Weak, empty drums

Discussion in 'Production' started by Simply D., Sep 13, 2010.

  1. Simply D.

    Simply D. Polysonic

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    Okay so first off, I use FL Studio 8, and I can't seem to understand why when i build a drum break it sounds so empty. When I listen to professionally done drums, or even hear some amateur/beginner drums, they sound so filled in with very little empty space.

    My question is, why are my drum breaks so empty sounding?
     
  2. subprime

    subprime Dysjoint

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    Check, are your samples good quality, if not have you pitched/eq'd them to punch through.

    Kick/s > seperate kick bus > eq - light compression/limit > initial drum bus (eq boost around the hundred hz and lower for weight, 100hz and above for punch, up in the 1000's hz for presence)

    Snares > seperate snare bus > eq - light compression/ limit > initial drum bus (similar eq to a kick but around 100 hz higher)

    Hats 1 > (eq) >initial drum bus

    Offbeat hats > (eq) > initial drum bus

    Ride > (eq) > initial drum bus

    Splashy cymbals (eq) > initial drum bus

    perc1 > (eq) initial drum bus

    perc2 > (eq) initial drum bus

    1:initial drum bus >aux send> master drum bus (adjust the levels of these three channels going to the master bus until it sounds right, the first might be at -3, the others may be down at -20, play around)

    2:Aux return 1 > distortion/ overdrive (grit) >master drum bus

    3:Aux return 2 > hpf (cut out low freq) > reverb >master drum bus

    Master drum bus > hpf (30-40 hz) > compressor/limiter


    This is an example of how I set up my drums at the minute. I'm sure I'll change it again in the future but doing this definitely improved my drum sound so far.

    The compressors/limiters are there as sound shapers or glue, not as loudness maximisers. Start with your kick at a sensible level and bring up everything else to sound right.

    If you kick is too clean try layering the same kick on different channels, run one through bit reduction or overdrive and bring up the fader slowly until your kick starts sounding a bit dirty. Same with the snare.

    Just a few ideas.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  3. luciduk

    luciduk Active Member

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    ok if your not able to bus channels just yet as subprime suggests, try using EQ to boost and cut certain frequencies of your drums.... You can also layer 2 kicks and 2 snares for the higher and lower part, this is what many proffesionals do!! But it involves tedious work on the equalizers.

    I almost always cut the length of my samples down before proccessing them to make them shorter and snappier, and then using a compresser will give it the final boost to help it break through the drum break, but compressing takes alot of messing around to get right.

    Either way you need to get to know your equalizers and compressors if you dont already!!
     
  4. Freek

    Freek Lets get freeeeeeky

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    Its all about layering tbh.
    I normally use
    4 kick samples under one bus & eq as one
    10 snare samples under one bus & eq as one
    between 5 & 10 hats/cymbals but eq individually
    and then an amen break with all low end cut and slight mid eq and high eq

    lots and lots of layering and eq'ing
     
  5. Protoplasym

    Protoplasym Nuskool

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    Post up an example of your work so we can hear it.
     
  6. Phat_Sam

    Phat_Sam Well-Known Member

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    THE FUCK!?!? I barely ever use 2 for each!
     
  7. T Leaf

    T Leaf Neighbourhood Sickhead

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    lol i use one kick one snare a break with some hi end activity and come percusion some hi hats, then i go about EQing, Exciting, saturating and playing (yes i consider it fun!) untill everything is singing from the same hymn sheet. Also dont start boosting straight away, cut out/tone down the garbage at first, then start level boosting the drums. I dont think it matters too much how you buss/send stuff around - just make sure you dont compress your hats with the main beat cos thats a dynamics killer (if you want sharper hats, play with envelopes slight sustain, sharp decay).
     
  8. T Leaf

    T Leaf Neighbourhood Sickhead

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    i think that having 10 snare samples ends up turning into a vengeance snare hit for me - which is absolutely fine if thats what you're after. But it feels like just one big smack of different colors of noise not a drum. why not saturate the frequencies of one snare slightly, and keep some of that original drum character? just me thinking aloud
     
  9. Protoplasym

    Protoplasym Nuskool

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    10 SDs definitely sounds like overkill... the most I've ever tried to layer together to make one cohesive 'SD' was maybe 6 or 7.

    Now, if they're not all hitting on the same spot, then I can definitely see where the guy would use that many layers. He could have 3-5 making up the main 'SD' while the other 5 are shuffle type backing hits.
     
  10. Warlokk

    Warlokk bitch please

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    I use three kicks... one with a fast, snappy start to it, one with a grumbly mid-range with a little attack and release on it so it kicks in after the initial snap, and I have a really low, bassy kick to fill out the low end. If you EQ them right (using a EQ guide or a tutorial) you can get them sounding very very good, and play around with your compression and distortion settings alot.


    Have a look here: http://thedspproject.com/kick-layering-and-phase-cancellation

    And of course the initial sample is always very important.. you can alter how something sounds alot with EQ but.. it's good to have a sample sounding close to how you want it to sound before you even start work on it.

    ---------- Post added at 17:53 ---------- Previous post was at 17:49 ----------

    Also, this is a very good EQ'ing guide, copied from the deepbassnine forums.

    "FREQUENCY:
    USES:


    50Hz
    1. Increase to add more fullness to lowest frequency instruments like foot, floor tom, and the bass.
    2. Reduce to decrease the "boom" of the bass and will increase overtones and the recognition of bass line in the mix. This is most often used on loud bass lines like rock.


    100Hz
    1. Increase to add a harder bass sound to lowest frequency instruments.
    2. Increase to add fullness to guitars, snare.
    3. Increase to add warmth to piano and horns.
    4. Reduce to remove boom on guitars & increase clarity.


    200Hz
    1. Increase to add fullness to vocals.
    2. Increase to add fullness to snare and guitar ( harder sound ).
    3. Reduce to decrease muddiness of vocals or mid-range instruments.
    4. Reduce to decrease gong sound of cymbals.


    400Hz
    1. Increase to add clarity to bass lines especially when speakers are at low volume.
    2. Reduce to decrease "cardboard" sound of lower drums (foot and toms).
    3. Reduce to decrease ambiance on cymbals.


    800Hz
    1. Increase for clarity and "punch" of bass.
    2. Reduce to remove "cheap" sound of guitars.


    1.5KHz
    1. Increase for "clarity" and "pluck" of bass.
    2. Reduce to remove dullness of guitars.


    3KHz
    1. Increase for more "pluck" of bass.
    2. Increase for more attack of electric / acoustic guitar.
    3. Increase for more attack on low piano parts.
    4. Increase for more clarity / hardness on voice.
    5. Reduce to increase breathy, soft sound on background vocals.
    6. Reduce to disguise out-of-tune vocals / guitars.


    5KHz
    1. Increase for vocal presence.
    2. Increase low frequency drum attack ( foot / toms).
    3. Increase for more "finger sound" on bass.
    4. Increase attack of piano, acoustic guitar and brightness on guitars (especially rock guitars).
    5. Reduce to make background parts more distant.
    6. Reduce to soften "thin" guitar.


    7KHz
    1. Increase to add attack on low frequency drums ( more metallic sound ).
    2. Increase to add attack to percussion instruments.
    3. Increase on dull singer.
    4. Increase for more "finger sound" on acoustic bass.
    5. Reduce to decrease "s" sound on singers.
    6. Increase to add sharpness to synthesizers, rock guitars, acoustic guitar and piano.


    10KHz
    1. Increase to brighten vocals.
    2. Increase for "light brightness" in acoustic guitar and piano.
    3. Increase for hardness on cymbals.
    4. Reduce to decrease "s" sound on singers.


    15KHz
    1. Increase to brighten vocals (breath sound).
    2. Increase to brighten cymbals, string instruments and flutes.
    3. Increase to make sampled synthesizer sound more real.
    "
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  11. Protoplasym

    Protoplasym Nuskool

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    I've only layered KDs a couple times and it was 'not' fun at all. Layering SDs is easy peasy. Layering KDs = no fun pour moi. Sounds neat, but I'd much rather find a single KD that works for what I want.

    Same goes for finding a big SD to be the main SD (and giving it full volume) sometimes.
     
  12. msmith222

    msmith222 redbeard

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    HOLY F*&^ING SH*T!! 10 snares!?!?!

    one kick, 2-3 snares, and a few breaks for me.
     
  13. Nacon

    Nacon Vidual

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    10 snare is overkill, i used 2-3 carefully picked , samples and i don't have a problem getting them good. Punchy, weighty, and just nice and clear sounding.

    depends on the processing though, but 10 snares , could really screw up the transients etc..
     
  14. mini_molko

    mini_molko Member

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    This may be a bit of a noob question, but a buss is just another name for a group channel, right?

    I've always EQ'd and compressed by kick and snares seperately on their own channels until they sound phat, then bumped them down and added them to the drum group channel with some compression. My copy of Cubase won't allow you to send a group channel to another group channel, is that normal, or is it not meant to do this?

    Also, when you talk about the 'Aux Return', what do you mean by that??
     
  15. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    its not overkill, whatever sounds good, sounds good. the proof is in the pudding as i always say. or if it feels good, do it, like they said in simpsons in the red hot chilli peppers episode. my point is when i saw the name of this thread i thought it was a tutorial in how to make weak empty drums which is something that would intereset me enormously.
     
  16. bite and gouge

    bite and gouge Lee Fury & JtB

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    From the little you have told us here, the first thing that sprung to my mind was... are you layering in a break over the top of your single hit programmed drum line? If not, try layering one in over the top and cutting the low end off the break and stretching key points in the break to line up with your programmed drum samples. Even if it is really quiet in the mix, it will ultimately hold the tempo of the drums and the song.

    If this isn't what you mean... then the question is simply too complex to answer. Drum line creation is nearly as complex as the rest of the whole song. You could write a book about just rolls and fills... maybe give us a little more info on how you are creating your drums as this will help us see the issue more clearly.

    Peace
     
  17. subprime

    subprime Dysjoint

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    That's just how I know it, short for auxillary send/ return. Like you'd send the initial drum bus to an fx channel (distortion/reverb) and then send all these back to one (master) bus. I don't know all these other daws, I don't do torrents.

    Like t-leaf said it's not the bussing that's important but I just find this set-up easier. Gives me control over all the individual levels, the wet levels, and the master level.

    The main part I guess was the layering of a saturated or overdriven layer with the slight reverb layer and melding these together with the dry layer to get a bit more punch.
     
  18. subprime

    subprime Dysjoint

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    Woah there batman? Didn't I hear you say that resampling was a waste of time? Or am I confusing you with something or other him?
     
  19. DJPancake

    DJPancake NEW NAME IS DJ INCLINED

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    ignore me, i have low self esteem and no friends, had no girl friends my entire life and can't make music to save my life.

    i think imma delete my account soon anyways.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  20. Phat_Sam

    Phat_Sam Well-Known Member

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    Wow... depressing. Mate... don't worry, you get better as you practise.

    Chill your beans. Stick with dnb forum and we'll make you're troubles drift away :)

    YOU CAN DO ITTTTT!
    [​IMG]