Thursday, September 27, 2012

Choosing Drum Samples

Its all about Sequoia

So often I get mixes in here where the producer has chosen to use drum samples that just do not work in a mix. Many companies offer drum libraries nowadays, they all sound fantastic when you sample them or play them on your own. But once you add them to a real mix, they do not work. They are almost always Eq'd to death to make the sound huge, like Tommy Lee's drums from a Motley Crue album.  The kick drum is always huge with tons of bottom end and no mids, but once I bring them up in a mix, its mush and carries zero impact.

I am not sure what the answer is, since companies are stuck because if the samples sound the way they need to sound to work in a mix, no one would buy them.

Here is an example of what ends up happening.  When you are cooking, single ingredients taste one way, but the sum of all the ingredient taste different. The spice cumin,  its not a spice you want to each on its own, but once its in the right dish, it can bring the entire dish to life. Chocolate is great on its own but if you try to mix it into a dish you are making for dinner, it does not work.  Lemon-pepper-chocolate-chicken...

So my advice to you is to learn what a drum kit sounds like in a room.  Most importantly, try to match up the kick and snare sound as much as possible to the real thing. This will allow the sounds to work together in the mix. Remember,  you can always EQ the sounds to be anything you want them to be if you are starting with a good source, but these pre-EQ'd sample libraries are usually so EQ'd that there is not bringing them back.

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