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MikeTSH
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#1
6th March 2012
Old 6th March 2012
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Drummer insists on using kit.

So I'm a band and we're recording our first record. We're doing the first single with Jim Wirt, three more in Austin, Texas with Gearslutz' own donsolo00 aka Donald W Mohr and then coming back to the UK to do the final 7 for the record.

The point is, in the UK, the budget is next to nil. Three of us go to the same Uni and do the same course we're able to get a relatively well equipt studio to do most of the stuff in if we need better than home style gear.

We were originally gonna record the drums with a Roland V-Drum kit but using a real hi-hat and real cymbals, however, the drummer is insisting that we use a real kit. Fair enough, it's a comfort thing or whatever.

Obviously, the major giveaway for a cheap recording is crappy sounding drums, so I was wondering if you guys knew the best way we could go about testing for if we'd be wasting our time using entirely real kit?

The drummer said he's got supportive parents and can ask for money, but obviously I told him none of the rest of us in the band want him to go into debt just for a record of a band that's not even signed yet.

I dunno, what to do, what to do... ideas?
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#2
7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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Has the drummer got a kit? It depends on the sound of your band really, overall I'd say you're best off using a real kit and then if it does end up sounding bad, you can use samples, though I don't personally advocate using samples to try and save a bad-sounding kit. You sound like you've got a pretty hefty recording plan/schedule mapped out - I don't think you should be going into it thinking about electric kits and samples, instead of real drums.
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7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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Put up the drummer's kit and record it. Then compare the sound to the other tracks you've already recorded. This comparison will tell you what your next step should be.
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7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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Cool stuff, we're able to do it I just don't want 4 tracks on the album to have stellar drum tracks and then the other 7 tracks to sound awful

We're gonna be going into pre-production recording for the 7 tracks being recorded in the UK in May/June before we go on a mini-tour support slot and then go to do this USA thing so we'll get an idea through sheer extra time as to whether it'll be viable.
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7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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Do your best with the real kit.
Great tuning and good quality heads are 60% of the task, a decent sounding room the next 30%. Get that right and you are well on the way.
You can always enhance or replace the sounds with software afterwards.
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#6
8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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Are you asking the guitarists to use amp sims?
#7
8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeTSH View Post
The drummer said he's got supportive parents and can ask for money
Ask them to stump up for the hire of an excellent kit and/or a decent engineer to do the tracking (at the least)?
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8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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The title of this thread is hilarious. :D
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8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creegstor View Post
The title of this thread is hilarious. :D
And yet, also kind of sad :(
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8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeTSH View Post
Cool stuff, we're able to do it I just don't want 4 tracks on the album to have stellar drum tracks and then the other 7 tracks to sound awful

We're gonna be going into pre-production recording for the 7 tracks being recorded in the UK in May/June before we go on a mini-tour support slot and then go to do this USA thing so we'll get an idea through sheer extra time as to whether it'll be viable.
After my old drummer stole my gear and sold it to a pawn shoppe in a cocaine and speed bender, I got a program called BFD just AMAZING!
And it is never late to practice.....

FXpansion - BFD

BTW most of my gear has been recovered and he is in a half-way house to avoid jail. He may never work again in NY. Not with me or anyone I know anyways.
Good Luck
#12
8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeTSH View Post
So I'm a band and we're recording our first record. We're doing the first single with Jim Wirt, three more in Austin, Texas with Gearslutz' own donsolo00 aka Donald W Mohr and then coming back to the UK to do the final 7 for the record.
If you can afford the airfare and lodging, you can afford to rent [hire] a real drum kit... and maybe even a real drum tech to go along with the real drum kit. If you can't afford to hire the real drum kit - fly the Americans over to the UK instead of the other way around... then take the savings and hire a real drum kit [and maybe even a real drum tech to go along with the real drum kit].

Peace
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#13
8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
If you can afford the airfare and lodging, you can afford to rent [hire] a real drum kit... and maybe even a real drum tech to go along with the real drum kit. If you can't afford to hire the real drum kit - fly the Americans over to the UK instead of the other way around... then take the savings and hire a real drum kit [and maybe even a real drum tech to go along with the real drum kit].

Peace
This ^

I read the moan and it's like "what a nice problem to have."
The amount of money you will spend on renting a kit and having someone professionally set it up PALES in comparison to the rest of the undertaking. There is a platitude that fits this well - "penny wise and pound foolish."
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8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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Just to point out, there's no suggestion in the OP's post that his drummer doesn't own a great kit.
There's just a lack of confidence that the drummer can cut it in the studio.
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8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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"Hey Drummer, step *away* from the drum kit."
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9th March 2012
Old 9th March 2012
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LOL! I have no issue with him using his kit, in fact, his kit is a very decent Tama with Zildjian cymbals - it's very, very nice.

I'm merely worried that by recording 4 songs in a real studio with a decent room and engineer that the other 7 tracks might fall flat due to the fact that those tracks will have to be done WAY cheaper - as stated, the drummer said his parents could give him money to help pay for a room and engineer at around £50/hr but as I'm sure you'll agree, I don't wanna go down THAT route ie. him borrowing parents money as I'm sure if something happened, stuff would get messy REAL quick.
#17
9th March 2012
Old 9th March 2012
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As long as everyone knows exactly what they are getting involved in i.e. a contract of some sort, it needn't get difficult - I realise that's all easier said than done, of course.

If people want to give you money, there's only one answer ;-P
#18
10th March 2012
Old 10th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeTSH View Post
I'm merely worried that by recording 4 songs in a real studio with a decent room and engineer that the other 7 tracks might fall flat due to the fact that those tracks will have to be done WAY cheaper - as stated, the drummer said his parents could give him money to help pay for a room and engineer at around £50/hr but as I'm sure you'll agree, I don't wanna go down THAT route ie. him borrowing parents money as I'm sure if something happened, stuff would get messy REAL quick.
Maybe utilise the opening four songs as an EP, judge its reaction and then think about doing the album?
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10th March 2012
Old 10th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beat Poet View Post
Maybe utilise the opening four songs as an EP, judge its reaction and then think about doing the album?
Totally right. With all due respect mike, most people aren't interested in a whole album of songs by an unknown band. Most unsigned bands don't have a full album of decent songs. Most people at gigs won't cough up a decent price for an album of new music, but might be persuaded to part with a few pounds for the most immediate 4 songs (or might download the odd track). Most albums made by unsigned bands on a budget take far too long (because a lot is done themselves) and end up being out of date by the time they're released.

Get your 4 best songs recorded (I'm not sure travelling to the states is strictly necessary, there are amazing studios, producers and engineers in London and the rest of the uk, but I'm sure the experience will be great), get them out there, and get them working for you. You never know, you might then find someone else willing to invest in you to make the rest of the album.
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10th March 2012
Old 10th March 2012
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Smile

.

I always prefer tracking drummers inside their kick drums.

Just as Zappa recorded musicians inside pianos.

It's much more interesting.

After all, we've already heard 800 million drum kit recordings.

Good luck. ...[Clue: there is no right answer, only what feels right to you guys.]

.
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#21
10th March 2012
Old 10th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Totally right. With all due respect mike, most people aren't interested in a whole album of songs by an unknown band. Most unsigned bands don't have a full album of decent songs. Most people at gigs won't cough up a decent price for an album of new music, but might be persuaded to part with a few pounds for the most immediate 4 songs (or might download the odd track). Most albums made by unsigned bands on a budget take far too long (because a lot is done themselves) and end up being out of date by the time they're released.

Get your 4 best songs recorded (I'm not sure travelling to the states is strictly necessary, there are amazing studios, producers and engineers in London and the rest of the uk, but I'm sure the experience will be great), get them out there, and get them working for you. You never know, you might then find someone else willing to invest in you to make the rest of the album.
Ok, a couple things to go through here (gotta be quick thought cos I've got to go to work in literally 10 minutes :P)

Firstly, I'm going to the USA 1) because I've never been there before, so in a nutshell, the experience 2) I've known producer Jim Wirt and his family for a fairly long time now, over 2 years, and I've always wanted to work with the producer who worked with my favorite band ever, Elliot Minor.

The self made album won't take long to make, about 2 months actual tracking, a month or so for mixing and mastering (within this time doing revisions etc) and then working as hard as possible to organize promo, physicals etc.

Secondly, we discussed heavily the idea of doing an EP first and then an album within our band and then with various people we really trust who engineer etc. The response we got was that EP's get viewed by fans as pretty much over-hyped demo tapes. We have other reasons for making a full length LP rather than an EP but I'm not sure discussing them online at the moment is the right thing to do.
#22
10th March 2012
Old 10th March 2012
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One option, if you're worried about inconsistency between tracking sessions, is to sample the drum kit in the good studio. You then have the option to replace the drum sounds in the lesser studio with the samples.
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10th March 2012
Old 10th March 2012
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by anthonythecat View Post
One option, if you're worried about inconsistency between tracking sessions, is to sample the drum kit in the good studio. You then have the option to replace the drum sounds in the lesser studio with the samples.
.

Excellent idea!

.
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#24
10th March 2012
Old 10th March 2012
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VERY good idea.

As I say, the only reason we would rather put out a full length record is that a) I personally believe we have 2 albums' worth of incredibly catchy material (not being obnoxious or whatever, it's just the reception we get from all the demos we're letting people hear) b) we're going on tour in February/March next year - it would be nice to have a full record available, makes us look more legit and serious about it.

The general outlook on EP's is that they're an unfinished product, demo like and financially when it comes to pro rated royalties and stuff, it works out cheaper to have a larger release.
#25
11th March 2012
Old 11th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeTSH View Post

The general outlook on EP's is that they're an unfinished product, demo like
I'm an over 50, but my general outlook on EP's is they are a great low cost way to learn about a new band (as I buy my music, don't pirate or free stream it).
And I'd rather buy an EP where I love two or three of the four tracks, than spend more on an album and realise I only love two or three of ten tracks.
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11th March 2012
Old 11th March 2012
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Skim read most of the tread so I'm not sure if this has been mentioned... If you drummer wants to use a V-Drum kit then why not use a decent drum sample library for the sounds?

Toontrack Superior Drummer or Native Instruments Studio Drummer are a good start they sound pretty darn convincing... The irony is unless you do a decent job recording the drums the chances are you'll be able to get these library's to sound better.
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11th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTinkle View Post
Skim read most of the tread so I'm not sure if this has been mentioned... If you drummer wants to use a V-Drum kit then why not use a decent drum sample library for the sounds?

Toontrack Superior Drummer or Native Instruments Studio Drummer are a good start they sound pretty darn convincing... The irony is unless you do a decent job recording the drums the chances are you'll be able to get these library's to sound better.
.

This is actually VERY true.

As someone who's tracked drums for endless clients in tons of spaces for at least 15 years, I can honestly say it's a real challenge to get great drum sounds.

This poster is correct. In fact, many people say you can't get the same feel and performance, etc. But the truth is that SO MANY (especially amateur) DRUMMERS do not have significant recording experience.

So, in ADDITION to a potentially crappy and unmixable drumkit sound, you may end up having to edit the crap out of the feel and performance, as well.

Of course, most of us agree, that if you get a GREAT drum kit sound, and a GREAT live drummer feel and performance, there's nothing like it.

(Except Talvin Singh...)

.
#28
11th March 2012
Old 11th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.
In fact, many people say you can't get the same feel and performance, etc.

.

Expanding on this is that if you're good enough at programming MIDI and understand how to use a Quantiser effectively you can fool A LOT of people. I've managed to fool loads of drummers even a couple Pro ones!

The only give away is to some one who knows the sample library well enough to go " Is that the Avatar kit from SD 2.0?" . You wont get that as much with new library's like Studio Drummer as they've not been out as long

But NOTHING beats a REAL drummer (one that can actually play and preferably does not drool or drag their knuckles across the floor :P )
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11th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTinkle View Post
Expanding on this is that if you're good enough at programming MIDI and understand how to use a Quantiser effectively you can fool A LOT of people. I've managed to fool loads of drummers even a couple Pro ones!

The only give away is to some one who knows the sample library well enough to go " Is that the Avatar kit from SD 2.0?" . You wont get that as much with new library's like Studio Drummer as they've not been out as long

But NOTHING beats a REAL drummer (one that can actually play and preferably does not drool or drag their knuckles across the floor :P )
.

I totally agree.

In fact, even live - using backing tracks for years with my bands - I've had tons of compliments from drummers in the audience who couldn't believe our drum sounds live. When drummers would say, "I can't believe your snare sound", I would think, WHICH snare sound - there must be ten frikkin snares in there (!)

I've been programming drum samples, apps, loops and synths, etc. for years - even back in the day when I was doing rock and more acoustic and organic music, and I got nothing but compliments from drummers.

The other thing is, that if you ARE a drummer, your programming has the potential to be KILLER, as so many drummers turned producers KNOW what goes where in the feel, dynamics, arrangement, performance, fills, transitions, breakdowns, builds, etc.

But if you're NOT a drummer, your programming can sometimes be even more innovative, because you're more likely to do things non-traditionally or "incorrectly" which can be experimental and sometimes really creative, inventing new kinds of grooves and groove textures.

.
#30
11th March 2012
Old 11th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.

But if you're NOT a drummer, your programming can be even more innovative, because you're more likely do do things "incorrectly" which can be experimental and sometimes really creative.

.
Funny you should mention that... I'm one of those people! But my programming sounded like ass to start with which wasn't very innovative! Then I start learning to play drums to get a better grasp on grove styles & rudiments which are some-what over looked by budding drum MIDI programmers.

The other good thing about in-experienced drum programmers is that they tend not to over complicate the beats! It's often the simple one's that provide the most grooving feel.
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