Studio minus Drums

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highlandermak
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2018/02/14 04:10:24 (permalink)

Studio minus Drums

So I have a personal studio in my basement that has a 4 by 6 vocal booth. It is great for recording most instruments except an acoustic drum set. I would like to expand the "personal studio" to record bands. I thought about getting an electric drum kit and let drummers record via midi. However I feel as though it might be a deal breaker not being able to record acoustic drums. Has anyone faced this road block and figured a work around? Thanks

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    Slugbaby
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    Re: Studio minus Drums 2018/02/14 13:53:17 (permalink)
    I can't see it being more of a deal-breaker than having no drum option at all...
    Unless you've got the space and equipment to record a kit properly, I think this is a solid start.

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    Voda La Void
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    Re: Studio minus Drums 2018/02/14 14:12:47 (permalink)
    highlandermak
    So I have a personal studio in my basement that has a 4 by 6 vocal booth. It is great for recording most instruments except an acoustic drum set. I would like to expand the "personal studio" to record bands. I thought about getting an electric drum kit and let drummers record via midi. However I feel as though it might be a deal breaker not being able to record acoustic drums. Has anyone faced this road block and figured a work around? Thanks



    Speaking as a drummer, that's a deal breaker.  Electronic drum kits are great if the drummer is basically a lifeless metronome.  The only use for the electronic drum kit in that case is to record the notes instead of dragging and dropping and building the drum track.  
     
    But some genres of music actually want the drummer to play his drums and contribute.  You miss all the nuances of snare hits and cymbal work when you don't capture an acoustic performance.  Electronic drums put you behind the beat a little too, depending on their latency, and can really screw up a drummer's sense of time and feel.  It's a micro thing, but it changes how you play.  Sure you can fix all that with quantizing, and get that lifeless machine feel.  
     
    I played electronic drums for years and it ruined my feel for acoustic drums and much of my original skill set.  The way the pads bounce, that little micro-detectable delay, the sterile sound of piezoelectric triggering of MIDI notes...just lead to such a boring and unexciting drum track.  
     
    But I can't speak for all drummers and I am seeing more and more bands set up with electronic drums.  There's a market out there, I guess.  
     
     

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    anydmusic
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    Re: Studio minus Drums 2018/02/14 15:28:50 (permalink)
    Voda La Void
    highlandermak
    So I have a personal studio in my basement that has a 4 by 6 vocal booth. It is great for recording most instruments except an acoustic drum set. I would like to expand the "personal studio" to record bands. I thought about getting an electric drum kit and let drummers record via midi. However I feel as though it might be a deal breaker not being able to record acoustic drums. Has anyone faced this road block and figured a work around? Thanks



    Speaking as a drummer, that's a deal breaker.  Electronic drum kits are great if the drummer is basically a lifeless metronome.  The only use for the electronic drum kit in that case is to record the notes instead of dragging and dropping and building the drum track.  
     
    But some genres of music actually want the drummer to play his drums and contribute.  You miss all the nuances of snare hits and cymbal work when you don't capture an acoustic performance.  Electronic drums put you behind the beat a little too, depending on their latency, and can really screw up a drummer's sense of time and feel.  It's a micro thing, but it changes how you play.  Sure you can fix all that with quantizing, and get that lifeless machine feel.  
     
    I played electronic drums for years and it ruined my feel for acoustic drums and much of my original skill set.  The way the pads bounce, that little micro-detectable delay, the sterile sound of piezoelectric triggering of MIDI notes...just lead to such a boring and unexciting drum track.  
     
    But I can't speak for all drummers and I am seeing more and more bands set up with electronic drums.  There's a market out there, I guess.  
     
     


    My take here is that it depends on the drummer.
     
    Most drummers coming from an acoustic kit will struggle with the limited dynamic range that MIDI has. Piano players used to real Pianos have the same issue. Most notes end up with a velocity of 127 which means that they all sound the same. In simple terms the dynamics end up sounding like they are over compressed and all of that careful velocity mapping gets lost.
     
    You can fix some of this by setting the kit up well but its not always that easy and like most musicians drummers play harder when performing that when they are setting up.
     
    The feel issue can be fixed. Higher priced kits will have mesh heads rather than the rubberised ones. Well setup and maintained these can be made to respond as the drummer would expect. Certainly not perfect but worth the effort. Modifying a kit without mesh heads is relativity easy the main challenge being achieving the right level of tension. 
     
    There is no doubt that using electronic drums requires a change in approach for the drummer. Cymbals, including hi-hats, really do behave very differently when you are relying on triggered samples. Its not all bad though and the ability to access a large range of sounds from a small kit can be a real benefit. 
     
    My son has played an all electronic kit for years and is very comfortable with it and the drummer who I play with now is using a hybrid approach with real Cymbals and Snare but electronic Toms and Bass Drum.
     
    The questions I would probably be asking if I was you are:
     
    What do my competition offer?
     
    If a local band wants to record today, what are their options?
     
    How many drummers in local bands already have electronic kits they use for practicing?
     
    If there are no local studios that can record drums then a good MIDI kit might help you get business and you could offer a free hour for the drummer to get used to the kit and a sampling service where you create samples of the drummers kit.

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    batsbrew
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    Re: Studio minus Drums 2018/02/14 18:25:09 (permalink)
    drums sound good, in a good sounding room.
     
    drums sound like shiiite, in a shiiite sounding room.
    period.
     
    you can trick up the micing procedure all you want,
    latest tricks, outboard gear,
    but if the room doesn't sound good to start with, the drums never will.
     
    if you have to have something, and don't have a good drum room,
    you could always do an electronic set (with real heads, not that rubber crap) and do simple drum replacement as part of the package.
     
    you will want individual tracks for each piece of kit, and build the drum set and inputs just once, then doing the replacement should be a breeze

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    highlandermak
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    Re: Studio minus Drums 2018/02/15 00:28:38 (permalink)
    Great discussion and great advice. Thanks for the insight. At least if I go the electric drum path I know to get the better kit :)

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    Lord Tim
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    Re: Studio minus Drums 2018/02/15 05:09:58 (permalink)
    I've done a few sessions with electric kits. The cheap ones are awful, but can still work if you're basically a human drum machine. That's perfectly fine for pop/electronic music although I'd wager you'll get better results from programming the drums rather than working with human-played drums and then having to fix the timing so it gels with your loops, etc.
     
    If you have a great high-end kit, the results can be pretty great, although you need to understand the limitations. I've gotten some fantastic and very real sounding hats, ride, even snare with the multizone hit areas, etc. If you're doing rock with fairly simple tom work, you can get a pretty acceptable result out of that.
     
    For metal or anything with fast tom work, forget it. I haven't yet heard anything that gives you a realistic tom sound when you play fast. I've fudged things by overlaying samples and all kinds of trickery and it's been.... okay  .... but not a patch on real drums.
     
    For the expense you'd be shelling out for an electric kit to get you 80% there, I'd suggest outsourcing the drum sessions to a studio with a great live room, with good mics, and getting a well tuned acoustic kit recorded there and then bring the sessions back into your studio later.

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    MakerDP
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    Re: Studio minus Drums 2018/02/18 01:51:54 (permalink)
    I have had great results using VDrums with real cymbals and hats. It's no different than recording a real kit and using a drum-replacer. Usung something like Addictive Drums 2 with several kit packs for the drummer to choose from could actually be a selling point.
    #8
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