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Regarding Hip Hop Drum Tracking Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 2nd March 2018
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Regarding Hip Hop Drum Tracking

Hey Guys,

A little about myself. I write production cues for TV and Film. I am no stranger to mixing and music production.

I need some advice from you guys in this forum. When I do an instrumental Hip Hop Que, I am very old school with the drums. For instance, I create a track for each drum (Kick, snare, hats, cymbals, etc). This gives me more control of the kit during mixing. I do 95 percent of my beats finger drumming keyboard samples.

Are you guys laying down stereo tracks of beats or loops in ONE track or splitting them up? I wold like to speed up my work flow and create the beat to one track but I'm worrying I will not be able have control over individual parts of the kit if they stick out in the mix.

Suggestions?
Old 3rd March 2018
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Scott View Post
Hey Guys,

A little about myself. I write production cues for TV and Film. I am no stranger to mixing and music production.

I need some advice from you guys in this forum. When I do an instrumental Hip Hop Que, I am very old school with the drums. For instance, I create a track for each drum (Kick, snare, hats, cymbals, etc). This gives me more control of the kit during mixing. I do 95 percent of my beats finger drumming keyboard samples.

Are you guys laying down stereo tracks of beats or loops in ONE track or splitting them up? I wold like to speed up my work flow and create the beat to one track but I'm worrying I will not be able have control over individual parts of the kit if they stick out in the mix.

Suggestions?
I keep everything separate, and sometimes route the individual tracks to a stereo drum bus.
Old 3rd March 2018
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Great but how are you doing it? Creating a track for every drum? Using a drum machine via Midi?
Old 3rd March 2018
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Scott View Post
Great but how are you doing it? Creating a track for every drum? Using a drum machine via Midi?
Yes, that's the way I do it. MIDI keyboard/pads. Usually record the basic kick and snare pattern together on 1 single MIDI/Instrument track, then separate them into 2 tracks after the recording pass. Then the other stuff (cymbals, etc.) one at a time on separate tracks.
Old 3rd March 2018
  #5
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Are you guys laying down stereo tracks of beats or loops in ONE track or splitting them up?
I wold like to speed up my work flow and create the beat to one track but I'm worrying
Definitely split them up on different mono tracks, not stereo tracks.Drums, except for overheads should be mono. The more control you have will equal better sounding songs. Making music takes time. I would not worry about doing it faster and sacrifice control and quality.

If you want to take less time making music, all you need to do is learn more about the tools and effects you have. This will make your workflow faster.
You need to get to a point ware you can make the sound that you have in your head onto a track as easy as counting to 3. Knowledge is everything!!!
Old 3rd March 2018
  #6
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FreshProduce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Scott View Post
Are you guys laying down stereo tracks of beats or loops in ONE track or splitting them up? I wold like to speed up my work flow and create the beat to one track but I'm worrying I will not be able have control over individual parts of the kit if they stick out in the mix.

Suggestions?
I'm not exactly sure what you're asking by laying down stereo tracks in 'one track'..
'Stereo tracks' consist of 2 tracks. Are you asking if it would be more time efficient to change your production and try to record all of your drums on 2 tracks? Or are you asking if it's okay to consolidate some of the components of your drums into a single track?

I would advise against it if that's what you're asking unless you want even thinner, less impactful drums. By rights, your kick and snare should be made up of at least 2 tracks each. (I usually layer 3 for snare and 2 for kick)

It's not unusual for producers to bounce down 10-15 tracks of drums for one stereo track before adding any synth or other instruments.

Last edited by FreshProduce; 3rd March 2018 at 03:52 PM.. Reason: phone posted unfinished comment on its own
Old 3rd March 2018
  #7
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atma's Avatar
 

for speed, i would just use breaks; chop them up, mix.
Old 3rd March 2018
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Hey Danny,

What I tend to do with my drums is send each sound from the AU/VST to a separate AUX channel. I know for sure that the Native Instrument plug-ins like battery combined with Logic make this easy.

To do this (In logic)
Open a multiple output version of battery -> choose your sounds -> Right click each sound and select the preferred output number (1/2, 3/4, ...) -> Click the plus button on Battery's channel in the logic mixer and a new AUX channel will be created. This gives you a lot more freedom with Automation, FX, Sends and MIDI.

I hope this information helps either yourself or other forum users - Im pretty sure this works with DAW's other than Logic too

All the best!
Old 4th March 2018
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Sounds cool guys,

What about guys that use loops for Hip Hop?

Are they putting a Stereo loop on one buss? Can they control the individual instruments?
Old 4th March 2018
  #10
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Are they putting a Stereo loop on one buss? Can they control the individual instruments?
If the drums are in a single stereo track "stereo loop", as you put it. You cannot control individual instruments in that stereo track. what ever you do to the steroe track will be done for the entire stereo track.

As we have been saying, to control individual instruments, you need to have each instruments on its own mono or stereo track. FYI: Most instruments are mono in nature
Old 5th March 2018
  #11
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atma's Avatar
 

There are some more advanced 'tricks' used to manipulate stereo samples, but it depends on the how the original recording was mixed. generally if there are instruments panned very hard to the sides, it's possible to isolate them from the rest of the mix, and anything dead center can usually be removed. You need some kind of mid/side manipulation plugin (I tend to use Brainworx control), and an understanding of mono/stereo and mid/side. Of course there are some other methodologies like using Melodyne to isolate certain frequency-domain elements from a stereo mix, or basic filtering techniques (lowpass/highpass/bandpass/etc.) to 'filter' out specific swaths of the frequency spectrum (i.e., a highpass filter will cut low frequencies up to a specified frequency, and to a specific 'steepness').

All that being said, once you mix down a song to a final stereo track, you can't easily separate the individual elements. It's a bit like baking a cake. once you combine the flour and eggs and sugar and so on, all of those elements 'overlap' and it's incredibly difficult to separate them again. Some of the aforementioned 'tricks' and techniques are sort of brute-force methods akin to using chemistry to try and remove or isolate specific elements.

Keep in mind, the reason we have 'breakbeats' to use as hip-hop drum samples is only because these were snippets of records where the drummer was soloing. That applies to pretty much anything sampled; if you want a perfect sample of a jazz bassline, it has to be from an album where the bassist is playing solo (generally speaking).
Old 7th March 2018
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
As we have been saying, to control individual instruments, you need to have each instruments on its own mono or stereo track. FYI: Most instruments are mono in nature
I am the one who said I have been using a track for every drum but was looking for shortcuts to get more tracks out.

I know plenty of Hip Hop or Rap songs utilize loops. I just wonder of they mix the stereo loop track in, without control of individual instruments and hope for a good balance.
Old 9th March 2018
  #13
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
I know plenty of Hip Hop or Rap songs utilize loops. I just wonder of they mix the stereo loop track in, without control of individual instruments and hope for a good balance.
Great Which ones do this? You should contact them and ask the mixing engineer what they did, as each situation will be different form another. Meaning, every song mixed has different things done to it and different settings and different effects and different levels. No 2 songs will need the same thing done to it.

So we do not know what they did to make it so great. But what i can tel you is that if they used loops, they were recorded and mixed professionally. so what they are using is something that sounds great to begin with. Crap in + crap out and visa versa

Quote:
I am the one who said I have been using a track for every drum but was looking for shortcuts to get more tracks out.
If everything is already mixed together, you cannot control individual instruments anymore. Meaning, No Shortcuts.
Old 13th March 2018
  #14
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3rd Degree's Avatar
 

Typically, the most common way of doing this is keeping every drum sound separate. They may be on the same MIDI track, even on old samplers, you would just mute everything except the one drum you are recording on the way in. So you may mute everything but the snare (basically soloing the snare), record that, then mute everything but the kick, record that, etc. These would almost always be mono recordings if the sample is mono. The only time you would use stereo is when it is an actual stereo sample, which isn't common with drums.

MIDI tracks in DAW's are no different, same concept but easier.

However, a lot of Hip Hop music, especially early Hip Hop music used drum breaks, typically off of vinyl. In that case, you can't legitimately separate each drum sound out into individual samples. In this case, you process and manipulate all the drums on one track, probably stereo.

Why drum breaks are significant, even if you are not using them, is simply that process carried over to using individual drums. You may do your eq/compression/etc on the individual sample, but bus everything together at the end for a variety of reasons. The main one is compression, sometimes it is easier to "glue" everything together by busing, and compression is typically on that bus. You also may use some EQ as well, just to make it confusing, but fitting, I would say you would do this to make everything "gel".

In this process, however, you may also side chain the individual sample of the kick to duck the bass, but then run all drums through a bus, for example, to both duck the bass, but also to have everything sound a certain way.

Plenty of techniques here, and there isn't anything necessarily wrong with running all drum sounds in a stereo track, but you will always lack control. For some people, it gives them exactly what they want. For most of us, we want more control. However, we may process the drums more heavily on a stereo bus than each individual sample, it just depends on the person, the technique, and the sound.

For piratical purposes, if you are not doing the final mix, the more separated the better. I may love my stereo bus with some compression, eq, and possibly distortion to get it sounding more "vintage", but if someone else is mixing, it is better to give them more control to get it perfect for them. I often avoid some of my favorite techniques on a song someone else is mixing by bypassing some of my process I used on the beat. 15 plus years into it, I have learned the balance of using what I like, while keeping the track as flexible as possible.

If you are mixing, that doesn't necessarily apply. However, it is important to understand why you may treat a drum break differently than drums separated out, but also how you can apply one side to the other. It just depends on how deep you want to understand Hip Hop techniques. At this point, I would argue that many people's techniques that have been shared over many decades are kind of "Hip Hop music theory", even though it isn't anywhere similar to say, Classical or Jazz, it still has important value but only if you care to research, listen, and understand. Unlike other theory, nothing is set in stone and much of it is not documented, you just learn from other people over many years of doing so.

Simple answer though, keep things separate whenever possible and combine via bus (or even bouncing down to a stereo track) but give yourself the greatest flexibility at first.
Old 13th March 2018
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Thanks 3rd Degree,

I appreciate your in depth response and suggestions.

In the last few days, I discovered an awesome trick to use on Studio One. I can "Finger drum" all of my samples on a a Midi controller, adding as many samples as I want to the beat.

Next step is to "Explode session to individual tracks". All of the drums will be laid out Kick, snare, claps, hats, etc, on it's own track. I can keep it on Midi or render all to audio at the same time where they will each have it's own audio channel. I then send all of my drums to a drum buss for further eq, compression, etc. That's how I am used to mixing live drums and SSD4.
Old 14th March 2018
  #16
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atma's Avatar
 

Explode! nice terminology. I wasn't familiar with that function in Studio One.
Old 14th March 2018
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by atma View Post
Explode! nice terminology. I wasn't familiar with that function in Studio One.
It's probably the most useful function I have found yet!
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