Timing Tips For Pro Sounding MIDI Drum Tracks

Drums are difficult. They either sound too fake or just not good enough.

A lot of times, a little velocity adjustment goes a long way. But it doesn’t always do the trick.

That’s why you need to mess with the timing. And with these tips, you’ll be moving your MIDI drum notes around like a pro.

[wc_box color=”primary” text_align=”left”]The first thing to figure out is the overall feel.[/wc_box]

Try different things out and see what fits. For a laid back feel, like John Mayer or Jason Mraz, nudge the entire drum track back a little bit. Maybe just 10 or 20 ticks, but a little behind the beat can really give the drums a good feel.

For an upbeat feel, try nudging the whole track ahead of the beat. This is great for rock and pop music to make it really drive.

Once you set the entire track where it needs to be, you’re ready to move around the individual hits. Try selecting all of your hi-hats and moving them behind the beat a tad to give it a relaxed feel. Move them up to create tension.

Then mess with the cymbals in the same way. It can really go a long way.

[wc_box color=”info” text_align=”left”]Finally, try humanizing or randomizing your tracks.[/wc_box]

Depending on the DAW and function you’re using, this will slightly move the notes around, creating an even more realistic performance.

Playing around with the timing is a great way to add interest and realism to your MIDI drum tracks.

One thought on “Timing Tips For Pro Sounding MIDI Drum Tracks”

  1. Quantization with a percentage is cool too. I like to “play” the drums with and then use this for timing improvement but retain my feel.

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