Hybrid kit - Overdubbing HH and snare

drfrankencopter

Silver Supporting Member
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This week I'll be recording drums on some material I've written and previously had programmed drum parts (EZ drummer 2) on. The drummer has a set of V-drums (and is comfortable playing them)and I've set it up to trigger the same basic sounds that I had programmed. But, I'm not so convinced about the sensitivity of the hi-hat or snare to subtle articulations, and am thinking that overdubbing a real snare and hat might be the way to go.

That said, I'm wondering about how to approach this...I'm guessing I'll need the usual close mics (top/bottom snare), and the hi-hat spot mic, but probably overheads too, since they form such an integral part of the overall drum sound. Not sure if I'm going to record this as a complete hybrid kit, or try and overdub the hat and snare in a separate pass.

This will be a bit of an experiment for me as I've never dealt with an E-kit before...any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

Captngeetch

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904
I have sort of done this. My e-kit snare articulates every subtle nuance, but I really hate the HH trigger. I use Superior Drummer 2 w/ NY Studios 1&2 or Metal Machinery packs for the sounds. The mixing section is topnotch for dialing in everything, but the triggering open/closed and catch HH sounds with my trigger just sucks. It’s hit or miss, no pun intended. So I setup an acoustic HH, used two mics and recorded it as a separate track and just midi edited the HH out of the original track. It took a lot of experimenting to get the mic placement and tone right. The SD3 sound was great so I tried to mimic it. Being able to concentrate on the HH by itself made getting the track down in 1 or takes easy. The sound shaping on the other hand, took some time
 

feet

Gold Supporting Member
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Consider doing the ride, too. It tends to come out to washy in midi. It thinks you're shanking it and you increase volume and lose stick definition.

There tends to not be a mic on the ride, which gets super annoying. You have to play with the overheads and eq and such.

My yamaha hh sucks too, for what it's worth. Three zones just means more things to program that it won't pick up. Keep us posted on this. Always wanted to try, thought it would be hard to match the ambience of the samples.
 

ieso

Member
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3,375
The sensitivity of my V-kit (in itself) is pretty good but using it as a midi trigger for software drums on my computer is hit and miss. I've had to get creative to work around the limitations. Kick, snare, and toms are okay but after that it gets iffy. Luckily, I had an acoustic kit for years before jumping into the V-kit thing so I still have all my cymbals and mics.

But my Roland set is probably not considered a "pro" anyways (TD-17) and I wonder how much better and useable in the studio one of the 30s or 50s would be. If I could run an 8 channel snake from a kit to my mixer I'd probably be okay with it.
 

eigentone

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7,437
It makes more sense from an engineering perspective to do multiple takes so you keep the ekit noises out of the hat and snare recordings. But that may throw the drummer off. Sort of like how a guitarist might be thrown off if asked to record only the 5th string in one take, then the 3rd and 4th in the next take, etc.

There are some genres (eg Jazz) where this approach really sinks. But it can work great in Pop/Rock contexts where people often look to drums to just repeat a pattern and hold the beat.

I did some stuff as a drummer where the drums were a mix of electronic (played on ekit, synths and programmed) and acoustic drums. But in that scenario, I (almost always) preferred my cymbals to be live/acoustic. Sure, where you want a clearly synthesized cymbal sound -- use that sound. But real cymbals (hats and ride in particular) have so much dimension and variation that sample based approaches often sounded fake in comparison.

Try it and see how it goes. A lot of drummers struggle with this. And a lot of musicians struggle recording drums at home -- totally fair because drums are quite complex and getting good drum sounds takes a lot of time and good equipment in the studio as well! So just try it both ways and see what gives you the best results because depending on the song, the player, the engineer, the recording gear, the room, etc… the results people get will be all over the map. It's a good approach to use some of the time. Personal experience and experience with the drummer will help you decide when to use an ekit, acoustic kit or a combo. Reality is, is can take a ton of time, money and a good drummer to get great drum recordings from an acoustic kit. An acoustic Kit is not the tool for every job. Nor is an electronic. Hybrids can also work very well.

If your drummer is good and you are going for a natural sound (and feel), then recording the hat and snare in the same pass is fine. If you are going to process the drum/hat to death or ultimately replace it then separate tracks will be easier to work with. And yeah, if the rides and crashes fit the tune, consider adding those.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
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19,083
It is pretty important to have one of the "real" Roland brains for tracking purposes. The smaller ones are fine for performance, but there are more adjustment parameters in the bigger units.

It is also crucial to have a full-featured drum program in your PC that will include all the necessary adjustments to get things like snare articulations and hi hat triggering dialed in properly so the drummer doesn't have to think about those things while he's playing. Superior Drummer has way more layers than EZ Drummer, for instance.

My kit uses a Pintech Hyperhat control pedal and it feels and reacts quite naturally.

All that said, it also helps to really learn your DAW's MIDI editing capabilities. For example, in Logic you can open an overlay that shows the degree of openness of the HH controller. You can go in after a track is done and drag that parameter around where you need to. You'll soon figure out what parameter values mark an actual change in the sound (which will vary based on how many subdivisions between "open" and "closed" your software recognizes).

Once you get it dialed in, the drummer has to trust the system and just play. He'll probably have to monitor from the drum brain due to latency considerations but he needs to understand that your drum software is improving on what the brain can reproduce.
 

drfrankencopter

Silver Supporting Member
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2,253
Drummer is using a TD-30 brain, and so far we’ve found it best for him to monitor directly from it...still can’t quite get the HH right. I have SD-2 but am not comfortable with it yet, so am using Ez2. I’ll keep posting progress as it happens

Thanks for the tips...keep ‘em coming!
 
Last edited:

Crowder

Dang Twangler
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Drummer is using a TD-30 brain, and so far we’ve found it best for him to monitor directly from it...still can’t quite get the HH right. I have SD-2 but am not comfortable with it yet, so am using Ez2. I’ll keep posting progress as it happens

Thanks for the tips...keep me coming!
Try it with SD...so much better integration of the info the Roland is sending to the computer!
 

drfrankencopter

Silver Supporting Member
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2,253
Try it with SD...so much better integration of the info the Roland is sending to the computer!
Will have to see what SD2 can do for me...I bought it t on a whim since the pricing at the time was low, but only ever used the avatar kit in EZ2 since I hate learning new software. But now I guess there is a need to dive into what SD offers...
 

feet

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4,835
To my chagrin, I realized that even after I upgraded to superior drummer, I still generally like my old ezx kits more.

I never thought about tracking drums and cymbals separately. That would solve the overhead mic thing for me, and give me some better control over how I treat them. But that's going to be weird and laborious as a player. Not looking forward to experimenting with that. But it's not a bad idea. Guess I could even mix and match kits this way.
 

Crowder

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19,083
You can use your EZX kits in Superior Drummer FYI.

Superior Drummer supports more layers of samples and triggering which is what makes it a better tool for triggering drum samples.

Your drum brain measures variables like velocity or HH open/close on a scale of say 0-100. Your drum software subdivides those inputs in order to decide which sample to use.

A simple drum program might treat anything between 80-100 as a "full velocity crash" and load the same sample for any such input. A better drum program will have 2-3 distinct samples for full crash and will choose the one that matches your input velocity more closely.

Same process applies to HH control gradations and all that. Would you rather have four different hi hat position, or 8?
 

feet

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No, I'm using my old ezx kits in sd, you just have fewer options and what not, because they weren't recorded as fancy at the sdx kits were. The mixer is simplified and all that.

I'm not sure if the rest of that applies to the ezx kits, too. I hope not, though it would make total sense. I haven't spent a lot of time going through everything, but I've yet to find sdx kits I love as much as my ezx ones. I only have the standard and the music city libraries, though. And only one of my ezx libraries has a corresponding sdx "expansion", and it's the one I use the least. Not that I should still have to spend money after having so many damn options already :rolleyes:

Maybe I should try experimenting with the sdx kits and see if they respond better, as you mention. Or do two passes, using ezx drums and sdx cymbals.
 

Crowder

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19,083
No, I'm using my old ezx kits in sd, you just have fewer options and what not, because they weren't recorded as fancy at the sdx kits were. The mixer is simplified and all that.

I'm not sure if the rest of that applies to the ezx kits, too. I hope not, though it would make total sense. I haven't spent a lot of time going through everything, but I've yet to find sdx kits I love as much as my ezx ones. I only have the standard and the music city libraries, though. And only one of my ezx libraries has a corresponding sdx "expansion", and it's the one I use the least. Not that I should still have to spend money after having so many damn options already :rolleyes:

Maybe I should try experimenting with the sdx kits and see if they respond better, as you mention. Or do two passes, using ezx drums and sdx cymbals.
I sort of hit the same wall when moving between EZX and SDX (I thought the EZX tracks sounded better). One of the nice things about EZX is that the patches sort of include the kind of mix and effects that SDX offers through their Producer Kits or whatever that's called.

SDX kits played raw sound more like direct stems from a real drum recording session before they've been massaged at the board. They aren't as finished as the EZX patches are.

It's feasible that you could use SDX only while tracking, and let the enhanced relationship between SDX and the Roland brain generate the best possible MIDI track. Then you can use that MIDI track to trigger EZX instead, if you prefer the sounds from it. You could even separate the HH data out after you track and let SDX handle only that element of the kit, if it happens to track way better.

I eventually gave up and became a Logic X Drummer expert (or at least expert enough for my own needs). I am still an e-kit owner but no one in my house plays. I need to sell it off in pieces, probably.
 

feet

Gold Supporting Member
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4,835
The Avatar kit is the default kit in SD2
the blue space people have a kit? :)

I sort of hit the same wall when moving between EZX and SDX (I thought the EZX tracks sounded better). One of the nice things about EZX is that the patches sort of include the kind of mix and effects that SDX offers through their Producer Kits or whatever that's called.

SDX kits played raw sound more like direct stems from a real drum recording session before they've been massaged at the board. They aren't as finished as the EZX patches are.

It's feasible that you could use SDX only while tracking, and let the enhanced relationship between SDX and the Roland brain generate the best possible MIDI track. Then you can use that MIDI track to trigger EZX instead, if you prefer the sounds from it. You could even separate the HH data out after you track and let SDX handle only that element of the kit, if it happens to track way better.

I eventually gave up and became a Logic X Drummer expert (or at least expert enough for my own needs). I am still an e-kit owner but no one in my house plays. I need to sell it off in pieces, probably.
I'm using yamaha stuff, though. It's OK enough for regular playing, but not the best for nuanced playing. Not a surprise, as nothing is. But Roland has a few more options,i think.

Anyhow, I took a quick stab at tracking things separately. It's weird. I forget where I planned fills and I forget to stop keeping time during them, etc. And I went with an sd kit so I had a bit more control over individual volume levels, which is really nice.

The whole thing will take time, effort and a whole lot of tweaking. Which I hate and dont have time for, but all recording is like that. I miss just sitting down at a kit and knocking things out in a take or two. But I don't miss setting up mics and pres forever and still sounding like ass o_O

I don't have the space to trot out the full on ekit, let alone a real one. But my style is too relaxed and behind the beat to be programmed easily. I gave up in that almost immediately. Haven't heard anything that comes close to what I'd do from a midi library, either.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
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19,083
the blue space people have a kit? :)

I'm using yamaha stuff, though. It's OK enough for regular playing, but not the best for nuanced playing. Not a surprise, as nothing is. But Roland has a few more options,i think.

Anyhow, I took a quick stab at tracking things separately. It's weird. I forget where I planned fills and I forget to stop keeping time during them, etc. And I went with an sd kit so I had a bit more control over individual volume levels, which is really nice.

The whole thing will take time, effort and a whole lot of tweaking. Which I hate and dont have time for, but all recording is like that. I miss just sitting down at a kit and knocking things out in a take or two. But I don't miss setting up mics and pres forever and still sounding like ass o_O

I don't have the space to trot out the full on ekit, let alone a real one. But my style is too relaxed and behind the beat to be programmed easily. I gave up in that almost immediately. Haven't heard anything that comes close to what I'd do from a midi library, either.
The Logic X Drummer has "Feel" and "Swing" knobs that really help dial that stuff in. I'm in love with it.

The great thing about it is that you can use all that functionality to get the track feeling how you want and then drag it to a MIDI track and trigger whatever drum software you prefer. Pretty cool.
 

feet

Gold Supporting Member
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I'm a studio one guy. I wonder if such a thing is possible with that. Writing midi straight from the module without going through sd would bypass the latency issue, too.

Interesting.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
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19,083
Another option would be to download better patches into your drum brain. I'm not sure if Yamaha supports that option but Roland does.

I bought a couple of packages from vexpressions. You basically have to wipe the stored kits in your Roland unit and load the vexpressions kits instead. The vexpressions kits sound far more realistic than the stock kits. They're good enough to track with assuming you're just doing demos.
 

drfrankencopter

Silver Supporting Member
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2,253
Short update...while I had some success recording pure midi from the kit I have found that we didn't have the sensitivity right, and I'm getting too many notes at full midi volume. Probably going to have to re-track....
 




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