How to make the drums sound right and tight.

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#1
This is essentially the biggest problem that i've got with production right now. I used to think it was the samples I was using but I don't think that is it anymore though it very well may be, trying to find good samples but it seems damn near impossible, I bought two CDs and they blew as well.

Essentially I can make the snare and kick sound fine but it's the rest of it that sounds crappy, programmed and just bad, the hats that would be I guess. This leads me to skipping the hats and tossing on some crash instead leading the entire dnb track to sound like a rock track, sort of like pendulum. I usually use a limiter, reverb and a bit of distortion.


Anyone got any advice or had the same problem? Got a solution?


Thanks in advance.
 

Sammy Dexcell

Stop editing my profile Smarty!
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#3
If you got your kicks n snares in order then work your way thru the breaks exchange thread an pick n chose the fillers (bits in between your kick n snare) to bring your drums together.
Careful processing an eq'in is wat u need to focus on, an obviously delete the kick n snare out the loops so they dont ruin the ones u got.
Also a good trick which ive been doin recently is pitchin down a break so it sounds...hmm...quite shit? Then high pass an spread it with a touch of reverb for dynamic highend works well if u do it right.
Hope any of wat said helps ;)

Peace
 

motion audio

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#5
Try getting the limiter off aswel mate, if the samples are clipping all over the place then try reducing the gain, its very easy to kill the dynamics completely with a limiter, and you want all the definition you can get to keep your hi hats etc sounding "natural".
 
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#7
Nice one, cheers. I used your tutorial and it helped slightly but it just won't sound the way I want it to except for the snare and kick as mentioned... If I listen to a common break from any big dnb release it sounds like:

k s k s
h h h hhhhh h hh

If you know what I mean...

The hats when I make them sound way too light and just don't seem to sit right. I'll upload some tiny samples for you to hear and you'll see what I mean. I'm not sure if i'm equing incorrectly (though I tried following your advice also) or my samples just blow... Maybe it's the effects/limiters i'm using? Here are some of the breaks anyway.

http://soundcloud.com/mrwogges/xray
http://soundcloud.com/mrwogges/randomybreak

Just realised I had this track on soundcloud so here ya go with this as well. kicks in around a minute or so in and as you can hear, the actual break with the hat sounds horrendous.

http://soundcloud.com/mrwogges/stop-by-when-you-come-down
 

Zeal

Ohm/C2D/Dark Asylum/Ennex
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#9
dont use limiters on drums, i wouldnt / dont anyways

Right lemme check these:

Xray - drums defo need tightening, the snare uve used is a bit shitty and the levels are all over the place.

I would try using a cleaner break to begin with definately

The randombreak one is really toppy cant really hear kick or snare at all :(


the link for the track said it didnt know where i was going so link might be wrong

but bascially sounds like shit samples and bad eq probs mate

try getting some cleaner breaks and layer a few seperate breaks subtly

use 2 maybe 3 layers on kicks n snares, and a few hats (open and closed)

hope this helps bro

also try listening to tracks by ur favourite artist and maybe try to mimic what they have done to help u understand how they should sound
 
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#11
Thank you for all the help guys, i've been messing around more today and I think it is sounding better so I guess practice is what is going to help me the most.

I used to use pre-made loops but quite honestly I feel guilty going about the whole thing that way, feels like i'm skipping out on half the art of dnb production, even when I chop them up and reconfigure I feel guilty.

Having said that, does anyone know any sweet place I can get some nice sounding samples? As mentioned I bought two sample CD's but they both blew.

All i've used so far (from what you've heard) are the samples that came with FL7 (I've got 8 back home but i'm in another country right now) and i'm not sure if they are good or not but it either ends up with me a) Creating a break that sounds computerized and flat or b) muddy and badly equalized.

Thanls for the help anyway, I guess there isn't anything to do but keep trucking and trying.


This icon looks sweet! :andy:
 
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#12
Good quality samples..
gate the individual hits...
set the stereo pan on the hits...
distort and eq and send to reverb...
send layers to a group buss...
compress a little...
 
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#13
ur samples sound pretty muddy, no punch. What i did starting some weeks ago was rebuilding some old skool dnb lines from famous songs. Often they originate from simple TR 808 909 samples u can download easily. And its amazing how this boring 808 kick, snare can sound after processing, eq and multiband compressing it. Just try finetuning these samples and hear what it changes, use overdrive, reverb, play with attack and decay. Using breaks and chop it may be easier, but these samples are already processed, so resampling and processing this stuff on and on i will probably loose it origin character and sound muddy and washed out. I would rather start with clean samples and take some slices of breaks to layer them onto it to fatten them up. Maybe there are some rules due to diff. dnb styles like jump up, intelligent dnb and so on? I read here and other forums often about layering but i dont think it is this important or necessary to get bounding dnb lines. Just hear "4hero 2pages", nothing sounds better than a unlayered acoustic drum with e-bass :)
 

sam the dnb man

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#14
Also you may need to adjust envelopes on your hi hats.
If the hi hat loop sounds too 'robotic' adjust the velocities of each hit. For Example....
Say the max Velocity is 100.
On the 2nd and 4th beat i will have the velocity at 100.
The loop will be at 1/16...so a hi hat at every 16th of a bar.
the first hi hats(1st 16th) velocity will be at 60. the 2nd 70. the 3rd 80. The 4th 90.
this can add a wierd 'funk' to the hi hat loop but remember a lot of drum and bass beats have multiple hi hats and to create a shuffle effect they use snares and kicks which have had a filter applied to their bus or had a lowered velocity.

this is just an example.
 
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#15
Also you may need to adjust envelopes on your hi hats.
find that gating works well...
adjust the release and hold to
shape the decay of the hit...

If the hi hat loop sounds too 'robotic' adjust the velocities of each hit.
"humanizing" hats is or any
percussive element is good...
dynmaic range in the hits help
to accentuate groove...
 

Hostile Nature

I Duz Minimalz...
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#16
Aswell as the point raised in this thread already the source sample needs to be good, if you kick is shit already you wont be able to make it amazing with a few EQ's, all about investing in some decent source samples and making sure you layer in the right proportions IMO, cover the high mid and low in you kick an snare and as already said, get the frequencys nice and clean
 

T Leaf

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#17
Try getting the limiter off aswel mate, if the samples are clipping all over the place then try reducing the gain, its very easy to kill the dynamics completely with a limiter, and you want all the definition you can get to keep your hi hats etc sounding "natural".
THIS.

you can really nuke a track and leave no headroom if you don't follow the above, turning what essentially would of been a good track into small puddles of shit :D

always rearrange your hats twice, three four infinite times in different patterns to get a feel of how they can create ticking movements that carries the main beat
 
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#18
Thanks for all the help everyone, i've been taking in what everyone has been saying.

I eased up on the compression/maximizing etc, equalized using advice about like 100hz peak for kick, 200 snare etc. Panned a lot better trying to stop things from drowning each other out. Got an Akai MPC2000 sample pack, which I think sounds a ton better than FL samples right off the bat. Tossed in Rides and a wee bit of crash for some nicer shuffle.

Is this closer to the mark do you think? Again the hats sounds a bit choppy and such but i'm still happier with this than previous work. I'm happy with the kick and snare.

Put it into a recognizable song, Sub Focus - X Ray

http://soundcloud.com/mrwogges/xray2
 

DaNdelIoN

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#19
got a nice feel to em but try turnin down some of the levels in the drums. like turn some hats down and leave some highers for a more dynamic sound and will allow your kick and snare to really punch through

good work tho
 
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#20
Cool cheers, will do. Again cheers on all the help everyone. It's sad that a person who has been producing for a while now just never bothered to master the mixdown of drums :p
 
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