Old 10-11-2019, 08:43 AM   #1
flatuswalrus
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Default Plz Help Mix My Kicks

Hi, I just put together a drum kit in Reaper using samples which when I have it the way I want I am going to use it for the main kit in most of my recordings. Keep in mind I am a complete beginner at all of this. It is intentionally not realistic but instead would be best suited for old-school synth type tunes.

I have chosen two kicks to combine to try and get the 'perfect' kick, even though music is art and art is subjective. However, everyone's ears are different and of course, sometimes things are just plain bad and/or wrong. Whilst I am happy with my kit, the kicks just do not sound quite right to me.

I know there is a plethora of information on the internet but if you will excuse and indulge me, I just like shooting back and forth with people. To try and help you help me, I will provide some video and photos below.

Firstly, here is a video of the two kicks on their own and then I play them with the rest of the kit: https://youtu.be/QcDKWhyjnP4

Here is the Hi kick:
Sample: https://flic.kr/p/2htrdMk
Compression: https://flic.kr/p/2htouQL
EQ: https://flic.kr/p/2htouMu
Span: https://flic.kr/p/2htschq

Here is the low kick:
Sample: https://flic.kr/p/2htouDD
Compression: https://flic.kr/p/2htouJ3
EQ: https://flic.kr/p/2htscdc
Span: https://flic.kr/p/2htouCG

I tried to capture the Compression, EQ and Span at their peaks.

I wanted to see if anyone here who knows more than myself, which is most likely nearly everyone, can spot anything glaringly obvious that is a big fat NO in what I have done or can offer some knowledgable and friendly suggestions. Thank you in advance.
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:36 PM   #2
SoundGuyDave
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First thing first, make it easy on yourself, and print the single sample hits for both hi and low kick. Next, make sure the transients of both samples line up! If they do, they'll reinforce, and you get uber-kick. If they don't, you'll have some comb-filtering at best, and cancellation nodes at worst...

I listened to your YouTube vid, and about the only "complaint" that I might have would be with the kick-low sample having too high a low-pass filter. Too much 160-200HZ "boing" in there for my taste. Personally, I also think you may be over-processing the signals as well. I would drop a ReaEQ on each track, then dump a ReaComp, JS "50Hz Kicker" and JS "Transient Controller" on there and probably call it a day. Plenty of tweaking you can do with that combo.

Also on the topic of making it easy on yourself: do a render on the buss track, dynamic split it (to get a hard edge at the transient zero-crossing) and then edit the clip so that it has a very short fade right where the sustain dies (to avoid any clicks or pops), then left-click on the edited clip to select it...

Select "render..." from the File menu, use "Source: Selected media items" and render what you've got, to whatever directory you use for your Media Explorer. Then, when you start your next project, just load that composite, processed kick into RSM5000, and you should be done. No complicated chains, no multiple tracks for what really is a composite sound.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundGuyDave View Post
First thing first, make it easy on yourself and print the single sample hits for both hi and low kick.
Thank you very much for your detailed response. I will be going through it all a bit at a time because 25% of it is gibberish to me due to my limited knowledge in this area. Though I will try and research as much as I can to not ask you to write a novel for me because a lot of it I know I can find the answers without bugging you.

For the first thing though, printing, because I am not certain, is this what you mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQIglSI0FZ0 (skip to about 35 seconds). If it is, may I ask what the benefit of this is? I do not mean that as in I am questioning you but I just want to understand. Thanks again.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:08 PM   #4
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I second the advice of lining samples up - which is to say, adjusting precise timing between the kicks relative to eachother, to test how frequencies in them reinforce or attenuate eachother.

Also, I'd advice to start with no FX and see if simply lining up the samples could lead to satisfactory results. If not, time for EQ and compression, and volume/ADSR curves if needed

In addition to spectrum analyzer, an oscilloscope can be used in the track on which both kicks are mixed, with settings that allow viewing the length of whole resulting sample. For example, "JS: Oscilloscope Meter", with settings of length: 0.25s or longer, and retrig:any.

***

If instead of lining up samples as audio, you'd rather keep them and their adjustments "live" in samplers, timing of kicks relative to eachother can be done by adjusting sample start points or using precise delay plugins.

In ReaSamplOmatic5000, zoom very close into the sample (using mouse wheel over sample display) and adjust start points of samples to line up the kicks. Chances are, at some point their combination might start sounding more "right".
If needed, copies of source samples can be made with some more silence at the start, to allow more adjustment.

If a delay plugin seems more convenient, "JS:Time Adjustment Delay" is good. Holding "Ctrl" should allow adjustment in small increments.

***

Overall, kicks are very interesting sound type to combine and synthesize, due to how frequency, phase and timing intertwine in them. Days can be spent just testing and learning. Have fun
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:19 PM   #5
SoundGuyDave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatuswalrus View Post
Thank you very much for your detailed response. I will be going through it all a bit at a time because 25% of it is gibberish to me due to my limited knowledge in this area. Though I will try and research as much as I can to not ask you to write a novel for me because a lot of it I know I can find the answers without bugging you.

For the first thing though, printing, because I am not certain, is this what you mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQIglSI0FZ0 (skip to about 35 seconds). If it is, may I ask what the benefit of this is? I do not mean that as in I am questioning you but I just want to understand. Thanks again.
Sorry, showing my age there... "Printing" back in the "good old days" meant committing something to tape, like "bouncing" six tracks down to stereo on an 8-track machine. You would mix the six tracks, then "print" them to the last two, freeing up six tracks to re-record over with new parts.

My suggestion was to "render" the sampled sound, so that you have a physical track to work with, rather than working on a clip, loaded into a VST. Easier to line them up that way, since you can zoom in and see both waveforms in the buss track window. Easy as pie to get them to superimpose at that point!
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundGuyDave View Post
Sorry, showing my age there...
I am 38 and feel like an old man so you must be over the hill, haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundGuyDave View Post
My suggestion was to "render" the sampled sound, so that you have a physical track to work with, rather than working on a clip, loaded into a VST. Easier to line them up that way, since you can zoom in and see both waveforms in the buss track window. Easy as pie to get them to superimpose at that point!
Thank you for the suggestion. I will have to look into that because of my not knowing how I find it challenging to grasp the ease of lining them up like that compared to the midi editor because I find that so easy, especially for a complicated beat with 32nd notes etc. I guess it is just what I have been doing and thus am accustomed to it. It makes complete sense that you can more easily analyse the waveforms amongst other thing using the method you mentioned though.

It might seem silly but I write all my drums parts in GP5 (Guitar Pro 5). That is probably also because I am used to it as I have been using it for many years and as a result, I find it so easy and flexible. Then I just import the midi into Reap and it is done. Old habits are difficult to kick (pun intended) so I will look into it as I want to get better and learn.

Truth be told, because of my lack of knowledge and thus find all this daunting I am tempted to just use one kick and stick with it even if I do not love it but I know that is being lazy. Also, I loved the method of adding some more bass to the kick using this method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLAHjOsmwFQ however due to having issues with routing here: https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=225890 I gave up on that idea.

Last edited by flatuswalrus; 10-12-2019 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 10-13-2019, 04:56 AM   #7
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Yeah, phase plays a huge part in layering instruments, especially bass-heavy ones.

Zoom in to the two samples until you can see the peaks and troughs of the waveform. If they are out of phase (a peak on one where you have a trough on the other, or any combination of non-alignment) then the summed sound of them both will change, sometimes drastically. Usually this is heard as a loss in bass frequencies.

I just zoom in, turn off snapping and shift things around until they sound good. A lot of people will high pass the "clicky" track to avoid phase cancellation with the "boomy" track.

You cannot do this kind of forensic alignment in the midi editor. As per the advice above, render a combined sample to one file and use that in your midi sampler.
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judders View Post
Zoom in to the two samples until you can see the peaks and troughs of the waveform.
I see what you mean: https://flic.kr/p/2hugBKf

I have not adjusted anything in that photo but just loaded a few different kicks in to have a look as I have never done so. You sure do get to see much more than in the ol' midi side of things. That is a great idea, I will focus on this to get the right kick for me and then load it onto my track as a sample. Thank you for your advice and the same goes for others who have been kind enough to spare some time.

I will report back.

Last edited by flatuswalrus; 10-13-2019 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatuswalrus View Post
I see what you mean: https://flic.kr/p/2hugBKf

I have not adjusted anything in that photo but just loaded a jew different kicks in to have a look as I have never done so. You sure do get to see much more than in the ol' midi side of things. That is a great idea, I will focus on this to get the right kick for me and then load it onto my track as a sample. Thank you for your advice and the same goes for others who have been kind enough to spare some time.

I will report back.
Good luck!
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:32 PM   #10
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Well, it might not be a huge difference but from my first attempt:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcDK...ature=youtu.be

... this is the kick now in a full mix (the song is not finished): https://youtu.be/jFp46rgbpOo

I am reasonably happy with it. I do not know why I have found it easy to be happy with everything quite quickly except the kick drum. It still sounds a little clicky but some of that has been removed with ResEQ and for my experience, or lack thereof, I think I would stick with it unless someone more skilled said there was something very obvious. Does anyone think the kick sound 'meh' or not too bad?
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:50 AM   #11
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Definitely has more girth to it, as would be expected if you shifted those peaks and troughs around to minimise phase cancellation.
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