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davet

Session/Superior Drummer - Fan out channels or stereo mix?

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Ever since Session Drummer and now Superior Drummer 2  I've always used the channel "fan out" method when creating a drum synth. My drums have always sounded

a bit off using this method.  So, over the last few days I created a song session using Superior Drummer and left all the drum channels in the SD mixer at 1/2, then used the SD mixer to set levels/ effects /pan etc where I want them. The drums seem to set/sound better using the stereo method.

Just wonder if others have done drums both ways, have any thoughts about it.

TIA

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I’m using Superior Drummer 3 but I assume the functionalities are the same. In the mixer I set each drop component (kick, snare, Tom, cymbals, ambient, etc) to different outputs. For instance my kick will go out to 1/2, snare to 3/4, tom 5/6 etc.

 

On each corresponding track I instantiate a console emulator (lately I’ve been REALLY loving Brainworx SSL 4000 E, SSL 4000 G, Neve or Focusrite).  Then all of the drum tracks get touted to a bus.

 

  

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Greg,

Yeah SD 2 & 3 have similar mixers. I started doing the fan out method with Session Drummer because it didn't have effects in the mixer. This method carried over to Superior.

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I've gone back and forth on this one. For my personal song template, I use just the 2-track stereo mix from SD3.

The primary problem I had was when switching drum kits, the number of outputs would change, along with some of the mapping.

The only time I would use the multi-track output from SD3 is AFTER I've picked the drum kit and gotten the basic song worked out.

Much simpler.

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8 minutes ago, John Maar said:

I've gone back and forth on this one. For my personal song template, I use just the 2-track stereo mix from SD3.

The primary problem I had was when switching drum kits, the number of outputs would change, along with some of the mapping.

The only time I would use the multi-track output from SD3 is AFTER I've picked the drum kit and gotten the basic song worked out.

Much simpler.

Yup, I've done the same thing on occasion. 

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50 minutes ago, John Maar said:

I've gone back and forth on this one. For my personal song template, I use just the 2-track stereo mix from SD3.

The primary problem I had was when switching drum kits, the number of outputs would change, along with some of the mapping.

The only time I would use the multi-track output from SD3 is AFTER I've picked the drum kit and gotten the basic song worked out.

Much simpler.

Actually SD3 has a setting that will keep the routing if you move to another drum kit or preset.

 

I recently just found it and was overjoyed because it was SUCH a pain in the ***** redoing it every time.  The setting (I don’t have it in front of me so going from memory) is near the bottom of the dialogue box where you change presets or drum kits.  Something like “Keep routing from previous preset”.

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36 minutes ago, Greg Wynn said:

Actually SD3 has a setting that will keep the routing if you move to another drum kit or preset.

 

I recently just found it and was overjoyed because it was SUCH a pain in the ***** redoing it every time.  The setting (I don’t have it in front of me so going from memory) is near the bottom of the dialogue box where you change presets or drum kits.  Something like “Keep routing from previous preset”.

Super awesome! Never knew that setting existed. I use the Pearl Default clean kit as my default kit. Sounds great, and very complete. Swapping smaller kits into Pearl Default routing would be fantastic.

I ran the standalone SD3 and selected that option. We'll see how it works tomorrow.

Heading out to see Roger Water's movie "Us & Them" tonight (2 Oct). Also playing Sunday (6 Oct).

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1 minute ago, John Maar said:

Super awesome! Never knew that setting existed. I use the Pearl Default clean kit as my default kit. Sounds great, and very complete. Swapping smaller kits into Pearl Default routing would be fantastic.

I ran the standalone SD3 and selected that option. We'll see how it works tomorrow.

Heading out to see Roger Water's movie "Us & Them" tonight (2 Oct). Also playing Sunday (6 Oct).

I didn’t know it existed either until a few weeks ago !  It works 99% of the time but sometimes misses an output so be aware of that.

 

My Sonar template has separate tracks set up for every SD3 output and each track has an instance of SSL E, SSL G , Neve and a Focusrite .  I then can quickly choose which console emulation fits which drum component best for the song.

 

we live in cool times :)

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I have two main presets/track templates for Superior Drummer: the simple one where everything's mixed to a stereo out via SD3's own mixer, and the full-on version with separate outputs for kick, snare, toms, overheads and room mics. It really comes down to how much I want to effect each kit piece.

SD3's internal fx are good, but I have better ones as plugins. Plus I lose the ability to tweak effects after the drums have been frozen. Sometimes I only realize the kick's not punching through after the mix is near completion, and then have to un-freeze SD3 to tweak it. I also like to route individual drums to a distortion bus, which requires separate tracks. So it'll be the full-fanout template that gets used most often. 

One issue you need to confront when seeking a natural-sounding drum track is managing mic bleed. The beauty of sampled drums is that each hit is pristine and isolated. But that's also why you end up with results that just "sound off". Real drums aren't isolated. They interact with each other. That's why many engineers still use old-school methods for recording acoustic drums, using a minimal number of microphones. Each drum sampler has its own way of implementing mic bleed (Superior Drummer probably has the most sophisticated bleed features), but most of them have at least token support for it. In addition to mic bleed, judicious use of room mics also does a lot for achieving a realistic sound (again, it's SD3 that offers the most sophisticated room mic options).

Bottom line is to think of your sampled drums as if they were real drums, and how you'd handle those physical instruments in a real space. It's messy. Your digital equivalent is therefore going to get a little messy, too.

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Actually I don't have SD3, but I prefer to extract the individual drum instruments with all Vsti drums and I even export them as audio files. The reason is, because if I once want to change something in the mix/make a new mix and the Vsti or DAW is not running anymore in the appropriate version, I cannot do that. I made once this mistake to only export the stereo track of the drums and it is nearly impossible anymore to create a new better mix, even with drum replacing (but it is still a challenge for next year 😉).

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On 10/2/2019 at 2:31 PM, davet said:

So, over the last few days I created a song session using Superior Drummer and left all the drum channels in the SD mixer at 1/2, then used the SD mixer to set levels/ effects /pan etc where I want them. The drums seem to set/sound better using the stereo method.

Some of the Superior Drummer presets have a Compressor on the Master bus which imparts its own sound as well as a lil glue for the sum of the parts.  This can make the Stereo bounce sound better unless you Bus them and add a nice sounding Compressor of your own.  
In the case of this kind of preset you can Bounce to track each part by Soloing the appropriate Bus or Individual Track and still impart the color of the Master Bus Compressor (won’t get the glue as it’s not responding to the sum of all the parts, but the color is there) Be mindful if you raise the Individual or Bus Fader to bounce a hotter signal when bouncing through the compress as you may need to adjust the threshold to prevent over engaging the compressor.

You can also Copy the Master Bus Comp to the individuals or Busses as well for more of an all in one freeze with multi soft synth outputs set up.  Or you can mute that compressor and use your own.

This scenario only comes about when the preset uses a Master Bus Comp.

Also, Superior Drummer 3 can also output fairly hot so a lil clipping might make the stereo almost sound punchier.

For quick demos I’ll use the stereo mix.

For most productions I’ll separate them out to leave my EQ and Comp options open. (I do save a stereo bounce for comparison. I also like to automate different levels of ambience on different sections.  I just don’t want to have to reconnect the synth or unfreeze just to adjust a Mix move when I’m mixing with Gobs of hungry Plates. 😄

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