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When to quantize drums?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by nandoph8, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. nandoph8

    nandoph8 Active Member

    Hello, the scenario is this:
    Band comes in and wants to track drums and bass together to get that feel (and be efficient) but also wants to quantize drums.
    Do you:
    A. Quantize drums and then edit the bass track to match the new drums.
    B. Quantize drums and re-record bass.
     
  2. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Seriously... people that call themselves musicians these days... :? Won't recording together and then quantizing the drums sort of negate the live sound of playing together? Option A sounds like it COULD preserve a bit of that live sound, but I like option B a bit more. Why do they want to quantize the drums? Are they a techno band?
     
  3. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Depends on the Bassist.
    Can he re-track to the new beats as tight as he does when playing to the drummer?
    If you stretch the bass and pitch correct there may be no audible artifacts but you will be able to tell it's not as fluid as it was... Really depends on how much work you have to do to get it to line up again and weather or not the bass player can play to a track or if he needs a drummer to watch.

    Have they thought about playing the drums in time in the first place?
     
  4. nandoph8

    nandoph8 Active Member

    Everything is quantized, now days. Sounds like I am exaggerating but in the genre that I am mostly recording (modern rock), a majority of the stuff on the radio is quantized and most bands want to sound like that. Not all bands have a Dave Grohl, Josh Freeze or Matt Cameron sitting behind the kit. From my experience, the only way to get drummers to sound as perfect as possible is by quantizing them.
     
  5. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    You could try something really wild and have the drummer play to a click track and have the bass play along with the drums. That sounds like a fabulous idea. Of course, the drummer needs to be able to play along with it. 8) I've heard about drummers getting kicked out of studios because they couldn't play to a click track...
     
  6. nandoph8

    nandoph8 Active Member

    Ok, obviously, the drummer is already playing to a click track. I would hate to quantize a drummer who's not. In fact, I would have to deny the request to quantize at that point. If the drummer cannot play to a click, I wont even give them the option of quantizing the drums.
    I am in the middle of editing a band that I recorded playing to a click, and kept the drums and bass as "real" tracks. Although the drummer was able to keep on time with the click, he was all over the place. So, I HAVE to quantize the drums in order to have it sound somewhat pleasing to the ears. But, I also have to edit the bass to match the quantized drums and it's taking me FOREVER! I just wanted to see if anyone else runs into this type of situation.
     
  7. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Why bother?

    If you're going to quantise just use samples and program the drums. If that stale new rock thing is what your after you can get it nailed with a computer...
     
  8. nandoph8

    nandoph8 Active Member

    ....hardly.
     
  9. music293

    music293 Active Member


    Actually, I agree with Greener. If that is the sound you want, you might as well start clicking your mouse or grab a midi controller. The only thing you're really hard pressed to recreate are cymbals, especially the hihat, but you can just track that live and then blend to taste.
     
  10. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Instead of quantization, how about just warping the audio to get the parts that are off and not groovy to play better.

    This suggestion assumes modern rock moderate to fast tempo:

    If you snap the snare right on the 3, and let the other beats pull with it you will still have some of that feel and also have a really tight beat. If the bass is recorded with the drums warp the bass to the kick if they are off from each other.
     
  11. StephenMC

    StephenMC Member

    Whether or not what nandoph8 is the artistically preferred, he's right in saying this: to "fix" the drums will pay the bills.

    You have to compromise now and then to make your moneys.
     
  12. music293

    music293 Active Member

    Hooking pays the bills too! lol!

    :)
     
  13. nandoph8

    nandoph8 Active Member

    Thank you. For those of us who do this for a living, our "personal" opinion on how drums should be played and performed, rarely ever matter when a band is on a budget and they ARE your boss at that point of time. I agree partly with the whole "fakeness" of the outcome of quantizing, BUT you can't seriously tell me that digital drums, even BDF, sound as real as performed acoustic drums with natural decays, variance in overtones and dynamics, etc. Even when real drums are quantized, they still have a natural sound. I've tried them both and it's not even close. So, in clonclusion, it is NOT a sound that we are trying to achieve, it's a "better" performance that can't obviosly be performed by the client effieciently.
     
  14. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    I think it is sad where musicianship is headed these days. Rather than spending hours learning to play, in order to have good chops, let them "fix" it for me so I sound just like... Well the truth is you don't sound like that. When your "fans" listen to it will you thank them when they tell you "you're an awesome drummer, dude"
    This is certainly not the fault of the engineer who as nando says is just trying to make a living.
    What about hiring a session drummer? Oh that would be like admitting I can't play. The emperor's new clothes all over again!
    Sorry I don't have any answers on quantitizing I am lucky enough to know three different and really awesome drummers, each with their own particular strong suit. I do however have to pay them (go figure.)
     
  15. nandoph8

    nandoph8 Active Member

    I totally agree. Usually, when I book a band, I have them come down weeks before and try to feel out what kind of musicianship they have. I recommend practicing to a metronome religiously and hopefully it will help them enough to when they get in here, they don't need to be "fixed". But, it doesn't always end up like that. But when you DO get a really good drummer, it is awesome!
     
  16. nandoph8

    nandoph8 Active Member

    On another note, I've noticed that because of all this "perfect" drumming in modern recordings, a lot of younger drummers try to replicate that perfection and some of them get REALLY close, which is also awesome!
     
  17. I say quantize the drums and have the bass player re-record. It would (hopefully) save you some time not having to edit the bass tracks to the drum tracks. But hold onto the original take just in case, for some reason, he can't play without the drummer playing as well. And I've also noticed kids trying to replicate what they hear on recordings and are ending up to be phenomenal drummers. And I've also seen an increase in younger drummers starting out playing to a click (which is encouraging).
     

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