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Multiple VST drums in Cubase

To wrap up my short series of videos looking at various aspects of drums in Cubase, I’ve tried to draw together some of the ideas I’ve covered, (such as drum maps and multiple outputs for VST instruments), in the video below.  It looks at how I constructed the drum part for my song “Flames In The Fire” by taking what was originally a single MIDI part and splitting the voicings across three separate VST drum kits – the Nashville and Twisted kits for Toontrack’s EZDrummer, plus Cubase’s own Groove Agent One for some percussion – then mixing the multiple outputs together to give the impression of a single performance on this virtual, composite kit.

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From The Boiler Room: Finding A Voice For The Song

voiceA while back, I wrote about trying to break away from my old habit of writing the drum parts first and building up from there, layer on layer.  Well, that’s turned out to be quite a bit harder than I anticipated, but one of the things that’s helping me is that, despite a reasonable library of MIDI drum patterns from EZDrummer, Studio Drummer and Media Bay, I’m still not finding the right patterns for the feel I want to convey.  It doesn’t help that I have a tendency to wander off the beaten track when writing songs and a fair few of the songs I’m recording have the occasional bar of 2/4 or 6/4, (as do “Flames In The Fire” and “Gold Dust” from my “Changes” set that you can hear on Soundcloud).
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Colour In Cubase

Ever have that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something?  Annoying, isn’t it? Well, the other day I found out that I’d completely forgotten something without ever noticing, which is even more annoying.  When I started Finish Your Song, I was already starting to put together my YouTube channel, but I thought I’d caught up the content of one with the other.  However, I’ve started a daily tweet to promote my older videos and, when it came to finding the post on here for my first video on Colour in Cubase, it was not to be found.  Oops!  An oversight I’m can’t let pass, so here it is:

 

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Bouncing Tracks in Cubase

In the (good?) old days when we recorded on 4 or 8-track tape, bouncing tracks was a (not necessarily) evil necessity.  As it forced you to commit to part of the mix early on, knowing there’d be no “undo” once you started to record new parts, it made you work that little bit harder to make sure the bounce was right, as well as making you protective of those tracks and wanting to ensure that you got the biggest impact with what was on them.

Of course, nowadays, recording in the box means we have an infinite number of tracks, but there are times when you might want to bounce down, simply to save resources on a mix that’s got out of hand, to “print” a track or tracks with all of the edits and plugins on it if your system is struggling to keep up.  Another reason is to combine multiple mono sources into a single stereo file that you can then treat as a single source.  Of course, you could direct all those mono sources to a stereo bus or group channel and add your EQ and effects to that instead, but sometimes it’s just easier to see a stereo track rather than all those mono sources in your project window.  This video shows how to bounce a couple of mono drum overheads together to create a single stereo file, prior to mixing.

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Video Tutorial – Editing notes without editing the groove

Working to the grid is great for ensuring that everything lines up quick and easy, but it removes the all-important “feel” that gives the music its groove.  In this video, I look at how to edit the notes in a drum pattern in Cubase to change the voicing without killing the groove.  In this case, the groove is there already, but I’ll be returning to the topic of keeping the feel of a recording in future videos.

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From The Boiler Room: Bass Guitar Basics

Ace of bassHaving analysed to death the way in which I’m going to voice the drums, the decision as to how the bass will be voiced was easy.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve auditioned all sorts of VSTi bass players and kept coming back to a very old plugin, Broomstick Bass.  To get it to run in Cubase 7, I have to run Cubase in Windows administrator mode and bridge it using the jBridge, (Broomstick Bass is 32bit and doesn’t look like it will ever be otherwise). It has a great DI Jazz Bass sample, either picked or fingered, and it sounds like a bass guitar should.  Now, I haven’t tried the specialised Kontakt bass guitar VSTis, such as their Scarbee Jay-Bass, but I have tried the bass guitars in the Kontakt 5 factory library and they just don’t do it for me.

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Video Tutorial – Revoicing live drums using hitpoints

So you’ve got a recording of a real drummer playing on your track and the performance is hot, but the sounds aren’t?   You might want to replace the drums with samples or augment them to reinforce the sound of one or more of the drums.  Whilst there are plugins available that will do the job, this video shows how you can go about revoicing live drums using Cubase’s built-in functionality.