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Kick Drum Tuning - Go by loudest, or lowest frequency pitch peak?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Kick Drum Sample Tuning - Go by loudest, or lowest frequency pitch peak?

As the title asks,
which do you use as the reference to tune by? Lowest peak, or loudest?

There's sometimes 3 peaks forming somewhat of a triangle - a low peak, then a middle peak which is usually loudest, and then a 3rd peak that is around the same volume as the first lowest peak.

I typically go for the loudest middle peak as the key, because it is most audible and has the most amount of energy, usually the lower peak is a less audible frequency and more felt than heard.

Is this correct?


Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

I tune them so that I think they sound good. Might sound like an over simplistic answer but volume isn’t really a primary concern in a studio situation where I can close mic everything.

If you tighten up any drumhead...the drum will project more. If you keep tightening... it will eventually choke.

Again though....I’m not really evaluating anything based on volume. Sure for a live gig with minimal micing...tighten them up a little so they project well

But for studio work it’s all about what it sounds like. Not to mention different styles of music also lend themselves to a different kick sound. So one day the right approach might be for a loose, low, slappy kick with a plastic beater and a d6 mic.

And another day it makes sense to tune it up a tad, use a felt beater, and use a less hyped mic.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_moreira View Post
I tune them so that I think they sound good. Might sound like an over simplistic answer but volume isn’t really a primary concern in a studio situation where I can close mic everything.

If you tighten up any drumhead...the drum will project more. If you keep tightening... it will eventually choke.

Again though....I’m not really evaluating anything based on volume. Sure for a live gig with minimal micing...tighten them up a little so they project well

But for studio work it’s all about what it sounds like. Not to mention different styles of music also lend themselves to a different kick sound. So one day the right approach might be for a loose, low, slappy kick with a plastic beater and a d6 mic.

And another day it makes sense to tune it up a tad, use a felt beater, and use a less hyped mic.
I was talking about kick samples, or already recorded. I amended my title.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
There's sometimes 3 peaks forming somewhat of a triangle - a low peak, then a middle peak which is usually loudest, and then a 3rd peak that is around the same volume as the first lowest peak.

I typically go for the loudest middle peak as the key, because it is most audible and has the most amount of energy, usually the lower peak is a less audible frequency and more felt than heard.

Is this correct?
Its correct if you get the sound you want for that song. There is no right or wrong way as everything is subjective to how you want it to sound and the vibe you want.

For me, the higher and lower peaks of a sample mean nothing to me, (as long as the gain stage is correct) what matters is the sound, so I edit according to how it sound, not how it looks, but what ever works for you is your correct way of doing it, if it gets you the results you want.

There are no right or wrong ways to produce sounds...
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

I agree with the post above by CJ.

I would add:
As a general rule for the whole drumset (and every instrument): if you tune/eq/produce/record something so that it sounds in a similar way (not identical) to a successful song of another band that you like (a song that sales very well), the sure thing is that people interested in that genre of music, generally would like this kind of sound. Stress free philosophy.
Instead of spending 1000 hours trying 1000 possible sounds, you aim to the right sound in 1 hour and you spend 999hrs working in a stunning arrangement/record.
That's only my view, of course.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

But like, having the resonance of the drums in tune is pretty important not just for the tones to be in key but to be properly mixed and compressed together.. ie, you want to the tonal peaks to trigger compressors as one.. not have one tonal peak triggering a compressor sooner because it has a tone 3 semitones out.

so I'm asking what people consider to be the key-note-root frequency of their kick drums - the loudest frequency peak. or the lowest frequency peak.

is there any philosophy here
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainCheck123 View Post
But like, having the resonance of the drums in tune is pretty important
Use your ears. Tune it so it sounds good. That's all you need to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainCheck123 View Post
not just for the tones to be in key but to be properly mixed and compressed together.. ie, you want to the tonal peaks to trigger compressors as one.. not have one tonal peak triggering a compressor sooner because it has a tone 3 semitones out.

so I'm asking what people consider to be the key-note-root frequency of their kick drums - the loudest frequency peak. or the lowest frequency peak.

is there any philosophy here
I don't think you're thinking of this the right way really. Use your ears.

Also, if it's not a multiband compressor it won't "know" that there are multiple frequencies and it doesn't "care" about them. It sees one signal and once it's above the threshold it begins compression. Which frequency is "above or below the peak" is a question that doesn't make sense - there's just the one signal, not one per frequency.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Use your ears. Tune it so it sounds good. That's all you need to do.



I don't think you're thinking of this the right way really. Use your ears.

Also, if it's not a multiband compressor it won't "know" that there are multiple frequencies and it doesn't "care" about them. It sees one signal and once it's above the threshold it begins compression. Which frequency is "above or below the peak" is a question that doesn't make sense - there's just the one signal, not one per frequency.
but certain frequencies will hit any compressor quicker than the other frequencies.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainCheck123 View Post
but certain frequencies will hit any compressor quicker than the other frequencies.
You're thinking about it the wrong way.

If you have one kick drum signal and you run that through a spectrum analyzer that analyzer will visualize what you eventually hear, which is amplitude (level) over frequencies (left to right)… and it's also typically over time since the amplitude rises and falls.

But that's not what a compressor "sees". The compressor just sees the one peak. That's it.

So if you pitch-shift (tune) your kick drum you're probably not going to do it on a frequency by frequency basis because that'd be a lot of work. I don't know of anyone who does that. More likely people just grab some tool to change the pitch of the whole signal. And that means includes all of the content. So if you have a resonant peak at 100Hz and a lower peak at 30Hz and you pitch shift +10Hz (just for example) then you're still left with the higher peak at 110Hz and the lower at 40Hz. Their relationship is still the same.

The signal rises and it contains all of the recorded frequencies, but it looks like ONE signal. It IS one signal.

Now, if you think there is one frequency that happens before another (which I doubt either happens or is a problem for a kick drum) then you can simply adjust your attack time and other settings to adjust.

But at any rate using pitch shift wouldn't change anything as far as I can see.



I've been wrong once before though.... so there's that...
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

These are the sort of “problems” that most producers in the history of recorded music didn’t even have the ability to worry about.

Again. Just make it sound good.

The transient is what triggers a compressor.

It doesn’t matter what it’s frequency is. The compressor will react to the transient.

And you cannot slow down or speed up the transient with tuning. It happens as soon as you strike the drums

Not to mention... there is no singular right way to compress.
You can do what you want here too.

Lastly...even if the frequency of the drum could somehow influence the speed that the compression reacts.... just move the attack knob around. If that doesn’t provide enough control...side chaining and or plugin compression with a look ahead function puts you back in control anyhow.

Proper use of either of those two features can have the compression already working before the drum is hit. If you wanted to do such a thing.

Bottom line is.... just make it sound good. You’re overthinking the rest, and you can solve for it anyhow if it were necessary
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainCheck123 View Post
But like, having the resonance of the drums in tune is pretty important not just for the tones to be in key but to be properly mixed
actually the idea that a bass drum is supposed to have a "pitch" is a relatively modern invention and it is really only in genres like hip-hop and EDM that it has completely taken over.

the original idea of a "bass drum" was to have an indefinite pitch. This is the bass drum you would hear in an orchestra or a marching band, or until recent years, most rock bands.

Quote:

Indefinite Pitch
A sound or note of indefinite pitch is one that a listener finds impossible or relatively difficult to identify as to pitch. Sounds with indefinite pitch do not have harmonic spectra or have altered harmonic spectra—a characteristic known as inharmonicity
.
the double-headed bass drum allows for the ability to have a drum sound that is not even identifiable as a 'single' note. If a classical orchestra wants a pitched low drum they use the tympani- single-headed drums with a variable tensioning mechanism. For 'punch', the use the bass drum.

Quote:
and compressed together.. ie, you want to the tonal peaks to trigger compressors as one.. not have one tonal peak triggering a compressor sooner because it has a tone 3 semitones out.

the pitch of a sound will not trigger a compressor "earlier" than another sound if both sounds have their transients aligned. The attack of the note is what triggers the compressor. The frequency has no impact. Timing is not pitch. Pitch is not timing. If you have 3 kicks layered and you care about how they trigger the compressor, line them up properly in time. If you care more about how the notes align after they 'settle in' you may want to delay one or the other because when immediately struck, most (real) drums will go sharp for a bit. But deliberately mis-aligning the attacks will dilute the impact of your composite kick.

This part of it is art, not science. You do what sounds good.

Quote:
is there any philosophy here
I have observed that pitched kickdrums are the rage in certain styles. I have seen people place a short 80 Hz sine wave on a track and call it a "kick". As a drummer, I am not a big fan of obviously pitched drums. Even the kick. As a mix engineer and a producer, I am also not a fan. They way I see it, I already have a bass! The bass already plays low pitches. Why would I want to confuse the listener with a kick that sounds just like a bass?

In my philosophy, the kick should be, well a "kick", it should be like a punch in the gut, not a 'sub-sub-bass'. Tuned drums are, IMO, a bit too "polite". Indefinite pitches are, IMO, more explosive. What is the "pitch" of a gunshot? It doesn't have one, it has so many pitches going on, that if you map it out on a sampler, you can play it high and you can play it low, but still can't really say it's "in tune" with the piano.

That's MY "philosophy" anyway.
Old 6 days ago
  #12
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainCheck123 View Post
But like, having the resonance of the drums in tune is pretty important not just for the tones to be in key but to be properly mixed and compressed together.. ie, you want to the tonal peaks to trigger compressors as one.. not have one tonal peak triggering a compressor sooner because it has a tone 3 semitones out.

so I'm asking what people consider to be the key-note-root frequency of their kick drums - the loudest frequency peak. or the lowest frequency peak.

is there any philosophy here
Important to understand the mechanics of real kicks, which is also what most drum machines are based on, and the vast majority of samples: the pitch of a kick descends rapidly (usually around 30-50ms) to its "fundamental" frequency, which is what it stays at until fully decayed.

Only this fundamental frequency is ever really experienced as a musical pitch - which is not to say that all kicks have a discernable note pitch; but for those that do, it is this lowest frequency, as everything else is part of the overall pitch sweep.

Kick amplitude decays from the moment of impact. So, no, the loudest part of the kick NEVER corresponds to the experienced "root note" of the kick - except, I suppose, for some purely tonal kicks that have no frequency sweep, but those are very much in the minority.
Old 6 days ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
Important to understand the mechanics of real kicks, which is also what most drum machines are based on, and the vast majority of samples: the pitch of a kick descends rapidly (usually around 30-50ms) to its "fundamental" frequency, which is what it stays at until fully decayed.

Only this fundamental frequency is ever really experienced as a musical pitch - which is not to say that all kicks have a discernable note pitch; but for those that do, it is this lowest frequency, as everything else is part of the overall pitch sweep.

Kick amplitude decays from the moment of impact. So, no, the loudest part of the kick NEVER corresponds to the experienced "root note" of the kick - except, I suppose, for some purely tonal kicks that have no frequency sweep, but those are very much in the minority.


Thanks guys.


Punjabi pop has a lot of pitched drums and percussion.
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