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"Real" Drum Sound Tips/Techniques/Tricks

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Studdy, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. Studdy

    Studdy Member

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    Most of the stuff I do involves a 80% or more real drum sound with a touch of samples blended in, perhaps most or all of the kick drum is replaced and some tricks with the snare. Toms may have some tricks done to make them sound good, but are generally the tracked toms that are used. Im interested in hearing what or how most of you go about it. When I say tricks i mean things like one shot samples blended in, multiple snare samples, split kick drum, duplicate tracks and process differently, take samples before session and replace completely, etc. So many ways to accomplish a drum sound, I just thought it would be cool to have a few words from everyone with drum tricks/methods all in one thread. Im sure everyone could learn something cool with all the different styles everyone has.

    My tip/trick/method I like to use when tracking/mix real drums is:

    When trying to get a little more low end/power/crack/punch whatever out of a real drum, (or sample), Instead of diving for and eq I like to duplicate the track, remove whats not needed (everything that i wouldnt have boosted) Compress the shit out of it. Now slowly bring the fader in and its almost a separate control for power.

    This is obviously not a new trick by any means, Nothing more than simple parallel processing/one shot/parallel compression. I just really love how it doesn't make the drum sound "fake" as it would perhaps blending in samples. It makes for a great real drum sound.

    Hope some people chime in with some cool ideas, it could be a great resource. Cheers.
     
  2. Machinated

    Machinated Member

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    snare:

    big 200hz boost then parallel 1176 smashing. the huge EQ boost stops the cymbals going nuts. fast attack to stop the initial transient getting blurred, release set to how much ring you want in the sound.
    parallel distortion. something like devil-loc or decapitator. smash the shit out of it. maybe a bit of compression to control the attack.
    not so much a trick but use way less compression than you think you need. doing stuff in parallel will control the dynamics more and you won't need to squash the track so much. will sound way better for it and you'll have less bled issues.

    toms:
    duplicate and strip silence. a fader for bleed and a fader for the hits means you can eq top end with less worry about cymbals. add as much juice from the bleed tracks as you like. shouldn't need much compression on toms, you'll know when you need compression so don't add it for the sake of it.

    whole kit:
    general EQ on the whole kit is great, less phase issues between individual mics. makes you think of the drums as a single instrument too.
    various parallel compressions on the kit. slow attack, fast-ish release for more powerful drums. fast attack, fast release for more bounce. fast attack, slow release for more oomph. a lot of the time I'll have 2 parallel comps on drums and a mix bus comp too. don't need anywhere near as much compression on individual tracks. you might need to HPF the side chain of the comps depending on how much the kick is affecting the kick.

    reverb:
    anything between 0.6 and 1.2s, room or chamber. can add some depth. make sure to have some pre delay. usually prefer something like an EMT140 (or other real plate) for snare/toms.

    FOR THE BRAVE:

    parallel distortion through a sansamp. distort the fuck out of it. adjust the delay/phase and invert polarity.

    AND DONT FORGET:

    eq your reverbs. cut the mud, you also might get resonances in the verb. you can probably LPF at 5k.
     
  3. Studdy

    Studdy Member

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    Are you doing this on a duplicated track?
    Are you saying that you kill the transient with the fast attack or you preserve it?

    Thanks dude.
     
  4. Machinated

    Machinated Member

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    yeah, that's all on a parallel track. and killing the attack so the "dry" fader is handling that aspect of the sound.

    the distortion is a great way to get a roomier and fatter sound out of close mic's. does insane things. try out different distortions, the soundtoys stuff is my favourite.
     
  5. MultiM

    MultiM Member

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    I prefer to use reverb on snare then make a buss for the other parts except the kick and add another reverb, do you think that's good?
    what do you tend to do for snare reverb?
     
  6. Machinated

    Machinated Member

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    that's the sort of thing I do a lot.

    really it totally depends on the type of band/mix and how dry your mic's are. sometimes lush lexicon style reverb is pleasing but sometimes it's not stylistically appropriate IMO.

    if I want to put the drums in a bigger space, or if they're a bit too dry and close I'll go for a more realistic ambience kind of reverb on the whole kit. kind of like having room mic's even though the sound/effect isn't quite the same.

    for snare and toms sometimes I'll like a longer decay than what a room simulation would provide. plate's just seem to suit for me, they can add depth without making them sound contextually out of place. if I'm going for quite a realistic sound then putting a lush lexicon style tail on a snare seems a bit strange to me. it's never the same for each mix, and it's totally dependant on the vibe you're going for.

    I'd generally advise having a few kinds of reverb in your arsenal:

    lush lexicon style: 224, 480L, valhalla vintage, etc
    room simulation style: TC, eventide, Valhalla room, exponential audio Phoenix, bricasti etc
    mechanical plate: EMT140 etc
    spring: psp spring box, softube, overloud etc

    I'm personally not a fan of impulses - I like being able to tweak parameters so the reverb is tailored to the mix. also the lack of modulation makes the tails really unnatural and weird to me. there's plenty of very good algorithmic plugins that I'm far more comfortable using. in a pinch shorter true stereo impulses can be ok, or sometimes for springs to get the initial high echo density. altiverb is supposedly awesome and you can get good RMX16 and 140 sounds with modulation too.....
     
  7. Studdy

    Studdy Member

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    Some great information there. No one else has anything to add?? Lets keep this going.
     
  8. MultiM

    MultiM Member

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    Automating reverb is really good for some songs with various tempos or beats, I use less reverb on fast parts.
     
  9. KillFrenzy

    KillFrenzy Member

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    Automating EQ is also very handy to make drums fit specific parts of songs or different song in a CD. Sometimes drummer dynamic itself is enough for this "fitting".

    Sometimes I like to use two diferent mics with capsules alignedand in the same position inside the kick to have more flexibility. An Audix D6 + D2 gives a huge range of sounds. At first I used to HP the D2 and LP the D6, but then I started messing with different EQ and comp settings for each and ended up with fuller kick drum sounds. With that mic combo you can go from funk and lighter hard rock to extreme metal kick sounds.
     
  10. Heabow

    Heabow More cowbell!

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    I like to add another pair of room mics taking drum perspective. Placed behind the kit not far from it and less wider than the front ambiance mics. Can be usefull to change the "room vibe". I always put as many room mics as I can.
     
  11. Jordon

    Jordon Member

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    Try setting your verb times to the tempo of the song, especially when using a non-linear verb on the snare. I usually find the average space between snare hits in the chorus of a song and set the reverb times to just a hair past that.

    Automating gates and multi-band compression hitting the low mids on toms can help a lot. Parallel compression on the snare, for sure.

    I find with real drums, automation is key in a dense rock or metal mix.

    Also, dropping a clean room sample of the snare is very useful, but that's getting away from working with strictly natural drums.
     
  12. Machinated

    Machinated Member

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    automating gates is crucial IMO - also putting your gate after an EQ (or a gate with a side chain that can be EQ'd like an ssl) can really help its accuracy. if the eq is in the sidechain, filter out below 200hz and then boost the shit out of it there. the gate should be pretty tight.
     
  13. amarshism

    amarshism Member

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    Transient designer, room samples and accurate midi for opening gates.
     
  14. FarBeyondMetal

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    Could you guys explain a little more about automating gates and why it's useful? Is this the same as cutting bleed out of a track manually, or is this for a different purpose?
     
  15. amarshism

    amarshism Member

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    You need sample accurate mifi to trigger samples phase coherently. Just print a little blip sound as well and send it to the gate. I prefer it to manually cutting as you can set the depth of your expander to keep some bleed if you wish and also control the hold and release etc.
     
  16. tk7261

    tk7261 Member

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    I haven't had to opportunity to mess around in a studio for a while (have started working from home), but of course I would start with the drum heads and tuning. I would try to use new heads (If the cash was around), and take my time trying to tune. Try out different mic placements. Different room mic setups. If you have the extra channel, you can try adding an extra mono room mic. Then use staged compression on it and slowly bring it in and add it under the mix. Sometimes throw on two different snare mics and figure out how it will work in the mix later. A lot of the time its good to get a few isolated hits from the real drums. Either to fix anything weird or sometimes replace with them (probably on softer songs).

    I love room mics. Getting a good room mic sound to blend in is satisfying to me for some reason. Its like the room is just as important and any of the drums. If I dont have a good room available Ill use IRs of real studios or some nice realistic room sound IRs from some reverb. This can also can be fun sometimes cause you can use a brighter or darker room to color your sound a bit more to what your looking for for that particular mix. Mix in a reverbs too. I try not to go too crazy with EQ. Parallel compression. I like using transient designer as well.
     
  17. KillFrenzy

    KillFrenzy Member

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    FabFilter ProG is amazing for drums. In fact it's the only gate I use. Lots of useful features, including internal sidechain EQ.
     
  18. FarBeyondMetal

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    OK sorry I am really dumb on this gate thing. So by automating gates you guys mean printing a blip sample, having a gate on your natural snare, toms etc that is sidechained to the blip sample and then you automate the gate to get the right amount of bleed control ? Thanks for the explanation this is interesting to me :hotjump:
     
  19. Studdy

    Studdy Member

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    I'd also like to hear more about gates. I actually don't generally do too much gating, i tend to automate, cut, or use clip gain before using a gate. I can never find a decent setting on a gate that works for an entire section. If you guys are automating parameters on the gate throughout the entire song then i want no part in how much work/time that would take. No two drum hits are exactly the same so i dont understand how a gate can be set perfectly to every hit so that's why i generally use other methods.
     
  20. drew_drummer

    drew_drummer Dancefap

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    Take samples when recording. Chop off the last hit in your fills, and replace with a sample. Allows you to blend into the next section with minimal cymbal bleed and less fucking around trying to get cymbal tails to fade away smoothly. Mainly useful for when the tom mics have too much bleed.
     

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