video

Moving your EZDrummer2 Library

Having written previously about installing an SSD, (Solid State Drive) as an audio drive on my laptop, the first thing to do was to move my existing Cubase projects and sample libraries to the empty drive, once I’d formatted it.  Moving the Cubase projects folder was a simple click-and-drag operation, (although you do have to confirm the new location of the project the first time you open it in Cubase – hardly a hardship).  However, moving the EZdrummer2 core library and the samples for the various EZDrummer expansion kits was not as simple as the Toontrack website made out…

status

Adding a Solid State Drive (SSD) as an audio drive

mx100-2-5-ssdOne of the main upgrades that you can do to improve the performance of a computer is to replace the collection of spinning metal plates that make up your hard disk with something that has no moving parts at all – a Solid State Drive or SSD.  Although my PC is well specc’d for a laptop – 6GB of RAM, 750GB hard disk and Core i7 processor – that drive is a 5,400rpm model.  Which, for most things you’d use a laptop for, is fine, but not for audio, as the normal recommended speed is 7,200 rpm, which is not that common as an OEM component.  However, my laptop also comes with a spare 2.5” drive bay, so I installed a 512GB SSD drive as a second drive yesterday.  Normally, people install an SSD as a replacement for their primary drive, to get fast boot and load times for programs, but I had different priorities.  I don’t mind waiting a few minutes for Cubase to load, but it’s once I open a project that the hard drive really starts to get stressed.

[Read more…]

status

From the Boiler Room: February Update

drum_comboThe drum parts for all of the original songs are now complete, as are the bass parts. There may be some tweaking of the basslines as the arrangements develop, but they’re there or thereabouts for all songs. The drums are mainly the EZX Indie Folk and Americana kits, (a 50-50 split), but I couldn’t find the right parts for “One More Time”. In fact, anything I tried, no matter how simple, seemed too busy or just leaden, so I’ve opted for some simple (EZX) Latin Percussion on that and it’s just enough to provide some movement without becoming a distraction. [Read more…]

status

From The Boiler Room: Bass Line Sprint

broomstickWith the end of the holidays fast approaching, I was able to take some time to get some actual recording done.  Serial bass line recording was where I started.  I’ve got drum parts down for most of the tracks using the EZ Drummer libraries, but my efforts to generate acceptable basslines from Broomstick Bass’ internal library were (almost) going nowhere, so I abandoned that as an idea and reverted to playing them in off a keyboard.  In the space of a couple of hours, I had bass parts for 4 songs recorded and ready for editing and a second session yielded seven more – sometimes, you just have to go with what you know.  I’ve uploaded videos showing how I’ve gone about editing them to the YouTube channel.  Why almost?  Well, as you might expect, there was the exception that proved the rule – the bass line for “A Winter’s Blues” is, as it stands, what was generated by Broomstick Bass from the Chord Track. [Read more…]

video

Video Tutorial: Match Quantise

It’s one thing to tighten up the timing of a recorded part, be it MIDI or audio, but there’s no guarantee that it will be in time with the other parts in the song you’re recording.  What happens when your bassist doesn’t sync with your drums, be they virtual or real, (or both)?  Fortunately, Cubase has an easy system for copying the quantise from one part to another, so that you can copy the groove of one part onto any or all of the other parts playing at the same time.  In this video, I give you an example of aligning the groove of a bass part with some pretty busy drums and look at some of the issues that can arise when you do so.

video

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.

video

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.