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Are my drums too punchy?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Are my drums too punchy?

I recently posted two Lo-Fi hip hop songs to SoundCloud but they don't seem as loud as other songs I listen to. I did my best to compress them but still keep some life in them. Are my drums still too punchy, though?

https://soundcloud.com/greenfieldproject/our-lives

https://soundcloud.com/greenfieldproject/fresh-flowers

Thanks for any input.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

A little on Our Lives and quite a bit on Fresh Flowers.

Your instruments are lo fi but your drums aren't, which makes them stand out too much imo. Maybe roll off some high end on them.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
I would concentrate on your overall production and composition.
Drums with a simple piano chord sequence on the first beat of every bar is not going to set the world on fire.
Without more compelling content your drum sound is an inconsequential side issue.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Addict
 

That fake vinyl crackle is so annoying. I personally wouldn’t listen to something for very long that had that noise on it, but I may not be your target audience. Are people really doing this for real with any success these days? Over a whole track?

Otherwise the music is fine, the mix is fine, just sounds like the beginning of an idea, needs more development in the arrangement and layering as mentioned above. I would leave the mix alone and think of where to take the material. No amount of mix refinement is going to make it more exciting.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for all the input, guys. I guess my compositions on both are kind of sparse. I could probably go back and add more to them, for sure. I'm currently focusing on Lo-Fi hip hop, because that's the only thing that's easy enough for me to produce since it's not supposed to be top notch quality. I guess I should set my bar higher. It's just so hard to get a mix to sound as full and lively as professional ones, though. It gets so frustrating.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
Your drums and samples?



Rock the ****in house bitch!!!! One of mine:




Just let it all hang out!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by olearyi View Post
It's just so hard to get a mix to sound as full and lively as professional ones, though. It gets so frustrating.
I guess that's what I'm saying.
The original ideas and song writing are MUCH more important that nuanced mixes. With the very basic level of your song and arrangement, I think you are focussing on the wrong thing (mix). In the end, people are drawn to interesting, engaging music with some unique ideas. The quality of the final mix is more like icing on a cake, far from a priority at the stage you are at.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by olearyi View Post
It's just so hard to get a mix to sound as full and lively as professional ones, though.
Like chrisso is saying in the previous comment, we’re trying to explain to you that the thing you’re calling “mix” is actually in the arrangement. You’re imagining that the fullness and liveliness of the professional track is somehow coming from its “mix” but what you’re actually hearing is a more professional arrangement.

Try this: go pull out a track to compare your track to and take a section out of it and write drown all the instruments and sounds you hear. You will find there are more things going on than 1 piano and 1 drum track. If you could somehow substitute your actual material for the instruments and sounds in the professional track, that “mix” won’t sound any fuller or more lively than yours does now.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Well, that's kind of the style of Lo-Fi hip hop, though. It's supposed to be somewhat minimalist, simple, laid-back, and straightforward. It's not supposed to be super technical and advanced. Again, obviously not everyone's style. Might not be up your guys' alley, but that's okay. Everyone has different tastes.

I see what you all are saying about arrangement and composition, but I don't think that you can conclude that great songs and minimal instrumentation are always mutually exclusive. There are great songs with few instruments and plenty of well produced songs that also sound larger than life with few instruments.

I know my songs are pretty basic arrangement-wise, but Lo-Fi hip hop is supposed to be something that is chill and laid-back. It's something to throw on while you're studying or reading. It's not meant to be something that grabs your full attention necessarily, but more of something that is in the background, if that makes sense.

Let me bring up an example of a Lo-Fi hip hop song from another artist that is also very minimal:

https://soundcloud.com/thelofihiphop...s-instrumental


That track seems to sound a lot fuller than mine, and it only has what is (probably) a piano (made with fades in and out) and drums.

Unless it's just that this track's average volume is louder than mine and maybe why it sounds fuller. I don't know. It still seems to sound larger than life in a way more so than mine does.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
vekter303's Avatar
Comparing to that last post and link, I would say the suggestion about the high end on the drum track is spot on. Same could go for the level of vinyl crackle, its much less pronounced..

Its not my thing either really. Im more PE, Beasties and Gangstarr when it comes to Hip Hop, but its good that you clarified your aim, the comments about arrangement were unwittingly harsh!

Minimal arrangements never harmed Wu-Tang, to name but one
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by vekter303 View Post
Comparing to that last post and link, I would say the suggestion about the high end on the drum track is spot on. Same could go for the level of vinyl crackle, its much less pronounced..

Its not my thing either really. Im more PE, Beasties and Gangstarr when it comes to Hip Hop, but its good that you clarified your aim, the comments about arrangement were unwittingly harsh!

Minimal arrangements never harmed Wu-Tang, to name but one
No one cares how much crackle you have, they care if the song moves them.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by olearyi View Post
Well, that's kind of the style of Lo-Fi hip hop, though. It's supposed to be somewhat minimalist, simple, laid-back, and straightforward. It's not supposed to be super technical and advanced. Again, obviously not everyone's style. Might not be up your guys' alley, but that's okay. Everyone has different tastes.
I'm totally aware of 'lo-fi hip hop'.
Most modern music is about very skilled sound design, very skilled arrangement, and very skilled arrangement choices. Your uber simplistic 'lo-fi hip hop' would be fine if it had an incredible vocal performance with killer lyrics. as it is, it just has a bog standard drum beat (and sounds) and a simple and standard chord sequence played on the first beat of every bar by a bog standard piano sound.

You are chasing the wrong skill set by stressing over the minutiae of the drum sound. You need to skill yourself up on killer songwriting, arranging and sound design. Watch a bunch of online video tutorials on 'Lo-Fi Hip Hop'.
It's NOT at all about 'super technical and advanced'. The more stripped back and simple your hip hop is, the MORE it has to have engaging parts and interesting sounds.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I'm totally aware of 'lo-fi hip hop'.
Most modern music is about very skilled sound design, very skilled arrangement, and very skilled arrangement choices. Your uber simplistic 'lo-fi hip hop' would be fine if it had an incredible vocal performance with killer lyrics. as it is, it just has a bog standard drum beat (and sounds) and a simple and standard chord sequence played on the first beat of every bar by a bog standard piano sound.

You are chasing the wrong skill set by stressing over the minutiae of the drum sound. You need to skill yourself up on killer songwriting, arranging and sound design. Watch a bunch of online video tutorials on 'Lo-Fi Hip Hop'.
It's NOT at all about 'super technical and advanced'. The more stripped back and simple your hip hop is, the MORE it has to have engaging parts and interesting sounds.
Did you check out the SoundCloud link he posted? It seems like this is a particular novelty genre of royalty-free backing tracks for “relaxing/studying” and it’s just like this, no vocals, very little going on in the arrangement? I’m not sure why they’re calling it “hip-hop” but it’s not hip-hop that happens to be “lofi”, it’s something else altogether. The track he posted doesn’t sound like hip-hop or any particular professional/popular music I know of, more like a YouTube fad or music for a video game.

Whatever the function of this genre, I don’t think the linked track actually sounds that much different than his own track, it’s somewhat more compressed and the style of the keyboard is more sustaining and fills the space more but he should be able to get fairly similar results from his own track with some compression and balancing. I don’t know the audience for this, but the SoundCloud link is certainly achievable from where he is now.
Old 5 days ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I'm totally aware of 'lo-fi hip hop'.
Most modern music is about very skilled sound design, very skilled arrangement, and very skilled arrangement choices. Your uber simplistic 'lo-fi hip hop' would be fine if it had an incredible vocal performance with killer lyrics. as it is, it just has a bog standard drum beat (and sounds) and a simple and standard chord sequence played on the first beat of every bar by a bog standard piano sound.

You are chasing the wrong skill set by stressing over the minutiae of the drum sound. You need to skill yourself up on killer songwriting, arranging and sound design. Watch a bunch of online video tutorials on 'Lo-Fi Hip Hop'.
It's NOT at all about 'super technical and advanced'. The more stripped back and simple your hip hop is, the MORE it has to have engaging parts and interesting sounds.
Made a new song that has an old school hip hop boom bap kinda vibe. I think I did more with the arrangement on this one. I'd love to know what you guys think, though. Should I add more to it arrangement-wise or do you think this one is better? Any input is really appreciated.
Attached Files

Don't Worry (Master).mp3 (4.63 MB, 156 views)

Old 5 days ago
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by olearyi View Post
Made a new song that has an old school hip hop boom bap kinda vibe. I think I did more with the arrangement on this one. I'd love to know what you guys think, though. Should I add more to it arrangement-wise or do you think this one is better? Any input is really appreciated.
Again, it sounds fine to me. I don’t have any insight into this type of music you’re aiming for– it just sounds like a background for other stuff to me– but assuming the piano is a midi track, you could try rounding it out by adding some doubling in the mid to lower range of the keyboard. Like bass notes and some chord voices below middle C. That should make for a fuller sound than what feels like just a right-hand part, detached from the drum kit. Worth a try to help develop your arrangement skills even if you end up preferring it this way.
Old 5 days ago
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by olearyi View Post
I think I did more with the arrangement on this one. I'd love to know what you guys think, though. Should I add more to it arrangement-wise or do you think this one is better? Any input is really appreciated.
The sounds are fine. I like the drums.
Arrangement-wise it's like a demo you've started and need to do a lot more work on. A one bar drum beat and a few piano chords is not a song.
Not trying to be harsh, but I don't think you yet realise the hard work and inventiveness most musicians put into their tracks.
The first section is fine at first. The second section, you might call the 'B section', feels stiff and wooden. The simple piano part repeating is relentless and has no dynamics or human groove.
One and a half minutes in and you are still cycling around those two basic sections with no development.
You need to adds some new parts, make sure it is grooving. You can't just play piano chords on the first beat of every bar, quantise it 100% and feel like you've finished a song. That is going to intrigue and engage people.
Old 5 days ago
  #17
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by olearyi View Post
Made a new song that has an old school hip hop boom bap kinda vibe. I think I did more with the arrangement on this one. I'd love to know what you guys think, though. Should I add more to it arrangement-wise or do you think this one is better? Any input is really appreciated.

Arrangement sounds quite fine at the moment, but still its a little bit too predictable. Also the drums IMHO are a little too thin-sounding and flat for me, I would like to hear more punchiness and deepness from them. However if youre planning to make the bassline deep, they are spot on.

I left some examples from the era below for inspiration (however I bet you know them good), if something will interest you more I will tell you how can you achieve such result while mixing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk4ftn4PArg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLc2snB_0lE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPkWYTUiPTo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6h697TqpTw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f02_m-2zL9I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-mAK3uB2_0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjEnyR6-7UU

Best,
-Doc
Old 5 days ago
  #18
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zasterz View Post
Again, it sounds fine to me. I don’t have any insight into this type of music you’re aiming for– it just sounds like a background for other stuff to me– but assuming the piano is a midi track, you could try rounding it out by adding some doubling in the mid to lower range of the keyboard. Like bass notes and some chord voices below middle C. That should make for a fuller sound than what feels like just a right-hand part, detached from the drum kit. Worth a try to help develop your arrangement skills even if you end up preferring it this way.
Thanks for the comment, that's a good point. I was thinking about adding bass but maybe I can do what you said and add some piano in the lower octaves.
Old 5 days ago
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
The sounds are fine. I like the drums.
Arrangement-wise it's like a demo you've started and need to do a lot more work on. A one bar drum beat and a few piano chords is not a song.
Not trying to be harsh, but I don't think you yet realise the hard work and inventiveness most musicians put into their tracks.
The first section is fine at first. The second section, you might call the 'B section', feels stiff and wooden. The simple piano part repeating is relentless and has no dynamics or human groove.
One and a half minutes in and you are still cycling around those two basic sections with no development.
You need to adds some new parts, make sure it is grooving. You can't just play piano chords on the first beat of every bar, quantise it 100% and feel like you've finished a song. That is going to intrigue and engage people.
Thanks for the comment. Do you know of any good examples of hip hop instrumentals I can look to for inspiration?
Old 5 days ago
  #20
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DocSlow View Post
Arrangement sounds quite fine at the moment, but still its a little bit too predictable. Also the drums IMHO are a little too thin-sounding and flat for me, I would like to hear more punchiness and deepness from them. However if youre planning to make the bassline deep, they are spot on.

I left some examples from the era below for inspiration (however I bet you know them good), if something will interest you more I will tell you how can you achieve such result while mixing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk4ftn4PArg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLc2snB_0lE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPkWYTUiPTo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6h697TqpTw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f02_m-2zL9I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-mAK3uB2_0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjEnyR6-7UU

Best,
-Doc
Thanks for the comment, Doc. I'll definitely check all these out. There's some you listed that I haven't heard yet, so I'll be glad to take a listen and expand my horizons for sure.
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