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NIN Downward Spiral-esque Drum Sounds?
Old 20th November 2007
  #1
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NIN Downward Spiral-esque Drum Sounds?

I really like all of the drum sounds from The Downward Spiral. Can anyone educate me on how these types of drums are created?

Most interesting to me is the beefiness of the kick on the song Closer (it's damn tight) and the snares don't usually sound like a typical snare (like in closer, or Ruiner [I think the snare is actually glass shattering in that song] or The becoming etc.)

I just want to make the drums have that meaty punchy slap to them.
Old 20th November 2007
  #2
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Oroz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
I really like all of the drum sounds from The Downward Spiral. Can anyone educate me on how these types of drums are created?

Most interesting to me is the beefiness of the kick on the song Closer (it's damn tight) and the snares don't usually sound like a typical snare (like in closer, or Ruiner [I think the snare is actually glass shattering in that song] or The becoming etc.)

I just want to make the drums have that meaty punchy slap to them.
I think they used the "gated 60 Hz sine wave triggered by the kick" trick and the same on snare but with "white noise" instead (triggered by the snare). As I recalll, they probably took the original kick and snare and leaved only the gated 60 Hz sine wave and white noise (to function as kick and snare) or at least, they use a lot of those sounds in the final mix. (I'm talking especally about "Closer", don't know about the other tracks).
Old 20th November 2007
  #3
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Trent Reznor is evil, don't listen to his devil music!
Old 20th November 2007
  #4
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I have heard of this trick.. white noise, totally sounds like it on the snare... I LOVE THAT SOUND!

can this gated triggered technique be accomplished in Logic Pro 8?
Old 20th November 2007
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
I have heard of this trick.. white noise, totally sounds like it on the snare... I LOVE THAT SOUND!

can this gated triggered technique be accomplished in Logic Pro 8?
I don't work with Logic but I all you need is a Signal Generator to create the 52-60 Hz sine wave and white noise (I work with Pro Tools and it comes with that plug in) or you can even get those sounds from somewhere else and import them to your session.

Just create (or import) a sine wave around 52-60 Hz (to taste) and put a gate on this track.

Send the Kick to a BUS and make sure to set it PRE-FADER.

Now, on the sine wave's gate, set its key input or side chain to that same BUS. Now the sine wave will be controlled by the kick. Set it parameters to taste (attack, release, etc.).

If you want you can mute the original kick track and leave only the sine wave or you could blend them to taste which indeed is a common technique to achieve fatter kick drums.

The same goes for the snare but with white noise obviously instead of the 60 Hz sine wave.
Old 20th November 2007
  #6
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Tibbon's Avatar
The kick for the most part on Closer is from Iggy Pop's song Nightclubbing from the album The Idiot.

Honestly, getting the sounds to be similar to most of TDS isn't that hard. Being creative with noise, distortion, etc... Moreso with modern samplers and computers. Part of it is having someone great to mix it. If you don't know how to do that already, then nothing here that we can tell you here will make you sound like Alan Moulder. Nothing. If you want those sound, perhaps hire him to mix your albums.

The HARD part of doing all of that however is having creative and fresh programming, that appropriately fits the songs, and building an aggressive sonic landscape to fit into all of it.
Old 20th November 2007
  #7
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I told you he was evil!

Old 20th November 2007
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
can this gated triggered technique be accomplished in Logic Pro 8?
Sure, insert the Test Oscillator plugin on a track and choose "White Noise" as the waveform. Then insert a noise gate and choose your snare track as the sidechain source. Or if you're using the kick trick, just set the TestOsc plug to sine wave and adjust the frequency.
Old 20th November 2007
  #9
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I remember I got bloody close with the kick and spot on (well very close anyway) ages ago with that proppellerheads rebirth thing. You know the one based on the roland 808 and 909. Seriously.

Cant remember exactly but I know I had heaps of distortion on the snare and fiddled around with the decay. Took the sounds into cubase and put a bit of compression on the kick and that was it. Keep in mind that was quite a few years ago and I am an idiot but if I can find the the files I will post them up and you can all make fun of me. But seriously give it a whirl.

Cheers mate!
Old 20th November 2007
  #10
TZk
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kurzweil k2000 and turbosynth
Old 20th November 2007
  #11
JDN
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lots of issues and missinformation here. First of all, closer was "inspired" by nightclubbing, I don't believe it was an actual sample, though you can totally hear the influence. If it was a sample, definitely layered. According to Trent, it was an 808(obviously distored and compressed, with what, including using osiclators, you're all speculating). FYI, u could just sample from the CD, as they are isolated for several bars at the begining of the song.

As far as "the drum sounds of the downward spiral". as you can tell, they are varried an come from all over the place, it's not like it's consistant so u need to be much more specific....they run the range from various drum machines, sampled sounds from other peoples records(I can name a few, like reptile), to custom sounds they made.

I actually have the custom drum samples from march of the pigs and eraser done at A&M here in LA back in the day, very interesting story behind those sounds and how they were used...if someones interested, I can post later...but too lazy and tired to post now how and why those sounds were used.
Old 20th November 2007
  #12
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joris de man's Avatar
I managed to get some similar results on snares by compressing them heavily and then running them through turbosynth's waveshaper.
Digi's Recti-fy plugin also works well for this.
In Turbosynth you have more control over the shape of the waveshaper; I think there are some vst plugins that will do similar things...

Cheers,

Joris
Old 20th November 2007
  #13
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JDN.... any chance on sharing those samples? heheh I am a HUGE NIN fan.

Anyways, I am very interested in whatever information you've got in your head there!

Would you say trent uses much reverb on TDS? I am trying to get a sense of what albums I listen to, do mixing wise...
Obviously distortion, but what about delays and reverbs and stuff.. I dont think I hear much of that in his songs. I am mostly looking for ways to make drums sound industrial and trashy.
Old 21st November 2007
  #14
JDN
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Here's the 411 on some of the Downward Spiral Drum samples

basically, Trents whole theory was that standard drum kit micing is cool, but that the drums don't sound anything like they actually do in the room (like a kick with a D12 or 112 doesn't sound anything like the kick sounds in the room).

so what they did was go to A&M studios and make samples in all the different rooms of the individual drums of the same kit using only the same pair of mics(for stereo) to capture the actual sounds of the drums in the room. This included everything from the largest live rooms to the deadest closets.

the results are pretty incredible. by just changing the rooms the drum hits were recorded in(again, not changing mics or the kits) the samples range from huge cavernous kicks and snares and toms and hats to very tiny sounds.

This is actually evidenced quite well on the song "Eraser" if you listen, you'll notice the drum parts don't change at all from the long huge drums of the intro, to the tiny drums of the verse. the beat is programmed, All he did was change the samples used(from the huge ones to the smaller ones). In my opinion, it's things like this that continue to put Trent head and shoulder above the rest, always looking for cool unique things to do rather than doing what everyone else is.

He used these samples on several songs over the years, including march of the pigs and the perfect drug.

Frankly, I've found these very usefull, but with the kicks, I've always really needed to layer them with something else since you really don't get any low end sub or bass.
Old 21st November 2007
  #15
TZk
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he did not do it alone at A&M... for example he did the same thing at the ciello drive house.
Setups were various, from 2 stereo microphones to a simple PZM setup on the floor.
Chris vrenna still uses this technique.

He would sample and playback these samples in stereo on akai samplers.
or like "the becoming" he would transform the drums into an effect on a K2000
Old 21st November 2007
  #16
JDN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugsstar View Post
he did not do it alone at A&M... for example he did the same thing at the ciello drive house.
Setups were various, from 2 stereo microphones to a simple PZM setup on the floor.
Chris vrenna still uses this technique.

He would sample and playback these samples in stereo on akai samplers.
or like "the becoming" he would transform the drums into an effect on a K2000
never claimed it was only a&m, just listed the examples that I knew as fact, and own. good to know the additional info.

wow, the becoming has such an electronic drum sound...surprised to hear that those were morphed versions of acoustic drums. frankly, seems somewhat unbelievable as that snare seems mostly like white noise
Old 21st November 2007
  #17
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I remember reading about that in a book once (where he was talking about reviews of Nirvana- the people saying "It's like you are right in the room with them!" and he was getting pissed saying, "no it ****ing doesnt!").

Thanks for the story!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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edhead88's Avatar
I'm super late to this, but upon researching for a couple days on the history of the drum machine used to create the original, the processing by Trent and team, I really wanted to reverse engineer it as best as possible after knowing what was used. Regardless what was used... its everything a good ole TR909 can do, considering all the possible suspects (drum machines) where trying to do what Roland accomplished with the 909 and 808 series. Here is my engineering of that sound as best as I can do it. The process is explained in the description, for everyone else who happens to be in the same search... present or future... behold. https://soundcloud.com/morph-15/clos...nre-engineered
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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Just to add quickly for people only tuning into this forum, no white noise or gated sine waves were used in the making of closer's drum sound. It's well documented the kick has slight delay on it, done by Iggy Pop. Spacial processing was done on the kick and slight eq by Trent after the fact. Emulate Iggy's kick and you are almost done. All the processing for the roland snare was compression, ssl desk distortion, sampling/filtering/gating and ending with ring-modulation... thats literally it. Eq to taste, and then light eq in mastering after the song was mixed... pretty sure it went to tape during producing/mixing... and that would have cut off the top end a bit... so a reinforcement in the frequency range was probably in order. All of this can easily be done with a TR-909 unit or Drumazon's emulation of it. Check the link in the comment above^^^ to hear my version of it. PM if you have any further questions. Stay slutty
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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Setting the tone for the rest of the track, 'Closer' kicks off with a basic beat whose kick drum was sampled from Iggy Pop's Krautrock-influenced 'Nightclubbing', co-written with David Bowie for Pop's 1977 solo debut, The Idiot.

"It was like a Roland 808 with all of this noise and hiss,” Beavan says. "I removed the noise but retained the grit. The snare drum was a sample that Flood ran through an SSL console for some distortion and a Zoom 9030 [Advanced Instrument Effects Processor] for a little bit of ring modulation. Whenever he would take samples and run them through processing gear, we would say, 'Uh-oh, Flood's putting on the lab coat.'

https://www.soundonsound.com/people/...h-nails-closer
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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StoneyBCN's Avatar
 

Cool (old) thread - ring mod on a snare sample? Clever!

Flood and Moulder are Gods.

And I had always just assumed it was a 606... Huh.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zachaction View Post
Setting the tone for the rest of the track, 'Closer' kicks off with a basic beat whose kick drum was sampled from Iggy Pop's Krautrock-influenced 'Nightclubbing', co-written with David Bowie for Pop's 1977 solo debut, The Idiot.

"It was like a Roland 808 with all of this noise and hiss,” Beavan says. "I removed the noise but retained the grit. The snare drum was a sample that Flood ran through an SSL console for some distortion and a Zoom 9030 [Advanced Instrument Effects Processor] for a little bit of ring modulation. Whenever he would take samples and run them through processing gear, we would say, 'Uh-oh, Flood's putting on the lab coat.'

https://www.soundonsound.com/people/...h-nails-closer
Yeah that came up on one of the first couple articles I read on the matter. Truth is, it def was not an 808.. sounds nothing like it... no one knows what drum machine it was. Iggy said it was a cheap and or lousy drum machine... an 808 is NOT a cheap drum machine lol. Not even NIN knows what drum machine it was.. hence they just sampled it. But yeah I found it interesting they liked to use ring modulation on almost anything that sounded cool through it. Keeping that in my tool kit for sure.
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