#9: Why Drum Samples Might Even Sound MORE NATURAL Than Your “Real Drums”

Using triggers and drum samples is a no-no? You want to keep your "real, natural drums" at all cost?

You might want to think twice about that. Because drum sample enhancement (or replacement) can even sound MORE NATURAL than using your live drums only. In this episode we talk about why that is, why you don't need to be afraid of samples and what you can do to make sure your mix engineer can actually use as much of your live drums as possible.


Things you'll learn in this episode:

  • What you can do to make your live drums work in a mix
  • Why so many DIY recordings need samples to sound professional and really come to life
  • Why samples are not a bad thing and don't sound fake by default
  • Why you should make your own drum samples
  • How to actually make your own drum samples

Download Malcom's Free Drum Samples:

People mentioned in this episode:

Software Mentioned In This Episode:

Related Podcast Episodes:

Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB Podcast 009 - Why Drum Samples Might Even Sound More Natural Than Your Real Drums

[00:00:00] Malcom: [00:00:00] I think probably like the best piece of advice we could even give on this episode, um, is the idea of making your own samples, your tracks. 

Benedikt: [00:00:11] This is the self recording band podcast, the show where we help you make exciting records on your own wherever you are, DIY stuff. Let's go.

Hello and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I am your host Benedick time. And I'm here with my amazing cohost, Malcolm. Oh, and flip. How are you Malcolm? 

Malcom: [00:00:34] Good. I'm excited to be here. I've been sitting inside self quarantined and I really like chatting with people. 

Benedikt: [00:00:41] Yeah, same here. Everybody does right now.

That's why the internet is. Just fast enough to do a podcast, I think. I hope it will be stable and get us through till the end. 

Malcom: [00:00:53] Yes. People might have to bear with us while we go through this, just because we're, we're not always going to be able to record it in our [00:01:00] usual setup. Um, but I think it's gonna work out great.

Benedikt: [00:01:03] Yeah, I think so too. And in case you're wondering if this is sounding a little different than usual, I'm using a little, a different mic today. I'm using a handheld Mike as I'm not in my studio, but in my home office, um, because we are, I can't still work, but because of the whole Corona stuff, we. Cannot really leave the house and should only do if absolutely necessary.

So I tried a little home, um, podcast set up today, and I hope that works. But yeah, if you're listening to this in like a year or so, you might not know what we're talking about. Um, that's the case right now. So, uh, by the way, if you just, if you've just discovered this podcast and you don't know what we're all about, and you're like, this is the first thing you listened to from us.

There's a platform called the self recording band. It's the same name as this podcast, and it's about teaching people how to record on their own in their gym [00:02:00] spaces, how to make exciting records on their own without, um, actually making them sound like a demo. Or a DIY record, and if you go to the self recording pant.com that's the website, you'll find a blog.

You'll find all the podcast episodes, you'll find videos, you'll find free downloads and right at the homepage, or if you go directly to the surf recording, pant.com/ten step guide. You'll find a 10 step guide to successful DIY recording. It's a free PDF that like kind of walks you through step by step through the whole process of making a record on your own.

And it's a great starting point. It like gives you an overview of the whole process. It gives you actionable things that you can implement right now and yeah, go to the self recording band.com download that thing and let me know what you think about it. Today's episode is the third one of a little mini series that we did.

[00:03:00] And this series is on drum samples, mini drums, drum programming, stuff like that. And we've already talked about situations where programming might be better than using real drums. We've talked about situations where the opposite is the case. We talked about actual mini programming, how to do that and how to make that sound natural.

And today in the third and last episode of this mini series. We're going to talk about why and when your drums might benefit from sample enhancement or sample replacement and why drum samples or your drums mixed with drum samples might actually sound more natural than just your real drums.  have you ever experienced that?

Using samples actually helps the real drums like. Without making them sound artificial or less [00:04:00] organic. Yes. 

Malcom: [00:04:01] This is, I'm really glad we're talking about this cause this is not a popular opinion, I don't think. Anyways. Um, and uh, it's something that I definitely agree with. I, I think that drum samples can sound a lot more natural than some of the live drums I've been sent.

Um, and I don't know, we might get like, I don't know, we might get attacked for saying this guy, this stuff, but. I think until you've had to fix, uh, some, some kind of terrible sounding drum recordings, you might not understand. Um, so the, the immediate thing that comes to mind is like, 

Benedikt: [00:04:38] uh, 

Malcom: [00:04:40] a clipped snare drum.

Take a a badly clip snare drum. I've had that happen a few times, and I guess across the whole track. So how else are you going to fix that other than continuing to clip it? Or are you using a transient designer to like take this harsh clip off of it? Uh, [00:05:00] anything you do is just gonna like mangled the drum sound even more.

Whereas if you can find a snare sample that sounds along the lines of what your natural snare drum was meant to, sounds like you might be able to completely swap that out without anybody ever being the wiser. And instead of them getting hit by this annoying clip, snare drum sound. And when I'm saying clipped, I'm not meaning like the warm good sounding clipped.

I mean like the, like weird artificial sound in clip. Uh, instead of distracting the listener with this weird noise you've found, the sinners hit, they're gonna hear what to them sounds just like a, a natural snare drum that's meant to be there. I think that's what you're kind of talking about, right? Stuff like 

Benedikt: [00:05:41] that.

Yeah, absolutely. I thought of it in three different ways. Mainly when I was preparing the that episode, the first thing that came to mind was, um, the situation where a drummer, and that's a pretty common situation where the drummer might just play. [00:06:00] I'm a little inconsistent. Like. Hm. Um, some hits are very loud, some are very quiet, but you actually want like a constant punch that stays the same throughout the song.

And if you want to do that without using samples, you probably have to compress. And automate the drums a lot and mixing that basically brings up all the unwanted stuff as well. All the bleed, all the, the, the symbols and the snare. Mike, maybe if there's a, a ring or something that's not too pretty sounding on the snare drum that you didn't really hear when you were playing or recording the drums.

That all like gets as louder and, um, more obvious. And also. If you want to make a drummer sound like he or she hit really hard, you probably have to ACU in a little bit of the attack, the stick attack and stuff like that, which will also bring up like nasty stuff and correcting the performance. That that will be necessary to achieve that [00:07:00] result will sound pretty weird or can sound pretty weird in the end.

Whereas using a sample to like a constant, um, sample to like even out the performance a bit. And if you choose a sample that that's like close to the real snare or whatever drum you're enhancing. Then that can preserve the tone, that can keep the bleed down, that can keep all the nasty stuff down low and, but still give you the punch and the stuff that's lacking without having to completely like mangle the original signal.


Malcom: [00:07:34] So absolutely. I think that's, that's gotta be my main reason. Oh, and main use of samples, um, across the board is just trying to make inconsistent, plain, more consistent. And that can be, uh, like in the case of a snare drum hitting off center. So this is like actual sound of the drum changes depending on where you hit it, right?

So if the drummer can't, uh, they keep dead center every hit, um, the sample consult that, but also [00:08:00] dynamics, just also if it's too quiet, um, of a, of a hit versus a. Too loud of a hit then and it's just not natural. The dynamics are shifting too much. Again, samples can come in and just solve that issue for me really easily and transparently.

Benedikt: [00:08:18] Absolutely. Absolutely. The second thing that I'm thinking about is sometimes you have to get rid of a lot of ugly, like resonances, frequencies, stuff like that. So even if the performance is great, if the kid is just like not balanced really well or like not tuned really well, if there's like symbols that are not ideal and some of the bleed is in the close Mike's or stuff like that, you have to do a lot of tiny or drastic ACU moves with like.

Very narrow Cubans and like notch, all that nasty stuff out and like really, you have to do a lot of drastic like things and add a lot of filters and stuff to the sound. [00:09:00] And if you, if you use a sample that has the same characteristic, basically as the real. Thing you might get away with less drastic ACU moves and you just keep the real drum a little lower and at the sample, and so you need less accused.

So even if with a consistent performance by the drum kit, that's just as sounding very great, or that has like weird resonances and stuff, it can also help. I think so, yeah. That's basically number two. And then the third on my list is sometimes people refer to or, or sometimes people perceive. Raw and organic and natural and stuff like that as or the other way around.

They perceive records as raw, organic and natural and like energetic and stuff. If they are. Processed pretty heavily. Sometimes that sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes records that have a lot of saturation at this torsion and stuff like that, like the character effects the, uh, like [00:10:00] plugins and hardware units with like tone and character.

Uh, if they get used heavily and if like everything is like really like processed aggressively and like saturated and stuff like that. That's what people often refer to as raw and organic and energetic, and I'm not super clean, but like the sturdy kind of aesthetic, and you can only really do that to a drum kit that's sounding balanced.

And that sounded great in and of itself, because if you do that, if you apply such a sound, such a vibe to a drum kit, that's. Not really sounding great or to an inconsistent performance. Again, all the nasty stuff will come up and it won't sound, it just won't sound great. So you need a great like material to start with to actually like butcher it and like, uh, crush it and like make it really dirty and aggressive and sometimes the use of, of samples and sample enhancement allows me to use even more [00:11:00] compression and saturation and character effects.


Malcom: [00:11:03] it gives you more flexibility. Yeah. Sorry to cut you off there. Um, but yeah, you're absolutely right. Like, uh, essentially the less bleed, the more control you have to, to, to accomplish what you hear in your head. Um, because bleed is where compromise gets introduced into the equation of drum mixing and, and drum recording.

Um, because you might want more top end on your snare sound, but that is going to being more high hat in your snare mic. Um, if there is a high hat in your snare mic now with the sample, there will be no high hat, so you can accomplish this distorted fizzy, top end snare sound if you wanted that, um, without also turning up your, your high hat and you've now have control.

Uh, a question for you, if any, do you get your, uh, do you get your drums. 

Benedikt: [00:11:52] When I record them, definitely not. Um, yeah, sometimes some people do that, 

Malcom: [00:11:58] uh, [00:12:00] Madmen. 

Benedikt: [00:12:01] Yeah, exactly. But in mixing sometimes, but rarely. Like I prefer like what I, most of the time, but I do most of the time is cutting out, like cleaning up Tom treks, cutting out Tom hits by hand.

Uh, that's a thing I do. I rarely gate the snare. What I sometimes do is I do a parallel snare Trek or Kicktrack and gated really aggressively and very short. Just basically just the attacks left. Then I compress that heavily and ACU would heavily and like mix it with the original to get more attack if I want that.

I sometimes do that. But the actual tracks, not so much. No, not, not really. I, I don't know. I kinda. I kind of don't like the way most Gates work and sound, I guess. I mean, you could, you can do it with mini, um, Gates, stuff like that. But still, I dunno. It's, it's just me. I, 

Malcom: [00:12:56] I don't even know that though, that, that's cool.

I, I find myself doing it recently, [00:13:00] but, uh, but the reason I wanted to bring it up is because that's, that's one way that people might think, okay, well I can avoid. Uh, bleed issues by, by gaining my drums, and then I can still, uh, compress and, and just do whatever I want to my snare or whatever drum. You're, you're doing this too, 

Benedikt: [00:13:17] but I see where you're going here.

Malcom: [00:13:19] You'll find that even doing that, although this will improve that situation, if, if lead is really the issue for you. Um, but by doing that, you're still gonna end up with bleed existing when the gate is not there. Um, so samples can still do a better job at this kind of really tight effect than a gate can.

Benedikt: [00:13:39] Oh yeah. And that's actually a super good example because that can sound really weird and artificial compared to the natural sample sound. Because like the probably one of the most annoying things in drum sounds is this kind of tone whenever like the gate opens. When you hit the snare and [00:14:00] then the bleed comes through for like a half a second or something that's so annoying and super distracting and absolutely artificial sounding and you don't have that if you use sample set of gating.

Yeah, you're so 

Malcom: [00:14:09] right. Earlier me, earlier mixing. Malcolm is definitely guilty of that, but yeah, the high, the high hat splash, doubling in volume when the snare hits, it was brutal. Don't be like early Malcolm. 

Benedikt: [00:14:24] Yeah, exactly. Also, that's a pretty common thing. And I sometimes have to use samples because otherwise it's just not possible.

Um, with Tom, Phil's when a crash is like following the Tom Phil, sometimes there's a quick fill, um, quick thing over the Toms and then a crash right after that. And you've want to preserve the sustain of the last Tom off that Phil. Um, there's, there will be, and if the dissemble is, especially if the simplest close to the floor, Tom over whatever the last Tom is, then.

There will always be this weird symbol hit that will come through for a tiny moment, [00:15:00] and you can only like get rid of that if you use a sample or if you change the film like in the first place. But if it's already recorded, you can basically only use a sample or do some filter automation or stuff like that.

But that's also pretty common thing for me that I hear a lot of times also in other mixes and sometimes hear that. Right? 

Malcom: [00:15:20] Yeah. The, and it's not to say that I haven't heard some effects, like going back to that high hat, getting a little louder. If that's the groove of the song is like a high hat accent on the snare, it can, you can actually enhance it with it, but generally stuff like that should be avoided.

Um, especially if that's not the intent of the drummer to have these weird accents being the result of your, uh, your gating and processing. 

Benedikt: [00:15:46] Sure. What do you think. Shit people do or can people do to keep as much to be able to keep as much of their natural performance when they record [00:16:00] and what can we do to so that people can rest assured that we, that the, what they get back after mixing will still sound natural.

Like, because that's what many people are afraid of. They want to keep as much of the original. Drum sound because they're afraid that the final mix will sound nothing like their drum recording. So I think we should tell people, or sh should be, should give people advice on how to actually improve their drum recordings and then also what we can do to ensure that it's this natural.

Malcom: [00:16:34] Right? Yeah. There's the two big and maybe obvious, but I don't think they can be said enough. Uh, points that come to mind is, is playing consistently and hitting consistently, um, both in the dynamics and in, uh, where you hit the drum for tone and note to be consistent. Right. Like I mentioned earlier, uh, if you hit, uh, a snare off center, it [00:17:00] sounds pretty.

Drastically differently than if you hit it dead center, or maybe all the hits are meant to be rim shots, you know? Um, so that stuff definitely has to be locked down if floor Toms are another big one. Uh, the bigger the drum I find, the more important it is that the AMB dead center, um, for, for a good, solid hit to happen.

So playing consistently is something that will go really far in helping somebody like myself or Benny. Decide to use the file sent to us. Um, and then the other one is, again, very obvious when you think about it, but hugely overlooked is just choosing the right drum. Um, so that we're actually receiving the proper sound for the song.

Um, so that means don't, like, if you're meant to have this big, huge rock track, and you send me this, like really high funk snare. Are, my hands are kinda tied. I won't want to mix that high funk snare because it's just not gonna like suit the song. I mean, maybe it will button. Chances are [00:18:00] it should have been this big fat, low tune snare, um, or, or something like that.

You know, there's, there's certain drums that will sound and suit to the song you're working on. And if you don't get that right, sampling is the easiest way to change the direction of that. 

Benedikt: [00:18:16] Absolutely. That's like a little side note here. The hype, the two high pitched snares is a very common one because people like to have that tight, um, better hat that rebound.

They like to feel that like it's, it makes playing a little easier and like they're just used to that. And it also kills. Some of the residences oftentimes and makes the snare a little data, so people like, like cranking their snare drum better heads, but that can lead to these high-pitched rather thin sounding snares that don't really fit a lot of rock songs yet.

So absolutely right. Good example 

Malcom: [00:18:53] here. Yeah. If the podcast can accomplish one thing and that is more low snares, this is a huge success. 

[00:19:00] Benedikt: [00:19:00] That's already worth it for that 

Malcom: [00:19:01] alone. Yeah, absolutely. The world will be a better place 

Benedikt: [00:19:07] and you can, and you can crank that to get a little bit of that feel back, by the way, you can crank or you should actually crank like the resident had up the sneer because that will improve.

How the snares react. Uh, it will make it more snappy. It can get you a little bit of that feel back. Um, and, but it will prevent, and then you can go even lower with the, with the better hat. So I find that this combination of a really crank resonant, happy to lower tuned, better hat works really well. Just hold it note here.

Malcom: [00:19:37] And one more. I think probably like the best piece of advice we could even give on this episode. Um. Is the idea of making your own samples when you record your tracks. Um, which is not, is something like, I'm trying to think if anybody's ever sent me samples, like I get samples of my own sessions. I do it every time, but I don't think anybody that sends [00:20:00] me a mix as ever sent me.

Their samples, which they kept, they should have captured while they recorded a Benny chime in here. Is that, have you been receiving samples for mixes or your, are the German clients smarter than the Canadian ones? 

Benedikt: [00:20:15] Yes, I did, actually, yes, I did. Not only from trimming clients actually, but yes, I really did.

Some of them did it because I told them to, but some did. It actually. Because they did it, but the majority is, still doesn't. But I just recently included, um. That in my, like I have a file transfer file, export and transfer checklist and kind of onboarding forum thing for new mixing clients and I included it there and I like ask clients now too, if they can, to record their own samples because.

I love to have samples from the actual session because that's, I mean, it's, it sounds obvious, but that's the most natural thing you can do. You can use, because it will [00:21:00] blend really well with the actual recording of the drums. Usually . I mean, it only works if the drum, the choice of drums, like Malcolm set is right.

And, um, if the drums are tuned well and stuff, that's like, that has to be the case of course. But if that is the case, it will allow me to, or asked to be more flexible, to use more drastic, um, things in the mix and also to use less drastic like moves to improve things or to make performance more consistent.

And, um. Yeah. So if you can record your own samples and, and like I assume Malcolm, when you said that you meant not, like, not just like one shots, but maybe just record. I don't know. Every, the way I do it is every drum, I'm like hit it like 10 times soft and hard and like with different, like left and right hand and stuff like that and just sent me, um, yeah, 10 15 hits of every single shell and maybe even the [00:22:00] symbols.

And I can use them to fix a weird hit. I can use them to add consistency. Um, yeah, stuff like that. 

Malcom: [00:22:10] Told that. Yeah. So if anybody's not sure, like how you'd go about this, just I would actually recommend doing it at the start of the session. Maybe you can do it at the start and the end if you really want it.

But, uh, generally tuning is dialed in a little better at the beginning of the session. Um, and you just get the drummer to give solid hits, like, yeah, like five to 10 hits, uh, maybe a N G I grabbed some different philosophies as well, so like, hard, medium, soft, um, of each drum. So, uh, I always get my drummers to like, put their hands on the times, so they're muted and then they'll hit the kick or, you know, turn off the snare wires so they're not buzzing away and just grab some clean hits of each drum kind of thing.

Um, and then you can just splice, like, uh, cut them up and you've got some backup samples, which can be used in mixing and they're going to [00:23:00] perfectly match the sound of what you recorded. So rather than a mixer like Benny thrown in this totally different snare sample, like of a metal drum, if there was a wooden snare actually recorded, he can use your wooden snare to augment and support your wooden snare, and it's going to match perfectly.

It's going to be way more natural sounding if that's the goal. Um, like he said, if it's the wrong snare and you might be at better off just using a different sample anyways, but even if even if the recordings aren't very, uh, like great, still having those samples is going to be better than trying to like process the heck out of the source one because there will be no bleed.

So we'll have the mixture would have more control over, like really. Messing with the sample than they would over the the live track, if that makes sense. 

Benedikt: [00:23:52] Absolutely. It totally makes sense. I'm actually a very good idea with that muting the Toms. I don't think I ever did that. I just hit that and just [00:24:00] have them hit the kit, the kick and like not very about the Tom bleed, 

Malcom: [00:24:04] but there's two minds of that because like, uh, the, the bleed is going to be kind of natural, like it would probably exist like in the live performance kind of thing.

But I just, I like the clean. Clean thing. And then if I ever want to use those samples in another situation, I have them more clean. Um, which is nice as well. 

Benedikt: [00:24:22] Yeah. And if, yeah, absolutely. And if you want to really, um, if you want to do, like, if you want to go one step further, let me phrase it that this, um, you could, you could not only capture that, that like the kick Mike or the snare mix.

You could, you could and maybe should, if you can capture. The overheads rooms and everything else as well, and send a couple multi-track off the samples because then, um, yeah, that, that will be the most natural thing because then you can replace the whole picture basically, and not just one, one Mike or one single thing.

So if you want to do that, that's actually the best way to [00:25:00] go about it. You like at least overheads rooms and the close Mike, I guess. 

Malcom: [00:25:04] Yeah, I would totally recommend doing that. Uh. Record the whole, like, just keep all the mikes live, grab it all, um, and label clearly as well so you can make sense of what you got.

Uh, grab the symbols, grab the bell ride, uh, grabbed the high hats in different positions. You know, get some slams. I go pretty heavy on it and it's saved my butt a few times. So totally recommend that. If you want to go one step even further, I've got this off a Benny and I's mutual friend Diego showed it to Diego.

He's a boss. Uh. He actually will remove the other drums he likes. So he'll, he does this at the end of the session. It's worth stating. So the drums are all tracked and then he's going to grab samples. So he'll get all the drums pulled off, leave the mikes where they are, pull all the drums off and center, whatever drum he wants to sample in the middle of the overhead picture.

So there's no weird panning stuff going on. Um, so [00:26:00] if he was doing a floor Tom, he would pull that to the center of the kid image. Um, go back a couple of episodes if you want to learn about kid imaging and that way all his samples, if they're stereo and using blended with his overheads and rooms are going to come up the middle and not be panned like the kid is.

Um, which. Is a downside if you're using it in the same song, but if you're using it, trying to make samples for future use and stuff, having them come up right up the middle is going to be a big bonus. 

Benedikt: [00:26:31] That's interesting. 

Malcom: [00:26:32] And then by removing all the other drums, you don't have to worry about any residences.

Benedikt: [00:26:36] Sure. Like the rest of the answer is absolutely. But that's kind of interesting. I never heard that, but you have to help me hear it a little bit because what I don't get is. If you do that usually also with like other songs, if you use it in a sample library or whatever, don't you want to have like also like a stereo image in the overhead [00:27:00] samples?

Well, I like it if the Toms are like, if there's an image. 

Malcom: [00:27:06] Totally. But do you, uh, do you use slate trigger, for example, to trigger your audio? What do you use as a trigger. 

Benedikt: [00:27:15] Um, it depends. Uh, yeah. If I do my own, like if I have my own way farther, clients send me their, their samples, I use trigger to fire them out, right?

Yep. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:27:23] So when you load a trigger into slate, it automatically tells you that it's going up the middle, but if you've recorded it and your floor, Tom's actually far right in your stereo file. Uh, but the drummer happens to have set up with the Tom on the far left. You're going to have a problem. So you're essentially, you're removing the guesswork out of it and everything's coming up center, and then you pan it where you need.

Benedikt: [00:27:49] Um, yeah. But that, okay. But you mean if you do a combined sample of the close to Mike overhead's room and everything? Ah, okay. Because I don't do that. I, I have them on [00:28:00] separate channels. Like I trigger one close Mike, a trigger at overhead sample and a triggery room sample and in the room samples and overhead samples, I want the panning to be correct.

And if it's not, I just flip it. And, um, so I treat them as like individual mikes of a kid and I never trigger like a close Mike with overheads and rooms in one sample. 

Malcom: [00:28:21] Uh, okay. 

Benedikt: [00:28:22] That's I think why I didn't, but I get the idea now that you say now, now it makes perfect sense because you're screwed. If it's the other way around, then.

Malcom: [00:28:29] Yeah, totally. And even if it's too wide, you know, like if, if the Tom, if you'd make like a room sample of a floor Tom, and it's obviously pan pretty far, that might not work well on another song. If the song was different, pan differently or like image differently in the recording setup. Um, okay. It makes it a little quicker to figure it out I think.

But it's definitely not a rule 

Benedikt: [00:28:51] now. Okay. So now if we. I think we lost them now for 

Malcom: [00:28:57] sure. Honestly, delete that [00:29:00] whole part. They don't need that. 

Benedikt: [00:29:02] No, I don't think so. Let's do the less deep learning, but yeah, maybe. I don't know. I'll decide later. But, um, what I think we should maybe now add real quick is.

There might be people listening now who don't know what this whole like simple enhancement and stuff actually means. So maybe we should explain really quickly what we do here actually, and this is, this is kind of easy to explain. Um, basically when there is a drum recording, um, you, we have all the, the, the multitracks we have like a separate track for each of the shells for each of the drums and then the overheads and rooms and stuff.

And, uh, you can have a plugin. Look at one of those tracks, for example, the snare track, and that plugin analyzes the sneer track and detects all this, the actual snare hits, and then creates a mini note where those snare hits are or triggered a sample directly. So basically it's the same with as what [00:30:00] we were talking about with the, from programming.

It creates a mini note and that many know triggers a sampler, and that Sempra fires a snare sample, a prerecorded sample. And it does it in real time, and it does it like at the same time as the actual scenario comes in. So you can blend a prerecorded sample with the actual hits of the snared room and the plugin or whatever you use to do that, detects those hits and blends it like with the actual performance.

Just so you know what we're actually talking about. So we're not, usually, we're not taking the sample and then placing it in the song by hand and spending like three hours to do that. Oh. You can do that, but it's an automatic process that's pretty easy, and so it's absolutely worth giving us or people, your mixer, whoever you're working with those samples, because it's an easy thing to do.

It's a common thing to do. Most mixers do it anyways. Nowadays. Um, and it's not something super complicated that you only do [00:31:00] in certain cases. It's just a completely like standard procedure that you do in most mixes actually. And there are rare cases where you might need to fix a single hit or something, then you just cut the hit out and, and float and put the sample in or something like that.

That can happen. But usually you go, you don't just have some software, detect the performance and then add samples into taste. Right? 

Malcom: [00:31:24] Yup. Absolutely. Okay. Yeah, I, I would love to see people start making their own samples. Um, there's so many reasons to, like we said, uh, it helps the mixer out a lot in the end process.

I've also had to help me out a lot in the production process. So we recorded samples and we decided that we don't like the, the pattern we have on the drums and we want to change it. So by using those samples, you can actually like. Full on, change your performance if you need to and have 

Benedikt: [00:31:52] a, like 

Malcom: [00:31:53] a, a different symbol get hit at a part or add a symbol to the song at another part or like really depending on how much time you [00:32:00] want to put into it, you can pretty well fix any situation.

Um, and, and that's pretty powerful cause ideas do change and uh, the, the, the flow of the production can change as you go. So having the power to actually alter what has already been done is really useful. 

Benedikt: [00:32:18] So much. Yeah, true. Absolutely. Flexibility again, and that's, I think we will, we're going to talk about stuff like that too, a lot of times because.

In this podcast, because I think with DIY recordings, it's rarely a completely like ideal situation. That's just the nature of it. And flexibility is just such a big part of it because it's just very likely or more likely than in the studio that some mistake or some not ideal situation or thing, um, comes up.

And the more flexibility you give your mixing engineer. The better the result will be. And the last risk you are, it takes, so, especially with a DIY [00:33:00] recording situation, this flexibilities is King like, yeah, absolutely. 

Malcom: [00:33:05] Yeah. One more argument for getting samples, uh, is tuning consistency. Um, Oh yeah. And if so, if you dial in, the reason I like to do it at the beginning is because normally when I'm up, they've signed off on the drum sound and we're about to start tracking.

I'm like, okay, thanks. I'm awesome right now. And that generally means that the tuning is also in place. So if you grab samples at that moment, you've got like this well-tuned kit that's going to be locked in. So if the tuning slips through the song, you have like this reference that you can actually look at, you can go and listen to that snare sample you recorded earlier and be like, okay, our scenarios slipped quite a bit lower and tune it back to that.

Uh, that hit, you've got as like a reference and you can keep your, your drum sound on track. By using your prerecorded samples as you're like, okay, I know it's meant to sound this good and it doesn't right now, so let's get back to that. 

Benedikt: [00:33:54] Oh yeah, absolutely. Tuning reference, such a such a big thing. I do that all the time, [00:34:00] actually.

I like whenever a session goes longer than just a couple of hours, or like if you have a drum recording session over a couple of days, it's inevitable that like things will change even if you don't touch it. And, um, you kind of, sometimes you get used to those changes because they are like happening slowly and you don't even notice when like the, the scenario usually drops that the pitch usually drops and like you start with the perfect snare and then after a couple of hours.

The is lower than it was in the beginning. And you, you might not necessarily notice that. And then maybe you find that you want to redo a part of the first part that you recorded that day or whatever because now you're warm. Now the drummer is like in the, in the Sonia and like, their performance does get better.

So you might decide to go back to the first song again or you just wanting to have consistent tuning throughout a song or throughout multiple songs. But then it just, it's just not the same anymore. And when you go back to the first song, then it doesn't match. So if you have those samples, you [00:35:00] can't before every take or before every part or every song or whatever, you can quickly compare the current, like pitch of the snare or Toms, uh, to the sample and make sure that it stays consistent.

And you also notice when drum heads die that way, because with sessions over a couple of days. From heads might die and they probably will die and you will, it might be a good idea to change them. And you will notice that as well because even if you can recreate the pitch. They might have like less attack or a weird kind of sustain, or they just might, they might start to sound like muffled or whatever.

And if that happens, if the ads just die, then you'll notice and you can change them. So this reference is a really, really great thing to have. 

Malcom: [00:35:46] It's not uncommon in a like a upper budget, high end recording session to have the drum tech going in and checking the snare tuning every take. Literally every pass [00:36:00] go in, he throws in the cans, listens to it, plays it, compares it, adjusts it, and then the drummer comes back and plays it.

Sometimes the drummer is also the drum tech, but it, this is a real thing. It's not being too picky. 

Benedikt: [00:36:13] Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Nothing to add to that. Totally. Right. Um, what else do you have on your list, Malcolm, things to add to this topic? 

Malcom: [00:36:23] I think we're doing pretty good. I'm not sure if I have other stuff. I had one.

Uh, this is kind of a mixing thing. If you don't have drum samples, you can do a lot to make your drum samples that you're adding in sound more natural by using the tune function in your trick, in your sampler. Um, so looks like trigger has a tune function and I'll, I'll always experiment with that and try and get my, my chosen samples to be closer to the original snare.

Um, especially with the snare sounds like in the overheads or the rooms. Um. And, and kind of like lower it or, or turn it higher, tune it higher, um, [00:37:00] to suit the actual live drum recording. And I have great results with that. 

Benedikt: [00:37:04] Absolutely. And, um, that could be useful if you. Also if you don't mix yourself, because maybe you do this samples later in the session, or you did them at the beginning, but then another song you recorded another song with like a slightly different snare tuning and you forgot to do new samples then, which you always should.

Like if you change the tuning of the drums throughout the record, which can happen then make sure you, you record new samples for that song. But if you forgot to do that, or if for some reason something changed, you can like just copy the samples, the original samples, uh, and then tweak the copy of it to match the song that you want to use them for.

Like tune them higher or lower, um, after the fact. And if you don't have trigger to do that, there is a cool plugin by waves. It's not as, not that expensive. It's called torque. That I, I use that all the time. Uh, it's, it works really well. It's basically designed just [00:38:00] for that, just to mix and match samples and retuned drums after they've been recorded.

So you can try that and see if that works. Um, 

Malcom: [00:38:09] yeah. Cool. I haven't tried that. I'll check it out. 

Benedikt: [00:38:11] You should. It's super, super good. Like, it not only is, it's not only simple pitch shifting, it does. I don't know what it actually does, but it sounds so natural and cool and has saved a lot of sessions for me.

Malcom: [00:38:24] Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, I'll check it out. 

Benedikt: [00:38:26] And yeah, and then I think one last thing here before we wrap it up is what you can also do is like adjust the way you set up your drums, right. And get used to that. Um, before we forget, because the performance is one thing, and that's super important. Like hit the shells, hard, control the symbols.

We've talked about that before and we will again, probably because it's an important. But, uh, other than that, trust, the physical setup, um, is, is also helping here a lot. If you want to preserve more of your natural rums. [00:39:00] So. Keeping the symbols away from the close mikes that you have the least amount of bleed in your close Mike's.

So that and, and you, you can't get used to that pretty quickly. Like people are often afraid of that because it's not as comfortable to play if you're not used to that. But you can get used to that really quickly. In a nice side effect of that is if you, for example, put your high hats up higher so that they are away from the snare.

That usually also leads to playing them more quiet because if they are like way down, you just naturally hit harder because you pushed down towards the high hats. If they are higher up, you have to lift your arm a bit. You just play softer and more controlled and you have also more room to like lift your left arm and hit the snare hard.

So it also will probably improve the way you play a bit. Um, so I would definitely try that and get used to to that. 

Malcom: [00:39:54] Absolutely. Yeah. And don't underestimate what a small change will do. Like [00:40:00] a couple inches of the high happy and moved away from the snare makes a huge difference in the bleed. Um, it doesn't have to, you don't have to place it on the other side of the room and half your drummer, like reaching with a big pole to hit it.

Small, small changes go a long way. 

Benedikt: [00:40:16] Sure. Absolutely. Okay, so I guess the main takeaway from this episode is that you don't need to be afraid of drum samples. And if a mixer tells you, or if you feel like a mixer user samples, or if usually tells you that they use samples, or if somebody asks you to deliver samples for mixing.

That's not a negative, not a bad thing. And then we'll not make your drum sound unnatural if done right. And it can't actually save your recordings and make it sound more natural. So that's the main takeaway here that we wanted to, um, to get across here. And it's just a very normal, a [00:41:00] process that just happens in modern mixing.

And most of your favorite records probably have samples in them. We've talked about that already, and it's not. Automatically sounding artificial. The opposite is actually the case, and I had an I, I really had mixes when I back back when I wasn't like when I started out in my mixes wherein I'm really sounding great.

I sometimes. Just not use samples because I wanted to kind of challenge myself and learn and wanted to use the, the real drums. And sometimes Banton bands didn't want me to use samples and I agreed and just tried it without. And when I listen to those mixes, they sound pretty fake, actually are pretty weird because I had to do so much queuing and compression and so many weird things, um, came up then in those, those recordings.

And. If I had used samples, those mixes would sound much more natural actually. And yeah, and that's, that's what we want to tell you with this, I guess, right. 

[00:42:00] Malcom: [00:42:00] Totally, totally. Uh, I think this is really going to be the, like the standard practice before long. Um, and for some reason it's taken a lot of time for people to get on board with, but every mixer is taken advantage of these tools and has been since the days of tape.

It's not a new thing at all. It's just more known about now. Um, so get on board, record your own samples, and you'll have, uh, a better result because of it. 

Benedikt: [00:42:29] Absolutely. Sure. Alright. Then, um, I think that's it. Let's wrap it up. Malcolm actually has. A gift for you. Um, if you are mixing your own songs, maybe, or if you want to experiment, uh, with samples, if you want to listen to what, like recorded samples could sound like how that, like, if you want to play around with that muck and what do you have for our audience.

Malcom: [00:42:55] I'm glad you said that cause I had totally forgotten about this. So that's good. [00:43:00] Uh, so head to stone, mastering.com/samples. So stone mastering.com/samples and yeah, I'll have a couple of different, uh, like one shot samples up there for you to download for free, at least for now. And, uh. Yeah, you can use them for whatever you want.

You can use them to lay 'em in your song. Um, I actually use samples all the time and the songwriting process, I just kind of drag and drop patterns around, um, to get me started. Usually a kick and a snare is like all I need. I don't even program in hats or anything. Just like a kind of a grew for me to riff too.

Um, I use them to augment stuff. You know, if I want like a big Basey, I'll throw in a kick sample and just throw a rubber plug on it and there's my effect kind of thing. So special effects, stuff like that. Um, you can use them for whatever you want. They're yours once you have them. So head to that if you want to grab those.

And you can also use them as like a point of reference when you're making your own samples while you're recording something to compare to, you know, that's kind of nice. I think. 

[00:44:00] Benedikt: [00:44:00] Oh yeah, that's, that's, that's absolutely nice. I haven't heard them, but I assume they sound great since you did them. 

Malcom: [00:44:08] I hope so.

Anyways. I mean, they're, they're, they're not like super over-processed or anything. I'm there, but I think they're worth throwing up for sure. 

Benedikt: [00:44:17] All right. Super, super cool. Um, you should absolutely check out my  website anyway, because he's a mastering specialist and he, uh, is going to help you with, yeah.

Taking your, your mixes to the next level, and he's kind of the, the final quality control after mixing, before the songs get released or published or manufactured on CDs or whatever. So. If you want to learn about that whole process, I think Michael makes it pretty easy for you to contact him and ask him questions and says, submit your mixes.

And um, yeah, just hit him up. Have a chat about your music. I'm sure he, he's been. Uh, he will [00:45:00] be happy to do that. And, um, yeah, check out stone mastering.com. And that's also a great, uh, way to end this episode because the next episode will be about mastering. We're gonna, we're gonna talk about what max mastering actually is, and we're gonna ask that the question that is, um, do I need to have my music mastered?

And I'm sure that my com will answer that. 

Malcom: [00:45:26] How do you think I'm going to answer that? Sorry. Yes. The answer is yes, yes, but we're going to explain it. It's going to be a great episode. I'm super excited for that.  we're going to really break it down into what, what actually happens through mastering so you can understand it better and understand what you're actually accomplishing by hiring a mass Meehan engineer or even mastering stuff yourself.

Benedikt: [00:45:48] All right. I'm excited for that because mastering is always kind of a dark art and it's still too many and many Doy recordings don't get mastered because people think they don't need that, and we're going to [00:46:00] talk about that so. Malcolm. Anything to add to this? 

Malcom: [00:46:05] No. We'll tune in next week. Subscribe. Leave a review and we'll see you and talk about mastering in just a week.

Benedikt: [00:46:12] All right. Thank you for listening. Bye. .

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