Modern sounds without replacement samples.

mrmike

Silver Member
Any good drum recording tutorials for rock/pop that don't automatically reach for the snare/tom/bass drum samples when recording real drums? Kind of disappointing to watch producers that are famous for great drum sounds go straight to samples in tutorials. I'm not necessarily talking about recorderman vrs Glyn Johns but really more about getting modern Nashville, rock/pop sounds and if anyone is doing it in a more organic way. Not that it's the biggest sin but seems like it would be valuable to learn without.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Kind of disappointing to watch producers that are famous for great drum sounds go straight to samples in tutorials

Not sure what you mean by tutorials, but a producer's job is to get the best performance, sound, and sometimes arrangement from an artist, and the target audience governs how they handle the project at hand. If it's music for musicians, such as a guitar virtuoso with niche appeal, there will be more consideration to organic sounds all around. If the producer is working with an artist with more mainstream appeal, they will tend to go with production value that appeals to that audience.

A good producer isn't locked into just one or the other.

Let me re-phrase that... A good producer who wants to keep working isn't locked into just one or the other. :)

Bermuda
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
CSL has a few good tutorials on what you are looking for.


Modern sounds with an acoustic approach. Nothing too radical outside of experimentation. Straightforward explanations and a pleasure to see an engineer that can actually play drums.

Example weathervane


As Bermuda points out, an engineer will show you what to do and how to mic. A producer will explain why and when to use a particular technique.
 
Last edited:

wraub

Well-known member

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
CSL has a few good tutorials on what you are looking for.


Modern sounds with an acoustic approach. Nothing too radical outside of experimentation. Straightforward explanations and a pleasure to see an engineer that can actually play drums.

Example weathervane


As Bermuda points out, an engineer will show you what to do and how to mic. A producer will explain why and when to use a particular technique.
Producers tend to do what ever is currently popular. Music stopped being a creative endeavor several decades ago in the business. its just

copypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypastecopypaste.

Why they even bother with the charade of having drummers on the dates baffles me. Once they are finished time aligning and sample replacing its just a drum machine. Didn't we learn this lesson in the 80's?
 
Last edited:

brentcn

Platinum Member
Nashville has been enhancing with samples since it was a thing. There’s just no way to get a snare and kick slamming through a dense mix, like you’re used to hearing, without samples.

There are things you can do to get close. You can physically move the parts of a kit further away from each other to get better separation and less bleed. You can build a small baffle between the snare and hi-hat. You can take it easy on the cymbals, while spanking the crap out of everything else. You can sidechain the room mics. You can add a “crotch” mic.

But the kick and snare won’t cut through the mix, in a “big studio” way until you add samples. It’s not the drums fault; it’s not a fair fight.
 

Supernoodle

Senior Member
It's just sad to see this. As an example from the past, in the 80s, Joni Mitchell changed her sound to be up to date, going from this sound (1982):


to this (1985):


Change not always for the better...
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
Nashville has been enhancing with samples since it was a thing. There’s just no way to get a snare and kick slamming through a dense mix, like you’re used to hearing, without samples.

There are things you can do to get close. You can physically move the parts of a kit further away from each other to get better separation and less bleed. You can build a small baffle between the snare and hi-hat. You can take it easy on the cymbals, while spanking the crap out of everything else. You can sidechain the room mics. You can add a “crotch” mic.

But the kick and snare won’t cut through the mix, in a “big studio” way until you add samples. It’s not the drums fault; it’s not a fair fight.
I struggle with that assumption. The people who recorded the sample managed to get the sound.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I struggle with that assumption. The people who recorded the sample managed to get the sound.

True, those snare, kick, and tom hits were recorded in isolation, without any other drums being played. And there is not an assumption on my part. I've mixed songs using samples on top of the existing drum tracks. The drums were atrocious; it was necessary.

The main benefits of a well-recorded sample are that there is no bleed from other drums, and the ability to layer multiple samples onto the snare. For example, it's quite common to mix the recorded snare sound, plus a sample of a snare that has a good "crack", plus a sample of a snare that has good bottom end. So, three snare sounds going at the same time. This is technically sample enhancement, not sample replacement. And that's why it sounds like the Incredible Hulk is slugging the crap out of the nicest snare drum you've ever heard.

And there is another benefit: now that a significant part of, say, the snare sound, is coming from samples, then you are even more free to aggressively EQ and compress the hi-hat and/or other cymbals. Normally the bleed into the snare mic would prevent such aggressive tweaking. However, the bleed into the snare mic isn't a problem anymore, because of the samples dominating the snare sound.
 

drumnut87

Well-known member
in metal sample use is rife, the drums are rarely the ones recorded, usually theyre sample replaced to heck.


when ive done mixes, i try and avoid sampling and use a combo of SSL/maserati/CLA plugins to get a large kit sound and blend it in nicely with the rest of the music.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
in metal sample use is rife, the drums are rarely the ones recorded, usually theyre sample replaced to heck.


when ive done mixes, i try and avoid sampling and use a combo of SSL/maserati/CLA plugins to get a large kit sound and blend it in nicely with the rest of the music.

Yep, the hardcore metal genres stopped being subtle in their use of samples long ago.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
True, those snare, kick, and tom hits were recorded in isolation, without any other drums being played. And there is not an assumption on my part. I've mixed songs using samples on top of the existing drum tracks. The drums were atrocious; it was necessary.

The main benefits of a well-recorded sample are that there is no bleed from other drums, and the ability to layer multiple samples onto the snare. For example, it's quite common to mix the recorded snare sound, plus a sample of a snare that has a good "crack", plus a sample of a snare that has good bottom end. So, three snare sounds going at the same time. This is technically sample enhancement, not sample replacement. And that's why it sounds like the Incredible Hulk is slugging the crap out of the nicest snare drum you've ever heard.

And there is another benefit: now that a significant part of, say, the snare sound, is coming from samples, then you are even more free to aggressively EQ and compress the hi-hat and/or other cymbals. Normally the bleed into the snare mic would prevent such aggressive tweaking. However, the bleed into the snare mic isn't a problem anymore, because of the samples dominating the snare sound.
The assumption was that you have to have samples to get a killer drum sound. You don't, but that is the narrative people buy into. You need them if you want to sound like everyone else does. You need them if you are insecure in what you are doing. No one got fired for buying IBM as they say. Yes, I know all the "names" use them. I also know they they are boring as hell. I learned my lesson from the drum machine era in the 80's

Steven Slate is the new Hal Blaine ya know...

You just confirmed that drummers are effectively deleted from the process. Drop the pretense, program the track, plug in your sample and be done with it if that's the sound you want. Alternatively, go hire a musician to play and embrace actually having a human on your track. Bringing in a drummer essentially for the optics is disingenuous at best.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
Any good drum recording tutorials for rock/pop that don't automatically reach for the snare/tom/bass drum samples when recording real drums? Kind of disappointing to watch producers that are famous for great drum sounds go straight to samples in tutorials. I'm not necessarily talking about recorderman vrs Glyn Johns but really more about getting modern Nashville, rock/pop sounds and if anyone is doing it in a more organic way. Not that it's the biggest sin but seems like it would be valuable to learn without.
The Creative Lab stuff is pretty good. I like the Simon Phillips stuff where he discusses how he records drums. The Ultimate Studios Inc channel on Youtube is good too
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Yep, the hardcore metal genres stopped being subtle in their use of samples long ago.

I've done it both ways, the sample recordings sounded way better. Especially the kicks. There comes a point when things start to sound like mud because of speed, distorted guitars, down tuned guitars, growling vocals, etc.

I wasn't crazy about it at first, but the finished product speaks for itself.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Any good drum recording tutorials for rock/pop that don't automatically reach for the snare/tom/bass drum samples when recording real drums? Kind of disappointing to watch producers that are famous for great drum sounds go straight to samples in tutorials. I'm not necessarily talking about recorderman vrs Glyn Johns but really more about getting modern Nashville, rock/pop sounds and if anyone is doing it in a more organic way. Not that it's the biggest sin but seems like it would be valuable to learn without.

There's more money to be made from making samples sets simple as.

A producer will not waste money on a real drummer/bassist/keys player if the sound they need can be programmed for free and be perfectly in tune and in time. Sample sets also offer the home studios the ability to have professionally recorded drums without needing a drum room.

Remember that most music is mixed to be played on spotify through crap ear buds now and 99% of people don't know or care how music is made (particularly mainstream!)

Do I agree with any of it...no. Do I understand it's business....yes.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
The assumption was that you have to have samples to get a killer drum sound. You don't, but that is the narrative people buy into. You need them if you want to sound like everyone else does. You need them if you are insecure in what you are doing. No one got fired for buying IBM as they say. Yes, I know all the "names" use them. I also know they they are boring as hell. I learned my lesson from the drum machine era in the 80's

Steven Slate is the new Hal Blaine ya know...

You just confirmed that drummers are effectively deleted from the process. Drop the pretense, program the track, plug in your sample and be done with it if that's the sound you want. Alternatively, go hire a musician to play and embrace actually having a human on your track. Bringing in a drummer essentially for the optics is disingenuous at best.

It's sad, but yes, they are, and have been for quite some time, at least in the mainstream. Sample enhancement showed up everywhere a the late 90s, and the balance has since been tilting further and further in that direction. And not much pretense remains, either. Music acts routinely deliver performances on late night talk shows, where the laptop is in plain view, and no drummer anywhere. If you want real drummers performing, you're left with jazz, fusion, probably blues, and live performances of those genres. Pop and rock are mostly gone, album-wise.

I'd be worried about it, but as long as there's some demand for drummers in live performances in pubs and clubs, and I can still get my live music "fix", I'm okay.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
There's more money to be made from making samples sets simple as.

A producer will not waste money on a real drummer/bassist/keys player if the sound they need can be programmed for free and be perfectly in tune and in time. Sample sets also offer the home studios the ability to have professionally recorded drums without needing a drum room.

Remember that most music is mixed to be played on spotify through crap ear buds now and 99% of people don't know or care how music is made (particularly mainstream!)

Do I agree with any of it...no. Do I understand it's business....yes.
Except they do care.... the money spent on it continues to drop....People know lame/boring when they hear it. They may not be able to articulate it but its part of it.

As for home studios using the same tools as the big rooms, well that is bad news for those rooms. They are undercutting their own survival by playing in the same same space as the little guys instead of offering things I can't do at home
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Any good drum recording tutorials for rock/pop that don't automatically reach for the snare/tom/bass drum samples when recording real drums? Kind of disappointing to watch producers that are famous for great drum sounds go straight to samples in tutorials. I'm not necessarily talking about recorderman vrs Glyn Johns but really more about getting modern Nashville, rock/pop sounds and if anyone is doing it in a more organic way. Not that it's the biggest sin but seems like it would be valuable to learn without.

There are the techniques I mentioned earlier, but here's a couple more. First, there's a technique called parallel compression that you should check out. Very handy when you want your drums to punch through heavy guitars.

Second, room mics are super important! Real reverb captured from mics is much more detailed and realistic than most plug-ins (some of the very expensive plug ins are very, very good). Of course it helps to be in a decent sounding room. Tall ceilings are your friend here, so if you can find a room like that, go for it. I've even gone so far as to record drums in former industrial buildings in downtown Detroit. Careful though, too big is too big. Don't use a church or a gymnasium, or large rec room. If you don't have a stereo pair of room mics, one room mic in mono mode (do you have one of those?) is a good alternative.

Finally, make the record you want to make, first. If the group decides they like the sample-enhanced drum sound, then ask for two mixes, so that you have a mix you can personally enjoy and be (more) proud of.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Except they do care.... the money spent on it continues to drop....People know lame/boring when they hear it. They may not be able to articulate it but its part of it.

Somebody is making a hell of a lot of money though, otherwise they wouldn't make music this bad.
 
Top