drums.... how perfect should they be???

Discussion in 'Drums' started by igotnosmoke, May 15, 2008.

  1. igotnosmoke

    igotnosmoke Active Member

    May 19, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    I recently posted in regards to recoridng my bands in EP half in the studio the other half at my place and doing the final mix back in the studio am currently in the process of editing the drum takes and wondering whether i should align the drums so that they are PERFECTLY in time or whether to not interfere with the natural human feel...

    Our drummer is very good, and the average listener would not be able to notice any inconsistancy... but having the recording tools that i have and control of the overall product... i thought i should definately consider it..

    We are going for Bon Jovi / Aerosmith / Guns n Roses style 'Glam Rock' production and ultimately want a fairly tight sound... i would think that very few bands these days record albums without editing the drums to have perfect timing... i could be wrong??
  2. Robak

    Robak Active Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    Isn't it the answer to your question?

    Do the mix at the studio first then listen to it and decide where the timing is bad and should be fixed. You can edit raw tracks at home and swap files at the studio. This way you'll edit only where it is necessary. If you have to edit those drum tracks before the mix than remember to listen to the whole song (not only the drums) while making decisions where to cut and turn the click track off.
  3. igotnosmoke

    igotnosmoke Active Member

    May 19, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    hahaha.. yes and no... i too was a drummer in a past life, so i 'can' notice the difference which drives me nuts... and not sure how to go about it having the responsibility of producing the album..
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    If you want to play to a drum machine, fire your drummer. I can't imagine putting up with a drummer (or any musician) and then quantizing their music. Playing drums exactly at the same millisecond every beat, every measure isn't "perfect" it's "mechanical." If that's what you like, more power to you, but I hate it.
  5. mhutch

    mhutch Guest

    I prefer being able to tell that there are people playing those instruments...

    Sometimes it's those little screw ups that really give a song character. Sometimes.
  6. I hate what quantization, in the wrong hands, does to drums. I've worked for 12 years learning and perfecting "feel" down to the nanosecond. This subjection is certainly nothing I can verbalize, and is all the more beyond the scope of a computer algorithm.

    For instance, a single kick drum accent in a pattern may need to fall in between the boundaries of complex subdivisions, like between 64th notes, to be emotionally relevant. Or a fill may need to be "crammed" for the first half, while the last half needs timepiece accuracy.

    Humanization doesn't necessarily help, either: if I'm making several batches of cookies, I might need to test each batch to make sure the dough has enough sugar. Surely not every batch will need the same amount: "We have a machine that can sweeten it for you. No, it can't add tablespoons, but it can randomly choose either to add a teaspoon or a cup."

    And even this, of course, is assuming the quantization is seamless enough so as not to have artifacts in the decays of the instruments. I recently did a recording with a buddy of mine who paid for me to go into a "real" studio to record some drums. I labored for two hours on a particularly difficult song so I had everything just as I wanted it. The recordist destructively quantized all my parts without my permission. What was once a performance I thought was going to go at the front of my portfolio is now an anonymous contribution I made to a friend's recording.

    If I want to be picky with drums--particularly my own performances--I edit by hand. Every hit that I want changed. I may scour through 50 different takes and 1,200 different edits, but it's worth it to me to have a performance that sounds both authentic and ideal. Your drummer may feel likewise.
  7. Perfectly said.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    It really depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Quantizing drums? If anything, I the don't quantize them at all (I never have). I'll actually shove them around a bit just for the feel I want. For instance, I find that sometimes some drummers will push the beat. I'll take the snare drum and delay it a couple of milliseconds, to put it on the backside of the beat. Completely changes the character of the song. So I believe in manipulating them for the feel not to be taken as a computer decided function. That is, unless your music is really not worthy of being produced by or, being listened to by human beings? Which is most.

    Now if you are into that Steely Dan kind of production? You may want that kind of consistent accuracy for its repetitive nature. For its repetitive nature. For its repetitive nature. For its repetitive nature. Can we try that take again? For its repetitive nature. I love that stuff but I'm not that kind of anal girl (quite frankly I would appreciate it if you use my vagina instead). But I could be?

    I want a human feeling performance. If I wanted to listen to a drum machine? I wouldn't purchase the lousy recording to begin with. What? You have to prove what you learned in " How To Make A Bad Recording School"?

    Never went to school for this.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  9. malamikigo

    malamikigo Active Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I can't stand listening to recordings with massively edited drums, full of drum replacement and quantizing. There's a studio locally near where I live that is infamous (with me) for their (i think) shitty drum work, but are a fairly big studio in terms of the bands they do.

    A couple recordings done by them:


  10. multoc

    multoc Active Member

    Jun 18, 2005
    Malamikigo....that's what's popular now days remember that, its all about what sells and this 'sound' sells;)
  11. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I know the points already been made but, I'm a drummer.
    Would you quantise a pianist?
    Another fellow percussionist.

    *thinks about making his signature "Quantise my drummin' that's a stabbin'"*
  12. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Can they do that sound live? Talking about those afflicted chaps.
    Sounds like a Spector "Wall of Sound" but for new-age 2 bit rock(or whatever) groups. Sounds like the music in skateboarding games.
  13. TheGreatAmericanSlum

    TheGreatAmericanSlum Active Member

    May 22, 2008
    Home Page:
    I firmly believe that this sort of thing is always and completely circumstantial.

    1) I think most drummers (and musicians for that matter) are completely inexperienced in approaching any sort of cohesive or organic feel, especially in the studio. In this (as in most) case(s) your drummer would never really realize that you made quantizing changes in order to tighten the track and would, if anything, feel more confident in having achieved a 'stellar' performance ;) I wouldn't worry about offending anyone in this case.

    2) Many times, as mentioned earlier in this post, certain "inconsistencies" become quite happy accidents in the studio and you end up changing the song to accommodate them. Example: my band has had many songs that start w/ acoustic guide tracks, then we'll add some percussion, then we'll go for that solid drum track and certain little feel changes, fills and accents in the drum track will cause us to go back and re-do everything we had to that point to fit the drums. This ends up sounding like sweet sweet rainy day sex.

    I agree w/ Patrick above as well, however, especially in a studio situation w/ a drummer coming in to just get drums on a track. If a proper drummer comes in and slaves to get a take and then you scrap it or quantize the whole thing it's a bit demoralizing and offensive. I personally stray as far as possible from that sort of recording situation myself. After all, there's a reason The Beatles didn't just invite Jimmie Nicol in to do some tracks while Ringo was sick!!!

    MHO, and my 3rd post!!!
  14. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    Turn off the video monitor and listen. Do you still hear problems? If not your done. I hate all of this editing. Most of it results from people "seeing" that it doesn't fit against a grid with no consideration as to what it actually sounds like. God help us all if some numnutz keyboard monkey had decided to help ol' Bonzo out and fix his tracks for him.
  15. MarkG

    MarkG Guest

    I think the studio did them a favor. If I was recording a band with limited singing/songwriting skills I would probably try to make them sound like that too. I only hope that they wouldn't try to pull that kind of mix on blues, or jazz, or pretty much anything else for that matter.
  16. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    I agree. I think a lot of people are seeing it as just another tool to make their recording sound 'better'. Maybe it's me, but I don't understand why people have to use tricks like this to get things accomplished. Call me simple. I'd rather work on my recording and mixing chops.

    I've only tried this type of editing, and I'll be the first to admit that I don't fully understand it. But, because I don't fully understand it, I shouldn't attempt to use it - thinking it might yield a better result.

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