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Old 25th July 2016
Making Sampled Drums Sound Real

Some easy ways to make fake drums sound "live" is to pump them outside of the box. This will require a PA system, stereo room miking, close miking, duct tape and a loose snare drum... and a decent room... but no drummer required if you've already programmed the parts.

The Radio Arcana tracks sound pretty good! Obviously they are real drum samples. An easy thing to do is to send a sub-mix of all the drums into a nice sized room and mic that room, adding it into the mix. I call that "re-amping" the drums. If you want to give the snare sample more depth and color than try the "snare re-amping" technique that I learned from Matt Wallace. Here is what you do:

Send the sample snare track out of the recorder
Run it into a PA and set the PA speaker on it's back facing up
Place a snare drum face down, wires up, on top of the speaker
Tape it into place with duct tape
Mic this contraption and record it back into your session

Every time the sample snare hit plays through the PA, the pressure of the amplified sound smacks the head of the live snare drum you've taped to the speaker. This will add more snare rattle to your drums if you want it, or more depth to your sample snare if you use a deeper snare for your re-amp. This technique is also fantastic to liven up a snare that wasn't recorded so well. And be sure to record both a close mic and stereo room mics for your snare re-amp.

I've included an illustration from the book that I drew to describe the snare re-amping technique.

Sometimes if I find myself recording in a cool room, I'll re-amp a whole bunch of stuff through a PA just to capture the room sound. Not just drums.... Last year I found myself in an awesome castle in Dresden, Germany (Castle Röhrsdorf), and some of the spaces were so unusual I re-amped everything!
Attached Thumbnails
Mixing programmed drums with recorded intruments-fig13-10-copy.jpg