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When You Take Away My Drum Samples

Brandon Drury —  April 5, 2011 — Leave a comment

 

  • Drum samples are a powerful method for augmenting drum sounds when a not-so-natural sound is desired or a different sound than what the drummer made is desired.
  • You own records that use drum samples and you probably like the way they sound
  • Utilizing drum sample layering / replacing is a tool in the same Craftsmen metal thing as compression, gating, equalization, delay, reverb, or even close micing (which is NOT a “natural” drum sound). Why samples carry a certain moral connotation is beyond me.
  • Like any tool, they can be over used and abused. Basing your experience on what your roommate did in his dorm is like basing your opinion of EQ on how the drummer setup the live sound monitors.
  • For drummers that are 100% against drum sample usage, fine. Just make your drums sound exactly like you want them to sound. There’s no reason a good engineer HAS to use drum samples just as there no reason that you can’t get the exact sound you are looking for by taking your craft as a drummer seriously both in terms of performance, and instrument selection.
  • We’ve grown so accustomed to over-the-top, unnatural drum sounds that in many radio genres it’s very difficult to know what “natural” sounds like. Let me help you. Creedance Clearwater Revival is using real drums. After that, it gets hazy.

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feegs – 04-08-2011, 06:34 PM
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Drumagog 5 , nice for pitch problems and getting the snare right at times. The blend feature is great. Also great for elimination of spill on the track/s.

jkuehlin’s Avatar
jkuehlin – 04-09-2011, 04:04 AM
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I disagree with that 4th point. Well…I guess I’m at hesitant to agree anyway. My question is this:

How can you actually abuse a drum sample?

As a producer (and not an engineer) I’ve personally viewed the integration of drum samples as part of the creative process. Every bit as essential as the parts the drummer actually plays.

Can you ‘overuse’ a drumsoftware like BFD2 or Live8? At what point would one actually consider a drumsample ‘overused’? If using samples and every single track appears to be in the best interest of the big picture, does that not justify using them on every single track?

I realize this is different for an engineer that is hired to capture a sound rather than use whatever means necessary to create a finished product. But from the producer standpoint, it’s hard for me to justify NOT using them, when and if the better interest of the recording calls for it.

Just some random thoughts

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Aelf – 04-09-2011, 10:48 PM
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What I think Brandon was aiming at in point 4 was using samples as an ultimate remedy without considering the overall picture. Samples must fit the song and the sound and oftentimes a mixer has to play with them to get the best results, change the pitch, multisample, layer samples, etc.

The attitude to load an infamous Kick 10 by Steven Slate (whose great collection of samples wasn’t meant to need any post processing) or Superior Drummer and be done with it without any input is an easy way out and not the best practice if you want an original sound. That’s abusing – using a tool and bastardizing it.

moleunion’s Avatar
moleunion – 04-10-2011, 02:09 AM
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And now we’ve seen Brandon with his shirt off… thanks buddy, can’t ever take that image out of my head!

I agree with using samples. If it works it works. Sometimes someone brings a piccolo snare to a rock session (don’t know why) and you HAVE to replace something like that with a more appropriate snare!

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lmont – 04-11-2011, 01:06 PM
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I used to think using drum samples was like cheating, but having heard how combining both live for the space and samples to tighten up a performance, I can’t imagine not using them now.

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doug941 – 04-12-2011, 02:23 PM
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Hahaha! Great video Brandon! Way to get a point across!
If an engineer or a studio is going to charge a client for a representation of their music, it should not be the goal to supply the artist with “the most realistic representation of their music”, but The BEST representation of their music! Weather you like it or not, your music must compete side by side with major releases! Layered drums fill the airways! Without it…your gonna have a hard time competing. Because your shit is gonna sound weak! Unless your a die hard purist that insist total realism…. in that case…. record your band with your cell phone and shut up! LOL!

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gradgt – 04-12-2011, 09:13 PM
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You should have said you were just going to layer some of his drum sounds, and then replaced everything he did with a dance beat. oontz oontz oontz…

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shredinger – 04-13-2011, 01:18 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by gradgt View Post
You should have said you were just going to layer some of his drum sounds, and then replaced everything he did with a dance beat. oontz oontz oontz…
LOLZ ooontz

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paul999 – 04-13-2011, 07:53 AM
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I don’t even discuss this with bands anymore. I do what it takes to get the job done.

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Chalo – 04-13-2011, 12:30 PM
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I work in advertising. If clients want drums, NOW!, I’ll give them sample drums. Not a lot of drummers have the chops and equipment to do quality jingle work in a hurry, it’s time consuming an a lot more expensive in the long run. If the project is approved with enough time, and there is budget for real drums, I’ll gladly find a drummer and get him to record, but most of the time, time is short and even programming drums can be hard to fit in schedule. Drum loops do the trick in those cases.

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BenJaMan – 04-13-2011, 12:48 PM
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vid should end @ 1:07 – it’s black for 1:15 !

fHumble fHingaz’s Avatar
fHumble fHingaz – 04-15-2011, 05:32 AM
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LOLZ ooontz
ooontz-ooontz, kshhhh!; oontz ooontz, kshhh! We will, we will….
…replace your crappy drums with samples!
ooontz-ooontz, kshhhh!; oontz ooontz, kshhh!
booww, booww, dough, dooo, duooom (tom fill)

brandondrury’s Avatar
brandondrury – 04-15-2011, 04:42 PM
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How can you actually abuse a drum sample?
Easy. When it sounds like crap, you’ve abused it. The end. If you’ve never heard that than you need to get over to Bash This Recording and enlighten yourself.

What I think Brandon was aiming at in point 4 was using samples as an ultimate remedy without considering the overall picture.
Kinda. When you click on a sound in Drumagog and all you’ve got up is samples and overheads and the band goes “YESSS!!” than I guess in that case were walking the “ultimate remedy” line. Sometimes it is that simple and gratification is instant. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of layering, blending, etc. It’s always a crapshoot just like every other tool we have.

I used to think using drum samples was like cheating, but having heard how combining both live for the space and samples to tighten up a performance, I can’t imagine not using them now.
Me too. Somewhere in there music became more important to me than pride in engineering.

I don’t even discuss this with bands anymore. I do what it takes to get the job done.
Yeah, me too. In most situations, I think bands like the “don’t ask, don’t tell” method. When you put them on the spot, quite a few of them feel obligated by some kind of bullshit moral authority that they don’t understand either to say, “Oh no, don’t utilize every tool you’ve got”.

vid should end @ 1:07 – it’s black for 1:15 !
I’m still learning Premiere and I come from the school where you learn on the job.

dudermn’s Avatar
dudermn – 04-30-2011, 03:57 AM
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Haha! you got taken hostage by some analog preachers !

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lumpy – 05-19-2011, 09:19 PM
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As a drummer I am all for drum samples. Less dicking around getting a sound, more recording. Which means I can leave sooner.
Lump

Dante-Theory’s Avatar
Dante-Theory – 07-07-2011, 06:59 PM
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amazingly enough i was just out the door to go to the studio to replace my drummers drum tones. (the snare is god awful). He agrees…whatever makes for the best song.I am also pretty sure i will have a nightmare about me being stripped and taped up in my studio now….thanks

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wankerone – 07-08-2011, 05:49 PM
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Because I record while I write my songs I always replaced my old drummer with me playing drums. I was a better drummer and more reliable. Then I started programming my drums basic then fills on top of my scratch guitar tracks. Then I messed around with drum replacement. Now my last five songs are all programmed drums. For me it is faster and has a Profresh sound. It is the same tool for me as using an electronic key board.

The last band I recorded the drummer was solid and we had a decent sound to work with, but he liked it a lot better after I replaced the kick and snare fixed some timing with drumagog. We are all young and we are used to that sound.

Brandon Drury

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Brandon Drury quit counting at 1,200 recorded songs in his busy home recording studio. He is the creator of RecordingReview.com and is the author of the Killer Home Recording series.
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