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Question for Drummers - Opinions sought.


BlueMountain
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Hi there

I've been getting some mixed views on this and thought I'd ask on here too.

Would you drummers out there record at a studio which does not have an acoustic kit?

I'm building a bit of a studio but lack the noise capacity where I currently work from and have a Roland TD-12 which we use to trigger Superior Drummer 2 via midi. Illustration pic below.

This kit is decent as it is - mine has a 3rd cymbal BTW. However, I was thinking of upgrading by moving the 10" snare pad up to the rack to become a tom and buying another 10" pad to join it. My intentions then are to buy two 12" pads (one as snare and one as floor tom) and perhaps use one of the surplus 8" pads as a high tom. The other two 8" pads would be eBayed to help pay for the upgrade.

Would purists among you run a mile from this proposed setup or even the current setup below?

49910_l.jpg

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Hmmm i wouldnt be keen to be honest, if your paying top money to go record, you want something authentic sounding, especially drum wise, although if you could prove it would do a very good job and sound good then you might persuade folk. Personally i spent a lot of money on my drums, when i record with my bands i want to hear my kit.

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Cheers guys

This is exactly the views I seek and your input is greatly appreciated.

I have to say, in my albeit limited drumming experience, the roland mesh heads feel similar to acoustic drums and the Superior 2 libraries are pretty fantastic with tons of ways of controlling their sounds. However, primarily being a guitarist and bassist, if someone plonked a new-fangled substitute for guitar and bass in front of me, which was reported to sound just as good, I would likely tell them to f*$k off. Therefore, I felt that actual drummers would be best qualified to make this call.

If/when I get a bigger place, I will get an acoustic kit and will ensure that its noise levels are acceptable wherever I am.

Thankfully, I didn't buy the roland kit as part of an eventual studio's inventory. I bought it a couple of years ago for personal use and to learn the drums. Sadly, it became apparent quite quickly that my back didn't prosper on playing drums, nor did an old shoulder injury I have. Obviously, this was somewhat of a downer given the cost involved and it rarely has an outing these days due to it mainly being solo artists I work with just now. I may part with it at some point and get a return on it and perhaps splash out on a new plectrum.

Cheers

BM

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It's a nice kit, and if I was in a studio that had one I would certainly want to give it a go. And I think I'd quite possibly love it and at least record a couple of songs on it, maybe more. But. If I was scouting around for a new studio and saw that this was the only option, I'd be wary and tbh be put off a bit. No matter how realistic an electronic kit is it still feels different, and I'd probably play it differently, so might feel I'm not really getting down what my band actually sounds like.

In short, I'd say this kit would be a great selling point as an extra to an acoustic kit, but a bit of a turn-off if it's the only kit available. And if your noise restrictions are such that you can't have an acoustic kit, would this not affect everything else as well? When we're recording guitar stuff, our guitarist sometimes plays from the control room with his amp at ear-splitting volume in the main room to really crank it up and get a great sound. Keeping the noise down is the last think a band wants to be thinking about when they're trying to capture a great performance.

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My old flat mate had a very high end Roland Electric drum kit and I have to agree with the comment above, it sounded like an electric drum kit. Ace for electronic music and that sorta thing but for rock n roll not so good. He said it was ace to play but wished he had bought an acoustic one instead. We did record a few songs with the drum kit, and it was a breeze due to the fact there was just one output and no need to mic the drums. I realise I'm waffling a bit but overall I'd say both acoustic and electric have pro's and con's but personally I'd prefer if the drummer in my band was recording on an acoustic drum kit.

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I have to say that as I also own a Roland kit, however good it is, they still sound "fake". Best solution is to maybe look into soundproofing but I don't know the area you want to make into a studio so it might not work etc. In my old house when growing up, we turned the attick into a studio and that worked really well. Mind you it was a detached house and everyone had double glazed windows lol!

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This is all good stuff guys (and ladies if any).

Thanks for chipping in and giving your views. They're the most important views (and view holders) I can't get in relation to my question. I guess the only thing preventing me from biting the bullet and moving to a more suitable property for recording is the current economic climate. I have enough gear to start up commercially and would only require a drum kit (Doh!!) and perhaps a partial upgrade of amps/cabs and a few more high quality mic stands. I'm already in the process of getting a console.

Who am I kidding, there's alway more stuff to get. :eek:

As advised by Frosty Jack, I'd probably keep the roland as a side show item.

Regarding electronic kits and the opinions on sound, the stock modules normally 'do' sound really rough and metalic. I would totally agree that they suck. However, advances in midi libraries currently available and the potential progress they may make in future may close the current gap between midi and acoustic. How much? Who knows?

Having said that, the issue here appears not only to be sound driven but perhaps moreso for you guys' requirement to feel a real kit at the end of your sticks, even your own. This is totally understandable as you're crafting a piece of art you are deeply connected with. I agree there should be no shortcuts for this with the process being predominantly artist led. One solution for me is to record acoustic drums in a mobile manner. I could unrack 8-12 pres and converters and use a laptop. However, endeavouring with this would preclude me from ever recording a whole band's simultaneous performance.

Regarding sound proofing workarounds for guitar and bass, I've been encasing amps and cabs within a number of Owen's Corning 703 type acoustic panels 4ft x 2ft x 3". This seems to help. I also have several decent DI's I can use too. I usually prefer both DI and miced. The only problem with encasing speakers is that a room mic can't be used but I've never felt this to be a major issue.

You guys have been great. Cheers. :rockon:

Stewart

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With the TD12, I beleive it has seperate outputs for each drum? In which a fantastic idea to emulate a real kit would be to use those individual drums to trigger real samples using drumagog? I love that program. I've used superior drummer in the past to trigger the midi from my TD3 but I have had all manner of latency issues which take alot of fucking about with to sound proper and like the performance - in essence I may as well have drawn it in with the sequnecer. Triggering audio seems a way beter idea.

I'll agree with the feel comment though. Playing drums is definitely a cathartic experience. To get a good performance, you'll need the viceral response and feel of a real kit. It may work for some, but not me.

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Cheers MC Nice Andrew

Yeh, true...the individual pads and cymbals of the TD12 do have their own outputs which generally route to the module. Some are dual output.

I'm not familiar with Drumagog although I've heard it people speak about it lots on other forums. Isn't it just a sample library like Superior 2?

I totally get what you're saying about latency in triggering midi. It sucks. Does Drumagog get around this some way? I'll need to investigate.

The way to get round the latency with my TD12 is to capture the TD12's stock audio. While input monitoring this, mix in a click track (or accompanying musicians) using some snazzt cue mixes and whilst remembering to disable the Superior 2 midi track's input monitoring in the DAW. Mind you, this means that the drummer and anyone else has to put up with the crap module sounds for the tracking, but in the knowledge that it will eventually be replaced with something better.

I found this Drumagog clip. Crazy!!!

Stewart

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Drumagog is drum trigger software. It's a plug in that you put on a channel, choose a sample (or a .gog) and it'll replace the original hit. So if you had a really crappy sounding snare, you can replace it with a nicer sounding one.

Slate Digital Trigger does that too. I've tried both and I find Trigger to be a better plug-in. Check it out.

I'm also in a place where I can't record drums. I usually just take my gear out to a rehearsal studio to record the drums and do everything else back here. It's a bit of a pain sometimes, but, it works out well.

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What Jeid said. It'll just replace the drums hits on the given recorded channel. Its also velocity sensitive and has samples for a good few grades.

The way it work in my head is that you'd record each indiviual drum from the indivual output of the TD12 on a seperate track, then you could trigger drumagog for each drum. Not really sure how it'd work with overheads and cymbals though.

Slate has some proper good samples. If you're familier with Paramore and their excellent drum sound, that was the guy that engineered that sound.

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  • 1 month later...
Slate has some proper good samples. If you're familier with Paramore and their excellent drum sound, that was the guy that engineered that sound.

Really? I know it(newest album) was mixed by Chris Lord Alge, but I'm finding nothing about Slate working with them. Any links?

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