My reaction to suggestion of using a sampled bass drum sound..

Mark_S

Silver Member
We were experimenting with recording a bit last night - we have a nice room it seems for recording, and some nice gear and we were getting a really good kit sound. Today I get a text saying we need more kick click, so I suggest I use a harder beater, maybe boost 3k a tiny wee bit, try a compressor with a slow attack, etc. After that, I get the suggestion.... "we could use a sample for the kick drum".

Now - did me feeling physically sick and responding with "no!!!!!" and "only as a last resort on a cold day in hell" seem like an overrreaction? I was surprised I reacted like this, but I hated the thought of it, especially since I'm sure we can make it sound great as is. I got the "well Dave Grohl does it and some real top studios", fine - but I'm not Dave Grohl and I would really rather get a really nice natural kick drum sound.

Don't get me wrong, I'm dealing with a really great bunch of guys here and it was just a suggestion, but what I'm wondering is do others feel the same as me about using samples?

I could understand if it was a specific sound that could not be produced naturally, but when it just needs to sound like a good kit I don't see the point.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Mixed feelings, Mark. My first thought I wondered what style you were playing. It could sound pretty cool in some styles.

My other thought was, since no guitar or bass notes are samples, why the drums? Why not just accept the drum sound and make the most of it? Why mess with it? Because they can.

If the band wants the kick en naturale, then end of the story.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Yeah, I've always felt like that about using samples. I don't know why, it just makes me feel uncomfortable for some reason. I guess it's as if the sound you're making doesn't matter any more. That seems a bit of a shame. Obviously it's fine if you're going for an electronic sound, but that's a different thing. The acoustic kit becomes an e-kit.
 

Travis22

Senior Member
I feel the same way, I like the natural sound of the drums over any sample. If it was just a suggestion, then that's all it was, no need to get bent outta shape over it. Do what we drummers do, mess with some different things (like changing beaters, taping a quarter to the impact pad, etc.) and see if you can get the "click" you are going for. I'm sure you can find some way to compromise without having to switch to a sample.
 

PreppieNerd

Silver Member
If there is a specific sound you want on your record, whether it falls into the natural realm or not, you should do what you can to achieve it. When my buddy was recording my project we used triggers on the kick and snare because we wanted it to sound better than what he was capable of without.

One thing you can do (and we did) was rather than just putting triggers over your kick track, make a separate track of the triggered sound, and mix it up to the level you need it to thicken your natural track.
 

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KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
I haven't used triggers on any recordings I've done/been involved with.
If it was needed to get something quicker, a specific sound that would work great, or for some other reason, I wouldn't be offended.

I've used bass drums MOST people would cringe at too for recording (never mind live!).
Never had anyone say I should use anything different, or even suggest it, always have had great results.

I get that(some) people (may) feel that "Hey, I'm an artist, and this is my art and I want a real natural sound".
I get it.

I am an artist in my "day job", so maybe I feel a little different.
I could care less.
As long as it was me doing the playing, how the final "sound" is achieved, I don't care. The end result is what matters.

It's funny though that people can throw a "Dave Grohl" and "top studios" reference out, but is the studio that you are actually in one of those "top studios"?

Just suggest the guitar players go direct to the board and get "their sound" that way.
See what happens then hahahahaha!!
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
A studio forced samples on my drum tracks years ago, and it didn't sound bad, but it didn't sound great, either. I said nothing, and a couple years later, the producer apologized to me for the crappy drum sound!

No offense to your studio, but the engineers don't know how to get the sound they want. Right now they are saying "we need more kick click", which is an easy fix by a number of methods (boost around 3kHz, harder beater, throw a mic on the beater side of the drum, etc.), so why would a sample be necessary? The real question is: what are the engineers actually looking for? Bear in mind they might not know how to ask for it. They could be looking for the sound of the kick miked from a few feet in front of the drum (which will have its own unique "kick click" sound).

So the kick sound is lacking "something". My guess is it's a mic placement issue, or the drum itself. Try a condenser on the resonant head (not in the hole), or a few feet back, for more room sound. Also, check out the sample to be used in isolation. Is it boomy? Tight? Does it sound more like a 26" or a 22"?
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
What did people do before this technology was available? Makes one wonder... I would've had the same reaction, FWIW. I didn't go spending a bunch of money on nice shells and put in the time with head selection and tuning only to have some engineer come along and replace or augment with something that isn't mine.

I know others feel differently and that's fine. That's what makes the world go 'round, right?

It does leave me wondering about the state of audio engineering when someone would rather just fly in someone else's sound rather than monkey with mic selection and placement, EQ and outboard effects.

I know time and money are huge constraints, but I would just rather not and so far I haven't.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I understand the use of samples in a studio, because studio time is very spendy. But if you're experimenting with recording in a casual setting, then experiment. Learn to record drums, not how to plug in software.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
What is a sample? It's a recording of a real bass drum, that has been processed.

What do you get on an album that doesn't have a sample? A recording of a real bass drum with lots of processing on it.

And the end of the day, you have the same thing.

Nearly every album these days is either a sampled kick, or a bass drum that is so heavily manipulated, it resembles a sample.

Where is the "keeping it real and natural" if you add muffling, compression, EQ, and/or a gate, reverb or other effect to the sound?
 

Pass.of.E.r.a.

Gold Member
I understand the use of samples in a studio, because studio time is very spendy. But if you're experimenting with recording in a casual setting, then experiment. Learn to record drums, not how to plug in software.
I wholeheartedly agree! Use samples because it's the sound you want, not because of someone elses laziness.

Out of curiosity, what size is your bass drum? And where did you guys place the mic? And what style of music are you guys recording?

-Jonathan
 

AtomicFlapjack

Senior Member
What is a sample? It's a recording of a real bass drum, that has been processed.

What do you get on an album that doesn't have a sample? A recording of a real bass drum with lots of processing on it.

And the end of the day, you have the same thing.

Nearly every album these days is either a sampled kick, or a bass drum that is so heavily manipulated, it resembles a sample.

Where is the "keeping it real and natural" if you add muffling, compression, EQ, and/or a gate, reverb or other effect to the sound?
Good points.
I'm not bothered about whether it's a sample or not really, if it sounds good then what else matters?
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I'd just say no, but that's because I tend to play music where it matters. My kick is doing lots of different sounds, beater on the head, opposite, lighter ghost kicks, super hard short kicks... It would be more work to find all the sounds I want in samples and replace notes than to just play the damn thing.

Go ahead and suggest to the singer that you'll go samples if he'll use auto-tune on his vocals.
 

nickg

Silver Member
If there is a specific sound you want on your record, whether it falls into the natural realm or not, you should do what you can to achieve it. When my buddy was recording my project we used triggers on the kick and snare because we wanted it to sound better than what he was capable of without.
i'm all for that 100%. if there was that certain sound i was looking for but couldn't quite dial it in while a sample had "that" sound, i'd go for it.

i don't hear a lot of drummers with a "signature" sound these days a'la Ringo, Bonham, Moon or Copeland.
 
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