Making a drum sound without drums or samples

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Drone
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Making a drum sound without drums or samples

Post by Drone » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:08 pm

First off, I don't want to offend any of the professionals here.

I'm not a drummer, and I don't want to make loud noises, I want to attempt to get a passable drum sound, using a mic, eq, some compression/gating and I don't know what. I've been tapping out rhythms on this leather bean bag thing my wife has to hold her iPad, haven't got it to sound that good yet mic'd.

Basically I'm wondering if anyone else has tried this and what their recipe is.

Yeah, I do have a drum machine, etc. but it's not tactile enough :oops:

Or is this impossible, and I should use the recorded thlumps for sample replacement triggers?
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Post by kslight » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:27 pm

No rules really.

I've had good results with cookie tins of various shapes and sizes, styrofoam boxes (sometimes filled with broken glass), pallets, tables, acoustic guitars bodies, drum risers, floors, paper, metal boxes, etc... Usually get best results in conjunction with a sampler and sequencer though, so I can get a good hit, then process it and play it back. Obviously a larger more resonant object is ideal for lower pitched sounds.

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Post by Brett Siler » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:41 pm

Tapping your finger on a speaker sounds actually sounds like a kick drum. A drum stick hitting a metal folding chair sounds like the snare on St. Anger, ha.

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Post by dfuruta » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:49 pm

Does it necessarily have to sound like drums, or does it just need to fulfill that same function?

I've done a number of albums using boxes/bits of junk/stomping on the floor for drum sounds. Here's one song (real cymbals on this, though), and here's another. It doesn't sound anything like real drums, but it doesn't need to in order to fill the same role. Of course, this sort of thing might not work with more normal rock music.

In my experience, reverb is key to creating a more resonant sound from quiet sources.

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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:27 pm

Do you have a contact mic? With a sensitive one I saw one guy who turned a cactus into a cool sounding percussion instrument.


...


Just did some googling. I guess the mic'd cactus is a John Cage thing...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogladnqVqSM

I couldn't find the guy I was thinking of. Maybe it was this guy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY-ZoVMwGKM
Carl Keil

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Drone
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Post by Drone » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:31 pm

Yeah, I've got a bunch of piezo's, can they be wired to an XLR?
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Post by apropos of nothing » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:35 pm

I had a bar stool with metal rungs and a padded seat that I used to love for this purpose. I'd set a condenser mic on the seat and then hit the padding. The muffling of the foam, combined with the proximity effect of the mic being in direct contact with the surface made a nice kick drum, and then the metal rims gave a cool junky sound.

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Post by ubertar » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:37 pm

I haven't tried this myself, but I've heard of using a pzm on the floor and bouncing a basketball as a good replacement for a kick drum.
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:37 pm

More ideas/examples here...
http://vimeo.com/43198585
Dunno about the XLR thing.
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Post by Drone » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:54 pm

dfuruta wrote:Does it necessarily have to sound like drums, or does it just need to fulfill that same function?

In my experience, reverb is key to creating a more resonant sound from quiet sources.
Fulfill the function I guess, my thing is I can't play drums, plus I can't make too much noise, guitars, bass, synths and noise all go direct. I setup a little winter den in my basement as my studio shack is too damn cold, but I musn't wake the kid :shock:

I'm wondering if I should run either a contact mic (which I'll have to solder) or the kick mic which I have setup through a pitch shifter to give me a more suboctave boom.

I like the speaker idea too, I'll need to try that, I have a selection of 12" and 15" woofs on the shelf. I'm guessing a fairly loose suspension would be better?
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Post by Theo_Karon » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:50 pm

One of my favorite tricks is to put a LD condenser inside a cardboard box, and then gently tap the side. There's TONS of attack and low end, and it seems to work best if you only tap it very lightly, like with the tip of your finger.

That's the entire kick drum sound on the song "skins of fishes" on this page:
http://crossrecord.bandcamp.com/album/be-good

I gated and distorted it, there may have also been a subharmonic synthesizer involved

generally: do weird shit, yeah! gates and distortion are your friend. key gating can also be awesome for weird unrecognizable percussion. even just key gating really compressed room noise can sound incredible.
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Post by dfuruta » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:29 am

Pick some sounds and embrace the un-drumness of them...if you do it with enough gusto, you can make it something charming instead of a difficulty.

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Post by Gregg Juke » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:05 am

It's hard to have everything that you want. As has been said, if it's just the rhythmic role that you need, it could be anything. If it's real (or pretty close to real) drum sounds that you want, you need real drums, or a drum machine, or samples. And there will be some volume involved. It's like asking for a piano sound without a piano or keyboard of any kind. You may find a substitute, but......

The only other suggestion I can think of (which is not guaranteed to not wake anybody up) would be to invest in a cajon, and to learn how to play it. Meinl has models starting at $89 available at GC.

GJ

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:55 am

i'm mixing a record right now where the "drums" are all made from hitting books/pillows/pringles cans, whatever. most of the sounds were pretty lackluster, so i ran them through amp sims, heavy handed eq/comp, and maybe some reverb...all of which helped a lot.

i dunno that these sort of sounds would stand up at all in a rock record, but for this record (quiet acoustic stuff) they work just fine.

also, the mda subsynth is great for making 808-style bass drums out of most anything.

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Post by Gregg Juke » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:10 pm

This message just comming in: "Cool plugs Space you are the Man 50 Grand."

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