Best Way To Sample an Original Drum Kit?

I am building a kit of synthesized analog drums to play from Cubase, and I am trying to figure out an elegant workflow. Everything I seem to come up with seems to be unnecessarily clunky, and I’m wondering if I’m missing some clever steps (or software?) to streamline my process.

The goal: I am designing some drum sounds on some analog hardware synths, and I want to record them as samples that I can load into a Battery 3 drum kit that I can trigger from Cubase.

The tools: I have all of the following tools, but I haven’t yet found a smooth process for recording the samples and assembling the kit: Ableton Live 8.3, Cubase 6.5, Kontakt 5, Battery 3, Maschine 1.8.

What’s the quickest route to go from playing MIDI drum notes to being able to trigger them as samples in Battery?

The complications/what I’ve tried:

  • Recording/editing samples is pretty easy in Live, but the editing UI is cramped and limited, and I will ultimately be composing with Cubase anyway. I’ll use Live if it’s the best option for recording, though.
  • Recording MIDI-to-audio is a little funky in Cubase. I know how to do it, but it’s a lot of steps to go through for every sample. Also, actual sample editing isn’t that great in Cubase; it would be nice to be able to record the sample in the same app I’m editing from.
  • Although they’re referred to as “samplers,” Battery and Kontakt can’t record samples. I need to drag or import audio to them that’s recorded elsewhere. Again, it would be nice to be able to record and edit in the same app. Also, sample editing in Kontakt ain’t exactly a pleasant or bug-free experience.
  • I haven’t recorded a sample in Maschine yet. but will certainly learn how if it sounds like a good option for both recording and editing the sample. I won’t be using Maschine for PLAYING the recorded samples, though.
  • I looked into other samplers like HALion and Geist. HALion doesn’t have any sample recording ability either, and while Geist CAN record samples, it apparently doesn’t do that in Cubase without some weird workarounds. Also, I’d rather avoid buying more plugins if what I already own will do the trick.

If you roll your own samples and kits, what do you normally use, and what’s your general workflow?


Just learned about this free software sampler that actually samples. Has anyone here successfully used this with Cubase?

I might check this out, but am worried about the audio routing:

EDIT: Tried it and haven’t successfully been able to route audio to it. Can’t find anyone online discussing using it with cubase.

I’m NOT an expert in what you’re trying to do, but it seems to me you’re making it too complicated.

Personally, I just record long, long samples of every drum, at a slowly varying attack level, for every drum. No reason not to put them all on one track, ALL in Cubase.
Just snip each sample at its attack point in Cubase, fade it if you think you have to, then bounce that event to a unique (named) file, still in place.
Labeling with the estimated attack might be helpful at this stage.

I use Battery, but any sample playback program should work.
Just drag all your samples to their corresponding cells in Battery.
Battery itself will be the best editor you’ll find to make Battery kits.
Mostly, no editing will be required, but for cymbals and high hats,
you’ll probably have to do some MIDI tweaking to use your MIDI controller comfortably.

BTW, I wouldn’t mic your drum kit the way you usually mic it for separation,
the individual mics will sound pretty crappy.
My favorite method is to use a stereo ribbon mic out in front of the kit to pick up every drum -very realistic stereo, if you retain that stereo picture in the sampler.

Thanks. I’ve done similar to what you recommend in past work, for example when sampling an existing kit from a tone module. Just record one long track and split it up into smaller WAVs.

This case is going to be a little different in that I’m going to be designing 12-16 sounds on a mono-timbral analog keyboard and then recording them one-at-a-time. So I’m just looking for the fewest steps possible, because I know there’s going to be a lot of repetitive behavior.

As an update, I worked with Maschine’s Sampling mode last night and found it quite fun and easy to use. No idea why I never bothered sampling with it before. It’s perfect for one-hits like I’m working on, as it sets the start point for you automatically in the recorded WAV, and you just turn a knob to set the end point, and press the Truncate button to trim it down. I’ve already applied a gate to my external synth, so I don’t even have to apply fades. I’m pleased.