Drum dynamics – please help!

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    • #21412

      About a year ago i decided i want to stop using pre made drum samples and instead make them myself from scratch.
      so i bought superior drummer and began making breaks non stop, experimenting to achieve different styles of breaks.
      i had alot of fun doing this and overall i was very happy with the drum sounds i was able to achieve.
      i would then incorporate these sounds into a track, finish the track and then bounce it.
      and for a while i was relatively happy with how they sounded.
      but whenever i would test one of my tunes in a mix (dj mixing) my drums would sound extremely small and poppy compared to other big named artist.
      (btw im not saying i little smaller I’m talking minuscule in comparison.)

      so i began analysing other peoples drums and comparing the waveforms with my own using an oscilloscope (if anyone knows any good ones please let me know xD)
      i would soon find out that my drums would have a very tall sharp peek with a quick drop off, unlike the professional drums which would be incredibly flat and almost square! with a much longer slope as the transient crosses over to the tail.

      after researching i became to realise that these square(ish) waveforms were a result of chopping off those peaks and reducing the dynamic range so the tails of these drums where as noticeable in the mix as the transient. i understand that to an extent.

      but my issue is with the process itself.
      I’ve found that limiting, compression, distortion etc can help with what im trying to achieve.
      but not without a compromise! (added distortion, hollow sounding drums etc.)
      after countless hours of research and experimenting ive definitely been able to come a lot closer to having a much flatter transient but still keeping a nice punch and weight to my drums, but i just cant find a consistent method that i can use as a starting point and then tweak depending on the style of break I’m making.

      recently ive been able to get close enough to the result i am after but only when making very big aggressive drums that can resemble billains style.or for a better example pendulums huge and very flat kind of style.

      but i like my drums to have a bit more character to them.
      i like them to be pitched up and tight with minimal low end.
      but whenever i try to apply some of the techniques I’ve learned to this style of break i either cant push them far enough or they end up being destroyed and lose all of the texture and smoothness that i worked so hard to give them in the first place

      any help into this issue would be appreciated hugely as ive looked into this so many times its insane!
      its like people don’t want to talk about it but it seems like such an essential process as every track I’m hearing these days appear to be applying this unknown technique.
      is it a conscious decision producers are making? or does it just occur without them realising during sound design as a result of all the plugins and techniques they use to achieve a neuro drum sound?
      or is it something that would be handled by a mastering engineer?

      sorry for making this such a long post but this issue has been absolutely plaguing my production for a while now. I’m not looking for any quick fixes I’m just trying to get some more insight.
      i can hardly find any information regarding this (and if i can it tends to be a much more subtle effect than the extreme squashing I’m looking for.)

      please and thank you to anyone who gets involved in this post.
      any info would be greatly GREATLY appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • #21433

      erbndubs youtube video he talks a lot about getting stuff sounding loud.

      The gist of it is lots of limiting.

      • #21435

        Woah wat happend to his dreads??
        Nice one mate really appreciate it.

    • #31438

      Heyo ragg , I advise you to see the QUADRANT – CONVERGENCE – samplegenie tutorial. I was in the same position as you, there is definitely a technique that people do not want to explain. But in the video of quadrant he explains it more or less, you’ll see, answer me when you see the video.

    • #31454

      DLR covers this aspect in this video. He uses ridiculously short drum samples from Addictive Drums, then gives them the “body” with compression and saturation

      • #31461

        Another DLR video, sort of a promo for Addictive Drums:

        And then DLR’s sample company put out a video of Dub Head demonstrating how he uses Addictive Drums:

        "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

    • #32293

      They may go into this on the above videos but the simplest thing I can think of to help with this is:

      If you like where you are starting at with the drum sounds but feel that processing them removes some of what you like about them, why not simply mix in some of the original signal after the processing?

    • #32586
      ,Sunken Forest

      Parallel processing seems to be the way for you to go. It’s a real fine art trying to get a balance of dynamic drums which still sound powerful (or saturated as fuck, depending on your taste).

      NY compression might be a good technique to look into.

      • #32612

        Parallel processing seems to be the way for you to go. It’s a real fine art trying to get a balance of dynamic drums which still sound powerful (or saturated as fuck, depending on your taste).

        NY compression might be a good technique to look into.

        Exactly my thoughts. I was reluctant to call it NY compression because I wasn’t suggesting compression….. If its just processing and feeding the original signal back in im not sure what its called or if there is a proper name for it. Is there a proper name for it?

    • #32757

      WOW thanks so much for all these replies. it was quite a while ago i posted this thread and i kind of have this problem sorted now.

      i think my main issue was that i was falling in love with my drums too early, i had to learn that no matter how much i like my drums they are going to change when it comes to giving them (heavy) processing.
      so now when i make a break i find a kick and snare i like in addictive drums or whatever, pitch them, tighten them and maybe even a little eq.
      but i make sure not to get too attached because this is just a starting point (i also monitor at a really low volume so i don’t get too used to the way the kick and snare hit at this stage} they are going to change.
      then i compress the low end
      the more you back off the low end the more you can push them into a limiter or saturator etc without mangling them.
      i purposely crush the drums too much so i can go back to addictive drums and tighten them up again. now i am tightening them before they go to the limiter so my transient stays really big and fat but without any mess. this is the point where i can design my sounds in a little more detail and really get them sounding the way i want without having to worry about them changing because the dynamic processing has already been done.

      another issue i had was with the way i used to synthesise my snares.
      i would follow the classic technique of using pitch envelopes to give the snare a snappy transient but no matter how good it sounded it always just ended up getting chopped out of the snare during limiting.
      so now i barely use pitch envelopes when synthesising snares, but if i do i always leave my decay and decay level on zero. you can still achieve a really nice clean tight snare like this and its amazing how much you can crush these snares without destroying them or losing that nice tight sound.

      • #32762

        Never realized that gap in time from the OP. Thanks for coming back and updating on what you discovered, I appreciate it when people go in to details on their process development.

        "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

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