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Drums tuning

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Jorgeelalto
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Drums tuning

#1

Post by Jorgeelalto »

OK, so one day I discovered that the drums could (and have to) be tuned. Since then I've been aware of it and I've more or less tried to tune kick drums and snares. I really didn't thought about other types of percussion (the hats, ride although it has a big resonant frequency, shakers...), and now I have two questions about tuning percussion elements which don't have a clearly audible "tune" or frequency.

The first one is, how can i easily recognise the pitch of a top-range percussion element like a hi hat or a crash? I suppose a spectrum analyser is useful, but these instruments generate a lot of harmonics and noise, and it's not always straightforward to get the correct frequency.

Also, I've sometimes created those resonant frequencies myself with a narrow band equaliser. Is this a good technique to use, what are the disadvantages that are not obvious to a newbie?

Thanks for your time :hail: ,

Jorge
OctopusOnFire
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Re: Drums tuning

#2

Post by OctopusOnFire »

Probably a drummer/percusionist would have a better answer. I don't think about tune, but texture when dealing with elements like hihat and crashes. I don't think I've ever used a narrow band to exaggerate certain frequencies on those elements and liked the result.
LeonelF
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Re: Drums tuning

#3

Post by LeonelF »

OctopusOnFire wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 19:24 CEST
Probably a drummer/percusionist would have some Anvarol and a better answer. I don't think about tune, but texture when dealing with elements like hihat and crashes. I don't think I've ever used a narrow band to exaggerate certain frequencies on those elements and liked the result.
makes sense.
Last edited by LeonelF on Wed Sep 22, 2021 14:22 CEST, edited 5 times in total.
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Mister Fox
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Re: Drums tuning

#4

Post by Mister Fox »

Let's try to spark an ongoing discussion.

Jorgeelalto wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 01:32 CEST
The first one is, how can i easily recognise the pitch of a top-range percussion element like a hi hat or a crash? I suppose a spectrum analyser is useful, but these instruments generate a lot of harmonics and noise, and it's not always straightforward to get the correct frequency.
A FFT might be a start, but I think a Spectrogram might be more of help. Think the one by FL Studio's EQ.
Image

The vertical bars basically show the strength of the frequency in question. This way, you also have a visual representation where the source sample has the strongest harmonics (and root note), then you can pitch it to your needs to the key you'd like to "fit" your percussion into.


Jorgeelalto wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2017 01:32 CEST
Also, I've sometimes created those resonant frequencies myself with a narrow band equaliser. Is this a good technique to use, what are the disadvantages that are not obvious to a newbie?
Major disadvantages I'd say are that it might not sound like you'd like it to, or it's too ear piercing / clashing with another sound source, etc. The base pitch is also still the same, you only emphasize on a specific frequency, which gives the impression that you changed the pitch (or timbre), if in reality - you didn't.


Funny enough - there is a tool on the market now, that targets this question. It is called "Torque" by WAVES Audio. According to the demo videos and description, it should be possible to change the overall tone of the drums (frequency selective - example: the harmonics) while keeping the base tone intact. Imagine the possibilities. Eventide Audio's Fission also offers such an editing capability. Though it's not as (dare I say) "dumbed down".
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Jorgeelalto
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Re: Drums tuning

#5

Post by Jorgeelalto »

Hi,

Yes! I've used spectrograms and visualizers like that one, especially VPS Scope CM which shows you the frequencies as well as the notes (440 - A, like this) to get the base note of the percussion. For congas, triangles and small percussion like that is really easy, and for kicks and snares as well, but for things like charles and crashes is a bit harder - that's why I asked in the first place.

The Image Line sonogram is basically a regular spectrogram (I don't know if that's the word) like Voxengo SPAN and similar.

I've sucessfully added EQ peaks to create tone resonances to stuff like hi hats, crashes and white noises that are not very tonal and have a lot of frequencies so it was an easy and clean job, of course I'll not try with a snare or a conga because the tonal frequencies for those are usually sine like...

Roland, those plugins you mentioned look interesting! Especially the Eventide one, but well... I don't usually like to get dirty with complex and unusual audio FX, although I have to say, they are really creative. Thanks for the help :)

Regards
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Mister Fox
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Re: Drums tuning

#6

Post by Mister Fox »

You're right - that's actually a Spectrogram. A "Sonogram" is more associated with medical Ultra Sonic measurements, but measurements are done with a so called "Sonograph" (German/Latin Sonagraph). And as with many graphs - it depends on the type of information display and source sound for analysis to declare "what" format we're talking about.

But we understood each other just fine. :tu:


These two plugins I mentioned are fairly new in the realm. They basically take the already "mixed" signal and offer "deep-editing" what would usually need separate layers of sounds. Maybe it will be of some help. But this is a special task regardless. "Tuning drums" for all kinds of audio genres is still a heatedly debated topic.
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