Velocity in Sample Packs?

Discussion in 'Drums & Percussion' started by narad, May 14, 2018.

  1. narad

    narad Regular

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    Feb 15, 2009
    I'm a novice when it comes to drum programming but I'm under the impression that most drums are programmed with MIDI, and that MIDI velocity ranges are from 0-127 or something, a much finer scale than a human drummer would be able to differentiate in their hits.

    So how does drum programming work in that regard? I've watched youtube tutorials where you set some small range around a velocity -- say you want hits of about 120, and set it to +/-5, and each hit gets a random velocity. But when using a nice sample pack like GGD, how is the hit at 119 different from the hit at 121. I assume they're not the same sound, but they probably can't also be different samples. Are they just the same sample scaled to a different volume?

    Curious how this works, and if it's the same strategy between other well-regarded packs?
  2. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    Oct 23, 2009
    Yorkshire, U.K
    Good sample packs have a whole bunch of samples at the same velocity/area of velocities. So even if a person can only play say, 10 levels of volume, they will record 10 samples of each, and the same ones will never trigger in a row. This is called 'round robin' sampling.
    To be realistic though you probably still don't want to program 119 and 121 next to each other repeatedly. The samples are different, yes, but put a human on an eKit to record MIDI and the range of velocities will be pretty large!
    It's worth picking up a MIDI pack from Toontrack (you can import them to the DAW for use with any engine), if just to study the velocities and timing intricacies of human performance.
    Matt Ress and narad like this.
  3. kavinsky

    kavinsky Regular

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    Jan 24, 2016
    Middle Of Nowhere
    products like toontrack/ggd use a number of velocity layers and each layer has a number of repetitions(2-7samples)
    so, usually its mapped as follows:

    127-127 - the hardest hits or rimshots - usually the highest number of repetitions/round robins (different samples played with the same dynamic, cycled repeatedly)
    117-126 - hard hits
    105-116 - softer hits
    and going down to the softest in this fashion, the volume of the samples goes down aswell, but this can be switched off in both engines.

    you can simply audition each layer and you'll clearly hear where the different layers are.
    toontrack is a bit more complicated, as the option to mix adjacent layers is turned on by default, but with ggd its a lot more obvious since its kontakt based.
    toontrack also uses some subtle modulations in pitch and timing so the same sample sounds a touch different, but its pretty obvious that its still the same sample so its irrelevant.

    so random velocity wouldn't work in your situation. its either the same layer or a different one, the hits will be randomly different even within the same layer anyway
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
    narad likes this.

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