Steven Slate Drums, especially the new SDD5.5, simply sound fucking great, out of the box.
The MIDI mapping, especially the “stacking issue”, is a pain in the ass.
When it comes to point 2 I had a conversation with the support. Remarkable: I never got a quicker support reply. What leaves me in mixed emotions is the content of it. Here’s my message:
I can’t seem to find the “Input Converter” in SSD5.5. I’d love to keep the mapping for every kit loaded, so that I can switch between drum sets, but keep the samples where they were.
Then I can’t figure out how to “unstack” samples… well, in all honesty: why do they get stacked by default in the first place? Would be great if they’d get somewhat logically mapped to their own MIDI notes (like a second kick drum close to the 1st one etc.). It’s very inconvenient to have a second hi-hat placed 3 octaves above the first one. That makes drum programming a nightmare.
I want to build a huge drum set with 2 different kick drums, 2 different hi-hats etc., and not run 2 instances of SSD5.5 in one project, just to be able to have this.
I know, I can assign every single sample to another note (MIDI Learn), but to do all of this by hand is, as mentioned, a nightmare.
Also, what’s the difference between “User (not loaded)” and “Reserved (not loaded)”, and what happens when I put, say, a kick drum on a “Bell left (not loaded)”? Will the left bell WHEN LOADED then stack up with the kick drum?
As said, I want to build a huge drum kit with all the samples I have in mind, but right now mapping issues stand in the way.
Here’s the reply:
please note SSD5.5 offers MIDI learn in two different locations, the mapping section, which can be accessed by first clicking on the “Map” Tab, on the left side of SSD 5, and the articulation switching which can be accessed in the edit and mix tabs. The MIDI learn in the “MAP” tab is global, meaning that notes are mapped before they hit SSD5. Thus, these changes do not save per kit, for saved presets, you will have to reload them each time you load a new kit. This is good for making maps for MIDI controllers/ E-Kit’s as mapping isn’t tied to a kit, and users can set a default mapping preset, to make for ease of use when switching kits and using a MIDI device.
On the other hand, MIDI learn in the edit/mix tab is not global, and the changes you make save per kit. In the sense of you were to make a new assignment in the edit/mix page, then save your kit. When re-loading your kit, this change will be recalled. The MIDI learn in the edit/mix tab is used for stacking the OG-One shots on existing snares, and un-mapping stacked articulation. It can also be used to use multiple snares and cymbals, and assign them to different MIDI notes, so you can play different snares and cymbals and different times, and on different pads if you have an e-kit.
You’ll probably expect a big and loud “NOOO” from me. I have to disappoint you. LANDR is good.
BOOM, there I dropped it: it’s good.
You get reasonable results for an unbeatable price. Fast, easy, very affordable. There are few good reasons not to use LANDR. But decisive, for example: it’s only good, not more, just good.
There is no human experienced audio engineer who brings his many years of experience and his sense of music and musicality into play. Nobody tells you if and how you can improve your mix, so that eventually the master gets better. Special requests are not considered by LANDR, corrections — of any kind — do not exist. You can not talk to anyone about the process and that’s why you do not learn anything, there is no feedback or commentary.
I claim that a master of LANDR will never sound as good as any of mine or my colleagues in the same category of our business. But…
If you do not have high standards but just want a “good” sounding song then LANDR is for you. You only pay a fraction and get decent results that you do not have to be ashamed of.
I say all of this with a healthy dose of self-confidence because I know I’m better. But I do not need to bash services like LANDR either because I can acknowledge that they do a good job for what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. Also, I’m not religious about anything but always open for new technology and new ways of doing things.
It all depends on you and your needs. There are just things you cannot replace with an algorithm. I’m very much into all things A.I. and automation, but I also think I know where its limitations are.
I’ve done around 30 different mixes, tried like 10 different guitars, mixing the drum kit and making it sounding right has taken an incredible amount of time, I’ve tweaked the tiniest bits of sound to total exhaustion.
Should the grand piano have more mechanical noises… should the timpani have slightly more reverb… should the guitar have a delay or not, should I add the cello on top of the full orchestra, or an oboe? Should I widen the acoustic guitar or leave it as is? Is this chord harmonic enough for the one before? Is the Oberheim too loud? Should I use the Gibson EB0 or the Les Paul bass, finger or pick? Stratocaster or Telecaster? This or that cabinet, or none at all, what amp? Distortion or slight fuzz, tremolo?
Questions like that are bothering me all the time. And the production is so huge that my DAW crashes at least 3 times a day. Plus, anxiety, doubts… because “is it all worth it? Will they understand it?”. Sleepless nights. Then again: “fuck yeah!”. It all sounds absolutely heavenly, I get goosebumps all the time. And nothing is even mastered at all.
I have half of the album sounding as perfect as it gets, with the needed amount of imperfection to become perfect. I open parts of it again, again and again… stuff that I did a year ago that doesn’t sound right today, and may sound not right next week. You get the idea. 😉
No worries, it’s all good. It’s finished very soon. Once it’s done I have nothing to do with it anymore. Then it’s a product with a life of its own, and I will watch it learning to walk.
I will reply to all of your questions in a video that I’ll upload to Facebook and YouTube, very soon.
As both a DJ and composer, the Circle of Fifth or the Camelot Key Wheel system — amongst others — have always been handy tools for me to write and mix music harmonically. There are just too many options in chord progressions than I could ever have in my memory (maybe you can, but I don’t). Plus, I personally use 3 different DJ applications and 3 different DAWs for music production alone, for different purposes.
So yeah, I could always have a look at above mentioned helpers to orientate myself through the notes and chords jungle, in case needed, which is not always the case. I have the most common chords in my head. Just not always.
As a composer I’m fine with the musical key/chord system, i.e. “A minor“, but as a DJ it isn’t very likely (for me, again) to remember all the musical chords to know what to mix into what. So, smart people came up with different systems like the Camelot Keys (Mixed in Key, which I prefer, because of its accuracy) or the Open Keys (Traktor). Which is basically a range of 12 keys for each gender, major and minor chords. “A minor” is 8A (Camelot Key) or 1m (Open Key). In a nutshell: if you mix 1A into 2A (and so forth, up until 12A and then into 1A again) you’re generally fine. Your mixing transitions will always be harmonic, no key clashes. This example is the very basic part of harmonic mixing or composing. And also a bit boring if you do that all the time. It becomes really good and interesting when you use all the options within the world of chord progressions.
What I was missing in all those years of composing and DJing was ONE chart (to rule them all) that shows me ALL key/chord systems and their equivalents, their piano keys (very useful for composing) and their harmonic keys/chords. I searched the net in order to find out if someone did this, but no one did. At least I couldn’t find it.
So, I did it myself. 8 hours work and I had what I was looking for. And since I guess this could be useful for every musician/DJ, I want to share it here with you. This is how it looks like (click to open the full resolution file):
You can download the high-res JPG above, print it out and use it for yourself, if you like. Here’s a PDF and the original EXCEL version of it, in case you want to edit/modify something for your needs (let me know when you find mistakes or when you improved it!):
WHAT DOES IT DO, HOW DO I USE THIS?
Let’s take an example for a composing or mixing situation:
The chord we’re working with at the moment is A minor (or 8A, or 1m). What shall be next? Everything in the table below — around the 8A — is possible, it will be harmonic. The closer to the 8A it is the more harmonic it’ll be.
Western Music Scale
Piano Chord Keys
DJ Keys up/down
D | F | A
C | E | G
A | C | E
Same key (tonic)
E | G | B
A# | C# | F
Low energy boost
B | D | F#
High energy boost (supertonic)
G | B | D#
Low energy drain
G | A# | D
High energy drain (leading tone)
But your decision what to do next is depending on the purpose. What kind of “feel” do you want to give your mix or composition?
Here are some possible chord progression scenarios, working with the Camelot Keys (which I prefer, at least for DJing), starting with 8A:
That’s how I call it, it’s kind of a “secure standard”, nothing special, it’s just flowing along:
8A > 9A > 10A … 12A > 1A > 2A and so forth, until you’re at 7A and back into 8A again
Here you have a longer and progressive wave of energy rising, until it falls back to normal at 7A again, just like an ocean wave crashing and the next one building up again.
The “Wild Ocean”
It’s a bit stormy, and the waters stirred up, but everything is still harmonic and in place. This is the most “interesting” way of mixing, things shouldn’t become boring:
8A > 8B (relative major) > 9A > 4A (+7 DJ keys, low energy boost) > 4B (relative major) > 6B (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 7B > 2B (+7 DJ keys, low energy boost) > 4B (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 5B and so forth
I could make up a hell of a lot more examples now (with even sillier names), but you most probably already get the idea. The options are really endless, and you’ll always be composing or DJing harmonic. The above scenarios are just examples. Find out what works for yourself, I’m sure you’ll have fun experimenting with chord progressions, using this nifty chart. Oh, and don’t mind the silly names … it’s just about giving things a name. 😉
It’s free! Download, share, modify, re-publish and generally do with it whatever you want. But please, don’t pretend you did this. Credit would be nice (and fair), but is no condition.
Now, if you’d head over to bandcamp and buy my music, that’ll be rather nice:
ocenaudio is a cross-platform, easy to use, fast and functional audio editor. It is the ideal software for people who need to edit and analyze audio files without complications. ocenaudio also has powerful features that will please more advanced users.
IVGI can deliver very soft and subtle saturation, that feels at home on the master buss. It is equally capable of very dense and dirty distortion effects to spice up single tracks. IVGI’s base sound is comparable to the DESK mode in the big brother SDRR.
Just as SDRR, IVGI reacts dynamically to the input signal. Even the modeled fluctuations react dynamically and also change depending on the drive setting, so that it doesn’t get in the way of the SOUND. Stereo tracks benefit from it’s modeled crosstalk behavior. Just as its big brother SDRR, IVGI features a “Controlled Randomness”, which determines the internal drift and variance inside the unit. It contributes to the liveliness and realness of IVGI’s saturation character. All internal processes are modulated to some extent to make this possible.
IVGI gives you a sensible amount of controls to manipulate the character of the saturation itself. It offers a unique ASYM MIX knob to alter the symmetry of the signal without affecting the harmonic content much. Usually, asymmetry leads to an increase of even order harmonics. But in IVGI’s case, dialing the asymmetry makes the negative part of the signal “cleaner”. This way you can preserve the dynamic structure of the source and get a more transparent result. Actually, you can think of ASYM MIX as a transparency control.
IVGI also lets you alter the frequency dependency of the saturation with the RESPONSE control.
IVGI is internally calibrated to 0VU = -18dBFS.
I use IVGI as final plugin behind everything else on my master bus to give the final touch. Since I use it, all of my stuff sounds richer, warmer, more analog, just better.
On the next one I have to say that I use very little compression on audio in general, and when I do, I compress in several stages, because I firmly believe that every frequency range needs a different amount of compression. And this one here is a very good and ultra-simple way to do this. Here’s what the creator has to say:
DC1A is the little brother of the compression monster DC8C. I’ve taken a few of my favorite settings from DC8C and tried to make it work in a two control context. Sound wise it’s comparable to the PUNCH mode in DC8C but offers a few additional features, such as negative ratio and stereo unlink. I’ve always wanted to do a compressor with just an input and output knob, a compressor that just works: gentle, faithful, from almost invisible, smooth leveling to heavy pumping with a nice crunchy saturation and punchy enough to treat drums with.
DC1A looks like a one trick pony. But don’t get fooled by the lack of additional controls. You may be surprised on how many different material this little thing works. DC1A is heavily program dependent, so is the saturation.
DC1A is free! So try it out for yourself.
What I really like about KLANGHELM plugins: they’re light, simple and high quality. All I need for a good workflow and great sounding mixes.
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