Studio Setup, page 3...
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Connection Scheme 3:
In Figure 3 below, we add a drum machine. For the home studio, a drum machine is a powerful addition. Not only can you add drum and percussion tracks electronically without disturbing the neighbors with a real acoustic drum set, but you can program most drum machines with various drum patterns to construct any type of song from scratch.
The diagram shows the MIDI Out of the drum machine driving the synthesizer MIDI In port. This is so that the drum machine can trigger synthesized or sampled sounds in your keyboard or sampler in perfect sync with the drum patterns playing in the drum machine. You can also layer additional synth sounds or samples on top of the drum machine sounds using this technique. (MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a serial digital protocol that allows one device to control another device or to send configuration or synchronization data to another device. It is electrically similar to the RS-232 bus that is used by computers for some printers and dial-up modems. MIDI signals travel over their own dedicated digital cable with 5-pin DIN connectors on each end.)
I have not shown any sync-to-tape capability in this connection scheme. I will introduce that option later in Connection Scheme 6. Sync-to-tape allows a digital device such as a sequencer or a drum machine to play in perfect sync with tracks on a multitrack recorder. In Connection Scheme 3, we are relegated to recording the drum tracks generated by the drum directly to the 4-channel recorder. In this case, the drum machine serves as the rhythmic basis of the song. You can set the tempo and time signature to be whatever you want on most drum machines.
Once you have programmed the drum patterns into your drum machine, you can put the drum machine into play mode, play the drum pattern sounds into the mixer and mix it with another instrument (a good choice would be the bass). In this fashion, you could record all the drums (from the drum machine) and the bass (from a synthesizer or bass guitar) onto one track of the 4-channel recorder. Now you have the complete rhythm section on one track of the tape, and you have the other 3 tracks to add guitars, keyboards, vocals, Tibetan monk chanting or whatever suits your fancy. After you fill up the 4 tracks, you would then mix them all down to the 2-channel recorder for the master recording. It is always a good idea to plan out in advance what instruments are going to be recorded onto which tracks and in what order. This prevents gnashing of teeth later on in the recording session.
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