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Copyright/ethical issue

Discussion in 'Recording' started by McCheese, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    I was approached by a friend's band yesterday, and I'm going to be helping them with an album, for free, and they brought something up I hadn't thought of.

    They want to single out a kick drum hit on a commercial CD, and replace all the kick hits on thier tracks with it. Kinda like sound replacer, except I think they'll be doing it manually.

    At first I was thinking it would fall into the 'sample' category, being well under 1 second. But then realizing they would be doing it for the whole entire album, I began to wonder.

    I'm not worried about the technical aspect of doing this, it's an easy enough task from that point of view, given I/they can find a lone kick hit to use. It's the legal/ethical issue about it.

    Anyone have any experience or thoughts on something like this?
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    It as you initally thought. Its a sample. it doesn't matter how many times you use it, it's still only a second or so long.

    I commend you on your ethics though. This wouldn't even occure to some people.

    I reserve comment on the whole concept of replacing hits with samples.
  3. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    Thanks for the input.

    I'm not keen on doing it either, but it's not my music, and not really my project, I'm doing more advising than anything else.
  4. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Distinguished Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    More often than not, I will spend a couple of hours making the sound rather than sampling it. If you've got good ears and the right equipment, it's shouldn't be too terribly hard to replicate. Find a sample or drum machine or synth that gets close then start tweaking.

    That way you don't have to worry about any of that.
  5. Oblivion

    Oblivion Guest

    If your going to sample your better off downloading a free sample from somewhere or using something that may come with a package...... you would probably get away with ripping off a drum hit from somewhere commercial.... but you never can tell!!
  6. maintiger

    maintiger Distinguished Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Home Page:
    there are a ton of inexpensive loops out there with great sounding kicks and you don't have to worry about infringing copyright or getting sued. beta monkey comes to mind


    there are many others out there as well...
  7. musicman68

    musicman68 Guest

    If you can find other means of getting close to this desired kick drum sound other than sampling it, I would do that....

    I am definitely not an attorney, but I did major in Music Business and have taken copyright law classes and can tell you that the record label owns the copyright on the sound recording, and although this would probably go unnoticed legally, personally I would not feel right about doing this from an ethical standpoint. Turn the situation around: What if someone sampled a sound/kick drum that you as an engineer or producer spent much time and effort getting the way you wanted? I would feel a little used....

    Just something to think about.
  8. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    I totally agree. But I must say, isn't it ironic that someone working for a company like Korg (Triton drum sounds), or Alesis (the D4 or the DM5), or Roland (any drum sounds or beats they manufactured)or any one of the various drum programmers that are top notch throughout the world.
    Funny that they don't get a law suit rolling over your ass, just because it sounds like you used a drum machine, and a beat that they spent 2 years (of their life) working on (including production and marketing time and release of the product). As they most likely make a good living designing drum sounds and digital programs that reflect great "recorded" drum tracks. They prob. don't make the millions and millions that a "big name act" makes or their "producer" makes.
    I understand the madness has to stop somewhere. But it is funny to me, how someone who spends less time, making more money, than "everybody else" who's getting ripped off too. The guy who recorded them got paid. Right?
    Yes....Just not as little as a digital audio programmer, that makes drums sounds that we can use without getting a lawsuit.
  9. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    I always advise against using drum samples from a commercially recorded CD. Here are a few reasons why:

    1. The ethics. I agree with both points of view here to an extent. Yes it's a bit of a rip off of a good engineer by taking it from an existing commercial track. At the same time isn't that what drum sample Cds, programs, and drum machines do? Take the work of an individual and exploit it to be used by the masses? So in a way it's kind of the same thing. So let's just say this first number shouldnt be the real reason you USE or DON'T USE a sample from an existing track.

    2. This I think is an often overlooked reason but they can screw things up if neglected. When you go to a major studio (where those commercial tracks were most likely recorded) the drums will usually be tuned to match the keys of a particular song or the tuning of the guitars and bass. If the guitarist for that band plays in D then the technician should have those drums tuned to resonant with the open D of the guitars. If your band you are working with plays in D then this isn't an issue but say your band plays in regular E or C or B..etc...then the sampled kick may sound a bit off. Also if you just replace the kick, maybe the sampled kick now is not in tune with the rest of your recorded drum tracks. I have had this experience in the past when using a drum machine of mine to replace only the kick.

    3. I think it's a bit of a crutch as an engineer - I know what you said and you made a great point - it's not your project - but in a way it is. You are stamping your name and signing off on anything you ever push out your doors or help produce.

    4. There is no sampled kick that is going to sound as human as a real drummer. Real drummer's have accented beats, grooves to their pedal work, and they make imperfections that add to the feel of a song. I would never take that away from a song I was working on. Try a program like drumagog that can at least replace each hit with a sampled hit of the same amplitude and intonation as the original - keeping as much of the performance in tact as possible.

    Those are just my opinions and thoughts. Good luck with it.
  10. tedcrop

    tedcrop Guest

    Sounds like a lot of trouble to me. I recording the kick with a mic and a trigger if I need to then applying samples. People have alot of time on their hands whoa.
  11. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    I want to know "How" to tune the drums to a D tuning? And how to tune them to E (standard or 440)
    Thanks Rain0707. I was hoping that "Someone" would see the irony in the "you guys stole from me" point of view.
    Poor little me. I only have 15 million bucks
  12. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    Tuning drums to resonate with open chords from the guitar is something I was only enlightened to a year ago. Usually it consists of either finding the most resonant drum on the kit and striking it while the guitar player plays an open D or E power chord and listening if you want to try it by ear. Otherwise I have seen this done too...record a single hit from each drum and loop it in your software. Make the loop markers so small that the resonating hit of the drum is just a constant soundwave. Now if you have a pocket chromatic tuner you can simply put this in the room and figure out how close it is resonating to the target frequency and note. Or take the output of that track and run it straight into a korg digital rack mount tuner or something. I have seen this done in the past. It makes a definite difference in the overall consistency of the song. If someone else has heard a better way please let me know! :)
  13. Arrowfan

    Arrowfan Guest

    Sample away! If its the kick sound you want, use it and don't waste any time fussing.

    But grab a few and mix them up in placement to add some subtlety.
  14. Arrowfan

    Arrowfan Guest

    Where did you here this? A drum head should be tuned to it's shell. Then fine tune (very fine tune) all the drums together so they sound "good" as an ensemble. If its a good drum kit it'll sound good with whatever chords the guitarist plays.

    Torturing a well tuned drum kit to match the guitarist's open chords would probably make Alberto Gonzalez happy - but not much else!
  15. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    A drum kit's shell are designed to be tuned to many different resonances. Yes it is true just like everything in existance there is a natural fundamental frequency the drum wants to resonate at but the way drums are made is to accomodate the necessities of many different players. Jazz players will often play with much tighter heads and skins then a rock player will. Does this make it wrong? No. It's their preference for their style. Drum size has a lot to do with it - I know...but you can and should be able to tune a drum to whatever note in its fundemental scale you want without sacrificing its overall sound. They are teaching this at Depaul University, Columbia University, trade schools, and full sail.
  16. Okay, first of all, get your pitches right. The A above middle C on a piano is 440 Hz in pitch. Anyway....

    When I ask my drum tech to tune the drums to a "D", he usually tunes the resonant head of the snare to a "D" pitch. (Note that pitch is perceived, but that the pitch of a note does not actually have to contain any frequency that would fall on "D" to be a "D" pitch.) Then we discuss the mode of the key of the song and where and how the other toms will be used to decide where to tune them at on a 12-tET scale relative to the snare. I prefer the "anything musical goes" method for the kick; if the kick fits in the song, its right, if it stands out, its wrong.

    Tuning drums takes a lot of time to learn. I personally don't have the patience to do it myself. I understand the concepts, but I m not sure how well I can implement them myself. That's what educated drum techs are for.
  17. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    Yes Brian, you basically more or less concurred with me on this. When I say standard 440 I'm referring to not just the A note. I'm referring to A-440 scale which is concert scale and every note that falls within that standard scale. We agree with eachother completely - we just worded it differently.
  18. Chance

    Chance Guest

    I reciently got Drumagog and with it you can tune any part of the drum kit.
    This was a process that was used (manually tuning the kit) with the early Santana album "Abraxix" I remember the song "Soul Sacrifice" and in a vamp the toms were perfectly in tune with the bass (and the key of the song)

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