Drum sounds on new releases - yawn

spides666

Senior Member
Perhaps it's just me but drums on albums the last few years really have become stale. All this 'I took 30 snares into the studio' sounds like a load of bull to me

The drums these days are so heavily processed they may as well take a $300 Dixon's kit into the studio compared to a $15k DW or Tama beast etc

Pantera albums back in the 90's, Vinnie Paul's drums sounded huge, now I've got the new Megadeth album and Chris Adler is superb but snare sounds etc just have no 'life' to them

Last Machine Head album, Dave McClain's snare sounded rubbish in my humble opinion....

where has it all gone wrong

Digital life over analogue....
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Give the new(ish) Clutch album a listen. In fact, give any Clutch album a listen.

Gaster has the best drum sounds in modern rock. They always sound huge.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've been saying for years that drums sounds are either triggered, or are EQ-ed, and compressed to the point it sounds like a trigger.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Nothing to do with digital vs analog, or the drums, or the drummer. It's all about the production, which is ultimately the producer's gig. If the band is the producer, there is typically more control over the sound, but it's really just subjective anyway. I don't find that drum sounds are necessarily bad, or worse than before, although some sounds stand out above others. Again, that's thanks to good production, and still subject to personal taste.

Bermuda
 
Digital life over analogue....
I don't think it's got anything to do with Digital vs Analogue. It's just a sonic trend that everybody is trying to keep up with, which is a real shame because everything has this generic sound now - especially in the Metal world. I'm not sure if these guys (the producers) lack the skills or the time to actually get things to sound right because most of the time samples are thrown in to cover up the natural sound of the drums or to cover up something that wasn't done right - whether it was how the drums were recorded or sometimes even if they were properly tuned! (It's alarming how many drummers I met that cannot even tune their drums!). Lamb of God had a remix competition going for their song "Redneck" and the drums didn't sound real at all when I checked out the multi-tracks. See for yourself!

Then again, with it being a trend, maybe it's the sound a band wants. You can see it with this "Djent" movement. Most Djent bands are sonically so similar, it's ridiculous. It's like the (Skrillex-y) Dubstep of heavy metal that everybody is trying to emulate. When Periphery did their first record, everything was tracked with superior drummer, and when they went in to do the second record, they kept going on about how they used a real kit for this one and that it would sound so much better, and I could barely hear the difference in the end result.

If I were to go with drum-sound, I'd probably pick Steven Wilson's records (Including the Porcupine Tree stuff, especially the Gavin Harrison stuff) and Karnivool's "Sound Awake" as my favorite modern records for that sort of thing. I can actually hear a real kit, warts and all sometimes and I love it.
 

trynberg

Senior Member
Not exactly new but the drum sound on Tool albums is fantastic to me. I've heard great drum sounds on System of a Down and Deftones as well. But yeah, a lot of generic sounds out there.
 

porter

Platinum Member
You mean there's a common practice of recording and sound production that many try to emulate and draw from? I don't believe it. How could this be! How could have music fallen from its beautiful perch in the old days, when every album had a completely fresh and original drum sound?!

And you mean to say that trends inspire a glut of people with little inspiration to create profitable works heavily derivative of the trend? I can't possibly believe that. If that were true, that would mean every piece of work and every artistic decision made is influenced by people's lived experiences and context and cannot be attributed to wholecloth ideation of the Muse. That's ridiculous! We all know the Beatles created every one of their songs in a vacuum and they're done now so no new music will ever be created again. After all, literally no one – no person, living, dead, or to come – has any honest preference for the lifeless, wimpy drum sounds of today, and thus they cannot even physiologically or subconsciously like a certain character from their drum mixes. Please, o contributors, your fearmongering must be in jest!
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Where did you go blue radio?
What about those whose colors were true?
Those golden dreams why did they have to go?
Now there's too much green in between me and you
Blue radio

Big E. and golden Jerry
I watched them change you take your spirit away
Suffering and searching for the mighty dollar
But this game was not what you came to play

Now the lights go down on another stage
And videos and computer drums
Lord, they're all the rage

Where did you go blue radio?
What about those whose colors were true?
Those golden dreams why did they have to go?
Now they're lonely screams dying to cut through

And we try to resurrect the distant sound of thunder
But it's not the same, maybe it'll never be the same

Midnight train rolling in from Georgia
Big O. Ray James and Wild Richard, too
Then the same thing that derailed your glory
It took Jimi and Janis and gave the devil his due

Where did you go blue radio?
What about those whose colors were true?
Those golden dreams why did they have to go?
Now they're lonely screams dying to cut through

Where did you go blue radio?
What about those whose colors were true?
Those golden dreams why did they have to go?
Now there's too much green in between me and you
Blue radio


Warren Haynes - Blue Radio


.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Producers and engineers will almost always do what they find the easiest/cheapest. Its not a musical baby to them, its just another day in the studio. Some of the bands mentioned have a great sound cos they are fully involved in the process or are in the position where they can be more demanding.

Its no coincidence that Jimmy Page was the producer for Led Zep and some of the production and drum sounds on there albums are superb. It was his baby and it was not right till it was to his liking.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Producers and engineers will almost always do what they find the easiest/cheapest. Its not a musical baby to them, its just another day in the studio.
Hmmm, gotta disagree. There probably was a time when that was common, back when albums sold and labels were cranking out product and pushing every band they could. It's been quite a while though.

I think that now, more care than ever is put into production, in order to create the most saleable music at a time when music really isn't selling at all. I think producers and labels are being more careful about what they put out. Of course, whether the result is to everyone's liking is another matter. For every genre and artist, there is always a segment of the music-listening population that doesn't like it. But that's nothing new.

Bermuda
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Hmmm, gotta disagree. There probably was a time when that was common, back when albums sold and labels were cranking out product and pushing every band they could. It's been quite a while though.

I think that now, more care than ever is put into production, in order to create the most saleable music at a time when music really isn't selling at all. I think producers and labels are being more careful about what they put out. Of course, whether the result is to everyone's liking is another matter. For every genre and artist, there is always a segment of the music-listening population that doesn't like it. But that's nothing new.

Bermuda
Thats what I was talking about. Following the usual "Saleable" formula. Its easier, cos the producer knows it well, and cheaper cos it takes up less time experimenting to get a better or different sound. The public wants what the public gets.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Drum sounds are always a victim of whatever era they're recorded in.

Unless you're a drummer you don't listen to the drum sound. If the sound of the kit mixes well with the overall mix then the producer is doing his job right.

Unfortunately this means processing the life out of drum sounds at the moment as this is the trend as the rest of the mix is probably processed and compressed to death.

Plus there's a lot of drum mapping and tracking that goes on so nobody knows if a drummer is actually playing on a lot of pop music these days and even more so in metal.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Listen to the Royal Blood album, that is only a year old and the drums sound great.


I listen to a lot of "stoner" rock and that seems to be the genre that is still embracing the live elements of the instruments. Somebody else mentioned Clutch, but I will say the latest albums by Lo-Pan, Sasquatch, Mondo Generator, or just about any of the Small Stone Record bands have big open drums.

In modern metal the trend is for everything to be quick. Chris Adler is a great example of that. He and the producers only want the attack, not any of the decay. So he tunes the drums up as high as he can to get a cardboard box sound. He uses small crashes, splashes and an array of china type cymbals that have no swell or decay. Now that LOG have become one of the biggest metal bands in the country everybody has decided to follow his lead. I actually think its the sound Lars was trying to achieve on St Anger but it didn't work for myriad reasons.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
You mean there's a common practice of recording and sound production that many try to emulate and draw from? I don't believe it. How could this be! How could have music fallen from its beautiful perch in the old days, when every album had a completely fresh and original drum sound?!

And you mean to say that trends inspire a glut of people with little inspiration to create profitable works heavily derivative of the trend? I can't possibly believe that. If that were true, that would mean every piece of work and every artistic decision made is influenced by people's lived experiences and context and cannot be attributed to wholecloth ideation of the Muse. That's ridiculous! We all know the Beatles created every one of their songs in a vacuum and they're done now so no new music will ever be created again. After all, literally no one – no person, living, dead, or to come – has any honest preference for the lifeless, wimpy drum sounds of today, and thus they cannot even physiologically or subconsciously like a certain character from their drum mixes. Please, o contributors, your fearmongering must be in jest!
Yeah, this is just about as annoying as the every-couple-of-weeks "modern music sucks" thread.

"...a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

P.S. Not saying anyone is an idiot, saying the hand-wringing is idiotic.
 

autonomos

Senior Member
Give the new(ish) Clutch album a listen. In fact, give any Clutch album a listen.

Gaster has the best drum sounds in modern rock. They always sound huge.
Right on about JP Gaster and his sound. And I thought the same thing about Psychic Warfare when it first came out. All Clutch albums have a great drum sound although not exactly the same. But that one tops them all in terms of drum sound if you're into that open, natural sound.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
I am not a big fan of over processed stuff.. in the end it doesn't matter how good the drums sounded in the studio if they are ruined in processing.

Case in point.. the whole last sabbath album.. great album but the sound of it grates at me.. i would have preferred they just did it quick and dirty like their first and let it sound like a band and not overworked..
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Here's a couple of albums that will scratch the itch that most of us have for great-sounding drums on recordings:

- The Christian McBride Big Band: The Good Feeling

- The Brubeck Brothers Quartet: Lifetimes

Why can't all drums sound this good on recordings? I understand that nailing that sound on jazz recordings is a bit easier simply because of the acoustical space available in a small group. But listen to the dynamics of Ulysses Owens, Jr's drums on the McBride album. The big band presents engineers with a huge task - mixing multiple instruments while maintaining the unique harmonic sound palette and dynamics inherent in each. But the producers pull it off with aplomb.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Winegums

Silver Member
Over processing and compressing has killed a lot of newer albums for me. The music doesn't feel real, it's like the photoshopped high gloss cover of a gossip mag. The newest Breaking Benjamin album is one of those that falls flat to my ears. It seriously lacks the bite and power that the older albums have. However I have heard some really good modern albums that retain the organic feeling.

It really comes down to the skill of the band in regards to dynamics and the Producer allowing the track to breathe.
 

The Scorpio

Senior Member
I think there are many many reasons why we're currently in the era of the generic, stale drum sounds we're talking about here. These are a few that come to my mind first.

1. The loudness wars: Many "mainstream" rock records are just absolutely squashed with compression and limiting. That's gonna squeeze the life right out of the drums immediately.

2. The rise of the home studio: Since it's much easier for a home studio owner to use E-drums or sampling software like Trigger, sound replacer, the Steven Slate drum replacement software (etc), you'll find a bunch of indie records with nearly identical drum sounds. It's much more time consuming and expensive to record a real kit, tuned well, and played by a great drummer in a great room.

3. The Pro Tools Perfect Mindset: It's so easy now to tweak, and time-align and punch-in small sections of takes, that many performances on modern recording have been completely altered. It's entirely possible (and nearly just as easy) to apply auto-tune to a bad vocal, as it is to fix a poor drum performance. So we lose the sonic variation and realistic imperfections from a real drummer in a real room, even if it IS a real drummer in a real room.

Not that these techniques are evil, because they do have their place, and I think we'd be wrong to ignore the techniques strictly because of a moral dilemah, but there is a line when too much is too much, and it has been crossed far more often in the past few years.
 
Top