1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Drum replacement: how do the pros do it?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by gunsofbrixton, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. gunsofbrixton

    gunsofbrixton Active Member

    Hi all,

    I've been experimenting with drum replacement lately, using either Drumagog or a VST freeware plugin called KTDrumtrigger in conjunction with Battery 3. Now that I've stumbled across a few problems I was wondering if anyone could tell me how the pro studios get those polished, in-your-face kick and snare drum sounds that are clearly the result of triggering or drum replacement.

    1) How do I get clean enough close-mic tracks to use for drum replacement? This is more of a problem with snare drum recordings than kick drum tracks. Usually you get a lot of bleed from the kick drum on the snare drum mic, so that the quietest snare drum hits (ghost notes, fills) are quieter than the bleed from the kick drum. This means that if you set the threshold for triggering so low that all snare drum hits are correctly triggered you will get a lot of false triggers from the kick drum.

    2) Are trigger mics still being used these days? I would imagine that if I used both a normal mic and a trigger on a snare drum I would get a good audio recording as well as a clean midi track I could use for drum replacement, giving me full flexibility over the drum sound.

    3) Are multi-layer samples generally preferred over single-layer samples for kick and snare drums?

    4) What are the currently most used drum replacement plugins? Is Drumagog still state of the art?

  2. gunsofbrixton

    gunsofbrixton Active Member

    Nobody? I'd be really interested to learn how you can replace a real recording of a snare drum with ghost notes and fills with a sample. The other day I saw a presentation from Steven Slate, but he was obviously using a snare track that was recorded without any bleed from other parts of the drumkit. I think this is a bit of a cheat, because this is just not real life (except if you are using V-Drums).
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hey, nothing is cheating in the creative world, even loops put together to make a musical arrangement takes a talent. Each to his own. However, I do love my more raw 70 sound.

    I've never used one but there are a few plugin out there. The new SPL
    see: http://recording.org/content/399-spl-drumxchanger.html

    There are others.

    In the 80's we used an MPC 60 and triggered the drum samples with mics on a kit. You can use anything with a pulse, even your voice really to trigger another sound. All this started 40 years ago. It just more fun now.
  4. gunsofbrixton

    gunsofbrixton Active Member

    Sounds pretty interesting, this new SPL plugin. However, the problem with drum replacing is not that the ghost notes are not recognized with other software, but that the bleed from other mics (kick drum) is higher in level than the ghost notes and will therefore falsly trigger samples. I am afraid SPL DrumXchanger will not solve this issue.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    In your situation nothing is completely automatic. One can frequently heavily gate a drum. Then the output of the gated drum can be fed into something such as an Alesis H4 or H5 for their triggered drum samples. This can work out nicely but is rarely successful sounding with a drum roll. If you are actually recording the drums? Another suggestion would be to go to Radio Shaft and purchase a half dozen piezoelectric " buzzers". Break them out of their plastic packages, connect a wire to a 1/4 inch connector and tape them to the drumhead. These are poor man's triggers that can now be used with various drum machines such as the H 4 or 5 and others. Of course commercial triggers are also available but will cost you much more $$. This is the least expensive way for experimenting and getting good results. You can also use them for acoustic guitar pickups. Cram one under the bridge of acoustic guitar and you have a poor man's Barcus Berry pickup. They really work. Honest I've used them, made them.

    I enjoy a little pickup
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Once you are in MIDI, you can do anything.
  7. gunsofbrixton

    gunsofbrixton Active Member

    How do the "real" drum trigger mics work anyway? Are they real microphones that record sound which is later converted to midi or do they somehow register movements of the drumhead?

    As far as drum replacement is concerned I guess there's just certain limits to what you can do. Ghost notes and drum rolls are probably beyond that limit, unless you want to spend hours editing the snare track.
  8. niclaus

    niclaus Active Member

    Well, when using BFD, drum rolls have never been a problem....!!!! Maybe you have to work on it a little bit but i don't remember spending hours on those....
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I've contacted SPL for you, hopefully they are able to shed some insight on that product.

    Its been a while since I looked at this, but you can set velocities and sensitivities for anything in these triggers. Sometimes you need to break down certain parts of the track ( bars etc) to clean them up. Its editing and some things are easier than others. IMO, drums are something that can have a basic feel throughout the song so you can get the bed track pretty solid without too much editing. Once the bed track is done, you can fix the feel, use external sources like a drummer, drum machine, "" to add even more feel, the shots, rolls, whatever. The poorer the musicians or track, the more editing is required. Digital audio, MIDI and plugins like DrumXchanger make almost anything you can imagine, become a reality through editing.

    Its all so exciting.
  10. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    ProTools Sound Replacer software is ridiculously easy to use. You can apply separate samples to loud, medium, and soft hits visually.

    The triggers can be anything from cheap piezo transducers to good studio mics. I'm a lot better at tapping my fingers than swinging drumsticks, so I've laid down some decent kick / snare tracks just tapping right on the windscreens of a couple SM58's.
  11. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    If you're working in post, why don't you just roll the bottom end off the snare mic(s) until the kick disappears?
    Wouldn't this render your threshold problem a non-issue?
    A trigger is a trigger, whatever it actually sounds like? So you just need enough signal, right?

    Otherwise, can't comment directly on the software, as I don't use it.
  12. spl_support

    spl_support Guest

    Hey, this is Dirk from SPL.

    We have implemented four things to make triggering difficult drum tracks more reliable: the "dual threshold", which lets you determine a level AND the transient peaks of signals, and BOTH tresholds have to be reached to actually "fire" a sample off. Then we have alos added Hi-Pass and Lo-Pass filters into the sidechain, so you can filter unwanted noise away... plus a ducking limiter that let´s you KEEP some of the original ghost notes sounds and only replace the loud snare hits, which leads to a much more natural result overall.
    Last not least you will be able to switch the Transient Designer of the "original" signal into the sidechain with the final release version.

    Cheers, Dirk.
  13. gunsofbrixton

    gunsofbrixton Active Member

    Thanks, Dirk, I am starting to get REALLY interested ;) Definitely gonna check this tool out!

    @soapfloats: You have a point there. Maybe I should experiment more with EQ on the track i use for triggering. However, if I don't want to filter away the fundamental frequencies of the snare (which is where most of its energy is) i will not be able to set a HP filter higher than at 100 Hz or so. Not sure if this will help that much. Will try.
  14. spl_support

    spl_support Guest

    You see, this is where the DXC comes in... it has built-in filters in the sidechain, so you can get rid of crosstalk for the trigger chain without effecting the audio channel of the original sound! Then you can just blend original snare (for example) and sample together...
    Cheers, Dirk.
    Info and demo:
  15. Hello everyone,

    We are pleased to announce that you can now demo the new Slate Digital Advanced DRUM REPLACEMENT plugin called TRIGGER!

    Check out the demo by going to Slate Digital and visiting the demo section to download TRIGGER's trial demo. You'll need an iLok to use TRIGGER!

    TRIGGER is the next generation drum replacement VST/RTAS/AU plugin. TRIGGER has a phase accurate multi layered triggering engine. This means that in one instance of the plugin, you can seamlessly trigger multiple samples simultaneously such as a close mic sample, stereo overhead sample, and a stereo room mic samples. Or, mix many direct mic samples to develop your own custom unique sounds. This multi channel triggering functionality allows the user to recreate the sound of natural drums with real multitracked samples. Each sample layer has parameters for customization such as velocity and dynamic control, attack, sustain, release and independent levels. Other features include 2 detection modes, MIDI in/out, automation of detecting parameters, up to 127 different articulations per instrument, up to 127 velocity layers per instrument and up to 127 alternation hits per velocity layer, and a unique "Leakage Suppression" function.

    You can see the introduction video on slatedigital.com or on youtube: YouTube - SLATE DIGITAL TRIGGER

    If you have any questions, post them here. Also if you have any problems with triggering setup, you can send me your tracking and I'll check it and send you back TRIGGER screeshot with optimal settings for triggering your track.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hey, welcome to RO. Good youtube intro. You should give me a copy of this for the nice promotion injection here! I'll let this pass because it is definitely related to the OP, so welcome. Good eye SDT!

    This is turning into a pretty interesting thread. My mind is going in all sorts of direction. I see the world of Mastering secrets entering a new twist with this sort of product.
    M/S sort of thing going on?
    An Aural Exciters maybe happening?

    Could something like this evolve into separating other instruments/ vocals and so on?
  17. Hi audiokid! Thanks! We here to make people happier!
  18. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Specifically made triggers for drums are not generally microphones. They are more akin to piezoelectric buzzers than they are to microphones. A poor man's acoustic guitar pickup. More sensitive to physical vibration than air vibration, which it is quite insensitive to. When trying to replace already pre-recorded drum tracks, it has to use the track recorded with a microphone. Not all drum replacers have been created equally. Most of the latest ones in software rely on the mic as opposed to specific drum triggers. Of course triggers are generally much cheaper than even a bad microphone. So you have to ask yourself, is your desire to always use somebody else's drum sound? If so, don't waste your budget on drum microphones. You can still record piezoelectric pickups that you taped to your drum heads. These wouldn't suffer from any leakage from the other drums, bass guitar, etc.. But if you like your drums and want them to sound good, use SM57's, MD 421's, D6, etc.. Radio Shaft is a good source for a whole set of drum triggers that will cost you less than $20 for the entire set. As opposed to commercially made drum triggers that cost $20 each. 57's are still $100 each. 421's almost cost that much.

    Buzzers work
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  19. Robin.bjerke

    Robin.bjerke Active Member

    Haha, classic :p I'll have to try it out :p
  20. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    this is a sore subject for me and i want everyone to know NOW, that i hate drum replacements. so in the following statement i EXPECT a barrage of complaints. so i take the hits, lick my wounds but im a better man for my opinion.
    with that said,.. here we go.
    dude, if the drummer is playing ghost notes its for a reason, HE WANTS THEM THERE, putting a replacement on the snare will SUCK the life out of the drummers playing and the beautiful ghost notes he was doing to show a listener what a great drummer he is because his cool ass ghost notes are really sweet and imaginative at the same time. a sample will just screw up the dynamics of his playing, (you know about dynamics right, ??) so that each and every gracefull ghost note will be as loud as every hit he makes!!
    why would you want to replace the snare, because the kick drum is bleeding into the snare mic?? how the **** does that happen, oh yeah your a novice, well then, dude, instead of trying to fix your mistake and your inability to place a microphone the proper way to reject the rest of the kit to the point where your mix will benefit, TRY WORKING ON THAT INSTEAD OF ****ING THE DRUMMER OUT OF A GREAT PERFORMANCE WITH A ****ING SAMPLE, your an engineer right, or you want to be an engineer, then work on making your signal chain the best that it can be from the snare to the recorder and everything in between. thats what an engineer does when recording music, you NEED to learn those techniques FIRST before reaching for the "I ****ed Up" plugin.
    good F'n luck in your career

Share This Page