Cymbal roll/choke sequencing

Author: sleepfreaks

Creating cymbal articulations via sequencing


In this article we will focus on the cymbal articulations of the 「roll」and「choke」,
and how to sequence them in the drum software’s 「Addictive Drums2」&「BFD3」.

If the sounds don’t come to mind, check these out first.

Let’s take a look at these functions.

Cymbal roll/choke sequencing – Tutorial video

Cymbal roll

Making it in Addictive Drums

First, we will sequence some cymbals.


In our sample, it is set to 32nd note divisions at a 120 BPM, with a mountain shaped velocity (crescendo-decrescendo).
However, the individual attacks are too strong, and lacks reality.

To adjust attack in Addictive Drums, use the EDIT screens VOLUME ENVELOPE.


However, one problem arises.
You can’t apply automation to the VOLUME ENVELOPE.
Hence, by messing with this area too much, the entire song will end up with cymbals that lack attack.

To solve this problem, add roll-only cymbal sounds in an open slot.


By doing this, the sounds will be split into the regular cymbal sounds with attack, and more subtle sounds when rolling.

Next, lets adjust the VOLUME ENVELOPE on the added cymbal sounds.


The point furthest to the left is the attack.
By dragging this to the right, the attack is delayed, leading to a weaker attack.

Just by making this adjustment, the sequence above will sound much more realistic.
If it’s set too slow it will sound less realistic, so adjust accordingly to the sound you want.

Making it in BFD3

BFD3 doesn’t contain an envelope,
but contains a 「Cymbal Swell」 function instead.


To access the Cymbal Swell, select the cymbal track you want to use,
and click MODEL on the top right.


You can find Cymbal Swell in the middle; turn this switch on.


Adjust the amount knob while the sound plays. Find the sweet spot for the cymbal roll here.

In addition, BFD3’s Cymbal Swell doesn’t result in all cymbal attacks getting weaker.
It only makes the attack weaker when the notes are entered in short.
The attack remains weak until the Swell section’s meter goes back to 0.


Therefore, by not sequencing short cymbal sounds in the rest of your song, you shouldn’t experience any problems.
If you want to use short cymbal sounds and are worried about the attack,
use the same technique we used in Addictive Drums and create a separate track.

Key point

This is a tip for both Addictive Drums・BFD3,
but by randomizing or gradually speeding up/slowing down the roll notesrather than entering as 32nd notes, you will be able to create a more realistic sound.



Making it in Addictive Drums

It’s easy to create a choke effect in Addictive Drums.
Generally, the choke sound is mapped a half-note above the cymbal.


Therefore, after entering a cymbal, sequence a note a half note above the sound.
The timing of the choke makes a huge difference in nuance,
so adjust accordingly to your song.

Making it in BFD3

BFD3 has some presets that don’t contain a choke mapping.


To check for mapping, click on the “i” mark on the top of the kit screen.


By doing so, the keymap slots currently selected will show on the right of the screen.
If you see 「Choke」 here, it’s good to go as is, but if not, add it to the keymap.


Click on 「Key Map」 from the top.


Click on the cymbal that you want to apply the choke to, and select 「Choke」 from the articulations on the right.


Select the key you want to assign it to from the left, and click the 「Assign to Selected」 from the right articulations.
For this example we set it to B-1.


Lastly, just enter the choke after the cymbal just like we did in Addictive Drums.
You will achieve a more realistic sound than when you just suddenly lower the volume.

This concludes our article on cymbal rolls and chokes.
Try out these techniques in your own songs to achieve more realistic drum sounds.