This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.
Question: How do I program drums that sound realistic (and sound good)?
In many genres, especially hip hop, great sounding drum beats are essential.
Technology has come a long way, with producers having more options for drums than ever before…
Unfortunately, more samples, plugins, and options don’t protect you from poor sounding drums.
If you want to make sure YOUR drums sound great and realistic, here are some simple tips you can immediately apply.
First, some overall ideas to keep in mind:
- You should program your drums like a real human drummer could play them.
- The quality of the drum sound (whether it’s a sample or synth-based) matters significantly.
- Consider drum beats like a fancy cake, with layers and variation that all work in harmony.
- A lot of the magic can happen by focusing on the hi-hats (the listener is often drawn to them).
- Don’t be afraid of shortcuts and “easy” ways to get better sound (if you haven’t seen this yet, here’s my Drum Mixing Cheat Sheet).
Now, some more specific tips to program realistic-sounding drums: Continue reading