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Do You See Drum Loops as Cheating?


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I like making loops, it isn't cheating if you create multiple loops and mix them together. Creating one long loop can be (I do that a lot) but I also add synths and ambient loops to create a feel of the track.

Use drum loops but back it with synths and it won't be cheating. Just makes the track more "Chill".

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The problem with drum loops is they tend to contain many different sounds from bass to treble, in one file. That makes proper mixing tricky. For optimal mixing, each sound should have its own effects so they can be adjusted separately as required by the rest of the song. Loops also make sidechaining a pain.

Also, it's going to sound really really boring if the loop just goes on over and over throughout the song. Granted, many people do great things with creative loop slicing and such, but I still feel I have much more freedom in drum fills etc when I do things by hand.

Loops are great for creativity however! I often try adding them to my tracks to find drumming ideas I wouldn't have come up with otherwise. If I find something I like, I can do something similar with samples manually. That way I get the idea of the loop but also the mixing freedom.

So tl;dr yes use them but not in the final track. :D

It's similar with synth presets. Feel free to browse them for creativity, but also learn how the synth works so you can customize the sound to better fit your song. Note lengths, reverb/delay effects, pannings and such are usually not optimal for the track by default. It's often the case that the preset sounds real nice by itself (they like to turn on all sorts of effects to make it fat don't they), but has way too much stuff going on everywhere to fit nicely in the mix.

Or alternatively, you can just do modern EDM which seems to consist of just a bassdrum and a couple of default presets and everyone thinks its AWESOME. Kids these days... *grumpy old man face*

Edited by Byproduct
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The problem with drum loops is they tend to contain many different [frequencies] from bass to treble, in one file. That makes proper mixing tricky. For optimal mixing, each sound should have its own effects so they can be adjusted separately as required by the rest of the song. Loops also make sidechaining a pain.

Also, it's going to sound really really boring if the loop just goes on over and over throughout the song. Granted, many people do great things with creative loop slicing and such, but I still feel I have much more freedom in drum fills etc when I do things by hand.

Loops are great for creativity however! I often try adding them to my tracks to find drumming ideas I wouldn't have come up with otherwise. If I find something I like, I can do something similar with samples manually. That way I get the idea of the loop but also the mixing freedom.

So tl;dr yes use them but not in the final track. :D

It's similar with synth presets. Feel free to browse them for creativity, but also learn how the synth works so you can customize the sound to better fit your song. Note lengths, reverb/delay effects, pannings and such are usually not optimal for the track by default. It's often the case that the preset sounds real nice by itself (they like to turn on all sorts of effects to make it fat don't they), but has way too much stuff going on everywhere to fit nicely in the mix.

Or alternatively, you can just do modern EDM which seems to consist of just a bassdrum and a couple of default presets and everyone thinks its AWESOME. Kids these days... *grumpy old man face*

This is what I agree with.

1) It does kind of make sidechaining a pain. What I do then is I use a "silent" kick. Sidechain using a kick, then don't send it to the master track. That way I can just sequence a kick to line up with the drum loop and it'll be as if the drum loop kick was sidechained with something else.

2) Some drum loops do have unique drumming patterns. For example, if you analyze the drumming I did in this WCRG track at 0:52, you'll see it's NOT standard DnB rhythm. It's a strange rhythm once you listen closely, as it's sort of dwelling on the part right before the second half of the standard rhythm, then it squeezes in that second half without as much of a gap in the kick/snare rhythm. Some drum loops I own from Bladerunners do that, and I wouldn't have thought of this rhythm without hearing those loops. However, I'm fine with using loops in the final track, and in a case-by-case basis, I'd just be okay with it as long as it's integrated well and doesn't stick out too much as an obvious and repetitive loop. In other words, you could use it as part of the track (such as high passing it and using it as a hype-loop™), but if it is the main part of the drum track, it tends to be repetitive as it's more emphasized/exposed.

3) I always edit many components of a synth preset if I do indeed use a preset. Usually the sound ends up vastly different, and if it was modified from an old one I was working on and I like it, I just save another version of it in case I want to go through with adding modulation controls on it later. But yes, usually you have to tweak the reverb/delay, possibly the stereo width/panning LFO depths, and maybe the timbre if you're that selective (like me) to fit into particular tracks. Some sounds have a characteristic timbre because of the FX used (reverb, for example, could be a major component in a particular horror sound/scream), and in those cases I only minimally adjust it, or I tweak my other writing a bit to accommodate it.

Edited by timaeus222
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