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How to make "tiny" funk drums bigger (e.g. Aphex Twin -style)
Old 6th January 2020
  #1
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soundmodel's Avatar
 

How to make "tiny" funk drums bigger (e.g. Aphex Twin -style)

Okay, something I've struggled with lately.

If I have a funk drum loop of some sort. Then, the samples may often sound a bit "tiny" as such.

Yet when you listen to e.g. Aphex Twin or Square Pusher, those same samples may sound noticeably more "cut-through" and "fat".

What do they do?

I know obvious techniques:

-eq
-comp
-tape sat.

But I'm not able to progress to such levels. Thinking that my sources are not suitable for it.

Yet I still speculate that "is it possible to make nearly any funk loop big somehow"?

Perhaps by hand-editing all the dynamics?
Old 6th January 2020
  #2
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you have to layer the breaks. Not sure what DAW or software you are using, so you will probably need to share that to get more specific advice.
Old 6th January 2020
  #3
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soundmodel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
you have to layer the breaks. Not sure what DAW or software you are using, so you will probably need to share that to get more specific advice.
Reason and Dr. Rex.

Maybe I need to move my rex loops to Battery or something. Or Acid Pro, or Sound Forge.

Reason is a bit complicated to use for "per sample" edits.
Old 6th January 2020
  #4
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Cornish1999's Avatar
Have you tried cutting the loop up into 4 separate tracks? Kick, snare , hats, other. Eq and effect re compress or transient designer separately to taste on each track
Old 6th January 2020
  #5
M32
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I use reason drex often rewired through ableton live.

My standard fattening chain is this:

EQ (PRO_Q) mostly just a bell cut/dip taking out some of the boxy low-mid frequencies, and lowcutting the stereo portion of the low end.

U-He Satin for tape drive, saturation and compression

Soundtoys Decapitator doing some heavy destruction, but high cut and with a dry/wet mix ratio that's usualy below 42 percent (biased towards dry)

Optional maximising limiter to cut the loudest peaks followed by a compressor (often glue, opto, tube-emulation in parallel) to push the gain even more.

Not necessarily in that order, i tend to put them in this order and then rearrange to hear the difference and retweak.

Often i will layer them with an analog kick and snare to beef up and emphasize those in the sliced loop/break. I will often cut out the sub low end of the loop so the clean sub of the analog kick can shine.

I will often duplicate the channel, and eq it drastically, cut out everything below 80 up to 300 Hz, possibly a highshelf dip as well and use this as a send to a room or spring reverb, often volume - automated to accentuate big hits while not making everything muschy in the groove) sometimes i remove some of the fattening plugins, so the reverb sits more towards the back and the drums stay nice and punchy upfront.

Another trick is layering 2 loops, one which has defined snare kick and hats, another one which is routed through some outboard like a Sherman filterbank or custom fuzz distortion, ****ed up beyond recognition, and then mixed with the first loop, but with a highpass eq-filter on the end.
I map the frequency to a controller, giving me the option to mix in a big fat angry low end up to a screeching & tearing dirty background when swept upwards.
Old 6th January 2020
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundmodel View Post
Reason and Dr. Rex.

Maybe I need to move my rex loops to Battery or something. Or Acid Pro, or Sound Forge.

Reason is a bit complicated to use for "per sample" edits.
You can do it in Reason. People have been layering breaks for years with it. You can steal the groove from the break and then lock your kick and snare samples to it.
Old 6th January 2020
  #7
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Maybe you can hire this guy?

Old 6th January 2020
  #8
M32
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M32's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psionic11 View Post
Maybe you can hire this guy?

Nice, though that timestretched snare at 00.31 is a bit suspicious
Old 6th January 2020
  #9
M32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
You can do it in Reason. People have been layering breaks for years with it. You can steal the groove from the break and then lock your kick and snare samples to it.
Or load up several instances of the rex player, and edit out the slices of different sounds and process the channel seperately, and then mix into a whole again.
If two sounds like hihat and bassdrum are played simultanously
it gets trickier though, but remeber, there's a lowpass filter offset you can specify per slice.
Old 6th January 2020
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M32 View Post
Nice, though that timestretched snare at 00.31 is a bit suspicious
That's what I thought at first, but remember, the original audio is playing as well.
Old 6th January 2020
  #11
M32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psionic11 View Post
That's what I thought at first, but remember, the original audio is playing as well.
Yup, There's no denying his drumming skills, that's for sure.
Loved the little drumstick throw-flip in the break as well, slick.
Old 7th January 2020
  #12
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I have gotten results by not thinking of the chops as the "drums", but as the “action”. Try not to put too many demands on getting them super punchy. Gritty is better than punchy, I think, and it can be more subtle. The problem with getting breaks more punchy than they already are is that you're operating on a bunch of unique sounds embedded in a single recording, and any processing you set up is not going to work equally well on the whole break; not when you’re chopping it up and pulling out individual sounds. You can try to process chops individually, but to me this seems excessive. Instead, I prefer to aim for overall grittiness, so that I’m satisfied with the sound of the break overall. But first, before I even pick a break, I create an entirely separate drum beat, but consisting only of kick and snare. I work on those sounds much more surgically, getting them ultra solid and punchy. Once I have a drum beat which sounds pretty decent, even only as a kick and snare, then pick a break which seems to match well (though this process is much easier when you have a sampler that auto-chops breaks, and assigns to pads), I process it a little, then off we go. Sometimes I don’t even need hi hat because the break does the heavy lifting for all the interesting, fast-paced elements, but I never need to worry about punchiness because the kick and snare can easily be mixed in as required. So yeah, layering basically. Mentioning Aphex Twin, well it’s difficult because he’s been so opaque about his own process, but yes it’s amazing how punchy he can make his small sounds seem. I also think this has at least a little to do with the hardware he’s running the mix through.
Old 7th January 2020
  #13
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WozNYC's Avatar
Watch videos like this for ideas / examples.

Old 28th January 2020
  #14
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Samplers have a lot to do with that cause of the VCA's.stick a tiny break through an SP1200 or a Roland S760 and listen to that punch.its got nothing to do with clipping,saturation or even the bitrate.its the VCA's and companding circuits that are responsible for a lot of that sampler "sound"

The punch of breaks is a contextual thing.re-enveloping break hits go a long way to lending focus to some hits more than others.you can simply make something sound punchy based on where you decided you want your strongest attacks to be.if every single hit has a full attack,then the whole break will seem flat(you can apply that to everything audio related really)

If you mean stuff like Cymru Beats and other things on Drukqs a lot of that sounds like desk saturation(transformers being driven most likely).we can't be talking about HAB because that sounds like it came straight off the R8 onto cassette.Syro and later stuff is lots of boutique pres,compressors,tape(too much to list)not really getting that sound ITB unless you build it up incrementally.there's not a single VST compressor out there for instance that will let you get away with more than 3dB of compression and not make the input sound suffer for it,so to achieve what should be effortless,you'd need to distribute the compression across a couple of instances to accomplish the same thing.cascading is the name of the game with ITB if you want to approach that same punchy openness of outboard.if you try and let one thing do too much of anything,you'll hear the audio strain as a result of that.what most people refer to as the "ITB sound"

Forgot to add that the transformers in desks and whatever else has them does a lot to toughen up breaks in that stuff as well.go listen to any DnB,rave,Hardcore or Jungle from the early to late 90ies.littered with transformers being saturated to death on the Mackie 8bus,CR1604,VLZ,Soundtrac consoles etc
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