Sound Designing and Writing Drums

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Post Reply
Posts: 622
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:29 pm

Sound Designing and Writing Drums

Post by kanuck » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:25 am

I was curious about your workflow with drums and other percussions. I dislike using samples because I hate the workflow of scrolling through to find the sound in my head. I prefer making all of my own sounds as far as synths go but it's really crippling to the workflow when it comes to percussion. I usually don't know how many sounds and which sounds I'd like to use in a beat. So I was wondering what other's workflow was as far as drums/percussion was concerned. Do you use the same kit everytime and then just tweak all the hits? Do you work from scratch, building each sound/hit?

Also, do the sounds come first or do you write the beat first?

Currently, I'm using operators loaded in drum racks.


Posts: 1089
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:03 am
Location: Norway

Re: Sound Designing and Writing Drums

Post by Rabalder » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:55 am

I usually start with sampling a beat, chopping it up, rearrange it, then add "standard electronic drum sounds"(from synths or samplepacks or whatever feels right at the moment).
I repeat these steps back and forth until it sounds good.

The sound of the beat is determined by the sample I start with.
The rhythme evolves continuously.. I never know when to stop and be satisfied.

Posts: 1732
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:47 pm
Location: Plymouth the great

Re: Sound Designing and Writing Drums

Post by oddstep » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:22 pm

If I start a track with a beat its usually because I've made a percussion instrument that I'm excited by and I want to see what it can do - so the sounds have come first - as part of my leisure time messing about with synths and samplers.
If I have some preexisting material that I need to fit percussion to I generally go to one of the instruments I have made earlier and then work from there.its faster than reinventing the wheel each time, some of live's preset drum racks are pretty good but I've moved away from using them as I built up my own library.

how many drums: a lot of the time a beat can be held with 3 - 4 elements ... some sort of low thud/snap and a mid range snap which have a call response thing going on between them, then maybe two higher noises with different decay times. Kick, snare, closed hat, open hat if you like... have two different volume levels for each sound and you're done. So 3 - 4 hits plus paired ghost/low velocity versions is the minimum. I often go well beyond that, mainly to add variety and development to tracks that are largely percussion led.

Post Reply