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Getting Drums In Time
Old 15th February 2003
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Getting Drums In Time

So recently I think i got a god complex after making one of the worst drummers I ever worked with sound like a god on a record that has been getting some pretty insane aclaim. I spent about 200 hours editing 40 minutes of music in Pro Tools. In the end the product is there and no one has any idea but I dont wanna do it this way. I have done the editing tape thing., The making the drummer play to a click even when he has no experience with one and punching the drum track to death thing, and the taking a few takes and editing together thing. I just feel like I am missing something. How are you all getting drums in time usually? How do we all feel about making a drummer who has never played to a click play to one?? how much 2" editing are you usually doing. I am just so fed up at this point of taking a week or more of my life to get drums PERFECT. I am thankfully working with a great drummer next week. But have still allocated 7 days of editing with an assistant. THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY. I never wanted to be a computer operater when I grew up.
Old 15th February 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
bassmac's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Beat Detective!
Old 15th February 2003
  #3
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Good question. I have the same problem, honestly. The only answer I've seen in my sessions and in those of the many productions coming through the studio...is a really good drummer.
Old 15th February 2003
  #4
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
What I see on audio forums frequently are two views.
1) from folks that work with bands
2) from folks that rarely do

People from group 1 have awkward issues faceing them. Bands are 'gangs' it's hard to split up a gang.

People from group 2 usually say 'get folks that can really play in'. This demonstrates how little they understand about working with bands.

If you DO work with bands you have several options ahead of you.

I encourage drummers to get lessons. Practice! I have replaced band members in productions but it is EXTREMELY fraught with political issues and there is a tricky balancing act between good product and a producer keeping his job.

Usually I chose to record the following ways

click
vairied tempo click
manual click (me playing a cowbell)
no click

Then I usually pay my ex assistant who is a PT editing whizz to come in to tighten the tracks up. It takes him one or two days to do an amazing job on 3 tracks. I have input on the process and pop in throught the day.....

I pay for it the simple answer.
Old 15th February 2003
  #5
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Good post Jules!
Playing devil's advocate.....
maybe you should move on from the 'perfect drums' ideal.
I'm totally sympathetic about your recent experience but I'm shocked that you are working with a 'great drummer' next but have set aside 7 days for editing.
I've been around a while and have talked to some of the aknowledged perfectionists in the biz. If you get them around to talking about the albums that have inspired them and then go away and listen to them you'll find the rhythm section (whether it be a Motown record or a rock band) is often all over the shop. It's all about inspied performances.
One of these guys recorded me about 10 years ago. When we had played the take he was happy with he set about editing the drums. I had never experienced it before and was appalled at my deficiencies.
After a while I broached the subject. He said "no, you were fine" and pointed to a few tiny slivers that he had taken out every other bar or so.
Believe me, I'm not just saying this, but 10 years on that drumming now sounds like a flat, grooveless drum machine.
Old 15th February 2003
  #6
Lives for gear
 
5down1up's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
sadly i needed to edit drumtracks in protools a lot .
since we are in the digital domain a lot of the recording process has changed . i still prefer the song played in one take . most often it just doesnt work , so i place and repeat the the parts i wanna record and let the drummer play to it , after doing this i am gonna fix the drums if theres a need to .
the worst case is editing every single hit

i simply make a cut on every bassdrum and snare hit . the whole drum tracks are grouped . after cutting it i place the single cuts in grid mode , i turn autocrossfade on . i arrange the regions in slip mode and nudge em a little bit .
first time i was doing this it took me almost forever .
now that ive done it a few times i edit a whole song in like 2 hours .

so if u need some edits CALL ME heh
Old 15th February 2003
  #7
Lives for gear
 
studjo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm really no wizzard in prootooling so I have a little question for you pros:

I have a click track recorded on spmte time 0'10'00. The time of the track is 120 Bpm. How can you set Pro Tools into grid mode, so that every beat lies on the grid?

Probalbly manual-reading?

TIA Jo
Old 15th February 2003
  #8
Jax
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
What I see on audio forums frequently are two views.
1) from folks that work with bands
2) from folks that rarely do

People from group 1 have awkward issues faceing them. Bands are 'gangs' it's hard to split up a gang.

People from group 2 usually say 'get folks that can really play in'. This demonstrates how little they understand about working with bands.
To be fair, the experience of working with bands depends what level of studio for the hired guns approach. Studios whose clients can afford to bring in the pros don't necessarily rarely work with bands. Sometimes, their clients are the pros because that's the level of talent their business serves. Think Nashville. That town is rife with studio musicians, and although the music coming from there generally tends to sound very produced, it can hardly be said that most of the studios there don't often work with bands. It's expected in many places to bring in a studio musician when a band member isn't cutting the mustard, but the studios are still working with bands often.

That said, there is a huge shortage of hire-able talent where I am, and there aren't a lot of really good musicians in the bands here. Gotta make the best of what comes in the door and it's a real pleasure when anyone knows what they're doing!

In relation to drummers, one of the most helpful things struggling drummers say I do is play the part for them first. Once they get a listen to what the beat could sound like, in a way that works with the tune and is in time, the next time they sit down behind the kit the improvement often skyrockets. Either that or they get some ideas of their own, or feel challenged enough that the they are woken up and they go into another gear. Despite that, I'm still doing a lot more editing than I would have had to 30-50 years ago when everyone could play their instruments.
Old 15th February 2003
  #9
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
Studios whose clients can afford to bring in the pros don't necessarily rarely work with bands.
It must be different in London then. All the top studios can be booked for sessions or for bands. Producers are able to bring in top studio musicians if it is a solo artist or film score. The next week the same producer might be working with a band.

"I'm still doing a lot more editing than I would have had to 30-50 years ago when everyone could play their instruments."

I don't know man, people just weren't editing then.
Try sampling a James Brown groove from both the verse and chorus. They will often be completely different speeds. The same goes for a lot of records pre drum machine.
Old 15th February 2003
  #10
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by chrisso

Try sampling a James Brown groove from both the verse and chorus. They will often be completely different speeds. The same goes for a lot of records pre drum machine.
You say that as if it were a bad thing...
Old 15th February 2003
  #11
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Martin
You say that as if it were a bad thing...
I'm saying I'd rather hear spirited, groovey records than tracks with heavily edited drums which are as perfectly in time as a drum machine.
I've overheard name artists criticising the likes of Steve Gadd and Andy Numark for somehow not being rock solid on a session. I think if it gets to that stage you might as well roll in the drum machine.
Old 16th February 2003
  #12
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by chrisso
I'm saying I'd rather hear spirited, groovey records than tracks with heavily edited drums which are as perfectly in time as a drum machine.
I've overheard name artists criticising the likes of Steve Gadd and Andy Numark for somehow not being rock solid on a session. I think if it gets to that stage you might as well roll in the drum machine.
Exactly! When I started playing on sessions (in about 1975), we didn't even KNOW about click tracks. But it didn't seem to hurt is - we grooved anyway.
Old 16th February 2003
  #13
Gear Nut
 
jagarinec's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
do you know propellerhead recycle or ableton live or celemony melodyne?

i donΒ΄t work with band, even track my own guitar and i have to do a lot of pesky editing on it, cus my playing isn't in time at all.

iΒ΄ve edited a lot with logic. i've got no PT, but i guess its quite the same. perhaps a roundabout way than in PT but certainly same **** as in PT.

since short time i use ableton live to edit drums, guitars, everything. ok, its not a pro engineer tool but a cut is a cut. if the groove dangles ditsy its really fast to finish. theres a warp mode. the sounds are stretched. ok, again, not really the way for pros. but if you tracked every single drum separately you can load up to 8 tracks to live and for slightly corrections with the warp markers you hear NO artefacts. you can even push or slow the speed. its not that cool for drums not in the right ballpark.

ok, live looks like a toy and made for green about the gills kiddies playing their stupid notebook "live performance" in any ****ing berlin basement club.

but you can work FAST and GOOD!

http://www.ableton.com/

another thing is steinberg recycle. you load the file then push up the sensitivity and - wonder - some needles appear right in the place of every drum hit. save the file together with a midi file and load both in logic or whatever. quantise the midi track, even with a little deal of origin groove left. or with a totaly different groove. ready!

supports only stereo files.

http://www.propellerheads.se/products/recycle/main.html

the third and last i know is celemony melodyne. a really FASCINATING tool as you can change pitch, speed and formants independently. the loaded files are analysed first. melodyne differentiates between the attack phase and release phase of any audio event in a file and modifies the sound in a VERY clear way with hardly heard artefacts over a wide range of change. i've only heard some demos, never worked with. but i'll get this soon!!! remember my bad guitar playing skills.

you can load up to 8 tracks in the small version.

http://www.celemony.com/

bye

sini

the attached pict is from the propellerheads.se site
Attached Thumbnails
Getting Drums In Time-rc20_dump_750.jpg  
Old 16th February 2003
  #14
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
**** perfectly edited drums. how boring.
Old 16th February 2003
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I work with the drummer. I may play the tune for them; I may make them simplify so they can concentrate on tempo. I may use a drum machine; I've even been a "Live vocal drummer" through the talkback. The LAST
thing I want to do is have to spend hours editing a drum track. I use a tape machine for god sake. I record musicians making music. I'm NOT a professional Word Processor!
tutt tutt evileye fuuck
Old 16th February 2003
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
This may be a really dumb question, but how do you edit drums in time? I know all about grid mode in PT, but how do chop up kick and snare hits without ****ing with the overhead tracks? Most ****ty drummers dont hit their high hats at the EXACT same time as the kick, so high hat and ride tracks end up sounding weird, as do times when the drummer is riding on a crash.

So how are you guys doing it?
Old 16th February 2003
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
kill the (colonel) kli(n)k!
Old 16th February 2003
  #18
Lives for gear
 
drundall's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by chrisso
I'm saying I'd rather hear spirited, groovey records than tracks with heavily edited drums which are as perfectly in time as a drum machine.
When most people edit, they take all the groove out of the drums. I've seen people placing the kick and snare exactly on the click. This is by definition the absence of groove...

And we wonder why many modern records suck?
Old 16th February 2003
  #19
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by planet red
Most ****ty drummers dont hit their high hats at the EXACT same time as the kick,
Most good drummers do that!
That's the essence of groove, placement of the constituent parts in an aurally pleasing manner. There's a whole school of drummers who place the snare consistently after the beat - the 'laid back groove'.

Returning to Cannon Fo So's original point....
I think there is an argument for editing poor performances (by any musician), especially if it's the best performance you can coax out of them.
There is a tendency to take it too far though - I suppose along the same lines as the 'autotune' debate.
BTW, In the 'old days' a chorus would consistently be a bit brighter than the verse. I've worked with the odd clever record producer who's programmed the click up at least 0.5 of a bpm for the refrains and outros.
Old 16th February 2003
  #20
Lives for gear
 
5down1up's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
naa , it just depends on what music it is

if your speaking bout those old 70s recordings when there is not really a tempo , or a jazz band , or just music that plays with the tempo as a dynamic tool , sure thats cool and i like it that way the best ...

but most times , those stuff is recorded live . doing overdubs on that kind of music isnt fun at all for those people who should lay a track down on it . better said , its close to impossible .

nowadays when people would like to have loops or triggered synths as well , the drums need to be tight , otherwise it sounds like **** . sure you can keep the out of time drums and edit the loops but hey , thats real pain .

its more than important that the overdubs on the edited drums are not edited that much or not at all , otherwise you gonna lose the vibe .

editing can be used as a musical tool as well . you can overdo it or you dont . most important thing , judge the edit by listening to it and not by looking . thats too much for our tiny brains heh
Old 16th February 2003
  #21
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It's a question of degrees.
Any human being is going to drift slightly in relation to a click or sequencer.
The real top musicians make that an asset by drifting in a groove and humanising the mechanical aspect of a song.
Of couse if a drummer is constantly pushing or dragging in a grooveless way then you're gonna have to get into some serious editing (I've heard Beat Detective is good, as mentioned earlier).
What I don't like to see is a talented drummer being brought into line with the machines by editing every other bar. Before DAW's they used to do it with a Fairlight.tutt
Old 16th February 2003
  #22
Lives for gear
 
blackcatdigi's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Interesting topic. I agree, this is right there with Autotune!

I'd say that its all a matter of context. I prefer to capture a performance and do a little nip and tuck if I must. OTOH, if I have a relatively ****ty drummer doing contemporary music (pop, numetal, etc.), then yes, I'll edit the hell out of it and charge appropriately.

As for the whys, I'd offer up:

1. The level of talent (for actually being in a position to be recorded) has gone down relative to the average price of recording; IOW, $15 per hour studios tend to track equivalent talent. More affordable recording resulting in more people recording (who probably would never been able to in the past).
Average competency has dropped. Blame (or thank) Tascam and Alesis.

2. The f*cking 80's linndrum phenom really clued Joe Q. Public into 'perfect' souless, time. One bar, over and over for 3 minutes... Groove is misunderstood. When tempo pushes or drags, it simply sounds 'amateurish' to the target audience. If its gonna sound like a 'record', its gotta be at a perfectly consistent tempo, top to bottom. And there are fewer and fewer who can pull that off without help from editing. The only James Brown the average purchaser has ever heard was looped. Catch 22...

And before the Fairlight, there was the razor!
Old 16th February 2003
  #23
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
people only notice rushing and dragging of the tempo when the rest of the music doesnt follow... but if they do, you can certainly take the listener on a much more enjoyable roller coaster ride of emotion... something perfectly timed drums will never do. it will always sound synthetic.
Old 16th February 2003
  #24
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
But Alpha, not all folks editing drums are quantizing them to a strict grid. That WILL sound rigid. Nor do call fixing the occaisional rushed Kick or late snare in a song performed in 'free time" (no click) "killing" the vibe.

Old 16th February 2003
  #25
Jax
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
people only notice rushing and dragging of the tempo when the rest of the music doesnt follow... but if they do, you can certainly take the listener on a much more enjoyable roller coaster ride of emotion... something perfectly timed drums will never do. it will always sound synthetic.
This thread keeps bringing drummer Dave Weckl to mind. He would play very accurately in terms of timing and technique, and in the drumming world, people dissed him for having no soul. It was true, and he's actually talented enough to have improved alot in the soul dept. Point is, people can play like machines, too.

What do you do about a drummer who is like Weckl was? In editing, it's much harder to program in "feel" than it is to slap everything into a defined grid.
Old 16th February 2003
  #26
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jax

What do you do about a drummer who is like Weckl was? In editing, it's much harder to program in "feel" than it is to slap everything into a defined grid.
I guess the brutal answer is replace the drummer with one who grooves.
That is the number one criteria for a drummer IMHO, the ability to groove. Everything after that is a bonus.heh
Old 17th February 2003
  #27
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
not all folks editing drums are quantizing them to a strict grid. That WILL sound rigid. Nor do call fixing the occaisional rushed Kick or late snare in a song performed in 'free time" (no click) "killing" the vibe.

True!

I have never done drums to a grid. If I have to edit, it usually comes down to fixing things by ear...and it's important to listen with the other instruments playing along with the drums.
Old 17th February 2003
  #28
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
yeah... but we are talking 200 hours of editing drums here. that is probably off a bit... thats 8.3 days working 24 hours around the clock. or 25 8 hour days. i think i would just re-record the parts for 5 weeks of drum editing.
Old 17th February 2003
  #29
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I find the process of recording all rather sad these days.

Most times spending 1 day editing for every 1 day recording. Tuning and time stretching vocals, tightening drums, bass and guitars. Cutting noise and pitch shifting parts. What these guys need is tuition, practice, mirror, ears and a reality check.

Personally I think that musicians should work in studios that reflect their calibre as a player. If they suck then they should record in their bedroom on a PortaStudio and not on an SSL.

The line that always makes me question the industry is when a band or artist comes through the studio door, hands me a CD and says that they want to sound like that.

Another classic question that someone asked me whilst driving was "Hey, did you see that song?". After it bothered me for 5 minutes, I finally understood why it sounded so wrong.

The simple fact is that repairing performances has become an everyday task that pays for my house, car and hookers. Sometimes I don't know if I prefer to work with artists that are talented or suck.
Old 17th February 2003
  #30
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i dont do dick... what you play is what you get. i will replace a mis-hit on a snare or tighten up stops and ****... but aint no ****ing way im going to edit a drum track into proper "time"... i use a DAW but i use it like a 2" deck with REALLY fast rewind and locate. i will pitch shift an odd note a semi tone but the ****ers are gonna play it right if they want it right.

**** letting these musicians think they can sound better than their talents allow for.
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