On many drummachines, hardware and software, a drumhit at a certain velocity level will result in a predictable sound. So every time you hit that drumsound at the same level exactly the same sound will be produced.
I like a bit of randomness in the drumsounds so every time I hit a certain sound it will come out sounding slightly differently. Like it would when you’re using a real drumkit or an old analogue drummachine.
Even the old Linn LM-1 had a unique circuitry: the hihat sounds, closed or open, are using the same sample which is looped constantly. The closed and open sounds are triggered by a VCA envelope that is applied to the looped open hihat sample. This results in lively sounding hihat patterns. The LinnDrum which came after the LM-1 and which was a lot cheaper is lacking this nifty feature.
Here’s an example I made with the best software based Linn LM-1 emulator, the VPROM 2.0 VST (all hihat hits are on the same velocity level):
The good news is: the developers of Reason’s Kong Drum Designer were so smart to add randomness to some of the drum modules. The Synth Hi-Hat module for example shows some happy randomness in its sound (again, all hihat hits are on the same velocity level):
Note: the NN-Nano module for loading samples is totally predictable, it doesn’t randomise. You can use the Alternate option though, for alternating between a couple of samples, which can create a less predictable sound. The Nurse Rex Loop Player is also totally predictable.
And more good news: the other Synth modules, the Synth Bass Drum, the Synth Snare and the Synth Tom Tom, all contain a bit of randomness. If you don’t want this kind of randomness, for example on the Synth Bass Drum you can set the Hit Type to No Variations.
The Physical modules, physical modelling of real drum sounds, contain the same randomness except for the Physical Snare Drum (!). Which is a bummer. I want my snare drum not to sound the same every time I hit it, like the Synth Snare. I don’t understand why the developers have chosen not to add it to the Physical Snare Drum.
So now you know: Kong is great for lively rhythms.