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Replace dodgy drum kit sounds in Logic

Substitute inferior drum sounds with Logic’s clever drum replacement feature

Drum replacement is a fairly specialised technique whereby one element of a multi-tracked drum performance – usually the kick or snare drum – is replaced by a sample triggered from the original part. The new sound can either be mixed in to beef up the original, or used in its place to replace it entirely.

Once the preserve of big studios with expensive setups, the advent of Logic Pro X means that it’s never been easier to either double or replace dodgy kit pieces when fixing up drum recordings. Once converted to MIDI, you can swap samples, edit note velocity and even requantise the part. Apple’s Pro DAW now even has a dedicated tool for this very task, and over the next two pages we’ll show you just how to use it.

LPX Drum Replacement 01

1 Load project

The first job is to load up the LPX Drum Replacement project included in the Tutorial Files folder on our download site. It should appear as shown above.

LPX Drum Replacement 02

2 Select target

Click to highlight the track that you want to replace. Here we’re targeting the snare drum, as it’s tuned a bit too high in pitch and rings out too much.

LPX Drum Replacement 03

3 Choose your mirror

Select Track>Replace or Double Drum Track. Logic will analyse the target track for transients – peaks in the audio waveform that represent the drum hits that need to be replaced.

LPX Drum Replacement 04

4 Type approval

In the options window, first select the type of instrument you’re going to replace. Since we’re replacing the snare, we select Snare from the pop-up menu.

LPX Drum Replacement 05

5 Set threshold

Use the Threshold slider to set the audio level above which snare drum transients will be detected. There’s a fair bit of kick drum bleed on this snare track, so we set it quite high, at -7.9dB.

LPX Drum Replacement 06

6 Gauge sensitivity

When the MIDI events you can see in the new green region match up with the peaks in the snare’s audio waveform, you’ll know that the threshold is set about right.

LPX Drum Replacement 07

7 Set trigger note

Use this menu to choose the note that the generated MIDI part will play; most snares are found on D1, for example. The Auto setting accounts for this, so leave this set for now.

LPX Drum Replacement 08

8 Select new sample

Choose the sample that you want to trigger from the list that appeared when the Library pane opened in step 3. Click on a sound and use the Prelisten button to audition it.

LPX Drum Replacement 09

9 Replace

Select the Replacement option and click OK. Logic mutes the original audio and creates a new MIDI track to replace it, named the same as the original but with a ‘plus’ added.