LeftFoot1st

DRUMS.... I DON'T GET IT. (HELP)

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I'm trying to figure out why everytime I throw some drums on a track... it sounds great through my monitors and headphones and then when I play the same track through my speakers it is hardly noticeable...... it's kind of annoying.

I compare my tracks to some crap on youtube and everybody else shit is knocking, except mine... i'm just saying through the speakers of my computer...... feel like, if i can't make shit bump through mac speakers, then I aint doing shit right at all.

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I already know people are going to say it has to do with EQ, COMPRESSION, MASTERING, MIXING..... but I've been playing with all of that and I just don't get it.... when I think my shit sounds proper... it really doesn't.

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I recently started stacking drums and that really does make a big difference in the knocking department. Did you try that as well?

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99% of the time somebody says this, they're starting with bad drum samples. Drum selection is KEY

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I'm sorry to say man but it really is EQ, compression, mixing and layering. You may have played with these tools but are you really understanding them yet? I've been making beats for over a year now and I think I only just had my 'aha' moment with compression about 8 weeks ago. Some of these tools take years to master! Eq seems so simple but it's actually really quite deep once you start studying it.

If I want my drums to knock (rip holes in speakers) I'll compress the sustain of each one to place emphasis on the attack then boost the volume. I'll eq boost the "knock freq" (with a musical eq, not a graphic eq) knocks are usually between 100-150 for kick, 200-300 for snare (surprisingly) and around 400-500 for hats. Then I'll add some saturation or distortion to each one individually, this especially helps the kick cut up the mix. Then I'll group them all to one bus and compress them together for more weight and add tape sat and channel strip emulation to them. Thennn if I'm really feeling like they still need more I'll parallel them to ANOTHER bus and compress the absolute shit out of them to blend that back in with the original drum track. And then when it's all said and done and I have a mix I might even look at a multiband comp (c4, c6 etc) similar to what was used on most of Dave Cooleys mixes. To really get the track breathing, popping and bouncing.

So as you can see there's a lot of work involved in crafting some drums that "knock" and I'm only speaking from being in your position recently, I was using comp, eq, distortion, saturation etc etc but wasn't really fully understating every movement I was making. Now I can pretty much achieve what ever sound I'm seeking (sonically) with those tools.

Hope that's helpful.

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"I've been making beats for over a year, let me tell you something about EQ" lol'd, just trollin' ed

You know what, try fucking taking the drums and doubling them up to two tracks, then pan those tracks left and right. Maybe save that stereo track back down as mono. Frankly, that's not where snares knock. They knock at like 2000, and hi hat knock at as high as you can get. It's because you keep stacking frequencies. Also, if you're not tuning your drums like they're an instrument, you run risk of all sorts of strange shit, it's best to tune them just so you can get a standard starting point.

I suggest maybe rolling off your entire tracks hi-end. Try to emulate what old school cats did. SP 1200's hi filter was like 12000. So if you roll the track off, and boost up the highs you can get snappy snares and hi hats. The old standard bass roll off was like 12Hz-35 I read. Just don't get so stuck with things like frequency. Sweep them around and see what weird sounds pop up.

Try having the kick knock around 35-110Hz. Have snare up at 2k, and then just have your hi hats curve up near 10K.

Samples are around 500-1000Hz. Synths are between kick and sample, or between sample and snare depending on if you're using the synth as a bass or as a Samiyam keyboard

All a frequency is, is how many cycles a soundwave makes. So by having 100, 200, and 300 as your major frequencies, you get lots of destructive interference, because the 100Hz soundwave is going to be in a trough like every other time the 200Hz soundwave is at its peak etc. Spreading them out, they still interfere with each other I imagine, but it's not nearly as serious. You're not doing yourself any favors imo. I could just be stoned though

(dave cooley used a Cranesong STC-8 for Jaylib/Donuts era drums)

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Haha but I'm serious GP! Eq is fucking dense. A lot of people think they have it figured out but are far from it. You can pretty much make a mix sound however you want using just EQ and Comp. The rest is just seasoning... And you can pretty much destroy a mix if you use them incorrectly.

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...damn Ed..those some good tips...

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for sure, fruityloops/ableton/reason all of it is a straight jet engine.

I ran sound for my highschool all 4 years. Let me tell ya, nothing makes you appreciate audio engineers more than riding 8 Mics for out-of-tune highschool morons singing Oliver showtunes for the 1000 time. "That's okay becky, just completely drop off any and all vocal projection after the first syllable, I'll cover you, again. Cunt"

Ed, just curious, how do you do beats that use a drumbreak? Just tape saturation and the best you can do mix bus compressing with some EQ bumps?

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Cheers joa. But seriously these tools can do a lot more than most give them credit for. It's like when I used to hear a good mix and think 'how did they do x y z?' I'd say 'surely they have a plugin I don't' like some magic bullet shit, just twist a knob and you instantly have what you were looking for. Fact of the matter is most mixes consist of eq, comp, light distortion and reverb (70% within eq and comp). Within those four tools you have everything you need to get where you're trying to go, even master stage limiting is a form of compression. The rest is practice, experimentation and trying weird shit with them. Instead of spending hours looking for a plug to do one task spend hours trying to make the ones you have do it for you. You'll learn other things in the process and it's much more accurate and fun in the long run. For example a deesser is literally an eq sidechaining the harsh freqs to an inbuilt comp... You can set that shit up yourself without a deesser. Sure a deesser is easier and faster but you get my point.

Peace and good luck.

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Ed, just curious, how do you do beats that use a drumbreak? Just tape saturation and the best you can do mix bus compressing with some EQ bumps?

High and low pass filters similar to filtering a bass line out. So I'll have snare and hats on one track. Majority of the kick on the other. Eq bumps for the snare and hats dependent on what they need. Kicks I'll sometimes layer another kick in subtley to give it anything it's missing but yeah usually some low end saturation. Maybe some distortion. Distortion (as in clip distortion or bitcrush distortion) on low end brings the heat. Even just lightly. You actually perceive bass at high frequencies that's why things like R Bass and Maxxbass by waves exist cause they add higher harmonics to make it seem like theres more bass energy...

And just to clarify. If I'm boosting with eq I'm never using graphic eq's. I use graphic EQ's for notching out freqs and subtracting. If I'm bringing anything up I'll use a parametric eq with broader more musical curves. My go tos for boosting are Waves SSL plugs, TRacks pultec and a nice freebie called 'slick eq'

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I dig all the talk you guys gave me....and I'm pretty sure I understand the idea of everything mentioned....i'm def not picking shit drum samples...so I know it had to be in the EQ and I think the real problem for me was laying in the rules people have created for eqing shit...like everywhere I read cut this frequency and boost that..blah blah blah...but after playing around and doing shit a little unorthodox I found out the shit I'm cutting is the shit I really want cause it's what allows my speakers to pick it up and also gives my kicks the sound I was looking for.....

I guess we just gotta remember if we doing hip hop or anything.... That rules are meant to be broken to a certain extent.

I don't have software to use plugins and I'm not trying to layer shit up....I was just trying to get a single drum to sound right...if I can't do that I have no business stacking other sounds on top....

I found that I can have the same eq applied to almost every drum with a minor tweak and it gives me a sound closer to what I want....whether it's a good idea to eq every drum like that...I'll find out in the future, but for now it's working out....you'll hear more from me tomorrow if it really turned out well or if I decided to come back to bitch lol

Thanks for the love

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Another Little tactic Pull down all the faders, push up the kick and snare percs etc, then start raising the other tracks ( I learnt this off Illmind, his kicks n snare peak at -3db then everything else sits under, so when limited at the end, it knocks), what is making certain space disappear ?, like bass, find the bit that is sharing the kick and pull it down, think of it as sculpting every little thing so it fits. But yeah Eds bang on, he's learnt from every source I have, and these things work.

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ODK on the money. Gain staging is something overlooked pretty frequently also. Another one of those 'seems like child play' things where people totally take for granted the actual effect it has. Maybe your drums don't need any extra effects on them to knock harder, maybe they just need a dB here and there to make them poke out a bit more... food for thought.

I read an article about Dilla which basically stated the majority of his beats where laid out in the same format sonically (in terms of volume). it went

------------Drums------------

---------Sample(s)---------

-----Bass-----

Maybe your other elements are drowning your drums out in volume or even in shared frequencies. Sometimes I like to find the frequency of the punch energy for each drum sound and notch that out a bit from other tracks. So say if I want the snare to bang harder instead of boosting ill find the snares main freq and then cut that frequency out of the samples instead so they kind of get out of the way and the snare has more room in the track... A good reference is turning the volume down while you mix, at a low volume your kick and snare should be the main audible things you're hearing while also not being out of balance back at higher levels of overall track volume.

I'm a nerd... I could ramble on this shit for hours haha. Love the conversation though.

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Maybe your other elements are drowning your drums out in volume or even in shared frequencies. Sometimes I like to find the frequency of the punch energy for each drum sound and notch that out a bit from other tracks. So say if I want the snare to bang harder instead of boosting ill find the snares main freq and then cut that frequency out of the samples instead so they kind of get out of the way and the snare has more room in the track...

This! Most of the times lowering the frequency of the sample that shares frequencies with something you want to highlight does a better job than boosting its (the sample you want to highlight) frequency. I also used to think the other way around but this is what everyone recommends in any EQ related tutorial, discussion, whatever, and it actually helps a lot. When you think about it it's actually pretty intuitive: if you want to have something occupying a bigger space you'll create room for it, instead of stacking it on top of an already full pile.

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You guys really giving some good input...def liked the posts.

For the last year I have def tried to make everything have it's own frequency range so I do cut the samples and bass in places I know will clash with my other sounds.

The key thing here was just my kick drums and you guys brought in the bass which made me realize I was lacking there too after listening to my new project...all my shit bangs on my monitors, but it was just on my crappy computer that I couldn't really hear anything, which was kind of annoying...because I know a lot of people listen to music on laptop and iPhone headphones which usually stop picking up sounds around 125hz depending on the laptop and what not.

I usually don't post these topics no more, but after spending three days of playing around with drums and eq..it became a little unbearable.

Again....Thanks for love and respect

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Quick note about it all is that I eq drums outside of the beat where everything is solo'd and even then I realized it wasn't knocking on the laptop..My shits gotta knock before I throw them on anything

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it's good to have monitors for the majority of your mixing duties man but it's also great to have a shitty system close by to reference as you mix and to even make small mix adjustments through. I constantly use ipod earbuds and I recently bought one of these shitty $15 speakers (logitech z50) as a little reference thing to check my shit on as I go every now and then.

71s_A6_I1_PXq_L_SL1500.jpg

It's mono and it sounds like anus but I figure if i can get a mix sounding acceptable on there it'll sound amazing on everything else haha. And so far it's been pretty true. Laptop speakers/ipod headphones and shitty little desktop speakers like this one are all pretty mid range heavy. They lack high end and low end clarity and when mixing with monitors you tend to levitate towards giving those high and low ends more focus because they sound so fucking nice on high quality speakers and high quality speakers give you the full balanced EQ spectrum... You put all that energy in to making it knock and sparkle but then on a midrange heavy system there's no substance because you've ignored that midrange on your monitors. That's natural though, that's why every top studio has a Mixcube or Auratone on standby.

Buy some shitty speakers or use your laptop speaker every now and then while you mix. It'll help drastically, and it won't cost you anything.

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Yup, that was the lesson I learned yesterday....you need to have a shitty reference for your mixes. I'm not going to buy speakers because my laptop does me justice.

Back to the EQ thing, everybody says cut 300-400 because it makes it muddy, but The people who say that don't do hip hop...they usually do rock or some other band related shit...so even though I still take that into consideration cause ai have something else I put in that range...I still play around close to that area and it really has been working....

Another thing is distortion and clipping via the computer.... That shit isn't really trust worthy because if you have a shit sound card your computer can only handle so much...before I'd do a lot of normalizing because it would always say my shit was clipping, but now I've been double checking with hardware and noticed that shit that's peaking on the computer is nowhere near peaking on hardware... And once I bounced that sound to hardware and back into my CPU it translates well and doesn't peak anymore...I still get the sound I want.

RIGHT NOW , I am listening to track 8 on Dillas 3 beat tapes...if you listen to that drum right there it just proves my point that distortion can be beautiful even to an extreme...that drum sounds retarded....I don't think anybody in their right mind would eq a drum for that sound....it takes creativity and the will to break rules......as I write this other songs play through the tape and I hear it on a lot of the tracks..just pure distorted kicks.

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Dilla invested a lot in the mixing, eqing, compressing and processing of his samples, especially drums. His work made me appreciate that and is one of the reasons why Dilla's sound is a few levels above most producers'. When you get hooked to his sound you can't go back to the old flat drums, boom-bap sound most of the producers go by without putting in any work to make them sound decent.

If a producers' drums are feeling flat, or way too 'plastic' (even if they use actual drum samples!!), I can't fuck with that shit any more. This is why I'll never get bored of listening to Dilla's beats. This is what most people don't fucking get when they start throwing random producers' names and saying they are better than Dilla....get the fuck out of here and train your ears some more!!

I hope I'm not the only one to feel the same about it.

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I think we all feel that way....but let's not turn this into another thread about one of God's Gifts to Hip Hop.... I'd like to hear more about unorthodox techniques...shit, I might even delete my last post cause I think it really gives some of what might be my new swag away.

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I think we all feel that way....but let's not turn this into another thread about one of God's Gifts to Hip Hop.... I'd like to hear more about unorthodox techniques...shit, I might even delete my last post cause I think it really gives some of what might be my new swag away.

Yeah I hear you. I just wanted to point out that this particular aspect is crucial in beatmaking (and obviously general production) and which a lot of non-properly informed people take for granted.

It really can be a frustrating process at moments, for most of us I believe, because no matter how much work you put in you can't get the right sound, and that can be very disappointing, but also great motivation to learn more and work harder.

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Yeah it's definitely put a pause on making beats right now....I'm just in a drum stage...I feel like you gotta perfect everything one by one

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When i EQ drums, especially kicks, and i doubt if it's making a positive difference. What i sometimes do is i put, let's say for example i doubt about a dip in 300 i just made, than i close my eyes and A/B that certain EQ point (just that EQ point, not the entire EQ) a couple of times so i don't know if its on or off. Than i just keep A/B it with my eyes closed and than i really hear if it's for the better or not. This way my mind cant play tricks by thinking the EQ is on so it must be better or something like that.

You can also sidechain your snare to your sample with a far lower threshold and ratio than you would use on your bass and kick. It shouldn't make the sample duck down that much that the sidechain becomes noticeable but it can help a bit to get the snare come trough.

Someone should correct me if im wrong on this but i think the drum sound itself defines the style more than the actual EQ you apply. No matter what style, muddy is muddy. every kick is made clean and than made "dirty" with other stuff applied to it. But you gotta have a clean starting point to work with.

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But don't think I'm not going to write my eq down and make it into a preset...LI think that's what a lot of producers do...they find a way they like shit done and they stick with it until they get tired of it....it's how you make your own sound...and that's where I'm at right now.....I can make a million beats in a day, but if they not knocking how I want then they are really just drafts of what I want..

Like while I'm sitting here I'm just tweaking my drums over and over...not even different drums...the same bill withers drum sample a million people used, but I'm trying to do it my way....

Back on dilla, if you really listen to some of his simpler shit...like the stuff on fantastic vol 1 sometimes he doesn't even have anything going accept drums and a teeny tiny little ambient twinkle in the back.... That to me just makes me want to work on my drums alone...like I should be able to make beats with only a drum kit and start bumping way before I throw anything else on top

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I heard dilla used to go straight from his 3000 into a compressor to tape, or protools for mastering. His mixes were done right on his mpc, sent to a presonus acp88, and then stereo in protools, only two tracks. No plugin's at all or even in the box effects. Dilla's main skill with drums is finding samples that knocked. This stuff is all hearsay from some gearslutz guy who sat with dilla in the studio for years

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Yeah I read that post from B WILLIAMS.. whoever that is..lol...but yeah I think I actually figured the shit out on my own right now... i been spending more time today playing around with it... i know how to give my shit that perfect low end thump and how to give it that real hard pedal smack sound too... what i've been doing today is just going through my drum breaks and a kit I really enjoyed using awhile back and tweaking everything to a few presets i've made.....

THEY REAL KEY... is make sure w.e you're using for your drums... DO NOT NORMALIZE to 0.0DB... that was my major mistake... I tweak my shit on the computer with audacity because I can batch it... but i kept getting the clipping indication so I would normalize... that shit would suck the soul out of my drums...but now i've learned a specific DB to place it so it bumps on my speakers and my laptop... it still clips in audacity, but once I bring it into my hardware it maintains it's loudness without peaking and when it gets dumped back into my computer after a beat... it actually comes out not clipping with plenty of room to normalize it to 0.0 db.. which is where it actually needs to be for release...it can be lower too. I do -0.4DB

So I guess the main thing to think about is... just because it's loud now doesn't mean it'll be loud in the final mix... when everything gets put together it will sit really well.

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^lol yup b Williams. He has a video of him in the studio, w/ jd so I guess I buy his story

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