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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:33 pm 
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Planar wrote:
Hades wrote:
in the end I feel it kind of kills all spontaniousness and creativity.


I know where you're coming from, but this is this is the kind of thing I do when I'm not feeling that creative. Sit down with a drink and bash out 2 or 3 tuned and layered kicks. Save them with a key in the file name and then they're ready to drop into another session and will sound good with very little work. I've been using the same 2 or 3 kicks lately because they're all my own kicks and I feel more attached to them for it.


that's exactly how I do it now : I spent 2 days in a moment when I wasn't in any creative mood, but I4m still not so sure I'll use all those kicks a lot.
and that still doesn't solve my tuning percussion thing.

but anyway, like I said, : I'm probably over-rationalizing all of this stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:39 pm 
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I tune the kicks in every single tune I make.
Sometimes the kick just isn't working or sitting right.
I just move it around until it sounds right.
Sometimes I want it to bite, sometimes I want it to bury in. But generally the tuning is as important as the rest of the characteristics.

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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:23 am 
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i usually layer a hard kick with a sub bass kick and throw a bassline in the low mids. so that's like putting a hard 909 over a pitched down 808 kick with maybe a bassline in an octave (for powerrrr), but you can also vary the order for more variety.. or sample the compressed result, rechop the kick or put in an envelope or gate.

personally, i think if you pan and blend the levels of your drums, you should try to tune your drums too, especially if you're using simmons toms like the disco ace you are ;)
i think it's reasonable to say that cymbals and all sorts of aux percussion have their own frequency and changing the tune of their timbres to fit a certain pitch will help balance out the rest of the track, possibly save you time on EQing them later or maybe even make the track have more movement. so try a fifth, try a seventh, maybe try that minor third. who knows?

i think also most drums by default, are in C as far as i can tell. messing with them should keep them in line with any synths you choose or vice verse. think tuning your drums is also a good idea because mixing to a certain key or a pair of keys makes your track more interesting. like there's an assload of people who's tracks are in the key of c. while that's a fine and powerful key, there's lots of keys to choose from and combinations of keys make everything more dynamic. like you could tune a drum up and down the scale in the key you're in for fun, or use that idea to bring up tension or a question at the end of the bar. you may even want to do that with a combination of different drums. there's a ton of things you can do with that concept. though i think if it gets over done, this kind of idea becomes distracting and it's best to keep things simple.

as far as finding keys, i used to find that banging out a key on a generic piano plug in and tuning my drums to it was helpful but eventually i could hear the sounds 'click' in place without the piano. but that really just takes practice and comes with time.

i don't want to say my techno is amazing at present, but the ideas mentioned have been making my music more fun to produce as well as helping me to understand the mechanics of what's going on between my notes. definitely give it a shot.

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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:40 pm 
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I have tried layering kicks, synthesizing kicks, and working with a kick from a drum pack but I would always need to do a lot of work on it before use it.
Probably the third option more so but I plan on working more on synthesis for percussion.

Music theory – I have a twin brother not a techno or electronic fan but a keen musician and appreciates good music. He is very talented working on music in a studio environment for his own band ,
own music and has always helped me improve from his point of view as do I with him.

He always pushes me with the music theory which I do but I don’t think everything in a techno track needs it as accurately in my opinion.
Anyway good for us to have in depth discussions about music production, engineering, etc from different perspectives

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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:07 pm 
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bergertron wrote:
Anyway good for us to have in depth discussions about music production, engineering, etc from different perspectives


and from all those many tongues we speak !

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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:42 am 
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the reasoning behind tuning a kick is so that it is harmonically consonant with the bass and the other musical elements. i.e. it sounds good and not dissonant.

even in techno when you might have a lot of sounds that aren't full of harmonic content, the track will still have a few elements that have discernable fundamental pitches and so should be in harmonic consonance (if that's what you want).

for example, if the first note of the bassline is on the first beat, it will (in house music anyway) usually be either the root of the key or the fifth of the key. having a kick tuned to the root either produces a stronger, fuller root note or a 5th chord respectively (like a 5th power chord for guitar players i.e. just the root and 5th). if the kick is the 7th of the key (the leading note), and you have a bass note (root note) on the off-beat 3,7,11,15 then there will be a good push towards the off-beat as the kick/bass relationship moves having dissonance to being harmonically consonant.

if you have all your percussion tuned, then you can create chords with your percussion. example, your kick is the root note, your snare is the 5th, your closed-hat is the minor third, then when these play together you get a minor chord played. can the average listener discern this? who knows, but subconsciously your brain knows it sounds harmonically consonant and so is more enjoyable. this is why when you are making tracks or tuning sounds by ear, you can get a point where it sounds correct, or sounds good. you might not know what the pitch of it is, or what the relationship between sounds is, but your brain recognises it as harmonious and so it sounds correct.

there is also the science behind sub-bass and how big club speaker systems are made and configured and what frequencies produce the best sub-bass. is it not something like 55 hz to 70 hz gives the best sub response? so you'd want the sub of your kick to sit in that range.


as for why would you layer kicks, maybe one answer is: because you can.

there is no perfect kick made from one source. a good kick (under this theory) is made from 3 parts, the sub, the transient and some upper harmonics. on an fft analyser there would be 2 main peaks- one the fundamental (tuned) which gives the boom of the kick, then a peak for the the snappy transient that you can hear when you play the kick on laptop speakers. then you would have some harmonics to give it some character in the mids/upper-mids.

by layering it, you can select (or create) the best option for each of the 3 parts. usually i just use an 808 kick with a long attack as the sub (easily tuneable on the tr-8), then either choose a 909 kick or a sample for the transient and then find a sample for the upper part to add something else to the kick.

you're right saying that layering wasn't done when techno was all just one 909 kick, but how do those kicks stand up against a kick made in 2015 by one of the top techno producers? it will just have one peak and so will sound different.

is it necessary? must you do it to make a good track? i don't think so, but given you can do it, given that it is a common technique employed by many these days, maybe it is wise to do it. you'll be making a sound that translates well to big sound system, a sound that stands up well against other tracks of the day. if you are the only track without it, then perhaps your will stand out as lacking.

i will concede that spending 2 hours on kick crafting can become boring and sap any creativeness that i had, but once i have the kick i have it, it can be tweaked and used again with some different processing. i've read people say that they only have 8-10 kicks that they always use time and time again. nothing wrong in that i say.


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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am 
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winston wrote:
if you have all your percussion tuned, then you can create chords with your percussion. example, your kick is the root note, your snare is the 5th, your closed-hat is the minor third


Aren't snares and especially hats in techno often made mostly of noise? Ie. they don't have a pitch as such.

I never personally bother with tuning percussion. I don't have perfect pitch so I'd have to use some kind of a pitch recognition device. Too much hassle.

Is there a video on youtube about how tuning percussion to the key of the song actually sounds? I'd like to hear an example where a song sounds horrible when the kick is in the wrong key, but becomes a masterpiece when you tune the kick.

Anyways, I don't think people were using tuned kicks back in the day (ie. when techno was better imo). There were no DAWs and tuning the kicks would have required either perfect pitch or a specific device. I've never seen such devices in old or retro studios.

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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 1:54 pm 
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you are kind of correct about snares being mostly noise, but they still do have harmonic content. if you look at a snare in a FFT you can see what pitch it is by looking for the highest peak, which would be the fundamental pitch of the sound.

if you take a sample and lay it over a couple of octaves in a DAWs sampler, then you are able to play the same sample with 24 different tunings and you can see how dreadful some sound, and how some of them sound better. if you were tuning it further you could fine tune it so it was better still.

acoustic drums can be tuned too, i don't know to what extent they can be tuned but it is still possible to alter the sound of them.
i get what you are saying about people didn't used to tune their kicks, but on both the 808 & 909 you can tune the kick and you would do so, so that it fits with the track. perhaps people just done it by ear, i can't tell which note is which either, but you instinctively know if it sits or it clashes.


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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:29 pm 
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Of course you don't have to tune your drums, you don't have to use EQ, but I can 100% guarantee that your tune will sound better for it.

All that great techno you love that works sooooo well, you can bet all these fine details are a part of it.

Tuning a kick drum by ear shouldn't take you 2 hours, it should take like, 30 seconds.

Ear training is part of being a musician and a producer, essential I would say, wether you have it as a natural skill, throuh experience or you go through an ear training process (there are some great bits of software you can get that will provide you with an ear training program to go through) it is essential if you are serious about your music.

If you have it as a natural talent then life is already easy.

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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 3:12 pm 
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Can someone make an example? Like, make 2 versions of a simple tune with a kick that's first in the right key and then in the wrong key. I'd like to hear the massive difference it makes.

I highly doubt all those old classics were made by people with perfect pitch (as it's rare and very difficult for an adult to train), or were using a guitar tuner or something. I used to read tons of interviews, articles and stuff in the 90's, I don't remember anyone saying anything about tuning the drums to the key of the song. From what I know, it's a fairly new phenomenom, at least in techno.

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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 3:29 pm 
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Barfunkel wrote:

I highly doubt all those old classics were made by people with perfect pitch (as it's rare and very difficult for an adult to train



I don`t doubt it at all, one turn of a knob and it`s done. You don`t even need perfect pitch, you just hear it. No different to EQ`ing.
It`s not a massive difference, it`s simply that one sounds better than the other.
Strangely enough when you make music in a musical way........

A lot of early detroit was very musical. Those boys had disco in their veins.

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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 4:14 pm 
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Here`s a simple example, makes more sense once you have a whole mix though.

This is just simple 909 and bassline.

1st loop everything is flat, untuned.

2nd Loop everything is in the same key as bassline.

All settings are the same otherwise.

"2nd one responds to the buss compression much more nicely

https://archive.org/download/DrumTuneTe ... neTest.wav

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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:46 am 
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Lost to the Void wrote:
Tuning a kick drum by ear shouldn't take you 2 hours, it should take like, 30 seconds.


i was meaning more the the whole kick creation process taking about 2 hours. Recording the tr-8, messing about with the samples, mixing the layers, using effects and so on. it's a fun process, but i feel it's not the best way to start off a track. even this doesn't need to take 2 hours though, you're right.


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 Post subject: Re: layering kicks / tuning percussion
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:29 am 
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i've taken a different tact about layering kicks recently and i feel like Hades was more right initially about using the one kick and just refining it. maybe there's kick anxiety a little bit, since if the kick isn't terribly present in techno it's regarded as a fail. but drum machines and sound designers for them have put in a ton of work on the subject already. working with those dynamics has me making tracks in less time. also the meat of the bass is taken out whenever you layer anyway to make room for other sub harmonics. though i can say there's different kicks for different folks. so go for whatever you like. if you want to make a wimpy kick, go for it. maybe not make the kick the central focus of the track for once. do something different. i still tune the hell out of my drums.. cause something sounds amiss without it, but layering kicks is too OCD for me, at least some times.

anyway.. on the subject of layering stuff anybody read what this guy's had to say on it? seems pretty legit.
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov12/a ... rclass.htm

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 Post subject: Tuned Percussion hits
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:47 pm 
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Hello guys,

been trying for a while to achieve this type of noise. You hear it filtering in from about 12secs into the track.

https://ownlife.bandcamp.com/track/leiras-these-bones

I have a couple of problems tho. I cant even work the hit itself. any suggestions on achieving a similar sounding hit would be appreciated?

but generally speaking, whenever I am trying to make these sort of tuned percussion loops ( normally to some sort of scale) my individual hits end up sounding a bit artificial due to the repitching of the samples. Any advice?


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 Post subject: Re: Tuned Percussion hits
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:09 pm 
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Those are just pots and pans with an auto filter? Maybe a lfo on the autofilters parameters and your good to go.

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 Post subject: Re: Tuned Percussion hits
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:45 pm 
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The automation side of things are easy enough. I meant the actual pattern itself is played in a tuned sequence. Its not just a one hit, its a one hit that goes up and down in pitch musically, but still doesn't sound artificial.

In other words.

How do you tune percussion in a more natural way?

And what instrument/percussion is it in this track?


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 Post subject: Re: Tuned Percussion hits
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:50 pm 
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I have to say, I listened very shalowly, if thats a word.

My bad.

Anyway, I still think its just sequenced man. Imo its a sample put in sampler or simpler(whatever) and modulated.

Im not sure what you're getting at.

It sounds like a high pitched note of a piano, with some sutarion, reverb and modulation as I said earlier.

A piano hit with short high velocity hits.

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 Post subject: Re: Tuned Percussion hits
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:22 pm 
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Pitch up some existing samples you have, or record something. Load sample into a sampler. Play across the keyboard until something delicious pops out at you. Or just pull a Mark Angel on the track or something.....

If it wasn't a sample, it sounds like some sort of FM based sound to me with some reverb on the higher frequencies and a shed load of filter automation or like Alume said, an auto filter doing the hard work.

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 Post subject: Re: Tuned Percussion hits
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 11:26 pm 
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Yeah, you can make these sounds using Operator if your in Ableton, fast attack, short release, maybe add that corpus effect on it. Saturate for more texture and put reverb on it. Play around with some arpeggiator to make a melody that fits.

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