Finger drumming prerequisites: What do you need before you start?

A 16-pad (4×4) pad controller or hardware drum machine

Currently, the prevalent pad controllers on the market are the “MPD” products from AKAI™, KORG™’s “PadKONTROL” and Keith McMillen™’s “Quneo”. The predominant hardware drum machines available today are AKAI™’s “MPC” products. Hybrids that combine extensive hardware control for software parameters are Native Instruments™’ “Maschine” products, AKAI™’s newer “MPC” products as well as M-Audio™’s “Trigger Finger Pro”.

A DAW and/or a virtual drum module

You will need to install a virtual drum module on your PC/Mac; that and a DAW where you can plug-in a virtual drum module. Most virtual drum modules also work in stand-alone mode.

The currently most-referenced virtual drum modules on the market that emulate real drums are “BFD” from fxpansion™, “Addictive Drums” from XLN Audio™, “Superior Drummer” and “EZ Drummer” from Toontrack™ and the “Abbey Road Drummer” and “Studio Drummer” product series from Native Instruments™.

Your drum software options increase exponentially if you focus on electronic music. This is because the market for electronic drums produces many more drum libraries, drum samplers, and drum synthesizers.

No matter which software you intend to use as your (real drums-emulating) virtual drum module of choice, make sure that the included drum samples were recorded with many velocity layers and that the transitions between those velocity layers are very smooth. It is only in this way that you will be able to create a real drumming perception in the ears of your audience. Gentle finger hits on the pad controller will trigger samples that were recorded as gentle “real drum” hits and not just samples that were recorded with high velocity being played at a lower volume. This makes a huge audible difference. I strongly suggest that you carefully read Internet forum discussions and user product reviews before you make your purchase decisions.

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