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Old December 12th, 2011, 07:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[TUTORIAL] How to humanise a midi (drum) track in Cubase ?

I made this tutorial on a french board, and I had to translate it for you !

Here is my way to humanize a midi track within Cubase.
I will show you how to create some random changes in position and velocity on your MIDI notes.

For the needs of this tutorial, I quickly recorded 2 riffs, with programmed drums.

Here's the mix :
MIX NoHuman
Drums only :

Everything is straight on the grid.
Concerning velocities, I wrote some quick accents and alternance considering how a real drummer will play :
for example the hard right kicks are at 120, the hard left ones at 100 (because the left kick is always weaker) ; the upbeat hats at 110, the downbeat ones at 90... etc.

In order to make a before / after comparison, here is a screenshot of my kick velocties at the beggining :

And here is a screenshot of the note positions, to show you that everything is straight on the grid :


We'll use Cubase Logical Editor to give a bit of a human touch to our midi track.

Pros :
+ offline processing : the changes you'll make will be written on you midi track. Usefull if you need to share your midi track, or duplicate it to trigger some other samples via MIDI.
+ you can set different ranges of humanisation according to your song sections
+ you can set different values according to a MIDI note, a group of notes, a group of notes minus another note...etc.

I splitted my midi track into different sections.
Indeed, I don't want to humanise the fast double bass parts as much as the slower parts.

Now let me detail you how I proceed the kick.
I select the first section of the song, and I click on MIDI > Logical Editor

That thing opens :

The upper part will be use to set wich notes we need to proceed.
The lower part will be use to set what we'll do to these notes.

First, I clean the defaut settings by clicking on the «-» at the bottom left of each part :

Now clicking the «+» will add a new line.
Just configure the editor this way :

My Cubase is in french, but I don't think it'll be too hard to find the equivalents.
Here is some help :
«Egal» = «Equal»
«Hauteur de note» = you need to choose «Value1» to activate it.
«Et» = AND
«Ou» = OR
«Valeurs Aléatoires Relatives entre» = something like «Relatives Randoms Values between»

So here are the explanations of what we're doing.

We're saying that we want to process the B0 (left kick) and C1 (right kick) notes.
IMPORTANT : don't forget to set the «boo» part on «OR» condition between the two notes, on the upper right corner, or it won't work.

We're saying to logical editor :
- move the notes on a -6 to +6 range, according to their actual position
- give the notes a random velocity value on a -6 to 0 range, according to their actual value (I don't want my kicks to go beyond 120).

When everything is OK, click «Apply» on the bottom right to proceed the midi file.
CAUTION : some notes that are at the beggining / end of your container may now be out of it because of the position changes, just check and correct if needed.

Now I'll use the same technique, but with different parameters for snare (D1), toms (C2 and G1), and cymbals.

With cymbals, I'll use a different formula ; I'll tell to the editor to proceed EVERY notes MINUS kick, snare and toms :

Don't forget to set the «boo» to «AND» everywhere or it won't work.

Here are the results for velocities :

Positions :

Mix with humanised drums :
MIX Human.mp3

Drums only :
DRUMS Human.mp3

Et voilà !
It may looks a bit complicated, but I swear it's so fucking simple.
You can save a preset for each note / group of notes (I've made one for kick, snare, toms and cymbals), so that I don't have to write the formula everytime :

Then, you can edit every group of notes / song sections very quick.

Logical editor is a very powerful tool, and have many other fonctions (random velocities between 2 values, random notes between 2 notes...etc).
You can also use it with bass, synths... everything that is MIDI.


Cons :
- it will proceed the whole MIDI track, so you won't be able to set different values for kick, snare...etc, unless you use a different midi track for each shell and another one for the cymbals.
- for the same reason, you won't be able to set different parameters for different sections of a song, unless you create a different MIDI track for each section.
- it's realtime, in a non-destructive way. The changes won't be printed in your midi track.

Here's the quick/lazy way to humanise a midi track :
- select your midi track
- open «MIDI inserts FX»
- at the bottom left, you can choose 2 random values, in a MIN / MAX range, for various parameters (including velocity and position).


Hope you guys get the idea, and that this tutorial will be useful for some of you.
Feel free to ask if you have some issues and again, sorry for my shitty english !

Last edited by TRUIE : August 31st, 2012 at 05:23 AM.
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Old December 12th, 2011, 11:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Cheers, this is great. THX

Originally Posted by Mago View Post
I think I read that the FX Loop problem can be solved by plugin a cable in and out a few times.
You know, same as during le sexy time^^
(...) it sounds like a hottest girl in universe telling you that you're the best man she had met in her life and that she wants your dick in her mouth RIGHT NOW. That how fucking sweet it sounds, man
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Old December 13th, 2011, 06:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks! Great tutorial. If anyone's interested I've just made logical editor presets mapped out for the metal foundry drum map. In the zip are humanize shells and humanize cymbals presets.

Send them here: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Cubase 5\Presets\Logical Edit
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Old December 13th, 2011, 09:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I had a hard time to find infos about this on the net, and I ended up reading the manual and trying a lot of things.
So I'm glad to see it can now be useful to some people
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