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I recorded an acoustic drum kit with multiple microphones, and I'm not 100% happy with the sound. I have Superior Drummer 2.0, and I'd like to blend/replace my recorded drums with the samples. I understand that acoustic drum MIDI triggers would probably do the best job of this, but I'd like to avoid that expense if possible, and real cymbals are tough to make triggerable. Is there software that will convert the recorded drum tracks to MIDI signals? I'm thinking it could take some calibration for the velocities to register accurately, but something like this must exist, right?

  • Do a web search for "drum replacement software" or "drum replacement plugin". Most of them should let you convert to MIDI at the same time or instead of direct replacement. – Todd Wilcox Jan 22 '16 at 7:44
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You can do this with Logic Pro X or Ableton Live 9. Superior Drummer 2 should be able to plug-in to either one of them.

In Logic Pro X, you can place your acoustic drumkit audio recording on an audio track, and go Track ▶ Replace or Double Drum Track. Logic then creates a software instrument drum track with a MIDI representation of your acoustic drum track.

In Ableton Live 9, use the Session View, which is a grid where tracks go left-to-right and scenes go top-to-bottom. Create an audio track and a MIDI track, then choose a drumkit instrument for the MIDI track. Place your acoustic drums recording into the first scene on the audio track, and then drag and drop your acoustic drums audio recording onto the MIDI track. Because you are dragging the audio onto a MIDI track that has a drumkit instrument on it, Live will convert your audio into MIDI drums.

If you have multiple recordings for each microphone, then you just repeat the above for each recording until you have built out a set of tracks like kick, snare, toms, overheads, etc.

  • Just some follow up, I haven't actually tried out the solution yet (I use Logic Pro 9), but between Logic and Ableton, which software do you think handles this job better? I just realized that melodyne may be capable of this as well (which I own) so perhaps I'll try it out with that as well – Johannes Feb 2 '16 at 21:04
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I think you can easily bypass the midi procedure and actually try to fix the dynamics and stuff by using drumagog. This plugin has ,for a snare let's say, 50 samples, of the same snare hit with various ways and as it reads your signal it adapts in the best way it understands. In rock music where there are not a lot of dynamics and things are pretty standard it works wonders, lot's of new bands use it all the time in big records and stuff.

In addition you can put your own samples into drumagog or someone elses ! (slate etc.) i think it's one step less towards your target!

The sound can also be mixed with the original signal so it feels even more humanized. There are 1-2 problems such as , if your overhead mics are not very close to the crashes and there's no isolation , you might find it hard to make the new snare cover the previous in the best way, and you'll have to fight it. But everything is manageable ! The same issue exists with the midi (concerning the OH).

Also you might run into some phase issues with your samples if you decide to mix them, also a thing you have to take care of. But i think it's the best choice when you want to correct damaged drum sounds, with the less effort!

  • I must say, I really like this answer. I'm leaving the other answer as accepted since it directly answers the question about converting to MIDI, but I'm going to do some more reading on your alternative solution that may actually do a better job of fixing my problem. – Johannes Feb 2 '16 at 21:10

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