How to make shaker sound a little more natural?

I’m trying to make a shaker sound a little more natural; by default it’s just the same sound on each 16th note which sounds really boring and mechanical. I know, usually sound variations are usually done in the playing techniques dialog but this is always confusing me because I have no idea which term to choose from that huge list – and despite that, are there even proper sounds for foward and back motion of the shaker (and if so, which instrument kit has that)? Does anyone have any experience with this?

The best way to make the shaker sound more natural is to alter the velocities of the instrument in the play option. Reduce the naturally weaker stressed positions. I.e. Strong, weak, medium, weak (If this were a semiquaver pattern. (vel = 100,40,75,40).
For quaver pattern use the ‘strong’ then ‘weak’ pattern and you should hear the difference.

Hope this helps.

Thanks. Interestingly, it seems to do that automatically already (at least with 16th notes patterns), albeit with not as big of a contrast. This kind of works but since natural shakers still have a different sound between forward and back motion I was hoping there would be something similar here. Well, I’m gonna live with the velocity option for now.

Some sample libs have different samples for repetition, but I’m not sure that shakers have gotten a lot of love there. :slight_smile: Its sort of a cautionary tale on some mix channels about how much time should you really spend mixing a shaker. But you might try a 1176 type compressor with the 10,2,and 4 settings (attack at 10 o’clock release at 2, with a 4 to 1 ratio) as an insert to maybe enhance the differences in the attack of the sound that velocity makes.

FWIW, Garritan JABB has 3 different short shaker sounds, one medium, and one long. The 3 short sounds could easily provide some diversity in a 16th note repeated pattern.