drums. cheap ones, part 2 – loops

you probably know that i’m not a dance music kind of guy. for the longest time i was wary of the term “drum loops”, not only for the “computer generated, no soul, not a musician in sight” aspect, but also for the “stealing other people’s music” aspect.

these days i’d like to think i’m not so blinkered. there a bajillions of premade drum loops available. you can go on ebay and get 1000s of loops for pennies. unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you view it :)) the kind of music i record isn’t really suited to such loops. i spent quite some time scouring those magical pages on google (you know the ones; the ones after the first two pages of results ;)), auditioning clips and, on a couple of occasions, cracking open the wallet.

two great, well-priced libraries

first up is jason mcgerr’s sessions. you can audition the loops, download the free lite version and buy the refill or full versions here. excellent quality, very usable drum loops. i can stretch them to fit my project really easily inside reaper. great stuff.

next, i was very happy to hear that tortoise’s drummer has created some loops! tortoise is one of my favourite bands, right up there in my top 5. these are high quality loops recorded by john mcentire. cost is under $30 and you can get them here

in use

as i intimated in the midi post, the downside to many drum loops is that you’re often stuck with the recorded ambience. sometimes that’s not a problem, sometimes you can edit the crap out of them and try and get them working (case in point – a lot¬†of mcentire’s loops have way too much floor tom! i appreciate it’s part of the tortoise sound, and i appreciate some of it might come from my less-than-perfect room acoustics, but man! that’s a lot of floor tom and it’s just extra work for me to tame it!).

on the upside, though, we have some great flexibility thanks to editing software. i can load a WAV or REX file in reaper and have it automatically set its tempo to my track (it often helps to choose a loop that’s close in tempo to your project, but it’s not necessary) and get on with writing and arranging. i can load up multiple loops and audition them in practically no time. this is great and a boon to the writing process. and nothing’s set in stone! it’s not like you need a great sounding room, a mild-mannered drummer who can play well, all the required mics, cables, preamps and so on, and you’re not limited to one tracking session!

hopefully this is of some help to you people out there.

for the suspicious: no, i didn’t get paid by anybody for writing this post and i didn’t receive any free products or engage in any link sharing doohickies. i’m just trying to share the results of my purchasing decisions and the fruits of a lot of time spent browsing the web, auditioning clips and faffing about with software plugins.


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