The morals of using drum samples

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gavintheaudioengineer
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Post by gavintheaudioengineer » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:50 am

Yikes.

Sorry for kicking this one off folks

:shock:

I'm not starting the day off on this bad vibe tho...

My misconception was that I hadn't considered the possibility that there was an art to replacement- and that it could be used as a tool to aid the possibilities of what it is you want to represent- I had only heard bad examples of metal records replaced entirely with really cheap sounding samples. But now I am more informed and I'm glad I asked the question- that's what these forums are about yes? Learning new ideas and contributing your own?

I'm kinda happy that there are fierce arguments coming from either side. I think what would be boring is if every engineer conformed to the same way of working. I like the fact that for every melodyne/drumagogger, there is a traditionalist fighting the cause.

yin yan and everything in between. As long as the records sound GOOD.

and please don't start an argument about the definition of 'good'

:D

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Post by jnTracks » Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:23 am

sounds like you got the right idea, man!

i've had sessions were i ended up "completely" replacing a snare or kick when the band's drumset was that bad. but even in those cases there's still original drum in the overheads and room mikes so it's still not a total replacement.

i make a habit of recording hits of each drum on every set i record. (easy do fit in when you're dialing in all the mikes anyway) and commonly create sample tracks from samples of the drummer's own kit. mix in to certain parts to smooth out dynamics and whatnot. or, if you think about it, using the drumers own kit to create the samples and mixing them sort of has the effect of an extremely easy "expander/gate" effect since you have a fader with the same drum, but no bleed.

so even if i don't want to change the sound it helps with separation of close mikes in a way you can't really do fully with just an expander.
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Post by Tim A » Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:13 am

Brian wrote:Nick, you cracked me up with that poignient statement which I will now abscond with.
timadamson wrote:
I'm not saying I'm "the judge", but, maybe not everything everyone hear's in their head is even worth hearing, airing, or glutting up the market, maybe. Maybe someone who knows their shit on any particular subject is more worth listening to or more likely to say something that will nurture people and someone who doesn't know shit from shinola is doing nothing more than practicing law without a license or some such simile.
I don't ask a plumber to shine shoes, I don't ask the DP to adjust sound, I don't ask the sound guy to work camera, I don't ask catering to direct, I don't hire the shoeshine boy to be the MD for a tour or record, or my dog to do my taxes.
That is assuming you can get music wrong, just like taxes.
its an art form an totally subjective. What you think is rubbish might be someone elses favourite band. And while you may think you're more musically informed than people who listen to "rubbish", I would strongly beg to differ, as you cant seem to appreciate other forms of music.

Thing of it like this. Someone who really likes fine art probably looks upon some abstract art and thinks its rubbish, anyone can do it, its nothing at all.
But abstract art is still in gallerys. people still pay alot of money for it, they still like it. People who know and unstandstand art as a whole, not only like the technical skills of fine art, but also other aspects of abstract etc.

yours not going to win an argument on someones musical taste on technical ability
That is one big BS argument you're having with yourself there. The benchmark for knowing if you "got music wrong" is playing it in public and checking out how many stop or runaway in horror, or are willing to buy it at a normal market rate set by the market. If it's "artsy" but isn't "good enough" they won't buy it. If it's not art and just plain sucks, they run away in horror and call the cops.

Well, what you posit is not even close to what I was poorly attempting to say, point taken, however:
The sales figure say otherwise. I don't feed my kids with taste, their sandwiches are as tasteless as everyone elses.

My art ain't your art, somehow, you now think you are qualified to be the judge of that, weird, considering you don't know me or much about me.

You could do your taxes as an art form with no rules or standards, but, the IRS will own all your stuff PDQ if it doesn't conform to their "taste" which is a set of standards for how it's done and it requires prior knowledge before making marks on the page. Once done you could try to sell your uninformed "tax art" but, I bet nobody buys it.
Though I never stated I was more musically informed than a gnat, my resume says otherwise. And what is this "you can't seem to appreciate other forms of music" crap?
That's a HUGE assumption to make, and way off base.

I wasn't having an argument, nor was I speaking about taste.
You made up a lot of stuff in your mind so you could make someone else (in your mind) look "bad" to you.
That's weird.
In the business of music, maybe walking by a toilet and recording a fart sound would sell, but, I doubt it would feed my kids, nor would I buy it, nor would anyone I know or work with. Just because something doesn't conform or isn't tasteful by any standard does not mean it is some kind of art to be appreciated by all or be ridiculed by the likes of you.
Don't get personal on message boards, the flame wars ended years ago. There's no more medals to be handed out to flame warriors.
to be honest when i first read your post i did assume that you were on the same wave length as honkyjonk ("screw the radio and all that rubbish rah rah rah")
so i do apologies for that. now reading my argument with that in mind, it may seem we are more on the same page :P.
however I dont think that everyones intensions of recording, how ever much they spend on it, it to make money in return. I simply think that everyone can learn something from all kinds of music, even if it is "crap"

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Post by Brian » Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:00 am

subatomic pieces wrote:I was prepared to expose Brian's post for the bullshit it was... then, with the last couple of posts, he's exposed himself as comically delusional, and just plain bad at making an argument.

No fun anymore. People who think that they should define what art is or is not for other people, usually have dreadfully boring taste. And, it's just no fun to argue with people who do the "'I'm not saying blah, blah, blah... BUT...' and then they proceed to say or do EXACTLY blah, blah, blah" thing.

Sometimes it's better to just let people FAIL miserably, than to waste three days trying to further embarrass them on the internet.

So, you ol' coots keep fighting the good fight. Keep believing that our best years are behind us. Age disgracefully.
"Ol coots"?
Oh snap!
I guess you didn't see the word "Maybe" or maybe you don't know what it means. Maybe means maybe it's so, maybe not. I'm willing to go either way, I've done both ways and as I stated, I could care less what people do with their gear, I have set a level of talent I :"personally" will work with and it's from experience. If that makes me an "ol coot", I guess I'll go order my hoverround now. I don't like crappy players grating on my nerves and I don't have to just to satisfy your tastes, you can have all of those you want, and thanks for servicing them. I'm sure they need servicing, there is definitely a market for that, an sometimes it's fun and sometimes not, and if that's all the work you get then more power to you, you shouldn't take any offense to my post, that's your niche.
I am unopposed to anything fun to record regardless of anything, but, I didn't get into this to "work", I do it because I love it. I do plenty of volunteer stuff with and novice bands and film makers because it's fun under that context, if it was for commercial purposes all day every day it would grate on the nerves.
The rest was completely tongue in cheek and if you take offense to that, well, you bring your own tequila I guess. Drink up.
Harumph!

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Post by Brian » Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:18 am

timadamson wrote:
Brian wrote:Nick, you cracked me up with that poignant statement which I will now abscond with.
timadamson wrote:
I'm not saying I'm "the judge", but, maybe not everything everyone hear's in their head is even worth hearing, airing, or glutting up the market, maybe. Maybe someone who knows their shit on any particular subject is more worth listening to or more likely to say something that will nurture people and someone who doesn't know shit from shinola is doing nothing more than practicing law without a license or some such simile.
I don't ask a plumber to shine shoes, I don't ask the DP to adjust sound, I don't ask the sound guy to work camera, I don't ask catering to direct, I don't hire the shoeshine boy to be the MD for a tour or record, or my dog to do my taxes.
That is assuming you can get music wrong, just like taxes.
its an art form a totally subjective. What you think is rubbish might be someone else's favorite band. And while you may think you're more musically informed than people who listen to "rubbish", I would strongly beg to differ, as you cant seem to appreciate other forms of music.

Thing of it like this. Someone who really likes fine art probably looks upon some abstract art and thinks its rubbish, anyone can do it, its nothing at all.
But abstract art is still in galleries. People still pay a lot of money for it, they still like it. People who know and understand art as a whole, not only like the technical skills of fine art, but also other aspects of abstract etc.

yours not going to win an argument on someones musical taste on technical ability
That is one big BS argument you're having with yourself there. The benchmark for knowing if you "got music wrong" is playing it in public and checking out how many stop or runaway in horror, or are willing to buy it at a normal market rate set by the market. If it's "artsy" but isn't "good enough" they won't buy it. If it's not art and just plain sucks, they run away in horror and call the cops.

Well, what you posit is not even close to what I was poorly attempting to say, point taken, however:
The sales figure say otherwise. I don't feed my kids with taste, their sandwiches are as tasteless as everyone else's.

My art ain't your art, somehow, you now think you are qualified to be the judge of that, weird, considering you don't know me or much about me.

You could do your taxes as an art form with no rules or standards, but, the IRS will own all your stuff PDQ if it doesn't conform to their "taste" which is a set of standards for how it's done and it requires prior knowledge before making marks on the page. Once done you could try to sell your uninformed "tax art" but, I bet nobody buys it.
Though I never stated I was more musically informed than a gnat, my resume says otherwise. And what is this "you can't seem to appreciate other forms of music" crap?
That's a HUGE assumption to make, and way off base.

I wasn't having an argument, nor was I speaking about taste.
You made up a lot of stuff in your mind so you could make someone else (in your mind) look "bad" to you.
That's weird.
In the business of music, maybe walking by a toilet and recording a fart sound would sell, but, I doubt it would feed my kids, nor would I buy it, nor would anyone I know or work with. Just because something doesn't conform or isn't tasteful by any standard does not mean it is some kind of art to be appreciated by all or be ridiculed by the likes of you.
Don't get personal on message boards, the flame wars ended years ago. There's no more medals to be handed out to flame warriors.
to be honest when i first read your post i did assume that you were on the same wave length as honkyjonk ("screw the radio and all that rubbish rah rah rah")
so i do apologies for that. now reading my argument with that in mind, it may seem we are more on the same page :P.
however I dont think that everyones intensions of recording, how ever much they spend on it, it to make money in return. I simply think that everyone can learn something from all kinds of music, even if it is "crap"
Yeah, we're on the same page.
I can't speak to everyone's intentions, but, I can speak about mine. I'm usually trying to make what I work on make some money, because it's the only thing I do, and I feed the kids and pay the rent with it and have since I was 15, I'm 47 now. If that ain't love, nuttin is. I'm not going to supplement it with drug sales or part time work, it's not my hobby, it's what I've always done and wanted to do. I've been blessed to be able to work with some of the greatest talent the world has ever known from all over the world in all kinds of music styles. No matter what the job is, I do my very best and always towards exceeding my past capabilities gathering new skills and learning from all around me.
Not everyone is so lucky. I understand.

For the record, there isn't a type or genre of music that I would consider judging as "crap". What I mean by crap is somebody who picked up a guitar last week (literally) and thinks he should record his band of like friends because he thinks they sound just like Radiohead, or, (insert band name here). The people who clearly aren't ready to record in a studio but could use a lot of rehearsal tapes instead. That's just too much replacing, you end up replacing the whole band, where's the fun in that? I could give a crap about the real factor in that case, it's the fun factor that's missing, that just ain't fun for me, usually.
As far as art, if a guy comes in and his drums aren't tuned and I tell him to tune them but he can't because he doesn't now how, that isn't art, that's ignorance, I don't promote that, HOWEVER, if a guy comes in with drums "I think " are untuned and I tell him to tune them and he says "nope, this is what they have to sound like to get the effect we're looking for, listen to this" and he plays me an example, that's art.
To use your painting analogy, abstract art isn't when some ignoramus comes in and flaps his arms in some paint and smears it on canvas and says voila, That ain't a Picasso or his method, he knew exactly what he was doing. Just an analogy.
Harumph!

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:27 am

Music :

It is a language.
Spoken well, it communicates something from the musician to the listener.
What gets communicated is subjective to both the musician and the listener.
There are as many meanings to be had from music as there are stars in the Universe.
The best musicians know how to speak the music to communicate what they want to say.
Music is not beholden to a value other than the value given to it by the musician and the listener.
We as humans like to classify things around us. Music is no exception.
Music does not care how we classify it.

Cheers
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Post by eeldip » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:50 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:Music :

It is a language.
Spoken well, it communicates something from the musician to the listener.
What gets communicated is subjective to both the musician and the listener.
There are as many meanings to be had from music as there are stars in the Universe.
The best musicians know how to speak the music to communicate what they want to say.
Music is not beholden to a value other than the value given to it by the musician and the listener.
We as humans like to classify things around us. Music is no exception.
Music does not care how we classify it.

Cheers
*plays bongos along with post*

dig it maaaaan

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Post by teleharmonium » Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:34 pm

This thread has a nasty, not very Tape Op like tone to it.

Honkeyjonk has more or less expressed the sort of minimalist, old school, credibility and process centric recording ethos that has always been a part of the culture of the magazine.

If some people don't share it, that's cool, but it is not necessary to disparage it or call the guy delusional or oppressive.

Particularly this kind of stuff - "So, we're moral relativists now? Who is to be the arbiter of where the line is between acceptably dishonest and sinfully dishonest? Are you willing to allow people to determine that on their own? " - is completely ridiculous. The guy can express a viewpoint about "shoulds" if he wants; nowhere in that is expressed or implied anything about imposing his viewpoint on others or creating culture police. WTF ?

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:55 pm

i personally make pretty honest-sounding records (i think), but i cheat like crazy in the process. my only problem with sample replacing is it just seems like a lame way to cheat. where's the fun in just laying in a sample? i try and work with what i have whenever possible. i feel like samples make people lazy, like the mix guy puts up the kick drum, and if it's not immediately 'back in black' quality they're like "oh man this recording is TERRIBLE i gotta get out the samples".

when really it just needs -3 at 250 and some compression.

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Post by jgimbel » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:22 pm

I thought it was an interesting point about what you consider acceptable cheating and what isn't acceptable. I thought about this for a while, and realize that I do have definite things I feel are cheating that I refuse to do, and things that are cheating in the sense that, like was mentioned, anything like overdubs or using reverb is cheating. I follow these things because I really believe them, but I do admit that I don't really have a set way that I've determined the things I follow, they're just what I believe. Like for me, samples are something I don't like. I would use them for something like electronic music or something where that is a main part of the music. But for me, if I'm recording drums, I work as hard as I possibly can to get the sound that the music needs. I find the idea of replacing each drum with the same sample, or a set of samples, to destroy a major part of what I love about recording humans in a room - the fact that the stick hits differently every single time. To me a band doesn't sound like a band when the drums are replaced with samples. But this isn't just in people I record, it's in music I listen to too. HOWEVER, I can understand the other view points as well. If the sound can't be had with the equipment/space/player you've got, and you NEED that particular sound and for whatever reason you both can't find a creative, attainable alternative, and can't change mic/space/drummer/whatever it is (which seems like it's all part of the documentation) then I suppose using samples is what you'd need to do, if you're okay with it.

Similar thing about reverb. I use reverb as a tool to make something sit in a little better, but generally never enough to imitate a space, unless it's something like some crazy, not real space. I'm also okay with globs of reverb on guitar, generally done at the amp, or done later but in the same manner as amp reverb is used. But again, these aren't something I would enforce on others, just what I feel as resulting from my experience.

Overdubs are a weird story for me. I play a handful of instruments and since I started playing/recording, I've always played all the parts on my albums myself - guitar, bass, drums, singing, dulcimer, toy pianos, bells, rhodes, whatever. I haven't had a way to do this process with overdubs, so I never had a problem with it to begin with. On the other hand, when I record clients here, it'd generally been that the first handful of takes of a track are the best, so usually we won't spend hours and hours on one part if it's not helping (though I guess that's not overdubs so much as multiple takes). Then putting stuff on top of that doesn't bother me at all. Doubling heavy guitars, acoustic guitars, and vocals are commonplace here. For my own music, I overdub stuff as it's my only option, but I only really overdub more parts until it becomes something that couldn't really be performed with a band without huge pieces missing. For my a big part of that though is wanting to have a band backing me playing my stuff out though.

To me, it's completely acceptable that different people/studios work under different rules. I think that's totally great, and that an artist should talk to the folks, see how they like to work, if they mesh together, and if they want something one studio won't do, then find someone else. To me, if there's something like the artist wanting samples no question, and the studio refusing to do it, then most likely that's not the only thing they disagree fundamentally on, and it might not be the best working relationship. Not everyone may feel so cut and dry about it.

While it's a shame that this thread has seemed to really hit home with some people, I think it's very beneficial. I feel very okay now with the fact that I know what I like, what I don't like, and that I don't have to be completely one way or the other. I record digitally but my process is much closer to tape, I have more of a purist line of thought but I'm not really doing it in a purist way, more just self-imposed limits, based on my own moral decisions or whatever you'd call it. I like this thread, despite the fact that it's been pretty negative!
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Post by Brian » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:48 pm

It's not that negative, it's just one guy had a bad day, ranked on a few of us. I bear no grudge.
Your ethic is sounding pretty workable to me.
I want some of Nick's cool-aid, it makes you poetic, and I need to be more poetic, I think, maybe not. I still like it, and cool aid, so, it's a bonus.
Harumph!

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Post by JGriffin » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:53 pm

teleharmonium wrote:Honkeyjonk has more or less expressed the sort of minimalist, old school, credibility and process centric recording ethos that has always been a part of the culture of the magazine.
The magazine is, as far as I understand it, about "Creative music recording." I don't see 'minimalist,' 'old school,' or 'credibility' as defining characteristics of the magazine's approach. You and I may be reading different articles.

teleharmonium wrote:
Particularly this kind of stuff - "So, we're moral relativists now? Who is to be the arbiter of where the line is between acceptably dishonest and sinfully dishonest? Are you willing to allow people to determine that on their own? " - is completely ridiculous. The guy can express a viewpoint about "shoulds" if he wants; nowhere in that is expressed or implied anything about imposing his viewpoint on others or creating culture police. WTF ?

Actually, considering his last sentence --which I quoted in that post-- was "Autotune? Why do you people accept that shit? You're the ones who have the power to change it. Just say no" (emphasis mine), I think he absolutely was imposing his viewpoint on others and appointing himself the culture police. YMMV.
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Post by Brian » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:47 am

dwlb wrote:
teleharmonium wrote:
Particularly this kind of stuff - "So, we're moral relativists now? Who is to be the arbiter of where the line is between acceptably dishonest and sinfully dishonest? Are you willing to allow people to determine that on their own? " - is completely ridiculous. The guy can express a viewpoint about "shoulds" if he wants; nowhere in that is expressed or implied anything about imposing his viewpoint on others or creating culture police. WTF ?

Actually, considering his last sentence --which I quoted in that post-- was "Autotune? Why do you people accept that shit? You're the ones who have the power to change it. Just say no" (emphasis mine), I think he absolutely was imposing his viewpoint on others and appointing himself the culture police. YMMV.
I didn't get that. I thought he was implying that the people who don't want to overtweak client's work, but, were doing it anyway just for the money and that they didn't have to.

The guy makes a valid point:
If you have true talent in front of the mic, it's faster to coach out the performance you need than to record inability to perform part as desired and then tweak.
I can coach out a performance in three takes if it isn't a 1 taker, and if I don't get it, they aren't feeling it, so we'll get back to it when I create that environment and they will feel it and hit it. I'd rather they actually felt it and puled it off, it's more fun that way to me, more interaction, more feel, more congratulations and confidence building which makes the whole project better, career growth, artist development, etc.
I think he was turning the tables on the guy who was proposing that he was only in it for the money doing it the old school way. I could easily be wrong, but, that's how I read it.
I think people who come on the board and propose that "because someone has preferences (especially against using autotune or drum replacement/quantization) they must only be in it for the money" should STOP THAT SHIT NOW. It's not helping. The converse is also not helping. people just do what they do for their own reasons and people outside their head are just guessing about what's going on inside, which is patently bad policy.
Harumph!

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Post by ott0bot » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:45 am

I think 90% of this whole issue usually comes to light when some unsuspecting Nickelback fack finally attends one of their concerts and wonders why it doesn't sound the the song on the radio. Then 10% of people who have integrity may have diminished enthusium for the band, the other 90% simply don't care and think that they rock.

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Post by Brian » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:10 am

ott0bot wrote:unsuspecting Nickelback fan?
Genius!
There's a volume in that right there as to the OP's original query. Like it or not.
Harumph!

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