Monday, September 20, 2010

Making a Kit - Pt. 4: The Sequel to Part 3

     So, after getting my Reason session all nice and ready to go, I moved into Logic. I decided that I was gonna totally bullshit something and see if it worked out. Here's the story.

     See, when I recorded these drum samples, it was at the end of a session. Me and my cousin had been tracking drums for one of our songs. Well, during the setup for that session, I ran into a bunch of problems. A bunch of mic stands all around the school were broken (because assholes try to tighten them way too much), so I had to keep running around and swapping out mics stands. Also, one of the dude's from my class kept barging in the studio and whining about some bullshit (basically, that he was having to work his ass of just to slip by since he slacked off like a dumbass for the previous few months). 

     So I ended up being set back by about half an hour. We really had to rush, because we were recording a 13 minute song and I had no idea how long it would take to gets some good takes out of my cousin. So, after all the mics were set up, I was doing level check, and I noticed that the trash mic wasn't putting out signal. I ran out to the live room and made sure it plugged in good. It was, so it had to be a bad cable. Well, my cousin was already pissed off a little and so was I, we didn't have much time, and I kinda just didn't give a fuck, so I just let it slide (only because it was a personal project).

     Anyways, the point is that I didn't have a trash mic. A trash mic is pretty much just a mic that goes behind the drummer and gets compressed to hell and back. There's a more lengthy explanation of it my Compression post (very bottom).

     Well after everything was recorded, I decided that I really wanted that trash mic. Especially once I started putting together this kit. Now that I'm out of school, I won't have access to their awesome mics anymore. I also won't have access to that specific drum kit, or more importantly, that live room... or that SSL... not until I go back for my final semester of music business classes next year. 

     So I wanted this kit to really be a straight up replica of the same exact signals I got from that kit, recorded with those mics, running through that console. Well, I really like using a trash mic, and I didn't have one. So the only solution was to fake one. 

     In order to do this, I had to somehow use signals from all those different mics and make them sound like one microphone behind the drum kit, about 7 feet high. So I'm having to fuck with time of arrival and also make some really nice condensor mics (which were only used for overheads, hat, and ride) sound like a fucking SM58. 
     Ok, so here's what I did. I just took the signal from the spot mics of each drum and made a virtual replica of the kit using Logic's binaural panner. I had to do it from the perspective of that SM58. It was up high facing directly between the high an mid toms. So I had to pan everything out left and right accordingly. Once that was done, I had to set their vertical positions. So obviously the kick was down low, the snare was sorta low, the cymbals were high, blah blah. Then I had to make it seem like the mic was a few feet behind the kit. So I figure that distance from the mic stand to the front of the kick drum was about 5 feet or so (which just happens to about 1.5 meters, Logic's default room radius). So, considering this mic would actually be picking up the back of the kick, I didn't put it all the way to the edge of the "room". 

This picture shows all my fake drum positions. The center is where the trash mic would be. I don't know why that china cymbal is back so far... I don't remember doing that, so I'm assuming I accidentally moved it when I was taking the screenshots of this shit.

    So all that shit is set up. Then I had to route all those signals to an aux with the binaural post processing, and then send that to another aux that converted the signal to mono. Since I'm just trying to create signal for one mic, I need a mono signal, but I had to convert it to mono after the binaural aux. This way, the binaural aux would still be a stereo channel and be able to recreate a fake room with the binaural panner. I needed the stereo signal to create the 3D space, then the mono aux signal is technically what represents the trash mic. 

     I also added some gates to the channels which had signal from condensor mics. The threshold was all the low and the release was long. I just needed a couple of milliseconds of attack to take those condensors and give the slower response of a dynamic mic. I also slapped on an EQ to take out a tiny bit of high end. I honestly didn't EQ as much as I should have, but none of this shit was perfect anyways. It was all experimental and obviously gonna be flawed, so I figured I'd just barely effect the beautiful signal of those condensors and leave them sounding the way I liked them instead of fucking them up. 

    So everything was set up. All that was left for me to do was pull in the samples from the spot mic from each drum, at each velocity, and bounce them one at a time. In total I had to do 63 samples.
     So yeah, it was a pain in the ass, and no, this can't replace the real thing, but I did get a pretty accurate time of arrival for each drum, and I did get a pretty decent simulated trash mic. But in the end, it doesn't matter if it's a little fucked up. It's just gonna get the shit compressed out of it and be put really low into the mix, so whatever. It's better than nothing, and I think it sounds pretty damn accurate.

     The next post will have some audio examples of the kit. There are probably only two more parts to this series of posts, then I'll finally be doing talking about something else.


  1. Hey would you be able to throw some sample beats on a youtube? I'd love to see you in action.

  2. yes please make the new post about the audio samples. this was very cool

  3. @Mr. smith: I'll probably just put some sample beats on the next post once I'm done making this beast. Then on the following post, I'll probably have some beats that have been mixed good (so it'll probably be a post about mixing)

    I'm really busy with final exams, and I'm trying to get this kit finished so I can give it to the school before I leave, so I'll have the next post up in a couple of days

  4. Also, if anyone wants to download this kit, I'll try organize it well and get it in a downloadable format. You'd need Reason... <_< but... I'm sure you can work that out

  5. I can't wait for samples!

  6. Wooaaaahhh, it seems to get more and more complicated 0_0

    Also I'm waiting for the samples ^^

  7. Holy shit this seems complicated. Good luck with it, and yes, Samples are needed!

    Much love and $upport headed your way broham!

  8. This blog has quite the following!

  9. Propellerheads Reason 5 good enough?
    And holy shit this thing's huge.

  10. Yeah, 5 is actually the newest version. It's pretty sweet

  11. >So, after getting my Reason session all nice and ready to go, I moved into Logic.

    Mantooth confirmed for not a chick