Thursday, February 21, 2013

Making Your Sample Drum Tracks Sound Real

It's no surprise, there is no replacement for the sound of a perfectly recorded drum kit. There is also no surprise that getting sampled drum tracks to sound real can be a very tedious task. But nowadays, with the way technology has progressed, there are many different options to help an engineer overcome this common problem.

Here are three very important steps that can be taken to help you get the best realistic sounding drum tracks as possible:

1. Reverb and compression:
There are many different effects that can be attached to the drum track to help get rid of an unnatural sound. But the most important effects that must be used are compression and reverb. As an engineer, you should start with EQ, volume, panning, room size, diffusion and any other effects you need to apply to the drum samples and tracks before you get into the final reverb and compression.

When you are getting ready to do the final touches, you should start with a parallel compressor. Your parameters should be: a fast attack, an increase in gain control, a low threshold and a decay of your liking. This will give you an on-and-off pressuring sound that will mimic the sound of a real person being recorded on a real drum kit.

The last final touch you should apply is the final reverb. The reverb should create just enough distance in the drum sound to make it feel like the drums are in the room not in the speaker. But the biggest/smallest mistake you can make is adding to much reverb. Don't go over board, just a little to much can bring back the very sound you are trying to get rid of: an unrealistic sound.

2. Use overhead and room microphone samples:
When drums are recorded in the studio or at a live venue, they are most likely recorded with each component using an individual mic. But also there will be two overhead mics and or sometimes a room mic used to catch the sound of the kit at a whole. Finding samples of overhead drum mics or room mics might be hard and tedious, but if you find the right sample sound that complements and completes each component of the original drum sample, the process would be well worth the while.

3. Using ghost notes:
What are ghost notes? Ghost notes are inadvertent sounds made by a drummer before and after the original hit of a drum component. It mostly happens with the kick, snare and sometimes the hi-hats. The process of using ghost notes are as easy as taking duplicates of each sample you want to make ghost notes of and placing them within the drum loop at a decreased value of about 70 to 80 percent less then the original note.

Tip: Since they're supposed to be inadvertent notes, it should not have any type of pattern to where you place them in the loop.

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