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DRUM STUFF - ONE

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Author: admin
Date: 25-Apr-01

[dancetech database recompiled in 1999 - some articles listed April '99 are older]


DRUMS.... 'The First Lady' of dance music !! - heh heh, so i thought it'd be interesting to start to do some articles when time permits about drum use for the dance & home studio... stuff about sampling drums, using them in compositions, styles of programming for genre's, tips & tricks, probably interlaced with various contextual ramblings etc :) ... These articles will be primarily designed for newbies and intermediate users, but who knows, even the 'experts' might find them interesting -

Now first up, I always say this... experience is the best way to know anything. In fact, ONLy real direct experience allows you to 'know' anything.... and as drums is the base of all dance, knowing about drums is important, so as I always say first & forements:

LEARN TO PLAY DRUMS



It doesnt have to be the drum-kit... hand drumming is a great way to begin your life of drums... it's all about patterns, and remember this also relates to synthwork too, cos alot (most frankly) of patterns in dance are simply drum patterns played by synth sounds, so knowing about patterns & techniques REALLY helps to the extent that i think it's fair to say that any experienced drummer with a healthy knowledge of genre's will find it easier to make dance patterns if they attend to the way dance is constructed from a production and 'linear' point of view (This derives from DJ's). So checkout the adult education courses, colleges, drumming groups etc in your area, get along and join up, several if possible... or do one class/course and move on to take in as many genre's as you can to improve your musical 'beats' knowledge. You'll be surpised mebbe to find so many patterns easily recognisable in the dance music you listen too now - You don't think so?... hmmm...


ROOTS!

Dance drum's are influenced by world beats, and those can be broadly categorised into genre's or 'influences' - African drumming is of course very important, Latin is also crucial, coming from S.America & being as it is a crossover between Spanish & African cultural styles; the Spanish being influenced of course by the Arab or 'Moors' invasion of Spain which ended around the 1250-1300, and thus you need to also checkout Egyptian music, Arabic music & Berber music (N.Africa)... That Islamic culture spread as far as Pakistan & Northern India region (& in europe they got as far as Toulous i think) so it's also WELL worth a look at some of those Kuwali musicians like Nusrat Fettah Ali Khan too , who trust me is a DON!!... It's like indian music, but with a more steady beat.

Spanish music, culture and even the people themselves in their families genetic history, are, like the Balearic islands etc, deeply influenced by the Arabic culture & it's music, with it's typical 3-time triplet based rhythms found in Flamenco from Spain & Samba from S.America etc.... It's about culture basicaly... Let's take a little interlude here cos there' some deep stuff in there and it also yeilds musical oddities & influencess....

Celtic & Gaelic music/rhythms too are very interesting & can be absorbed & added to your repetoire as they were also deeply influential on stuff like the development of tap-dancing in the 'Jazz-age' of the American 20's & 30's with the Irish & Scottish 'Clog dancing'... again it is 3-time influenced... Interestingly some say the origin of the Celtic church is from Egyptian Preists who travelled to Ireland and setup the movement, being as there are many similarities between celtic religious symbols and the same in Egyptian anchient religions !!

This 3-time stuff also appears in Jamaican culture of course being so close to S.America and originaly like S. America populated by African slaves as a stop off point to the southern States of America, so they carried their culture with them.... Reggea music is riddled with 3 time riddims both in the drums and the delay patterns of the classic dub's, & ALL modern Dancehall riddims are 3 time based evolving as they did from the Ragga styles which in turn evolved from the classic Reggea '3-time break' - I worked in reggea studio's exclusively during the period that saw the creation & rise of Ragga, and to me it is a direct influence of the technology... stuff you couldnt do with tape but you COULD with sequencers... I reckon one day some guy had a 3 time break going in the sequencer, was looping it to work on it, and some guy started chatting on the loop, cos thats what we used to do... One of the jamaican labels released one of them, and Ragga was born 'public', i reckon that is how it went as a good guess cos we and other studio's and players were all doing that and it was matter of time before it got released on a bigger and bigger scale and took over... That's how culture and technology gel to create new styles I guess.. Like the classic 'Chup Chup Chup' sample in dancehall... It HAS to come from 'Donkey-Kong' on the S-NES and it DID appear on tracks after Donkey-Kong came out!.. check it out, that effect IS in Donkey-Kong BEFORE it appeared in Dancehall I reckon. It's just more culture stuff, the garage MC's now integrate lots of stuff from video games & movies still, always have... back in the day they'd be chattin about Clint eastwood or Humphrey Bogart etc... movie influences etc.

Also 3-Time patterns/feel is a big basis of original Blues music in America as again, African slaves mixed their 3 time cultural rhythms with european stuff etc and it carried into the latter half of the twentieth Century & evolved... although there is lots of classic African pentatonic scales basis too in original blues, (Pentatonic tuning is what you get on Marimba's etc)... That classic African 3-time is there with 12 bar blues & delta blues resolving at multiples of 3's until the white american's got hold of it and 'strightened' it out to more square 16 bar blues & then rock and roll, but if you listen to Muddy waters that 3 time swing is there which you can count off easily in tracks like 'I'm a man' even tho it appears to be a straight time vibe on the surface.....

Also this 3-time cultural descendency appears in hiphop from time to time, even tho hardly any punters/fans can see it or would know it if it jumped up and bit them in the ass!! - - Some producers DO use it... There's alot talked about Timbaland's beats, well I don't think it's any coincidence that he's a just a stone's throw from the West Indies, his beats are riddled with subtle triplet feels on the hat patterns giving his beats those characteristic Timba flows... The whole problem is, people are blinkered... They see HipHop and they aint going to listen to NOTHING else.... Then they want to know how he does it!!!... obviously Mr Timbaland DOES checkout beats & music from all over, and it shows like crazy in his beats for which he is renowned....

Also staying with the HIPHOP style, my favourite MC is the mighty Bustah Ryhmes, even tho he's getting on a bit now :) .. he and others of his crossover ilk are my favourite cos when he busts his lyrics it's again riddled with yard style triplet & 3-time crossover feels which he weaves round the beat... To me he's the 'Jamaican style MC' cos it's so close to the feel of artists like Beanie Man & Burru Banton etc, and I love that style cos it is so rythmicaly intense and varied compared to alot of the sluggish lyric's chatted by the amateurs..... Ah, such an interesting subject eh?... and that is why you need to get into it people !!.... Roots & Culture....



KICK OFF

So to kick off the drum Article series - Let's look at the actual raw material we are working with, the actual drum samples themselves, and some stuff about that and how these issues can improve your drums, wether doing straight banging hardhouse or creating more subtle pop/dance crossover or deep RnB or soul tracks, hiphop etc etc... Knowing a few things about the weapons helps us to be more creative -



The samples we use in drums come in two main forms...

  • Drum boxes with fixed 'single-shot' samples held in rom memory or added from pcm sample cards.

  • Samplers loading drum sounds from cards & disc's allowing you to create your own, or d/l and add.


Samples in drums can be straight single-shot samples, that's the most basic drum sound you get, where one sample plays one drum.... but you can also have layered samples. Layering samples yeilds two purposes... Adding realism if trying to immitate a 'real drummer' in a track, or to create effects if using weirder sounds... I'm not talking here about creating a single sample by mixing layered sounds together, overlaid on top of each other and blended, then bounced down to a single-shot sample and loaded for playing.... i'm talking about actualy keeping the different drum sample layers seperate and assigning them to a single drum pad/note-number - Some drum creators, especialy those going for 'realistic real' drums in pop rock & advertising music do use lots of multiple samples to imitate old classic or new-sound drum kits being played live, especialy to reproduce old classic tunes for advertising etc - yes, alot of the classic tracks you hear on TV ad's are NOT the original tracks, but copies, cos then they only have to pay publishing royalties, NOT mechanical licencing for the tracks, and there are studio's for the industry specialising in reproducing old classic's just for this purpose -

These drum creators DO use multiple samples such as from the Bob Clearmountain CD's etc etc to create 'real as possible' drumming immitations, and they are undetectable in most cases from live playing. Multi-layering of samples per pad/note, is possible with bigger modern samplers & new software drum soft's & is done to acheive realism because a drum when hit at different velocities with a stick, SOUNDS different and has different overtones when hit harder or softer

Generaly speaking when a drumskin is hit LOUDER, it is 'sharper, more attacking and more 'trebley' with more hi-end frequency content audible... That high-end content IS there when played softly, but it get's lost in any mix of course as the bass & mid tones dominate & because bass & mid tones have more energy...

Also there are 'varieties' of hits... With kit drums, working nearer towards a 'rimshot' for example until full-on rimshot is acheived is one distinct tonal variation - A rimshot for the un-initiated is when the drummer plays the drum with the stick tip hitting the skin, and the stick shaft hitting the steel rim simultaneously to create a drum sound with a loud THWACK 'cracking' noise. Stuart Copeland of The Police was the archetypal 'rimshot man' drummer in popular music, playing most of The Police tracks with a rimshot on every snare beat, no mean feat if you're a drummer I can tell you, and easier with his jazz stick techique cos the stick is already held in a flatter position in the palm level with the head/rim angle -

Then you also have stick noise, etc, then you have the total difference in the drum character when real drums are 'rolled', associated with multiple stick hits whilst the decay of the previous hit's have not fully reached the end of their decay cycle etc...

So in these cases, to create as real as possible 'real drums', yes!!!.... multiple samples, layering several samples on the same pad/note number with velocity cross fading etc is often done....


The cheap-ass easy way to get velocity tonal variation

For dance and other styles the EASIEST way to simulate these subtleties without going mad with multiple drum samples is simply to assign a filter to the drum VELOCITY, then the HARDER the drum is hit (the higher the velocity) the 'sharper' the sound, as is true with real drums... in most mix situations this does the trick, and it provides extra dynamic's to your drums...

Some drum boxes such as ALESIS SR16 does use two samples for it's DYNAMIC sounds such as dynamic conga & snare presets, cross-fading between the two samples (one softer, one harder with more rimshot in the case of the snare) - Others actualy have a filter, such as the yamaha RY30.... some allow you to do velocity cross fading as well as filter velocity fading, but they are rare, and would be really classed more as a drum sample synth... You get this type of power now for cheap in the drum s/w's appearing such as BATTERY from NATIVE INSTUMENTS or even the cheaper ones like the RM-2 from Linplug & even the freeware's like RM-F, again from Linplug etc etc..





VELOCITY CROSS FADING

So how does this Velocity corss-fading work then?... well it's easiest to see with some example images... so here is some we made earlier :) - Let's say your drumbox/sampler has two samples assigned to the snare pad/note number.. Well, one snare sample for example is a softer snare, rounded and deeper... The second snare sample can be more cracking and sharper with more rimshot on it... Having the two setup to 'VELOCITY CROSS-FADE means that the louder you play each snare, the more the 'Loud & cracking' sample takes over, so that with the loudest hits with the greatest velocity, you hear ONLY the 'Cracking-loud' snare sample, and not the softer one at all... but at lighter snare strokes, you hear the 'softer' snare sample... check it out!!...




Ok... here's our first sample, (brown) and with the velocity low, that's all we hear...





Now we have crept up the velocity a bit, and a little of the second snare sample (green) is starting to come thru giving the sound just slightly more 'crack' to the sound...




Now we are at about halfway, and you can see it's about 50/50 with both samples as loud as each other, at this point of course, the first sample has 'FADED-OUT' by 50% of it's strength in volume, and the second sample has 'FADED-IN' by 50% of it's max volume, so we have a similar overall volume based on the velocity of the hit, if the first sample DIDN'T fade down then you'd get the overtone of the second CRACK sounding snare, but with the full volume of the second it's just overload the channel/output...





Now we are at 75% roughly, and you can see the first sample, the softer one has almost FADED-OUT completely in volume and the second louder 'CRACKING' snare has much more dominance in the sound...





Now at full on LOUD velocity (almost max) which would be about a Velocity number of say 120 in this iamge.. The second 'CRACKING' snare (green) is now the only one heard, providing us with our 'full-on' load snare sound...it can still go abit louder with more velocity, but any increase will just be heard as the same sample but louder.




SETTING THE SETTINGS ?!

OK, but you might ask... "how do we define how this all happens"? - and the answer would be: "in the sampler/drumbox/soft's VELOCITY-FADE settings of course" - Most basic drum devices with velocity cross-fading don't even give you the 'CENTER-POINT' velocity setting; they just do it with a fixed point of 50% of the max velocity (velocity 64), being the point at which both samples are 50% of their max volume, nice and simple... for each step UP in velocity, the second sample fades UP by 1/127th step of it's max Volume, and the first sample fades OUT/DOWN by 1/127th step of it's max volume - That's simple & easy, but some drum-softs & drumboxes & samplers offer more control... This is how it works... roughly...



OK... this would be the type of settings you'd get, and will allow you to set things up... You can define the 'CENTER-VELOCITY' - various samplers & drumboxes & drum-s/w's will call this different things, but in essence this is where you simply assign the overall velocity level (0 - 127) at which both samples are at 50% of their MAX volume as samples - There can be further settings tho!!...

A definable 'START' point for the second layer sample, to set the velocity (0-127) you want SAMPLE_2 to START to fade in/up, like an ON switch so to speak. In this example the START point is set to velocity number 32, and up to that point SAMPLE_1 is the only one playing at whatever velocity 0-32 level being used (very quiet levels) and SAMPLE_2 not heard at all (100/0%) - Any increment UP from that velocity of 32 will yeild a reduction in the volume of SAMPLE_1, and an increase in the volume of SAMPLE_2 -

A definable 'START' point of the first sample to say at what velocity (0-127) you'd like it to STOP and totally fade out/down (0/100%)... in this example the point at which the SAMPLE_2 is the only one playing comes at about 75% of max velocity (velocity level 96), after that point ONLY SAMPLE_2 is heard - Any increment UP from that velocity of 96 will yeild an increase in the volume of SAMPLE_2 only...

Naturaly this takes some quite comlpexed maths for the sampler to do, as it has to fade out sample_1 and fade UP sample_2 the louder you play, or fade out sample_2 and fade up sample_1 the quieter you play... both relative to each other, but ALSO make the OVERALL volume increase or decrease too at the same time.... If it didn't do that, then for example, as you played louder & Sample_1 decreased in volume as sample_2 increased in volume both equaly, you'd hear no difference in overall velocity at all cos they'd be compensating each other out and you'd hear just the same 'Loudness' all the time!!.. so it takes some maths!... the sampler has to adjust the relative levels of either sample layer, and at the same time adjust the overall volume of each relative to the velocity played...


Having those extra facilities just add's more power, and of course, with drum samplers that allow MORE than two layers per note/pad, you MUST have a way to define at what Velocity each of the samples STARTS & ENDS otherwise chaos will ensue cos you'd have no way to define at what level the layers start for one thing... But the basic type is fine, and it's what you'll find on most basic samplers and any drumboxes that allow velocity cross-fading, AND allow you to setup a crossover 50/50 point..



But there is another use for Velocity layering of samples with drums, and that is:



VELOCITY SWITCHING

Velocity switching simply allows two or more different samples to 'switch' with velocity - once you HIT the pad or a sequenced note exceeds the set velocity-switch level, (perhaps 80-100 from a total 127 max midi velocity levels), the sample switches to a different one... This is useful for midi kit drummers and to maximise the available total sounds. Also it is good for FX, but it's got nothing to do with acheiving 'realistic' drums etc.









FURTHER DETAIL & PRODUCTION



Also drums have another characteristic when struck.. The skin slightly up-tunes with the drum strike, as the stick, beater or hand pounds down on the skin, Bass Tabla is the archetype for this, the players taps the loose bassdrum skin and then slides his fingers over the skin in a forward motion from the strike pushing down on the loose drum-head causing it to tension UP & pitch-bend UP with the familiar 'dwoooumph' sound of the bass tabla... Also Timpani drums in an orchestra actualy have tune pedals on them allowing the player to play & alter the skins tension at the same time.... You can add this effect to drums when they are hit with PITCH control if available on your sampler or drumsoft (you won't find this on a drumbox), and even go mad and add extreme pitching examples to over-emphasise this effect for custom sounds... For absolute realism with drum production the drum sample needs not only to have the tonal variations with velocity done with layering cross-fades & filter to velocity, but also this effect of the head slightly detuning at the strike.... Now the problem is that on cheaper samplers & softs you'll only get ONE extra envelope which you'll want to assign to your filter.. but where two envelopes are available you can assign the second spare envelope to PITCH... As I say, only those going for the highest possible quality of 'real-drums' imitation woul dbother to do this, and besides, the actual sample drum-shot will have this contained within the actual sampler recording of the drum being hit... but synth-drums also can have this effect so I'm going to add it...

In essence, for realism styles to create POSITIVE pitch increase on the attack you assign your Envelope to the drum sample PITCH, then use a very very fast attack, NO sustain &/or NO release, then tweak the decay until it sounds right.. Set the depth acording to how intense you want the effect... When the drum triggers, it tunes HIGHER for a split second then comes back up to pitch... Alternatively you can apply NEGATIVE pitch envelope so the drum LOWERS on trigger then decays back to pitch.. POSITIVE pitch Mod' or PITCH enveloping gives you the classic 70's syndrums sound - Doo Doo Doo!!.. heh heh.. disco fever.. or again this effect was popular in 70's reggea & dub's etc...



Here's a POSITIVE PITCH ENVELOPE...



You can see the envelope is not too fast for a 'syndrum' type effect - when triggered the drum will rise up fast in pitch, then decay down to almost it's original pitch quite quickly; finally sustaining down the last little amount to it's original pitch (ROOT PITCH) before the full length of the sample has elapsed.



Here's a NEGATIVE PITCH ENVELOPE...



You can see the envelope is not too fast for a 'syndrum' type effect - when triggered the drum will fall down fast in pitch, then decay up again to almost it's original pitch quite quickly; finally sustaining up the last little amount to it's original pitch (ROOT PITCH) before the full length of the sample has elapsed.





IN REAL LIFE

Here you can see the velocity/layer mapping section from Native Instruments BATTERY software drums (excellent by the way!) - here you can see two drums applied to a 'Cell' in BATTERY... A vintage Rogers brass snare, (which some of you might have cos it was available for download some time ago here at Dancetech), and a vintage Tama snare, again from the Dancetech collection).. incidently, i'd put money on it that one of my snare's from that dancetech Snare sample-Pak was used on the track 'Flowers', i'd know that snare anywhere!!...




Anyways...You can see now the Rogers snare selected, and it is set with a low velocity of 1, so it is the snare that plays with the starting lowest possible velocity... then it has a max velocity of 72 which means when the velocity of a midi note assigned to that 'Cell' passes 82, it's no longer going to play and the other snare sample, the Tama one, will take over completely and be the only one audible....




You can also see BATTERY has a FADE (orange/ON) button which if you click it IN means that 'CELL' will play it's assigned samples with CROSS-FADE characteristic's between samples using the assigned VELOCITY settings as opposed to CROSS-SWITCHING between samples, and with BATTERY you can assign more than two samples per cell to create really complexed Cross-Switch & Cross-Fade effects !!... PER CELL!!.. Here's six layers/samples assigned to a 'Cell' in BATTERY.. it really is an awesome drum s/w!!...







SPECIAL EFFECTS & WEIRDITY!!

Of course, it doesn't have to be just drum samples... people fail to see often what sampling is all about!... ANY sound shot/sample can be a layer adding to a drum/percussion pallette's variety and richness, and often getting you fierce sounds that leave people saying "how d'you do that?... what's that sample/sound?" - You'd be surpised what samples sound good as drums, such as cardboard boxes!!.. Yup, in fact, I think it's true that one of Eddie Cochrane's records (old rock&roll guy) used a cardboard box as the kickdrum played with a normal beater... certainly on Jackson Brown's album (I think it's 'Against the Wind') ??.. anyways it's the one with a few tracks on the album recorded on their tour-bus as they travelled between gig locations, and you can hear the bus engine on the recordings... anyways, one one track, the drummer was sitting in his seat playing a snare, and using a cardboard box as his kikdrum played with his pedal... Cardboard boxes really sound like drums!!

It's about innovation sampling!! - spend a day in the garage (if you've got one cos the accoustic's are awesome for cracking drum sounds), and get sonme cardboard boxes of different sizes and thicknesses, and try twacking them with different sticks and whatever, garden cane, broom handles, pick-axe handles, whatever, thrash those boxes!!!.. the boxy sounding 'crack' you get from hiding a solid cardbord box with a sick has to be heard on playback to be appreciated!.. use these in isolation, or layered with real snare samples or other drums etc to create awesome drum & percussion samples to big-up your arsenal !!..... ANYTHING goes!...Pots & pans, boxes, pipes & scaffolding poles.. Try a scaffold pole dropped on a cncrete floor of the yard or garage!!... It'll be well worth dragging your DAT or recorder down to the garage with an extention trust me!!... and remember... AMAZING unexpected results can be acheived when sample-hits are detuned or up-tuned in pitch drasticaly!!....

With all this smacking & bashing things, thats how the Kung-Fu films get their wicked 'crack, smack and punch' sounds, by sampling stuff being hit or smacked together!!... take two short planks of tongue & groove DIY wood and slap them hard together to make dynamic rabbit-punch 'smack' noises.... heh heh... to get that authentic 'Golden Harvest' vintage sound, record your punch sounds over to an old reel to reel tape machine and really overdrive & saturate the tape!.. or if you've no tape reel-to-reel try some distortion!!.... genuine 'Drunken Master' stylee WU-TANG!!... You too can create your very own 'Kung-Fu Fight-Sounds FX' library in the comfort of your own home!!... yup!!...



"Haaaaaaaay!!.. Look !!... there's a dirty ol' beggar sitting on the steps of our school!!!.. No WONDER we had bad luck and the Mayors son want to the other school for lessons!!... BEAT'IM UUUUUUUUUUPPP!!!!!" - heh heh... yes indeedy... also slapping wet fish and smashing ripe melons etc with hammers provides all your evil head-crusher & flesh wound effects!!... remember.. LAYERING - layer sound together with real drum & percussion sounds or with whatever to create new and exciting techno percussion sounds!... If you've no ability to layer in your sampler to the levels you need, do it in your PC editor software and transfer the results to your sampler or drum sample player hardware.



And THAT people, is all in all why we bang on about using samplers for drums so much at DT... You don't have to spend lot's either, there's SO MANY great cheap sampler in the free ad's, and any of the cheaper old sampler will RULE over a drumbox as long as you have a sequencer to trigger the sounds, you can also trigger drum samples from a drum sampler WITH your drumbox, if your drumbox send OUT midi note data as some will do, so you could use the sampler as a backup for your drumbox.

A sampler like the awesome E-MAX sampler (MY SECRET WEAPON) goes s/h in the free-ad's for about 250 quid now, and offers FULL ANALOG synthesis of your drum sounds, with curtis chips (same brand used in TB303 as well).... two samples per key, and of course the superb e-mu 12 bit sound made famous by the SP12 & SP1200 boxes so renowned in hiphop that NO new sampler can do no matter HOW expensive... and you get 8 mono outs and stereo, and it'll do loops to as well as ALL other sounds such as basses & synths, strings etc..... a MONSTER drum machine.

Other GREAT drum samplers often overlooked are the ROLAND samplers, the s330/s550 and their keyboard-version counterparts and the wicked S760 and of course the sampler of chocie for Liam of the Prodigy, the W30 (keyboard with synth & sequencer version of the S330/S550) - the old akai 12 bits the s900 is also good, as is the S950 (best bet as it has more memory, time stretch and variable sampling for maximising your sample time - these samplers ALL turned out ALL the classic club hits that are the basis of dance as we know it today, also the FZ1/10/20 etc from Casio was THE sampler that made all COLDCUT's seminal tracks, 16 bit, but an AWESOME device !!!!!!!!

The OTHER reason for using a sampler for drum is it allows you access to more genre's, stuff like garage (uk style) CANNOT be done with most normal drum samples you find on the www. Garage drums requires short 'tuned-up' samples with MUCH shorter snappy decay times than most normal drums... The other thing is you can finely adjust the decay times of drum's/samples, and many newbies don't realise how CRITICAL this is for making riddims really flow & kick!!.... Drum samples, especially open hi-hats in house & trance styles CANNOT be done right if the hi-hat decay lasts to long, or conversely finishes too early... For open hat syncopations to work and keep the flow & vibe, open hat slices need to decay EXACTLY right!!... mostly it is true to say only a sampler will let you fine tune this, as few drumboxes allow sample decay times to be set.



SAMPLES & BITRATES

The industry has a pervasive quality of pushing the 'Latest technology' - it's what they need to do to stay alive, and in some cases we benefit from this... The latest s/w's and PC etc are undoubtably better and faster and make our work easier... but sometimes newbies fall into a trap of thinking ANYTHING 'latest' is 'better'... nope!!..,. when it comes to samples in drums this isn't the case at all... 16 & 24bit samples are held to be 'better' as they have greater dynamic range and a higher top end, and greater resolution & detail... so yes, if you are going for total realism of drum samples, they will be better for you... But in DANCE, the dynamic's and priorities are different, and 12-bit samples for drums have a quality you CANNOT get with modern sampler really.. 12-bit samples have a sort of inperceptible grainy quality, but most of all they have a cracking punch to them which is superb!!... All the classic hip-hop boxes are 12 bit like the E-mu SP12 & MPC-60 & the Oberheim DMX etc... so that's another reason to look at old samplers... I'm not going to get into this in-depth here; but suffice to say, 12 bit doesn't mean it's inferior to 16 bit AT ALL... don't fall for that one as a newbie... old & cheap often means 'better & best' for us danceheads!!!...

Also like mentioned, a sampler used instead of a drumbox get's you access to loops !! - you can add drum & other loops to your repetoir even with the limited sample memory! - If you listen to the latest Dre tracks you WILL hear downsampled/lofi loops in there, full of alaising artefacts, all grainy and ringing with that unmistakeable Low sample-rate sound - You too can acheive this effect by simply sampling at very low sample-rates for your loops!.. Try sampling your vinyl loops at 15-20khz for ultra-low quality, and listen to the effect when it plays back.. Yup!!... if you are a hiphop-head you'll recognise the effect from Dre and other producers, and when you put this lo-fi inside a production mixed with higher sample rates & other sounds with clarity, it really works and makes loops stand out like crazy... Use this effect for loops which DON'T carry the beat or need to be hard clear & punchy... Stuff like vocal or keyboard & guitar riff loops benefit best from this effect and you can mix them lower in the mix for subtlety whilst the low-bandwith makes them stand out even tho they are low in the mix!!... The OTHER advantage is, you maximise your memory this way!!... samplers like the S900 & Emax have 750kb of ram.. using loops sampled at 20Khz or 15Khz or less means much more available sample-time... If you sample at 20Khz or less you'll double your sampletime up to about 16-20 seconds which is tons!!... and use MONO samples too to max your times.. also MONO samples work better for drums on older samplers...

Yeah verily we say unto you - eschew the modern smaplers of today with their mind numbing features, and get an old 12 bit or old classic 16 bit and LIVE !!!!! - they are as cheap as a cheezy cheap effect unit in the s/h ad's, and GUARANTEED BY DANCETECH to do more for your toons than ANY other bit of kit could do at any price. If the cheap sampler doesn't layer no big deal... custom samples will improve your repetoir and add new sounds to your mixes... Thst's all I can think of now and we've reached a pretty decent page-load size already... so we'll close this page and leave more for the next one in the series.... meanwhile, get that sampler out & get busy!














COMMENTS FOR:

'DRUM STUFF - ONE'


There are a total:  29  comments posted to this page.


Name:  Sebastian
Email: 
Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  25-Apr-01

Very good article. I cant wait for the next one. A Battery review would be cool too...

Bye

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Name:  Sitar
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Activity:  part-timer
Date:  25-Apr-01

Excellent article. I can't wait for the next too. I'd say keep it general for a while still so that someone with any brand of sampler or drumbox can get useful ideas. The velocity stuff can be used by just about anybody.

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Name:  roman
Email: 
Activity:  part-timer
Date:  28-Apr-01

Nice info. One thing that I have most trouble
with is sourcing the clean drum sounds of
dancehall reggae. I know all about vinyl
drums and layering, decaying etc. But the
soft crisp hihats of digital jamaica elude me.
Are they from drum machines, sound
modules?? Also you mention you've worked
in Reggae studios, well I am a budding
reggae producer and have also have a studio
in JA that have invited me to come over and
be an assistant, and from my perspective
LEARN. Maybe you could give me some
advice with Reggae productions. I have 2
S950's and used them for years but know the
ease of loading and saving productions within
Logic using the EXS24 is too seductive.
Actually I haven't paid much attention to how
the sound of the EXS differs to the S950 yet.
Been too busy trying to get the music
happening. But I'll definately have to do some
comparisons cause I know the S950 like the
back of my hand.
Before I go, my favourite drum sounds are DJ
Premiers productions, Pete Rock and for
Reggae alot of people but Phillip 'fattis'
Burrell is wicked.
Peace.

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Name:  Mattias
Email: 
Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  04-May-01

Excellent. I am really u s i n g this article.
However,I have never understood why I need a sampler (except its coolness). What can't be done with an MD, a mic and Cool Edit etc that a sampler can do?

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Name:  Godemp
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Activity:  part-timer
Date:  05-May-01

If your using a computer to edit sounds, wouldn't just lowering the volume by a certain %, then re normalizing the sample yield almost the same sound as 12 bit?

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Name:  Davka
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  13-May-01

OK

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Name:  Soulboy
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Activity:  part-timer
Date:  15-May-01

Toltally agree with the low bitrate part. I Have a S950 and a Casio RZ1 (an 8 bit sample/drum machine). They both kick for not only drums, but everything.

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Name:  jamese
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Website?:  yes please !!
Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  19-May-01

Cool, cool article. This site keeps getting better - relevant, practical,
unpretentious (if I read ONE MORE 'digital synths are crap - I know cos I can twiddle a friggin filter knob' thread at Sonic State....)

Keep up the good work lad!

oh yeah, drums....Just thought I'd point out that plenty of wave editors (e.g. Cool Edit) can convert a sample to 8-bit and back for a low-bittage effect. This might be preferable to tying yourself to, say, an FZ's limitations - even 16-bit units are dirt cheap s/h nowadays (s2000??). Then you get a choice, more poly etc.

Personally, I would favour the low bandwidth approach anyway - ANY drum sound packs more punch at 22k, if you can get away with shaving anymore off, so much the better (depends on the sample). This can even work on supposedly high-end stuff like hi-hats - gives em a great 'big fuckin dustbin lid' quality (hip hop, garage??).

Works for me anyway.

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Name:  icarus
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  10-Jun-01

Just wanted to say k. wicked, i love reading your articles. More fun than watching a drunken monkey try to tapdance. goodday to ya.:)

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Name:  The Reformant
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Website?:  nope
Activity:  part-timer
Date:  19-Jun-01

Umm is it just me or was all of this obvious (apart from the history lesson of course!!) any way you said you were going to look at styles and programming and didnt!! What would be good is going through some of the theory of constructing drumbeats..you know two-steps and four to the floors, paradiddles etc. etc.

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Name:  Frantik
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  13-Jul-01

Here's a neat trick: Have 3 drum channels. CH1 has the original shot; CH2 has a well compressed version; CH3 has an eq version. Then you feed all 3 channels thru another compressor.

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Name:  steven
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Activity:  Professional
Date:  13-Jul-01

what are some helpful patterns used in dance music?

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Name:  bastiaan
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Activity: 
Date:  25-Jul-01

wasn't the number invented by the Indians (the asian variety)??? Still nice history part...puts things in a less eurocentric perspective.

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Name:  boab
Email: 
Activity:  Professional
Date:  08-Sep-01

i wonder if you could give me some advice, i have a roland vs840gx 8 track digital recorder, and a yamaha cs6x keyboard with some great drum sounds. i want to record directly from this keyboard to the recorder, but want to quantize after ive recorded. i know that you need a sequencer, or a pc, but i just wondered if you know of any other means of achieving this? any advice would be gratefully accepted thanks for reading this email boab.

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Name:  Tony
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  10-Sep-01

FYI

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Name:  whisper
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Website?:  http://www.sciam.com/askexpert/math/math11/
Activity: 
Date:  21-Oct-01

arabs didnt invent the zero

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Name:  a
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  18-Nov-01

iranian style

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Name:  Finimo Kieribo
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Activity: 
Date:  25-Feb-03

Is there a Drum stuff two?

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Name:  miq
Email: 
Activity:  Professional
Date:  18-Mar-03

Do you know in the battery sampler how to get the sample to stop when you release the note... they always play to the end... I can't find it anywhere...
thanx,
M.

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Name:  Ivo
Email: 
Activity:  Professional
Date:  27-Mar-03

Please send me your program!Ok????
Thanks

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Name:  Steve-O
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Website?:  www.mp3.com/strangecat
Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  29-Mar-03

I would like to try out that battery Sampler^_*
How can I get a hold of it? I am trying to get better at creating Groov'n music

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Name:  Nintirri
Email: 
Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  31-May-03

NOT A COMMENT \But we could use some help.
We are a community of 3000 mixed race and class people, who live in a remote region of 150,000 sq kilometers (about 100,000 sq miles)in Australia.
We have an 'offer' of a Government grant to do a community building exercise with the grant.
One suggestion that we are looking at is to build a Jamaican style 'steel band from re-cycled fuel drums and the like. We also have an Australian innovation called a 'Thongophone' made from varying lengths of PVC tube and played with old thong footwear.
What we would like to access is information or contact with an expert in the manufacture of these drums.
We ahve seen orchestras of up to 50 of these drums (working with some other instruments sometimes) and this is what we envisage for our steel band.
Could you please give us any direction towards somebody who actually can make these instruments?
Gratefully yours for any assistance,
Vernon Brabazon, for the Nintirri Community, East Pilbara, Western Australia.

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Name:  trichome kid
Email: 
Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  16-Jan-04

hey, heres a brief background on me so you can help me easier (i HOPE) I was in band for 5 years (could not stand to or good at reading music)(made first chair in "79" with 4 snarists under me,,,,,,for only about a quarter though!!! had a full set for about 3 years (NEVER TAKE ANYTHING TO SOMEONES HOUSE IN THERE CARE,,,,,,,BECAUSE THEY CAN (AND DID) SELL OFF YOUR iTEMS AND ALL THE POLICE SAID WAS " ANYTHING THATS LEFT AT SOMEONE ELSES HOUSE AND BOTH PARTIES ARE OK WITH THIS THAT MAKES IT OK FOR THE RESIDENT OF THAT PROPERTY (NON RENT SITUATION) TO DO WITH AS THEY SEE FIT BECAUSE WE WERE STUPID ENOUGH TO TRUST AAANNYYBBOODDYY!!!!!!!!! so it GOT SOLD (- #@!*&%*!@ -) - IN "81" JACK CASTLES his name, "washington state" (I'D LUV TO SAY HIIIII!!! AFTER ALL THESE YEARS. sorry I get riled up still after all these years,,,,,,, I just recieved a ROLAND MC505 GROOVEBOX,a pioneer efx500 drum machine, ALESIS DM5 WITH 2 ROLAND SINGLE TRIGGER PADS, AND 2 " " DOUBLE TRIGGER PADS (PD6, PD7) (CANNOT FIND THE WAY TO ACTIVATE THE DOUBLE TRIG EFFECT W/ THE ALESIS YET,DONT KNOW IF THE DM5 IS EVEN CAPABLE no manuals came with anything!) heres my main question for now,,, using my cpu FOR THE SEQUENCER-- (DO NOT KNOW IF THE BUILT IN ONE ON THE 505 IS ADIQUIATE ENOUGH OR NOT,)-- HOW DO i PUT the MC505, Efx500, Alesis DM5,AND AGAIN,," MY CPU" ALL IN LINE, AND INSYNC, SO THAT i CAN START HAVING MORE FUN??? THANX for your patience with this letter, but as I'm sure you can tell THAT IS A VERY BAD SUBJECT,,,,,,,,OOHH" HERES THE KICKER ON THAT,,,(I promise I'll quit after this,) I used to were last years close on the first day of school, I had cardboard inside my shoes(holes) and duck tape holding them together because we had no mony and my kick ass "scottish" folks saved for 5 months just so I could get that set!!!!! any ways thats my "so called-brief" story.(IM 38 now and it still bugs me!!!!!! thanx again! mike dee "trichome kid"

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Name:  mark
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Website?:  www.dancetech
Activity:  Professional
Date:  17-Apr-04

very useful i am trying to build up my drum samples

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Name:  Rizvi
Email: 
Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  07-Jul-04

Can you please provide me the method for programming drums using Midiman Oxyden 8.
Thanks

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Name:  GhostRunner
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Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  05-Apr-05

Much Respect and Big Up Ya self!! Rudebwoy Soundbwoy Full Effect Infect For The Diverse Generation, dropping it simple...A++ On this piece. I find it to be informative and humerous as well as BOOOYAKASHA!!! RESTECPA!!! BOH!!! BOH!! BOH!!! YEEEUHH!!

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Name:  chris
Email: 
Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  08-Jun-05

can anyone know of any cool 'rock' drum loops, beats, for putting behind my guitar stuff??? Is there any cool sites or downloads i can get? Thanx!

regards

Chris

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Name:  basset
Email: 
Website?:  http://www.dancetech.com/aa_dt_new/index.cfm
Activity:  Professional
Date:  07-Feb-06

merci

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Last added comment

Name:  Henrik Max
Email: 
Website?:  --
Activity:  Hobby-ist
Date:  26-May-06

How do you make a decent dance bass drum (kick)? aka what The Attic, Axwell and all other "mainstream" producers use. I can make an OK kick by using Battery and kicks from vipzonesound but Im searching for that "pumping" effect. Thx in advance! =)

Cheers

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