Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

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EX
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by EX » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:58 am

As long as kick and bass aren't phasing or over-clashing, no.

Then its just a taste issue. My taste for e.g. is I generally find kicks that aren't tuned to the track, just left as whatever the sample was, less pleasant than tuned ones and I don't really know why everyone doesn't tune their kicks, of course it's part of melody... only reason I can think of is they don't want the frequency shift that the pitch change will cause or they don't want the timbre change, but then a decent pitch-shifter should be able to retain the formant's characteristics... or maybe obsessed with not degrading sound of sample even to a negligibly insignificant amount... blah-de-blah... do what sounds ace!

seattletruth
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by seattletruth » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:25 pm

I think of it like this. When you play in an orchestra, do the timpani drummer tune with the rest of the band? Of course, he will have the trombone play him notes to tune to because they are in the same octave and the drums will stick out like a sore thumb and clash if he's out of tune.

But does the bass drum player in the orchestra have the trombone play him notes to tune? No way.

I use the same approach. In the kind of hip hop I do, I either use an 808 by it self (which actually produces the bassline) or a non-tonal kick drum with sub bass behind it. They are mutually exclusive as they both play in the same octave and would strongly clash with eachother and muddy up the mix.

If you're using 808s and they're not tuned, something is going to sound off for your listener. Unless you're trying to infuse tension into the track I would stay away from not tuning them for electronica. To me, because an 808 *is* a bass line playing instrument, that would be like asking "should I not tune my bass and just play random notes?". Thats a silly question.

casiblake
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by casiblake » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:33 pm

ARDJ wrote:i tune EVERYTHING.
I see a lot of "why do my drums sound so weak" posts here and in places like KVR. Along with EQing and a healthy dose of compression, you can have huge-sounding drums and percussion that still sound a bit off, if they aren't correctly tuned in the same key as the song.

So, what ARDJ said. Tune, tune TUNE! It's one of those skills (and it is a skill you can learn and improve) that differentiates demos or tracks that sound merely good, to tracks that sound finished.
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Dr. Fluffenstein
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by Dr. Fluffenstein » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:01 pm

According to rick snoman, a dance kick's dominant frequencies should match the key of your song (doesn't necessarily have to be tuned to the root), he also mentioned that 90% of kicks in sample libraries are dissonant or have phasing in a mix. Some kick samples also play a sort of chord. If you check them with a spectrum analyzer you'll see them have several peaks, which should ideally match the key of your song. This is mostly knowledge from his DMP drums video, but I have bit of trouble trying to wrap my head around why it's like that (since a lot of kicks sweep through the frequency range). Nevertheless a spectrum analyzer doesn't lie, I guess the peaking frequencies are the ones you hear the most clearly.

fx23
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by fx23 » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:38 pm

not necesarly the peaking freqs, but the sustain part. globally a kick is a pitch down sweep as u said, and most have no 'pith' or
note at all, so don't need tuning.
but on end tail or release you can get few cycles of same frequencie that have a pitch especially in synthetised ones.
to be sure you can temp loop only that part before checking with spectrum, usualy from 4 to 20 sine cycles remaining 'stable'
in middle/end of kick define the note.

The Carpet Cleaner
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by The Carpet Cleaner » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:45 am

tune it everytime, but not to a freq or something. Just until it sounds good. I do it for everything, even hi-hats

Dr. Fluffenstein
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by Dr. Fluffenstein » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:53 am

fx23 wrote:not necesarly the peaking freqs, but the sustain part. globally a kick is a pitch down sweep as u said, and most have no 'pith' or
note at all, so don't need tuning.
but on end tail or release you can get few cycles of same frequencie that have a pitch especially in synthetised ones.
to be sure you can temp loop only that part before checking with spectrum, usualy from 4 to 20 sine cycles remaining 'stable'
in middle/end of kick define the note.
You're right, but I think it may also depend on how the kick sample was made. The reason I mention several peaks is because some kicks are made using 3 sine oscillators with separate amp envelopes, each playing a different note (with pitch sweeps of course). So maybe it's the equivalent of having 3 kicks at different pitches happening in very close succession. I think it's possible that there's some truth to it, never really tested or put any of that to practice though. I just repitch it until it sounds like it fits well, and if it doesn't then I use another sample. I'm just citing rick snoman's dvd (which is just one approach of doing things). Worth testing out I think, find some tracks you like, throw the kick into an analyzer and check if the peaks match the key.

dominicw78
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by dominicw78 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:34 am

I think the two main things I will take from this thread is this - if I choose a sampled kick and it sounds good without tuning then it is good. If I choose a sampled kick which I like and it sounds a little off then I can tune it to the nearest note of the key rather than trying to tune to the root note always.

Another interesting factor I have found, for myself at least, is that when you make your own synthesized kicks despite you choosing an original frequency for them, because they are usually have a dropping pitch envelope once you have finished making them with all the comps and processing etc, they don't always ultimately have a well defined freq or they tail off to another freq etc. They may start in A but drop down to D# which is the part you hear predominately. So you may need to start them in F# to get an ending frequency of A. Which means it can be confusing going from a spectrum analyser. Perhaps I just doing it wrong but that leads me back to if you're synthesizing your kick also you're better off tuning them by your ears and if it sounds good but the analyser says something different you should ignore it!

dominicw78
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by dominicw78 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:48 am

Dr. Fluffenstein wrote: I'm just citing rick snoman's dvd (which is just one approach of doing things).
Are those Vids any good?

yellow
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by yellow » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:01 am

cids wrote:A real drummer would never tune his kick-drum to a specific note... but if the kick is synthesized and has an audible pitch then it would make sense...
That's not true. If you had ever read some articles about drum recordings than you would know that a lot of world class drummers will tune their kick.

Dr. Fluffenstein
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by Dr. Fluffenstein » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:33 pm

dominicw78 wrote:
Dr. Fluffenstein wrote: I'm just citing rick snoman's dvd (which is just one approach of doing things).
Are those Vids any good?
I've only watched the drum one, it was ok. He spent an hour talking about making and processing a kickdrum which I found interesting, but only because I like making them. And he showed a few tricks to keep drum loops from getting stagnant (such as filter modulation). But apart from that it wasn't anything I hadn't tried before. It left me asking more questions then before I'd watched it, so I guess that means I learned something from it.

H20nly
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by H20nly » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:44 pm

nice thread.

*bookmark*
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monkeyboy
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by monkeyboy » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:21 pm

Check 'Flashback' by 2562 for a great example of tweaking the pitch of the drums to match the tune throughout. Really adds something to it IMO (admittedly its the snares and hats rather than the kick but you get the idea...)


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grooverb
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by grooverb » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:02 pm

Which reminds me, I saw somewhere a thing about making a whole track with just a kick that's tweaked to make every sound. Will have to see if I can find it. It was a set yourself a challenge type article.

octopod
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Re: Tuning sampled kick drums, a necessity or not?

Post by octopod » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:16 pm

grooverb wrote: Which reminds me, I saw somewhere a thing about making a whole track with just a kick that's tweaked to make every sound. Will have to see if I can find it. It was a set yourself a challenge type article.
Maybe the Zombie Nation thing in this months Future Music? #35 in the Producers Special bit.

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