NI Maschine – Maschine Drum Layering Techniques Explored – How To Tutorial

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One of the beautiful things about Maschine is the amount of flexibility you have in how you can go about doing everyday tasks like drum layering. This tutorials shares some great ides to help you improve your projects right now!

The chances of you either capturing or finding the perfect single sample or sound every single time you go looking is just not realistic, or possible really. This is why drum layering is so important, just like the layering of synths, guitars, etc. This is because layering gives you so much more control and opens up so many more potential outcomes. With proper layering techniques you can easily craft the perfect sound every time. All you need is good quality sounds and a working knowledge of the tools in your DAW, in this case NI Maschine.

The example of layering a couple of kick drums together to get the perfect sound for the music in the video is a nice example because it is so easy to hear the difference between the two samples being combined and the processing is explained well as it’s being done. Layering drums is actually quite a bit easier than layering instruments like complex bass synths or pads. This is mostly because of the simple structure of most drum sounds. The transient is one of the most important aspects, right alongside how the sounds resolve together once combined.

With drum layering that involves elements other than a kick drum, the process can be more about texture and character than it is cutting through a mix or driving a beat. A clap layered with a snare is a nice example. You have a bit more creative wiggle room, so to speak, with these types of percussive sounds than you do with most kick drums. So although most of this is a straight-forward process of dos and don’ts, experimentation is something that will lead to great results quite regularly if you give it a chance. Drum layering is one of the few times you can crank out dozens of variations on a sound quicker than you can use them, so it’s incredibly easy to begin building your own custom drum libraries.

As always, remember that not all effects are created equal, nor are they always best used as they were originally intended to be used! Try adding a touch of distortion to a clap before you layer it with that snare. And ALWAYS be aware of each sound’s spectral analysis. Use an EQ to carve out whatever you can in the frequencies that are not absolutely necessary for each sound. Drum layering demands proper EQ work and tends to work best when you use a subtractive rather than an additive approach with your EQ decision making.



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  • Danny Peculiarbleeps

    Great video! There's one thing, however. I would not under any circumstances tune a kick to any of the keys in the bass melody. Side chaining can't handle the booming frequencies on its own, plus the sub end of your kick may at times go as low as 35Hz, which means there will be plenty of fighting for space. So be sure to register what frequencies the keys in your bass melody are and layer your kicks at least one note away from either one of them. That's about 3 to 5Db you're saving, the sound will be much cleaner. 

  • Nick Cent

    Of course you can resample these layers onto one pad after you've done all this blending work.  I know you cover this on another tutorial though. Great stuff, thanks!

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