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  #1  
Old 05-03-2009, 04:26 AM
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Strangelove Strangelove is offline
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Default Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

Seeing that the music industry has prostituted our profession to robots at an increasingly alarming rate, what do you guys think is the worst sounding drum or cymbal sounds coming out of this new wave? Clapping hands in lieu of snare drums? Bass drums that sound like overdriven sub-woofers?

Last edited by Strangelove; 05-03-2009 at 04:28 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:29 AM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

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Originally Posted by westerner1 View Post
Seeing that the music industry has prostituted our profession to robots at an increasingly alarming rate, what do you guys think is the worst sounding drum or cymbal sounds coming oof this new wave? Clapping hands in lieu of snare drums? Bass drums that sound like overdriven sub-woofers?
I think the worst is whenever they try to simulate a snare-tom roll. Not only do they attempt to recreate the beginner, 4 on everything roll, they just alter the pitch of the sample that sounds remotely like a snare. It's like a snare-snare roll, only with deeper snares and no originality.

... I loathe rap and hip hop.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:56 AM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

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Originally Posted by westerner1 View Post
Seeing that the music industry has prostituted our profession to robots at an increasingly alarming rate, what do you guys think is the worst sounding drum or cymbal sounds coming out of this new wave?
I have no problem with manipulated/layered sounds beuing different... that's the whole point. What I don't like is some of the sound coming from acoustic drums. But it's just a trend, and for some players & producers, is the norm. Someday another generation will 'discover' the sounds that I grew up with, and members of the current musical community will be similarly dismayed, too.

I do have a suggestion for those who feel they're losing work to programmers: learn to program!!

Bermuda
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:01 AM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

I have always felt that not only the sounds, but the lack of inflections, ghost notes, etc, can make programmed drums about as interesting to listen to as a dripping water faucet. But that's really another subject in itself. What I find comical are the almost cartoonish recorded samples they are using for drums these days in both pop and hip hop. As for trends or what will stay "in", I recall in the 80s that they said synthesizers were "in" and guitars and basses were dinosaurs. While in some genres, that may have held, but overall robotic music ultimately becomes too repetitious to the ears, and people welcome human played instruments back into the fold. I have yet to hear a robot set a groove, for instance. Listen to the difference even in HH - Snoop Dog, for instance, when he has a human versus a robot drummer.

That said, I do appreciate the rhythm layers that can be attained by good programming. If they could just do something better with those sound samples.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

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I have always felt that not only the sounds, but the lack of inflections, ghost notes, etc, can make programmed drums about as interesting to listen to as a dripping water faucet.
Things have vastly improved since the days of the stiff sounding Linn and DMX. There's a plug-in called Strike that you would absolutely not know from real drums played by a real drummer. Of course, the parts are only as good as the programmer, but with the right combination or parts and sounds, producers, songwriters, and even drummers can record completely believable drum tracks.

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Old 05-03-2009, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

What people have to remember is that it is the people, not the technology itself that can be a problem. Last week I built my own software sequencer because I couldn't get what I wanted from what I could find. What I think is important to remember as well is that often these sounds are not 'supposed' to be emulating 'real' drum sounds (although the line is blurred by the heavy editing that we hear these days). What's more interesting to me is the use of older drum machines (the 909, for instance) making their way back into the popular mainstream. I think we're starting to see the beginnings of a 'post digital' age where the obsession with perfection is being ignored. Glitch eletronica is a great example of this - where the digital 'mistakes' (audio clicks and distorted beeps) are the mainstay of the music itself. That stuff is great, because the obsession for perfection can often sterilise what is otherwise a perfectly good song.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

Well my friend has an electronic drum set and he programed all the cymbals to sound like a cow mooing. Haha don't know if that really answers your question
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

Music to me equals the expression of emotion and I think it gets lost in all the pro tooled/electronic facsimiled sounds that some whiz kid discovered. There's room for everything, to be sure, not downing those things, only if they try to completely replace real people with real skills on real acoustic instruments. Long live acoustic drums. Nothing else gets me off like the real thing, sorry.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

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Originally Posted by westerner1 View Post
Seeing that the music industry has prostituted our profession to robots at an increasingly alarming rate, what do you guys think is the worst sounding drum or cymbal sounds coming out of this new wave? Clapping hands in lieu of snare drums? Bass drums that sound like overdriven sub-woofers?
HIya- good thread for thought!
The worst has to be the cartoon sounds in the td9, I have one and man what a waste of effort putting it in for Roland........what on earth would it be used for in the real world of gigs or practice?
Nasty- I wish they would stop wasting space in the brain with this sort of stuff and instead make upgrade downloads to replace them with more drum sounds that we can use!
Apart from that I love my TD9, and have played it live, recorded and practice with it.
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

I actually like the sounds of toms and bass on good electric sets. But what is passing for drums today in popular music is getting increasingly horrible. Who made the decision, for instance to replace a snare drum sound with clapping hands? I am really trying to keep a serious look on my face as I type this, but one has to really wonder what type of clownish nitwits in the music industry think that stuff sounds cool.

As for bad robotic drumming, I think the worst I have heard are 16th note fills that sound more like blazing machine guns than a fast, perfectly timed drummer.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

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Originally Posted by spirit View Post
HIya- good thread for thought!
The worst has to be the cartoon sounds in the td9, I have one and man what a waste of effort putting it in for Roland........what on earth would it be used for in the real world of gigs or practice?
Nasty- I wish they would stop wasting space in the brain with this sort of stuff and instead make upgrade downloads to replace them with more drum sounds that we can use!
Apart from that I love my TD9, and have played it live, recorded and practice with it.
I have the TD-12 and I know what you mean. With that said, VEX kits are a MUST HAVE. These are much more realistic and modeled after different acoustic kits. Check it out if you want true acoustic sounds from your Roland module.

Here you go: http://www.vexpressionsltd.com/

They download to your computer and then you transfer them to your module. They are SO much better than the stock kits on the module.... listen to some of the samples on their website.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

I think music, just like the movies, is all over processed. Too much computer. That being said, I agree with Bermuda, learn the trade because it's not going away. Remember however, that most of what are real drums on recordings, are processed, EQ'd, gated, and whatever, so they too are not true drum sounds. I remember back in the day Stereo Review Magazine, put a dummy in the audience with two microphones for ears to get the "true" stereo sound as humans would hear it and it would not sell. Music has gone from just being amplified to being processed beyond repair. Arenas are too big for acoustic shows so they have to be amplified and processed to sound as we want them to sound. How many times on this website have we had members ask "how can I get my snare to sound like X's snare?" electronics.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:26 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

It's all good...and it's all music. Like anything, it can be done well, or done badly. I'm with Bermuda on the acoustic drums though, it would nice to hear some actual performances rather than ultra-quantized hits triggering samples...
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

The nice thing about my Roland SPD-S is that I can erase every factory voice in it, if I need to. And at a later point in time, download the whole thing back into the machine, to restore. As far as "complaining" about a certain genre of music, get over it. It's here to stay. The Beastie Boys started out as a hardcore punk band in 1979, "License To Ill" came out in 1984. They've got a 30 year career goin' on. Depeche Mode hit the scene in 1980, N.W.A. hit in 1986, with their thang. Just vote with your dollar bills. Whether you choose to listen to Frank Sinatra, ZZ Top, ABBA, John Zorn, or Miles Davis, take what you need, and leave the rest behind. It takes a human to work a machine. If you're an "old school" mechanic who refuses to work on fuel injected engines, your choice.....but they stopped putting Carter and Holly carbs on engines about 30 years ago.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

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Originally Posted by harryconway View Post
The nice thing about my Roland SPD-S is that I can erase every factory voice in it, if I need to. And at a later point in time, download the whole thing back into the machine, to restore. As far as "complaining" about a certain genre of music, get over it. It's here to stay. The Beastie Boys started out as a hardcore punk band in 1979, "License To Ill" came out in 1984. They've got a 30 year career goin' on. Depeche Mode hit the scene in 1980, N.W.A. hit in 1986, with their thang. Just vote with your dollar bills. Whether you choose to listen to Frank Sinatra, ZZ Top, ABBA, John Zorn, or Miles Davis, take what you need, and leave the rest behind. It takes a human to work a machine. If you're an "old school" mechanic who refuses to work on fuel injected engines, your choice.....but they stopped putting Carter and Holly carbs on engines about 30 years ago.
WORD! Harry says it all... Thread over.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

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Originally Posted by westerner1 View Post
I actually like the sounds of toms and bass on good electric sets. But what is passing for drums today in popular music is getting increasingly horrible. Who made the decision, for instance to replace a snare drum sound with clapping hands? I am really trying to keep a serious look on my face as I type this, but one has to really wonder what type of clownish nitwits in the music industry think that stuff sounds cool.

As for bad robotic drumming, I think the worst I have heard are 16th note fills that sound more like blazing machine guns than a fast, perfectly timed drummer.
The hand clap was actually popularised in early hip-hop music because of the ubiquity of the 909 drum machine, which was made by Roland in the early 80's. It was one of the standard sound set and was widely used then and is making a comeback now. Nothing new about it.
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:55 AM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

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Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
The hand clap was actually popularised in early hip-hop music because of the ubiquity of the 909 drum machine, which was made by Roland in the early 80's. It was one of the standard sound set and was widely used then and is making a comeback now. Nothing new about it.
Well, it is still a horrifying revelation. I hear it in more and more pop music. An example would be this new hit called "You're My Halo". The artist singing this song has a beautiful voice, and is accomapanied by a very melodic acoustic sounding piano piece. Then the drums come in. The bass drum sounds similar to a wrestler dribbling a medicine ball off a thin wall in a neighboring apartment, and the backbeat is of course clapping hands. No cymbals are audible, if even existent. Its all very automated and robotic, with each bass drum beat at the same volume and tone as the last. The whole scheme just ruins any groove this song could possibly explore, and the sad thing is, it has a great potential to set one.

Now who decides to rhythmically rape a song like this? I suspect the producers are behind this, but I don't really follow the pop music industry much these days to even know.

Last edited by Strangelove; 05-04-2009 at 05:06 AM.
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:33 AM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

It's kind of refreshing to see that cynicism isn't reserved just for us older folks!

There's a saying that goes: "it is what it is." That means, it's not bad, it's not good... it just is.

I for one have no problem with claps as snares, sine waves as kicks, or other buzzes, zaps, and crunches in music. It's all part of creating music of certain types.

Anybody here like guitar sounds from the last 40-45 years? Guess what - those sounds are distorted! They're wrong!! Or... are they? I can just hear all the jazz cats and folk singers and doo wop groups talking smack about the emerging rock & roll 'noises' in the mid-sixties, sounds and songs and attitudes that would seem so tame within a few years.

I'm not comparing sampling and interpolating and substituting claps for snares to a revolution in rock (or am I?) I'm just saying, it is what it is. Those who embrace it will grow and stay current. Those who reject it will fall behind. But that's also cool... it is what it is. There's money to be made in both schools of making music, or whatever you like to call it.

I find it fascinating that at 52, I'm more open to modern music than musicians much younger than I, who are more typically the demo for genres like rap, skate rock, etc. Maybe I just see beyond the 'whole' and focus on the rhythm. Or maybe it's that I just can't see beyond the rhythm. Either way, it is what it is, and it is what I do as a well-rounded, modern drummer.

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Old 05-04-2009, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

Well I am a 57 baby myself, for whatever it is worth. I'm sure I can be passed off as just a blissful old fart that's stuck in the past. I actually have a very diverse musical interest, that includes jazz, rock, r&b, funk, blues, dance music, some hip hop, some pop, classical, foreign sounds, and indigenous music. I even play in a Native American Drum group occasionally. I play some guitar, some bass, and drums, which I played professionally in my early years. But drums have always been my main passion.

I have watched the music industry change quite a bit, pretty much from the British Invasion until now. And you are right, sounds have evolved pretty much off of each new genre that has unfolded. But I see a stagnation in the past 20 or so years that doesn't seem to be breaking. Think about it, we are still listening to hip hop, and various forms of rock derivatives ( metal, punk, etc) and fusions mainly of those genres. We need a completely new sound IMO, something that really takes people by storm. Something that as a whole is revelutionary, not just revolutionary pieces of already existing genres. I honestly think the music industry is lethargic and sickly compared with 30, even 20 years ago. And I blame the industry itself for this failure to connect. There's too many so called experts running around telling us what we want to hear rather than risking a gamble on new sounds. I think this starts at the radio level and works its way backwards. Conglomerates with corporate know it alls are running this whole art (music is an art) into the ground like an overspent prostitute. Imagine if Picasso or Van Gogh allowed some corporation to cut up their paintings, add things to them, modify them, and then tell them what to paint next and when to paint it? The Louvre or Musee d'Orsay would be a laughing stock!

Maybe you are right, maybe drum machines are an inevitable future, just like the movies where we are one day controlled by robots. Maybe one day paintings and all the arts will be performed by robots. I just hope I don't live that long.
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

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Maybe you are right, maybe drum machines are an inevitable future, just like the movies where we are one day controlled by robots. Maybe one day paintings and all the arts will be performed by robots. I just hope I don't live that long.
Drum machines are NOT the issue here. The issue is far deeper. Drum machines have been around since the late 1970's and - as with any technology - it essentially comes down to how it is used. What's happened in the last thirty years is that drum machines have dictated the perfection that is expected of modern music - that is to say, that all drum tracks now have to be 'perfect' (according to some industry know-all) and in the end, even the live drummers end up sounding like drum machines because their playing is so heavily edited (I could give you the details if you'd prefer).

Drum machines however are not the problem. I like drum machines. I've just sat here for the last thirty minutes programming a software drum machine and synthesiser that I built for some coursework. It sounds great (even if I do blow my own trumpet a bit there) and it's far too easy for drummers to go off on the old 'drum machines aren't real drummers' argument which I think, personally, is a load of rubbish.

For instance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS37ZSYOwTA

That's one of my favourite songs. No live drums to be seen. Does it sound stagnant and unexciting? If you were British you might understand the lyric some more (possible government conspiracy about a British weapons inspector who leaked to the press and who was found dead two weeks later on the side of a hill. This was a few years ago) but there's no denying that that is an edgy song that cuts close to a bone. Drum machines all over the place on that album, being used for good, not evil.

In the end, the skill argument doesn't win over either. There's just as much skill in programming a really good groove as there is with playing the drums. I can do both, I find programming harder.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Most ridiculous electronic drum sounds

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Originally Posted by westerner1 View Post
I honestly think the music industry is lethargic and sickly compared with 30, even 20 years ago. And I blame the industry itself for this failure to connect.
I agree that there's really nothing new, and modern rock has been a repeating cycle for several years. The industry may be out of touch, but they can no longer be blamed for any lack of progress out there. The next generation of music makers are widely available all over the internet, unhampered by labels and the industry, making music the way they want. But are they really doing anything 'new'? Or are they still prisoners of the styles and sounds that have been selling over the past 10-20 years?

Whether any of it is grounbreaking or not, or whether I actually like a particular song or a whole genre or not, I never judge or blame the drummer/programmer for just doing his job. This is an important perspective, as I'm among the 99% of drummers who don't have control by writing songs or fronting their own band... we're basically hired guns who don't enjoy a lot of freedom when it comes to picking and choosing gigs. I'm not mad about that, I'm fine being a sideman. But it allows (forces?) me to keep an open mind and be a little more accepting of what goes on musically around me in order that I may continue to work and have the career that I do.

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