January 21, 2004

Punching Up Drums  [ Edit ] 

I just uploaded the finished demo for Antje. There are four songs on the demo, freshly mastered as of Monday. Take a listen.

I’ll mention one (of potentially many) specific feature of interest. I played a 20” bass drum, which is generally considered the smallest you can get away with in rock music. Worse yet, I had not cut a hole in the front head at that time. The bass drum on every rock record made in the last twenty years is pretty thuddy, and really cuts through that end of the sound spectrum.

My bass drum wasn’t quite punchy enough for the engineer’s taste, even with a hard beater being used. But not to worry. After the recording, before mixing, the engineer overdubbed a bass drum sample everywhere I played the bass drum. This is one example of why people like to record individual drums individually—it provides that flexibility.

This probably sounds like a tedious task, but most (if not all) modern DAWs provide it. In Logic, it’s called Convert Audio To Score, or some such thing (it’s not supported in my version, obviously). In this case, it’s pretty easy for your software to find where the drum was played, and how loud, and place a note there. Simply choose your bass drum sample to go there, and with a bit of fine-tuning (or not), you’re done.

This technique can also be used live, or in realtime during a recording. You place little sensors (called triggers) on the drumheads, and connect those to a sampler or other sound generator. Then when you hit the drum, the sensor tells your gear to play a sound. It’s pretty interesting, and it’s apparently not too difficult to built those triggers oneself. Maybe someday I’ll look into it.

I didn’t realize this was a common practice, but apparently it is. If you have a somewhat small, unmanly bass drum.

Posted by Joe | TrackBack

Where can I find someone to email?

Posted by: Johnathan at November 4, 2004 3:02 AM

Hey Johnathon,

Under "About" on the left, there's a link called Feedback Loopback. Sorry for the confusion -- you can email me there.


Posted by: Joe at November 4, 2004 11:18 AM
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