Look for clean places within the loop, if the down beat or beat 1 are undefined then try looping from the snare or beat 2.
Find the zero-crossing points in the sample for cutting. Zoom in and you will notice the waveform oscillates, when the waveform is on the horizontal line, it is at zero volume.
Apply the shortest crossfade possible to start with and increase this if it does not sound natural.
Drumdrops drum tracks are LIVE, this has several implications for making your own loops:
The tracks are recorded simultaneously; this means that you can hear kick drum on the snare etc. You will also notice that the same hit (i.e. a kick drum) appears to happen at slightly different times on each track. This is caused by the time taken for the sound to reach the microphone (i.e. the kick drum mic receives the sound almost instantaneously, whereas it will take longer to reach the room mics. This difference determines the phase relationship and so is an integral part of the sound and should be kept constant or you risk making unnatural changes in the atmosphere of your drum track.
The tempo fluctuates naturally with the drummer's performance- this means that either you will have to find the exact tempo of your loop or make the loop fit your music.
Mark your loop from (and to) a zero crossing (see above) on the very front of the chosen hit on the relevant close mic. Kick drum and snare are usually best as the close microphones pick up the sound first and are the loudest clearest part of the drum sound/pulse, so if you make your loop to another track you will split the hit on the close track(s), usually resulting in an unnatural nasty high frequency CLICK! (see wave diagrams). This way the cut across the other tracks should be at a point of low amplitude (a quiet bit), where is less noticeable and easier to crossfade.
Any edits/ operations that affect the time axis of your audio (cutting and moving, time-stretching etc) should be done across ALL TRACKS SIMULTANEOUSLY to minimise changes in the phase relationship between tracks.
Time stretching or other new file creating functions should be performed either once the loop is as perfect as you want, or if there's any doubt, apply your process to a longer section than the looped area. By doing this there is audio avilable before and after the loop to crossfade or to adjust individual tracks. Digital time stretching by significant amounts should be avoided as it tends to sound thin and out-of-phasey.
For super-clean loops, check each track in solo and adjust the position of your cut to the front of the hit on each track. Before you do this, loop/repeat the straight cut loop a few times; this keeps it safe if you make a mess of things but more importantly means you can adjust the tracks individually and then loop a straight cut loop across all tracks without creating any audible clicks.
Drag each loop straight from its folder in the Finder into the Arrange window, depositing it on the audio track you want it to appear in.
The Recycle File Import window will then appear, which allows you to specify how the individual loop slices are dealt with. By default, it will create an Arrange window folder object for the loop, in which a single track carries all the slices with 5ms audio crossfades between the slices.
If you need to considerably speed up the loop, select Add Tracks instead of crossfade in the Recycle Import window, which will alternate the slices over two tracks within the folder object, and assign each of these tracks a different Track instrument. This allows the tail of each slice to overlap the next, eliminating the need for cross fading.
If you wish to speed up by huge amounts you may need to allow Logic to add extra tracks to the folder object when importing, in order to avoid slices overlapping. You can also do this from the Recycle Import window, by increasing the value in the Number of the Additional Audio Tracks field.
Cubase allows you to import Rx2 files like normal audio files. The file appears in the audio track as a single block, but the slice information remains (Cubase calls these Hitpoints). The slices slide together or apart so that the whole loop automatically stays in the tempo of your song. The Loop can be arranged and repeated as a block, like any other audio file. Double-clicking the loop will open the Part Editor, giving access to many slice-based tools. Each slice can now be moved around, and even groove or grid quantised. While in the Part Editor you can trim slices, adjust their gain, and draw fade-ins/outs. By choosing Shuffle Edit, you can quickly rearrange the slices to create new patterns, variations and fills.
Latest versions of Protools 6 onwards support Reason and Recycle go to Digidesign for further details
You can read our detailed guide with images on using Apple Drum Loops in Garageband by clicking here.
You can read our detailed guide on importing multi-tracks into your software here.
Run the sync out from your sequencer to the MPC (i.e. slave the MPC to Protools or Logic) and the MPC will follow the tempo map.
CUSTOMISING YOUR DRUM TRACK WITHOUT LOSING THE PLOT!!!
There are several ways to ensure that your arranging doesn't go completely pear-shaped, resulting in stress, phase problems, sync problems, hair loss, split beats, stuttered beats, general untimeliness and ultimately premature death!
The tracks are recorded simultaneously; this means that you can hear kick drum on the snare etc. You will also notice that the same hit (i.e. a kick drum) appears to happen at slightly different times on each track. This is caused by the time taken for the sound to reach the microphone (i.e. the kick drum mic receives the sound almost instantaneously, whereas it will take longer to reach the room mics. This difference determines the phase relationship and so is an integral part of the sound.
ALWAYS edit ALL of the drum tracks together, this guarantees that the phase relationships between the tracks remains unchanged. Failure to do so will result in the whole atmosphere of the drum track changing at your edits. Of course, like all mistakes it could sound pretty cool!
Make sure to select the tempo track when cutting, copying and pasting sections of a track, that way you ensure that any MIDI data you run stays in time. At the time of writing, ProTools doesn't allow you to include the tempo track in your Edit Groups or duplicate or repeat sections. This would be a very sensible update and hopefully will happen soon...At the end of the day, if it sounds groovy, it is groovy, and the drums matter more than the lines; so do your edits to the drums.
Turn off your drums Edit Group and use the 'tab to transient' feature to move the cursor to the front of the hit you want to edit from on the relevant close mic track (i.e. if you're editing on a snare, use the snare track etc). This we have found to be more accurate than when multiple tracks are selected. Then turn on your group, and holding SHIFT, click again to select the same point for the whole group. You can then edit to the same point on another section of audio (by cutting and pasting, repeating or deleting in SHUFFLE mode), thus ensuring the snare of the incoming section hits exactly where the outgoing one should be, giving a rhythmically smooth edit.
Now to make it sound natural (if that's what you require, and most people do!). As mentioned earlier, a hit on the close mic happens before the more distant mics. This means that unless by fluke the tail of the outgoing section is identical in sound and phase to that before your incoming hit, there will be some noticeable changeover, probably even a noticeable click. If you're taking the roughneck approach to editing you could just select the whole track and perform batch crossfades, but if you want perfect edits you have to adjust the edit point of each individual track to the front of the hit.
A small crossfade may be needed to get the two lines to meet up smoothly. ProTools does compensate for slight discretions but this can still leave clicks.
Remember that the waveform must look natural (no sudden changes in pattern, no spikes or right angles) to sound natural. Try to avoid long crossfades, particularly on room mics and over heads as these can cause unnatural phase shifts. On the other hand, they can be pretty psychedelic.
Don't be bound by your 8 bars or 16 bars, if you need 32 bars, you can use 19 bars and 3 beats of one bit and 12 bars 1 beat of another. If you're looping or repeating a section, try varying your edit points with the end tool, this makes the track more of a continuous piece and makes your looping and arrangement less obvious and more like a natural drum track.
Finally, DON'T DISAPPEAR UP YOUR OWN BUTT!!! It is very easy to get bogged down on every microscopic detail and waste masses of time, energy and potential happiness doing a zillion cuts and edits and ending up with a stiff, disjointed, grooveless mess. The point of live drums is the movement and attitude of a real person- don't fight it, feel it!!!