Kick & Snare Tuning - Loosing My Mind

Know One

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#1
Hopefully I don't get slammed to hard for getting into this subject as I know the question of tuning kicks & snares to the root key of your song has come up a lot; but I'm still confused I guess you could say.

Now, I know I can pitch my kicks and snares up or down and check the frequencies on a spectrum analyzer until they hit in the root key of my song. But what I'm not getting is the fact a ton of DnB songs are written in F, F#, and G as the bass for your bassline\sub hit really well in those areas and sound grate in the club.

We hear time and time again that a grate place for your kick to sit in DnB for a nice smack and to sit above your bass nice is the 110-120hz range roughly. We also hear a nice place for your snare to sit and smash threw the mix is the 250ish hz range.

The thing is, none of these ranges land in the common keys I mentioned above, like F for instance. F2 is 87hz, then the very next F up the scale hits at 174hz. One is so low it interferes with your bass, the other is to high for a good punchy kick (the 110-120hz range). The snare is the same way, F3 being 174hz, and the very next F is 347hz (not the 250 area we all hear about).

Now, I've heard some say that it doesn't need to be necessarily in the root key, but within the scale of the track your writing; so if I was writing a song in F Minor, one of the keys of F Minor is B flat. B flat is the only key (of F Minor) that lands in the "supposed" sweet spot for the kick, coming in at 116hz. As for the snare, the note C would be the closest to getting near that 250hz sweet spot; coming in at 261hz. B flat as I suggested for the kick also come close'ish as well (not as close as C though) coming in at 233hz.

Now, would these kicks and snares really fit that much better in the tune being keyed to notes within the scale of F Minor if my track was in F Major? What is my track was in F Minor, but only rarely ever "played" any B flat or C notes?

I used to make tunes while never giving a shit about music theory at all whatsoever, but this day and edge I don't think you can really get away with that attitude. So I've really been trying to insure I follow keys, notes, scales, and theory as much as a dance producer with zero musical background can. But I'm going nuts at the same time. Things I used to just pump out, I'm now wasting tons of time fighting in my head over.

Am I going nuts on these drums and their tuning? Do they really need to be in tune\key of my track? How can I get the in proper tune given my confusion of findings listed about. I just feel like I might be going about this the wrong way completely.
 

Mr Fletch

aka KRONIX
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#2
So many different answers for this.
Firstly I'd say it depends what kinda track you're aiming for. I know neuro dnb can have insanely high pitched snares and get away with it, while for instance jump up dnb may need a snare that kicks you in the throat.

consider different approaches such as tuning the snare and kick to said F key, but then shape the sound with EQ work and transient shaping. Alternatively pitch them 5 semitones down from F to see if that fits better instead of an entire octave.
 
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#4
Depends on what soundsystem you are aiming for... If you play in big rooms with excellent sound systems, you should be following these rules of pitching i guess, but if you play at a local party (where the soundsystem/speakers arent that great) no-one will notice that your drums are a couple of semitones off...
Assuming you arent the next Kove, Netsky, ... yet, you shouldn't be worrying about this pitching too much. Trust your ears, if it sounds good, others will like it too.

PS. If u have a song in one key, you can use all the component pitches in that key (like F minor, next component pitches can be used: F, G, A♭, B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F)
 

Dark Lizardro

The Lizard that has a hammer
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#5
Depends on what soundsystem you are aiming for... If you play in big rooms with excellent sound systems, you should be following these rules of pitching i guess, but if you play at a local party (where the soundsystem/speakers arent that great) no-one will notice that your drums are a couple of semitones off...
Assuming you arent the next Kove, Netsky, ... yet, you shouldn't be worrying about this pitching too much. Trust your ears, if it sounds good, others will like it too.

PS. If u have a song in one key, you can use all the component pitches in that key (like F minor, next component pitches can be used: F, G, A♭, B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F)
Just complementing that using the seconds and sevenths will sound a little off as they're discordants to the root note (in this example, G and D#) but the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th will sound just on spot.
 
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#6
Hopefully I don't get slammed to hard for getting into this subject as I know the question of tuning kicks & snares to the root key of your song has come up a lot; but I'm still confused I guess you could say.

Now, I know I can pitch my kicks and snares up or down and check the frequencies on a spectrum analyzer until they hit in the root key of my song. But what I'm not getting is the fact a ton of DnB songs are written in F, F#, and G as the bass for your bassline\sub hit really well in those areas and sound grate in the club.

We hear time and time again that a grate place for your kick to sit in DnB for a nice smack and to sit above your bass nice is the 110-120hz range roughly. We also hear a nice place for your snare to sit and smash threw the mix is the 250ish hz range.

The thing is, none of these ranges land in the common keys I mentioned above, like F for instance. F2 is 87hz, then the very next F up the scale hits at 174hz. One is so low it interferes with your bass, the other is to high for a good punchy kick (the 110-120hz range). The snare is the same way, F3 being 174hz, and the very next F is 347hz (not the 250 area we all hear about).

Now, I've heard some say that it doesn't need to be necessarily in the root key, but within the scale of the track your writing; so if I was writing a song in F Minor, one of the keys of F Minor is B flat. B flat is the only key (of F Minor) that lands in the "supposed" sweet spot for the kick, coming in at 116hz. As for the snare, the note C would be the closest to getting near that 250hz sweet spot; coming in at 261hz. B flat as I suggested for the kick also come close'ish as well (not as close as C though) coming in at 233hz.

Now, would these kicks and snares really fit that much better in the tune being keyed to notes within the scale of F Minor if my track was in F Major? What is my track was in F Minor, but only rarely ever "played" any B flat or C notes?

I used to make tunes while never giving a shit about music theory at all whatsoever, but this day and edge I don't think you can really get away with that attitude. So I've really been trying to insure I follow keys, notes, scales, and theory as much as a dance producer with zero musical background can. But I'm going nuts at the same time. Things I used to just pump out, I'm now wasting tons of time fighting in my head over.

Am I going nuts on these drums and their tuning? Do they really need to be in tune\key of my track? How can I get the in proper tune given my confusion of findings listed about. I just feel like I might be going about this the wrong way completely.

not really man, don't be obsessed with tuning everything, tbh when you are changing and choosing a kick or a snare in the later stages of production to fit better your tune, you are actually checking just by ear how the " root note " of that particular sound works with your tune... this is the first answer.

The second one is that just like with any musical material to have all the sounds perfectly in F would sound boring and in this case maybe a snare tuned a fitfth above F would be more interesting.

Hope this makes sense, I'm pretty high :)
 

smoothassilk

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#9
Some snares/kicks are more pitched than others, an long 808 really needs tuning but a break kick or something doesn't.

By default, I would not tune unless it actively sounds wrong
 

Know One

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#10
Thanks for the responses. I'm still a bit brain scrambled for the whole concept. Might just use my ears and not worry so much about the key of the drums, as long as they sit good enough.

Would taking a kick that hits nice, but is not in the root key... But doing EQ upspikes in the key of F areas on the kick make it sit and feel more in key of the tune?
 

smoothassilk

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#11
Thanks for the responses. I'm still a bit brain scrambled for the whole concept. Might just use my ears and not worry so much about the key of the drums, as long as they sit good enough.

Would taking a kick that hits nice, but is not in the root key... But doing EQ upspikes in the key of F areas on the kick make it sit and feel more in key of the tune?
A) Follow what everyone has been saying and go try it
B) No. EQ doesn't change what the frequencies are: if they're not in key they're not in key and boosting them won't make them any more in key.
If you played a D minor chord in a tune that was in Eb, it will always sound clashy no matter how much you boosted Eb.
 

-agu-

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#12
The thing is, none of these ranges land in the common keys I mentioned above, like F for instance. F2 is 87hz, then the very next F up the scale hits at 174hz. One is so low it interferes with your bass, the other is to high for a good punchy kick (the 110-120hz range).

There's nothing wrong with 87Hz. It's just the bullshit people say you about how "you must have 100Hz-120hz kick or it's not punchy". Many big names have kick under 100Hz (just look at their tracks through analyzer).

The snare is the same way, F3 being 174hz, and the very next F is 347hz (not the 250 area we all hear about).
Pendulum, Netsky, Sub Focus, Tantrum Desire etc. etc., have all their snares usually around 200hz. Especially Pendulum and Netsky. 174Hz isn't that far away from 200Hz, you can easily make 174Hz snare as punchy as 200hz
 
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#13
Like a few others said. Don't go all scientific on music making. easier said then done.i go all mad scientist often myself in the search for the most epic neuro bass fart ending up frustrating myself to the point of insanity realizing it is a pointless excersise because in the end all that matters is how it sounds.
 

Know One

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#14
Thanks again for the response guys. I guess I need to dumb things down a bit and get back to the basics. Once I got into the idea of drum tuning to the root and more music theory, I've been wasting far to much time on drums and getting frustrated. I just need to make some drums, write a track, then go back a tune them a bit it something doesn't fit right. Which is what I used to do. The more music theory is learn, the slower and more frustrating my projects became.
 
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