JamStix 3 anyone?

I have Jamstix 3 and simply love the concept. It is truly better than dropping in midi loops. Let me describe it this way. When you have a four piece band each player has his/her idea of what the arrangement needs. Each player puts their personality into the arrangement. With Jamstix 3, I have multiple personalities that have an opinion and put it into my song. In these times, too many of us are writing and recording songs alone. That extra outside opinion Jamstix creates helps to spur creativity and add something to the songs.

The only thing I do not like about Jamstix 3 is that there are not enough sound options. However, since I also have Addictive Drums and four of its add-on packages the Jamstix sounds are not quite as important. Addictive Drums has a slider that will give the snare more sound from the top of the drum or the bottom. Same is true with the bass drum which provides more beater or more front sound. These features would be nice additions to Jamstix.

The biggest asset of Jamstix 3 is Ralph’s customer service. It is the best in the software world. Actually that is wrong, it is simply the best customer service I have experienced in any industry.

Well, I guess I have a question about the whole concept of a computer/VSTi drummer …

I’ve probably put 50 hrs or more into working on projects with Jamstix. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve developed some work habits, but not so much that they are ingrained and can’t be changed. I’ve noticed that I am spending a LOT of time hand programming, so I thought maybe I’d ask the board if there is something I’m not doing that I could be to minimize that.

Briefly before I get to the detailed drum editing, I’ve already tracked/programmed all the vocals and other instruments (using a Jamstix “Metronome” slapped on the tempo track). The drums are the last thing I “create” before the final mix. At this point I also have a full song created in Jamstix (in the window on the left). Finally, I don’t think it matters for this post, but my tempos are variable throughout the song, sometimes even with pauses.

** Then I choose the drummer/style in JS.

** At this point is where I sit back and listen and roll my sleeves up for a lot of hand editing of the drummed song. This is where I could use some perspective and advice, where I wonder if I may not be using JS as fully as I can!

What I realize at this stage is that though I may have a very nice sounding drum track, which tracks the big picture of the song with the power knob … in reality, the drummer can’t be expected to understand the song in terms of things like, “It gets sad here, then happy there”, or “let’s play like the sun just came through a rainstorm”. Or, even something more concrete, like, not having a crash cymbal solo right on the part of the song where the hook is delivered in a whisper (I exaggerate, but you know what I mean).

So I find that my workflow at this point involves clearing a lot of beats in the bar editor and replacing them with hits by hand (or leaving them blank to leave room for the other instruments), based on things specific to the song at hand. Maybe to have him play a duet with the keyboard player for a few bars, or match his kick to the bass player … etc. etc.

Is this pretty much what the result of not having a real drummer over is? Am I too much of a control freak? At least my beer bill is lower with JS!

Anyway, sorry for the long post. I’m happy to keep using JS in the way I’ve talked about. I don’t mind at all, and I am SO grateful for what JS does lay down for me (SO much easier to edit than create from scratch!) - ESPECIALLY those fills, OMG, thank goodness for those fills!).

And I agree - Ralph Z. has the best customer service on the planet!

But if there are any time saving tips anyone can pass along after reading through the above, I’d be grateful - please send them my way!

Thanks much -

Its true that a degree of manual editing is usually required, mostly because JS can’t possibly know ‘emotionally’ what is happening in a song. But I think it would be a fair estimate to say that in most cases I can get 90-95% done by tweaking JS’s numerous controls. This naturally requires a fair amount of trial ‘n’ error and ‘recomposing’ of parts but with some persistence I usually get the results I’m after… or in fact, even better I often stumble across something new and unexpected that’s often better than what I had originally had in mind.


I think that’s really cool, quite an accomplishment to have gotten to the point where one can do that. As a relative JS noob, the amount of sliders/knobs/dropdown menus is a bit overwhelming at this point. Funny thing, complaining about too many choices!

PS - I noticed the little avatar of tumbling dice by your sig is the same as the “randomize the drum song” icon in Jamstix! :smiley:

There are several expansion packs on their site, presumably for programming in different styles. From the demos I’ve heard I totally agree that the JS sound quality of the drums doesn’t sound too good. I honestly do all my drum programming by hand. Alot of times for fills or tricky parts I’ll find a local drummer and try to get an opinion on what would sound best or most natural.

Hey Foolomon, I just sort of re-read this … are you saying you’re not sure how to do things like get the kick to come out on 1 Cubase channel, hats on another channel, snares on another, “room mic” on another, etc.? That can be done from the drop down arrow in the “Kit” window … or is it something else you’re referring to?

Hey Bane - thanks for that. I might add that If JS has a demo to download, you might want to check it out just for the fills - in my mind, the fills alone are worth the price of the package, they are so good!

It sure can be overwhelming… and with each new release there seems to be more and more options. I’m sure there’s still a ton of features and capabilities that I haven’t a clue about, but I have spent a LOT of time with the features that seem relevant to my needs. AND its quite possible there’s some things I don’t know about that could make my life easier if I DID know about them… but until I know what I don’t know…its not really much help! :slight_smile:

PS - I noticed the little avatar of tumbling dice by your sig is the same as the “randomize the drum song” icon in Jamstix! > :smiley:

So it is! Actually the avatar is a ‘nod’ toward my last CD release which was called “Rollin’ Dice” :sunglasses:

I used to cop a lot of criticism about my JS drum sounds. You certainly have a ton of choices - particularly once you’ve installed additional expansion packs, but curiously, despite all the snare choices I then had I could still never come up with anything that met with the approval from critics here! :laughing: - until I paired JS up with Steve Slate Drums.

I wonder though with more work and care and expertise in mixing whether it would be possible to shape one of the many JS kits into sounding quite acceptable. Mostly, acceptance seems to largely come down to the sound of snares and to a lesser extent kicks, so with some detailed attention it might be possible… perhaps ?

No, I meant that it would be great if I could provide more practical guidance to the AI on how I want the feel of the drumline to be. Right now you have to twiddle with the AI settings and generate a verse, chorus, etc. And if it doesn’t meet your expectations, you twiddle some more, hit the Recompose button, and do it again. It’s extremely time consuming because it’s trial and error.

So what I end up doing is using the built-in mappings to Battery - I use the Tight Kit mappings specifically - get reasonably close in JS3, then export to MIDI, map that track to Battery, and hand edit the rest. I probably could reimport the MIDI into JS3 and then use multi-channel export, but it’s almost just as quick to use the MIDI Transformer presets that I have to filter out all but a certain type of drum, export to audio, and import those channels into the project for separate EQ and insert processing.

JS is great, but ultimately there’s no substitute for the real thing! Except, finding a REALLY good ‘real thing’ that delivers exactly what you want beyond what JS can do isn’t always so easy. And of course, there’s also the possibility that ‘exactly what you want’ isn’t necessarily the ‘best’ thing either!

I’ve tried several combinations over the years… mostly JS these days, but I’ve also worked with live drummers too. Either way, much work is invariably involved when it comes to mixing and achieving the result you desire…

Hi - for you JS users - when JS crashes now and then, it steals the Cubase drum tracks it created along with it. No biggie, except the tracks have lots of automation data in them. When JS3 is rebooted it wants to create new Cubase tracks, and I can’t figure out how to point it instead to the existing tracks (the ones with the automation) in the Cubase project.

How are you getting JS3 to link with the old tracks with the automation data?

Thanks -