Workflow Question: How To Do Drum Layering?

Hi there,

I wonder what is the preferred way to layer drums.
What I am wondering about in particular is, that I cannot find a way to group those layers together, such that I only have to sequence it once!
For me the most classical situation is that my Kickdrum is made of 3 or more kick samples. The same goes for the Snare and maybe for the cymbals as well. Sequencing each kick sample for instance on it’s own, is completely redundant, since they are the same sequence, just different samples (hence layered). I mean, if I put everything into it’s own track, then I would end up with a 10 track layout for a simple 4 on the floor beat. That would be ridiculous of course :)
I am probably missing something, so I am curious for your input.

Thanks in advance!

If it’s literally just 3 samples that need to play together without any extra processing, then it’s very easy to do this using the Sample Keyzones in 2.7.

  • Load your 3 kick samples into the same instrument via your preferred method. You could drag directly from the Disk Browser, or copy/paste from other instruments, etc. (See image 1 below)

  • Delete any existing keyzones just to get a clear idea of what you’re doing

  • Drag kick #1 from the sample list into the keyzone editor and position it on C-4 (See image 2 below)

  • (Optional) Expand the newly created keyzone to cover the whole keyboard range

  • Drag kick #2 from the sample list into the keyzone editor and position it on C-4 on top of the first layer (See image 3 below)

  • Do the same for kick #3

  • Done!

Thanks dblue, yes that was another option I tried yesterday, but then somehow I lose the ability to have different envelopes per sample (important for layering)! I am not sure, why this is not possible with the layers (since this is what they are there for), but I could not find a way to do it.

So still, I am curious in how you people layer drums.

Yep. Unfortunately you are currently limited to one envelope which is applied to the entire instrument, not individual envelopes for each sample or keyzone. That’s why I started my initial response with “If it’s literally just 3 samples that need to play together without any extra processing…”, because if you do want to do something more advanced like applying unique envelopes and other types of processing to each sample, then at the moment then you will simply need to create unique instruments and trigger them separately.

How about this: three tracks, one kick drum in each track, processed and enveloped separately, at the first beat of an otherwise empty pattern. When you have achieved the sound you’re after, highlight all three kicks and the area below, then render to sample.

Or this: destructively edit the samples so that they sound good together and put all three of them in one track.

Mmh, weird. This all seems very cumbersome. I just want to layer some drums. Should be simple.
Where is the fast workflow of trackers everyone is talking about?
It seems that doing this in Renoise is way slower then in any other host I can think of right now.

i do not think it is that cumbersome, personally. also, why not build a drumpattern in a track, copy that over 2 times and use Advanced Edit to change the instrument? then you have 3 separate tracks with separate DSP options etc. this is pretty fast. i wonder how much faster you can do it in other software?

Maybe this is off-topic, as the topic is drum layering (velocity, keyzones?). But nobody has mentioned note columns…that would be the most simple way to stick the beat in a single track

I recall people even programmed scripts to do the copying process.
But hey, with 2.7 you can link instruments together assign each instrument to a specific track and then you can simply bash them all in one recordingsession.
So why bothering with copy/paste? unless you don’t have a midi device.

sometimes, with these kind of topics concerning speedy workflows etc, i wonder how speedy it needs to get. i mean, i enjoy building stuff that sounds good even if it takes me a while. so 10 tracks for a layered kickdrum, even though i never felt i needed that much layers, i would not find a problem. however, GUI-wise, i would start hoping for that other suggestion of collapsable/minimizable tracks, or track-groups and other such ideas.

I use a separate track for each instrument /sample… it does look cluttered from time tot time , but you have maximum flexibility

Jenoki, on 27 April 2011 - 07:58 PM, said:
Also, in 2.7, you can link several instruments together to one midi device and assign them to the same track. With chord mode on, the notes will create new note columns for themselves. That’ll allow one to layer different sounds with different envelopes.

I know that feature request is over but if we could prevent single tracks from recording anything, the above mentoined feature in adition with a midiloopback would make layering super easy.

Theres no DAW with the fastest workflow for everything.