Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

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Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by jellisnyc » Wed Apr 14, 2004 4:51 pm

I was blown away when I first learned how common in rock/hard rock/metal it is to add in a snare/kick/both sample to really make the drums sound big. I've been doing some research on how this is done and it seems that most people are using the ProTools plug-in, SoundReplacer. I use CubaseSX and the only similar plug-in I found was Drumagog - which sucks.

I know that back before ProTools one would gate the snare/kick to death and run that signal into gear that would perform the same function. I've looked around on Ebay for gear like this, but I can't find anything. Anybody know what was used back in the day?

I would like to have the ability to record metal bands, and understanding triggered drums is pretty essential in modern metal. Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by chris harris » Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:05 pm

I'm in the same boat... I'm getting ready to start a metal project on Saturday.

I picked up an Alesis DM5 and a pack of acoustic triggers. I'll be tracking the kit with mics, but also recording the midi output of the DM5 into Cubase SX. I'll probably rewire those midi tracks to Reason and trigger some samples there. I'll probably give the sounds in the DM5 a shot as well.

I'll let you know how it goes.

chris

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by pscottm » Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:28 pm

i bought a weird box on ebay that does just this, set me back a whopping $5 plus shipping. it has 8 audio inputs (mic/line/inst on each one) a threshold control and a release envelope. each input of the unit fires off a midi note. can do some pretty fun triggering of just about anything, triggered *by* just about anything else that's recorded already. unfortunately i can't find any info on it, made by Detente in 1983 (early 80's french midi box, go figure). it's built like a tank and has a bunch of recessed adjuster screws on each channel, would love to figure out what they're for. anyway, it provides the means to do analog sound replacing. i'm sure there must be more modern boxes that can do this too.. just never seen one.

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by joel hamilton » Wed Apr 14, 2004 7:05 pm

The DM5 works well, with or without a sound module, especially if you record it back into protools, and slide the track back so it lines up exactly with the orginal kick or snare.

I still use this once in a while, but more often I will just put a snare drum in front of an amp and mult the snare out to a separate gate, gate the snare really tight and compress it quite a bit, and run that to the amp and let the amp "play" the snare track, and mic that in stereo, in the room about 3 feet back.

That can really open up the snare, make it stereo, and give you a little more consistent snare-side sound to bring it up front with the snappy kick in the middle of the gigantic guitar sounds and guy screaming a lot...

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by dartmusic » Thu Apr 15, 2004 10:09 am

I'm surprised that no one mentioned Logic's audio to midi function. This is how I do it. I don't use Logic any longer, but keep it around for this function and for heavy midi work.

For drums, you would create a track that was super tightly gated (though you don't NEED to, it just makes it a little easier) and then open up the Factory on the super-gated track (after bouncing it) make some adjustments (I have settings that I use as a starting point for kick and for snare), click "Use" and the load up Battery and some appropriate samples.

I've done this not only for augmenting/replacing acoustic drum sounds, but also for manipulating samples. On my record there is a song that's based around a drum loop where the kick is too quiet. I went it, gated out everything but the kick, created a midi track, cut out one kick hit from the loop, set it up in battery and voila, a louder kick (much easier to control, both volume-wise and eq/compression-wise).

Hope this helps someone.

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by kcrusher » Thu Apr 15, 2004 11:41 am

Another trick using the DM5 (or any other trigger to midi interface) is to just run the dry snare or kick track out to one of the trigger inputs. Set the level so that you get good triggering, then record the midi note back into your sequencer. You can then use that midi note to trigger any other midi module or virtual synth that has the replacement sample.

Logic's audio to midi is great for this as well - creates midi notes from audio (you have to have the snare or kick on it's own track) which you can then use as above.
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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by drummerdan » Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:03 pm

I'd like to get into this. It seems like a great way to solve the biggest snare problem of all: a drummer walks into a session with this rusty tin can of a snare, with heads from 1989. With this device I could replace the snare sound to tape (right?) and never have to listen to "uuh can you add more crack to the snare?"

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by @?,*???&? » Thu Apr 15, 2004 9:13 pm

I worked with Mike Shipley on a Whitesnake project and he told me about that now infamous Def Leppard 'Pyromania' record when he was working with Mutt Lange. Said most of the record was done and then when it came time to mix, they had to really come up with something to make the drums sound huge. Neither he or Mutt had a clue it was going to mean sampling and layering drums, but that's what it ended up being- completely fabricated during the mix. Now we all do this by rote- AND I DON'T MAKE METAL RECORDS!

Soundreplacer sucks too, you have to edit beat-by-beat, but the result is cool. Using the plugin to sample and lay in for dynamic then you have to individually nudge each track. Get used to doing it, it's the modern sound. Plan on 4-5 hours of tedioud editing per track depending on the song. Pray the drummer keeps the patterns simple. Bigger than god and totally synthetic. No wonder Lars Ulrich blows so hard live...

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by joel hamilton » Fri Apr 16, 2004 12:53 am

I hate the way everyone freaks out and bitches about this. Dont fucking do it if you think it is the lamest thing ever. Big deal, just DONT DO IT and you will never have to feel so "cheap" again.... Sheesh.

Why doesnt anyone ever say "drum AUGMENTATION" rather than "REPLACEMENT"???

Sorry I am freaking out, I just think it is so lame to harsh on a tool. Fucking soundreplacer never jumped up out of the plug in menu and started uncontrollably "replacing" your drums with samples.

Last I checked, an ENGINEER still has to decide to use something.

Man it just drives me nuts to see this kind of post that blames technology for ruining music, or technology (analog OR digital technology BTW) for "doing" something "fake" or "bad" in any way.

I feel that these forums are not the place to put such lame constricting ideas out for public consumption! If there is a kid who has never had to choose to autotune or not, why limit that kids brain with a fucking lame post about how bad it sucks, and how it is ruining the world, and nobody can sing anymore because of big evil plug-ins for pitch correction, or how drummers dont even need to play anymore because people just chop everything up and dont use real takes and everything sucks boo-hoo...

Unless the statements are made out of ignorance about the process and art of recording a good record, I cant figure out how they even ever exist?

Is it a "cool" stance to take? Do bands want to work with you more if you say things like "I hate making stuff sound as good as it possibly can, because that isnt human..."

Yes I am ranting, but I DO feel strongly about this point. Having fallen prey to audio "trends" mentally myself. I truly had to get over my "compressor guilt" brought about by someone who HATED COMPRESSORS. Now that guy is working at a grocery stor in my hometown, and I am a working engineer producer. It took me years to realise that this persons ignorance about what can be done with a certain piece of gear made him "hate compressors." Not what they actually can do for you given the right circumstances, all things considered.

Please feel free to "hate" whatever tool you want to hate this month, but remember that venemous statements about these often useful items can leave an impression on someone who hasnt yet had the oppourtunity to decide what they "hate" this month, and that is a tragedy in my humble opinion.

I need to sleep.

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by nick_a » Fri Apr 16, 2004 6:42 am

there are two units called WENDELL JRs at inner ear. They're awesome; to get a certain sound, you have to plug in this cartridge that looks like a nintendo game. It's very cool and might be just what you're looking for. I just have no idea where you would fine one (or two)...there are two cartridge slots per unit (two channels)

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by kcrusher » Fri Apr 16, 2004 7:47 am

Joel Hamilton wrote: Last I checked, an ENGINEER still has to decide to use something.

Man it just drives me nuts to see this kind of post that blames technology for ruining music, or technology (analog OR digital technology BTW) for "doing" something "fake" or "bad" in any way.
Well said and, unfortunately, all too true. They're tools, that's all. Just like guns don't kill people - people with guns kill people. My guess is that 90% of the people that say they hate that Cher autotune effect only say it because they hear other people say it (or wish that they had thought of it first.).

Also - I don't quite understand the comment about Soundreplacer as well. You don't do it beat by beat - that's the beauty of it. You select the track, set your thresholds, select the replacement samples and process. Whole tracks can be replaced in a matter of a minute or two. You may need to nudge a bit here and there, but generally speaking, if the drummer was tight, the replacement track will be just as tight. If the drummer was off - well, then you have a different problem entirely.
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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by auralman » Fri Apr 16, 2004 8:00 am

Personally, I think drum replacing is one of the most fun things I get to do as an engineer. I've got samples of a few different session guys' entire kits, and it's great to be hanging out with a drummer swapping out his snare for one of Keltner's, Pelton's, etc.

I don't have the money to buy 50 different kicks, snares, etc., but I can replace your tonka toy with a sample!

I only get defensive about acoustic drums when the song absolutely depends on acoustic touch - I've never done it on jazz, for instance. Of course, there's some instances where you can't replace it, like brushes...

I'm with Joel - since when is it not our job to make things sound their absolute best? So what if Keltner's kit was better recorded by someone else and put on a CD? I'm not competing with other engineers - I'm fighting to get great sounds. If someone else has done the work and decided it's alright for me to use those sounds whenever I want, I say THANK YOU - it helps me get to where I want to go that much faster.

If the drummer kicks ass, his kit will sound great no matter what, and you probably won't need that many mics to capture it. But, if you're like me, most drummers I get to record do NOT kick ass, but think they do, and are surprised/hurt/defensive when they hear their wimpy ass playing through the monitors for the first time. I'm usually triggering before they listen when confronted with this, and I never hear "can I get more crack in my snare?", which must mean that FOR ME, triggering is a damn near indisposable tool.

But you might not like it, and that's fine too.

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by chris harris » Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:17 pm

we did basic tracks today and the dm5 was great!

it took some tweaking to get the triggers working the way I wanted... finally got rid of double triggers. In the end, I'll probably not use the cheap triggers I bought in a session again. I think it'd be easier just gating the recorded tracks and running those into the trigger inputs. Then I don't have to worry about taping a trigger to a drum head!

I'll probably save the triggers for some crazy live stuff.

It was a really fun session!

The drum tracks sound so good, we may not even need any of these midi parts... but, I'm sure that when it comes time to mix, I'll be glad I have them!

chris

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by Slider » Sun Apr 18, 2004 8:28 am

It's kind of a pain in the ass.
I use drumagog.
And I only use it to reinforce the original sound.
It just sounds too freaky to replace a whole snare sound with a sample.
I also have to nudge the copied track ahead a bit depending on the sample's start time.
I make my own samples of my own drums the way I like them hit.
I sample them with all the drum mics up, they sound much more real this way.
I get some lousy sounding drums to mix sometimes and this helps quite a bit.
Although I do try to avoid it unless it really needs help.
Blending the right sample and making it sound natural is the key.
Last edited by Slider on Sun Apr 18, 2004 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Triggered Drums & Drum Hit Replacement

Post by rhythm ranch » Sun Apr 18, 2004 9:39 am

Joel Hamilton wrote:I hate the way everyone freaks out and bitches about this. Dont fucking do it if you think it is the lamest thing ever. Big deal, just DONT DO IT and you will never have to feel so "cheap" again... Sheesh...

Man it just drives me nuts to see this kind of post that blames technology for ruining music, or technology (analog OR digital technology BTW) for "doing" something "fake" or "bad" in any way...

I feel that these forums are not the place to put such lame constricting ideas out for public consumption!...

Yes I am ranting, but I DO feel strongly about this point...

Please feel free to "hate" whatever tool you want to hate this month, but remember that venemous statements about these often useful items can leave an impression on someone who hasnt yet had the oppourtunity to decide what they "hate" this month, and that is a tragedy in my humble opinion.

I need to sleep.
Joel,
I agree with you about not limiting yourself on any tool. I've never met a piece of equipment that couldn't be useful somewhere.

But I'm curious where your response came from. I didn't see anybody saying anything negative about replacing drum sounds. Jeff was a little negative about SoundReplacer, but said that he often uses this technique. Did somebody have a response that later got edited? :?:

Anyway, particularly for bands with a not-so-great drum kit, replacement or augmentation is the only way to keep a project moving and within budget.

I've used both the Alesis D4 and DM5. They do require some tweaking, but can sound great when dialed in.

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