If you’ve ever played in a band, I’m gonna guess you’re very familiar with the struggle of finding a drummer.
Not just any drummer though, but a GREAT drummer!
Because if you think about it, your drummer is the real leader of the band.
They’re the glue that holds everything together. We rely on the drummer for tempo and rhythmic direction. And the drummer propel the story of the song through their performance.
But as I see it, there seems to be more bands than great drummers in the world. Which means we can’t all have a great drummer!
Which is why Apple blew my mind when they introduced Drummer into Logic Pro X.
At first Drummer seemed kinda gimmicky. But once I realized that Drummer could adapt to whatever you threw at it…
Oh man, it was all over 🙂
Having an A.I. drummer evolve and adapt to my songs is pretty much the best thing I could think of as a songwriter. Plus, toss in:
- Intuitive and easy interface
- Wide range of performers, kits, and styles
And I can’t think of anything Drummer isn’t good for!
Of course, out of the gate Drummer might not always match your dreams for the backbeat.
It’s easy to overlook how nuanced Drummer actually is. But if you take even just a *little* time to dig into Drummer, you can quickly see that it doesn’t take much to generate stellar drum tracks.
In this week’s video, I want to show you how deep Drummer can actually go:
- How to tell Drummer to Follow the other tracks in your session
- How to dig in and fine-tune the individual hits of a Drummer performance
- How to expand and mix each individual mic of the Drummer kit
I agree, it is really user friendly and has a pretty good sound that is easily modifiable. But I’d say the hi-hat/cymbals sound off compared to the live drums.
I feel like for snare and kick I get get the sound I want, but I may need to place individual samples of various articulations and velocity of hi-hat cymbals, then add compression and room reverb. But I’m not sure if that extra effort really makes a noticeable difference.
Anyway, I’d be interested to dig deeper and know what the tangible strengths and weaknesses of logic drummer are compared to other options.
Interesting you feel that way Sean! When Drum Kit Designer was first introduced, I was VERY surprised by the sound of the kits. I thought they sounded way more realistic than the popular 3rd party options (e.g. Superior Drummer).
Just felt that Drum Kit Designer sounded way less hyped.
Maybe adjusting the cymbal and hat levels might help? That way they’re not so far in front of the kit.
Thanks, that’s worth a try!
I like the ethos of using all the power Logic has instead of chasing shiny objects. However, I really have doubts about the sound of drummer as is- though I’m sure there are ways to make it sound better.
I’d be interested in how you process the hi-hats/cymbals. Do you process them the same as other parts of the kit? Do you really just use the default settings?
Robert Cassard says
I remember when the Drummer feature first appeared in Logic and I started experimenting with it. I was super skeptical, but I (quickly) used it to create a “placeholder” drum track for a new song. I gave it a few percentage points of Swing and I really liked it.
Then something amazing happened when I extended the Drummer track for the guitar solo section. Suddenly (and inexplicably), it changed from hitting the snare on beats 2 and 4 to hitting on 1 and 3 for just a few bars. Then it dropped a beat before coming into the bridge section! What?!
That weird rhythmic anomaly became a moment of insight and inspiration because it was quirky, innovative and “real.” I tailored the solo section to the Drummer’s vibe and tempo choices, and it became my favorite moment in the whole track.
Let’s just say Logic’s Drummer has since become my always-on-call and instantly available musical partner. So. Freaking. Cool.
Hell yes Robert! I really appreciate your story, as it perfectly illustrates the intelligence and versatility of Drummer. Thanks so much 🙂
Reviewing an old project today I stumbled on an easy, low-tech trick involving the Follow feature which, as a relative newb, hadn’t yet occurred to me – some of you may already be doing it:
Having Drummer Follow a MUTED instrument.
1. Follow *any* [muted] instrument to subtly change the feel. No more, “I like what Drummer is doing when following the ____ (Bass or other instrument), however that part may change.”
This can add more nuance to the beat in addition to the many other adjustments Drummer offers. Handy when you don’t have time to convert to MIDI to customize the feel or beat.
2. In my tests this works even when the instrument being Followed is also muted via the Region Inspector (thereby saving CPU/system resources).
Roman Che says
Thank you for an interesting explanation, Chris. I want to ask you about one Drummer issue with region offset. I will try to explain it step by step:
1. I recorded a guitar and its region starts from 1:1:3 001 (Beat position indicator), but playing starts from 1:2:3 001.
2. I put a new Drummer Track and move its 1st region to 1:2:3 001 positions.
3. We can see how Drummers region changes its content. Something is wrong with drums. Looks like It tries to play “fill”, instead of simple rhythm.
Looks like it ignores a region offset and still plays “from zero”, or something like that.
How can I move Drummers start point with tracks recorded with “Adaptive Tempo” option? The drummer is still playing “from zero”, and I can’t shift its “internal time” to start from region time. How can I fix that?
Hey Roman, totally know what you’re talking about. It seems that Drummer sometimes doesn’t adapt well to performances that don’t start exactly at each major bar. For example: you try moving Drummer to 184.108.40.206, instead of 220.127.116.11.
The fact that it plays a fill is pretty cool, as that might be something a real drummer would actually do. But my suggestion is either:
1) Try to record your part so it starts at the beginning of a new bar. Or,
2) Convert the Drummer region to MIDI to fine-tune the performance.
Regarding Adaptive Tempo, I would try to switch to Keep Tempo as soon as possible.
So let’s say you’re recording a guitar track without a click. You switch to Adaptive Tempo, so Logic adapts to your performance. Once the get the guitar track you’re happy with, I’d switch to Keep Tempo.
The risk you run keeping your session in Adaptive Tempo is that when you move regions around, the tempo may follow as well. Of course, you may want that! But I’d rather keep the tempo set to Keep Tempo so I don’t accidentally mess everything up.
Plus, Drummer should follow your Tempo better. I just tested it out on my system, and worked like a charm.
Roman Che says
Thank you a lot for the answer, Chris! I will try this way of recording. I have some songs recorded with variable tempo, and it is not easy to adjust the Drummer for them.
Now I use a workaround as you mentioned above: I create regions, then I convert them to Midi, and then I move them. But of course, it is not cool, because you can’t play interactively along recorded material. But I am sure: they will fix this issue in some future release. Let’s use this way until no fix.
David Woodard says
Thanks Chris. I used Drummer exclusively on my debut EP that released last fall. The nearly universal first comment I got from friends and music colleagues was “are those real drums?” or “who played drums?” After telling them, the follow up was always “so, you programmed the drums?” Uh, no… it’s an AI drummer…
For me, Drummer has been a game changer, and as much as I have used it, I learned something new watching your video. Thank you.
Check out my results from my music video for my EP’s title track – https://youtu.be/CnA9ewTWaQQ
I Love WLPR. Keep it up.
Checked out your song. Great work by the way.
Dale Milton says
David Woodard says
Super nice of you to leave that comment. Thank you.
Colin Davis says
Thank you for this! Very, very helpful!