management process and how it can be applied to a studio session with a band or film scoring with triple-digit track counts.

If you are ready to take your Pro Tools game to the next level or just want to brush up on some time-saving techniques, don’t miss Pro Tools Essentials with Zach Varnell.  

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