Man…when I decided to post my little experiment yesterday I didn’t think it would be so fun and popular.
We really got some very, very, interesting ideas going and that’s what I love about yall, always down to speak your minds.
For those that missed it, go read the post: Do drums sound better in hardware than software?
Just to keep it all connected, here are the drum loops again.
Now, if you read the article again, never did I once say “I made one with hardware and one with software” In fact, I never said anything about what I made them with.
The whole point of my post yesterday was not about a hardware vs software debate, because I love both and have used both over the years. I don’t think one is inherently better than the other.
The point of my post yesterday was to show how our thoughts, ideas, mindsets, and beliefs can effect what we hear, and how we approach music.
Let me explain the experiment
By starting the article talking about drums in hardware vs drums in software, this automatically caused a divide in the readers. You chose a side before you even started reading, it’s natural.
Then by going through explaining my journey, how I “felt” something was missing in my digital drum patterns(notice I made sure I said I “felt”), I was constantly suggesting a difference.
Then I post two drumloops which have slightly different sounds to them, and ask you to comment on if they sound different and if so, do you think one was made with hardware and one with software.
Notice again, I never said you had to pick which one was made with hardware and which was made with software
I know, I know…tricky…but I wanted to prove a point. That’s why I kept using statements like “if you think there is a sound difference” or “if you feel you can tell if one is hardware or software” or “What characteristics do you assign to which? Is it really that different or is it just a mental thing?” Ha! I know I know! I love ya tho! Don’t hate me too much lol.
Now, there were some who were not influenced by my article prior to listening…bravo, they just listened and determined their own mind.
But most where influenced by everything I said. Nothing wrong with that, just showing that we all allow various factors to effect what we perceive, and the conclusions we come to.
Time for the answer
Only 12 people got the answer correct, both loops were made with software
Some even exposed the techniques used! Great job! I was actually hoping more would say “I don’t care” lol. As that was the point, it really shouldn’t matter.
Anyway, here’s the process: I made the loop in maschine, and drug that audio out to my desktop. After I had the raw loop “loop 1″ I put guitar rig 4 on the drum bus, added the custom eq module and the tube compressor module and tweaked it to my liking ( I saved it as a preset for myself in guitar rig as I was testing it out)
My goal wasn’t to make the drums “sound like an mpc”, “sound like an asr” or, “sound like hardware” I just wanted to mess with them to see if I could change the dynamic and make them knock a lil bit harder using a guitar amp software lol.
I know many who say there is a difference really just assume hardware sounds louder or punchier. Some thought it was because hardware pads are more sensitive. Actually sometimes they are, but this is more important for the subtle ghost notes and quite hits as opposed the loud ones, the more sensitive your pads are, the lighter you can hit them and still register a sound.
I do this all the time for my drums, and I will say that the 4k has a slightly more sensitive response for me…meaning I can barely touch it and still get a lil “bump” works create to add bounce to the tracks. But software is close enough and I can just adjust the velocity anyway lol, so it’s all good.
Again, this is NOT a comparison, and I am NOT saying hardware isn’t needed, what I am saying is that you should work with whatever you feel the most creative with. You don’t have to choose one or the other!
But by some of the answers it’s evident how much we are effected by what we’ve heard or been told. There were folks who said they heard a difference in the groove of the tracks! They were the same exact track! The same exact loop! One had fx and one didn’t
BUT…because of what we’ve come to believe about the differences between two mediums, I truly believe they heard a different groove! This doesn’t make it wrong or right, I just think it’s very interesting how much really goes into how we hear something.
That’s some of the stuff I wanted to show! How beliefs and ideas will definitely shape what we hear and perceive and ultimately how we approach our own music.
My MPC story…..
I didn’t start with an mpc, I started with a boss dr-5 drum machine, it had 4 tracks.
From there I moved into a yamaha qy-100, and then even had an alesis quadrasynth. Then I got an E-MU mophatt keyboard with a separate kawai q-80 sequencer. After that I got an emu px7 command station to go with it. This sequencer was pretty dope I loved it, but wished it had a sampler….so I bought a fantom.
Finally I had so much gear, I wanted something to control it all…so I bought an akai mpc 4000 from a friend. It had 4 midi out puts, which I needed (after that I bought a novation supernova lol) so I could sequence everything, PLUS I could load my samples into it, AND I could use it like a rack sampler to play akai sample cds, effectively creating my own sound module.
That was my purpose, it fit exactly what I wanted to do at the time, all the magical sound and magical groove stories meant nothing, truth is I never used quantize on that thing and still don’t use quantize today.
I still think they are some of the dopest machines around, but for what I do today, it’s simply not needed. I no longer have all those synths and keyboards, so that’s the main reason really. All my sounds come from the computer mostly (unless I end up with a virus TI somebody wanna donate? lol)
We are all influenced by what we read, what we hear or what has been said about certain things. The bottom line is that that’s okay, because if you make better beats with an mpc than you do with ableton live, maschine, flstudio, reason, etc… because you feel the groove, sound, and feel is better…then that’s all good!
Because that’s what’s going to allow you to work properly. If you feel this way and you spend your time trying to find software to replace or imitate that which you are looking for….you’ll always be upset.
Like my man F-Major said…”if you want an mpc, get an mpc, if you want a Moog then get a Moog.” That’s the point here. There are tools out here for everyone, and everyone can get what they want, you don’t have to sell yourself short because you feel it’s too much work, it cost too much or because someone you respect says you don’t need it. No one can really tell you how something will effect your personal creativity but you!
Are there truly sound differences? Yeah sure, each gear, software, and instrument has it’s own character…but for the most part, unless it’s just a very unique piece, it’s not all that noticeable. This is coming from someone that has used both hardware and software. Of course…I’m not talking about fx processors and virtual vs physical guitars, etc lol….but you get the point
This was really fun for me, I hope you’re not too mad at me for it but I just wanted to show you something. The bottom line is, hardware, software, analog, digital, in the end for the most part it just doesn’t matter. What REALLY matters is if you have the tools that let you freely create what you wish to create, whatever combination of tools that may be. And also realize that we carry a lot of ideas, perceptions and preconceived “facts” around with us in everything we do, especially music, and these always play a part in how we approach things.
No matter if it’s how we approach a new peace of gear because we’ve heard nothing but bad things about the company, how we use sample libraries based on what others think about them, or even when we buy a specific set of monitors because our favorite album was mixed on it (not thinking about the fact that that awesome mix engineer has ears of gold!)
Truth be told, I’m still in the market for a standalone drum machine (something like the emu command stations) not because I don’t like the sound I’m getting from my current software setup…but because I want something to use away from the computer, it fills that area of creativity for me….beats and bbq baby! Say whaaaaaaat!
Please…share you’re thoughts