Humanize midi

Hey guys is there a way to humanize MIDI in cubase 12?
basically programming drums and dont want it to be exaclty on the grid


You can use the Logical Editor to randomize velocity, note position and so on. At least, this is how I do it

Then just don’t quantize perfectly to the grid.

In the Key Editor window under the Quantize tab, you have all the flexibility you need to achieve the desired quantization.

I use the midi modifiers in the track inspector, or in automation if I want to vary things in different parts of the song.

With midi modifiers you can randomise position and /or velocity as much or as little as you want.

If you’re using audio samples, rather than a VSTi, this won’t work of course.

Drum VSTis sometimes have randomisation / humanisation facilities too.

I always turn Snap off when I’m writing drums. That way even if I’m aiming to be pretty much on the beat it will always be a bit off.

However most of the time, depending on the song, I’ll want to take beats 2 & 4 (sometimes even 3) and push them a bit earlier or later for a more hyper or laid-back vibe, which I’ll do visually while listening - just that much after the grid-line.

I found my drum programing improved drastically after I took this Groove 3 video course by Eli Krantzberg (one of their best instructors) where he gets into how drummers are physically playing and how to program drums to better reflect that physicality. Instead of focusing on hitting the snare here, here and here; the focus shits to what is the sequence of things the right hand is doing. This results in programed drums sounding more realistic overall.

Often when humanizing MIDI drums we focus on variations in Velocity & Timing but don’t think much about variations in the sounds themselves. Granted a snare hit will change its sound based on velocity and round-robin schemes add a natural variation - but it still sounds basically the same. But you can create a composite “hit” by combining articulations. For example suppose you have a series of regular snare hits that are playing in the 90 to 110 Velocity range. Take some of these and double them with side-stick sounds in the 40 to 50 Velocity range. The side-sticks won’t read as separate sounds but rather as tonal variations on the basic snare hit sound.

Or take this a step further and move the regular snare hit a tiny bit later and the side-stick a little early so there is a small but audible delay between the two. This mimics the side of the stick initially making contact with the rim & then rotating down to hit the snare head. Which leads us to ghost notes - low velocity hits that are more felt than noticed. Used in moderation these can add a real sense of life.

Another technique to add sonic variation is to use 2 instances of the exact same snare. Detune one of them by a very small amount. Now treat the 2 snares as if they are a single drum with a duplicate set of articulations - mix your hits between the two. This will sound like you are hitting the drum-head in different spots.

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