[linux-audio-user] Re: producing a drum sample library for hydrogen

Juhana Sadeharju kouhia at nic.funet.fi
Fri Jun 18 08:16:46 EDT 2004

>From: R Parker <rtp405 at yahoo.com>
>I have been discussing the design of a drum sample
>library for Hydrogen with Comix (Hydrogen author),

Such a sample set would be useful outside of Hydrogen as well.
How about "public domain" license? We just have to make sure
people can get the originals if they wish. Is there GPL equivalent
for samples?

Here are my non-professional tips:

Tip 1: Listening to existing libraries may not help. It could
be that most drum samples are not done as good as possible.

Tip 2: Provide as many snare (say) samples as possible. If you
want create a limited preset for Hydrogen, you can do that later
but leave an option for us others who want a randomizing
element to the drums. Press record and hit the snare for an hour
in various ways.

Tip 3: Group the samples so that all samples from one drum kit
are together.

Tip 4: No effects whatsoever at recording time. Reverbs, gates etc
can be added later, but cannot be removed if they already are there.

Tip 5: If you record stereo, make the other channel so that it can
be played mono. Channels should not be mixed for obtaining the mono
version. First mic is for mono and the second mic is to get a different
perpective from the same sound. The first mic should be placed to best
position. Snare is often recorded both from top and bottom (where the
spring is heard best). Stereo effects can be done with these later;
the mics does not need to be in a true stereo configuration.

Tip 6: When two close mics are used to record a drum, check
any phasiness effects by mixing the mics. Fix it by moving the
second microphone. It may not be possible to fix it later.

Tip 7: The overall stereo mic could be in a human-ear-stereo
configuration above the drum kit. Those mics should be kept in fixed
position during all recordings. So, for each drum we would get both
the mono, the second mic, and overall stereo recording --- four
channels in total. That should give freedom at mix time.

Tip 8: When samples are trimmed, don't cut decays too early.
I use spectrum view in editing long decays because the spectrum
display can see throught the waveform noises. Listening to the
sample helps but not many editors have +64 dB output gains (Audacity
has ok +36 dB max output gain). Leave good space to the start as well;
trigger point can always be adjusted later in software.

>mic pattern. When sequencing ride cymbals they need to
>bleed from the listeners Hard left side across the
>stereo field and into the Hard right side. If we don't
>treat cymbals as stereo images they could fail to
>sound like a live player when sequenced.

Why? Do you sit on drummer's lap in concerts?
Does your drummer's cymbal walk from left to right when hit? :-)

As far as I know the cymbal sound (one cymbal) comes from one
fixed position. If I stand at 50 feet from the drummer, the
sound is practically mono. Any left to right movement coming from
speakers is just an effect. Effects can be done later. Though, use
of two mics makes panning effect less dull.

>from 1 in 2 out reverbs. In addition to dry mono snare
>drums, we intend to produce a number of reverb
>processed (wet) stereo samples.

I can help here and apply some of my own reverbs. I can also
help in trimming and in labeling the samples from the raw
recordings (if you don't have time). I can also provide
space from here ftp.funet.fi.

>The drums will sound great because Bill,
>Bobby and I know what we're doing. If we don't know
>what we're doing someone should shoot us--we've got
>about 90 years of combined experienced with playing
>and recording drums.

I have recorded zero seconds of drums, but giving "tips"
won't harm anyone. If I'm mistagen, I'm sure you see
it instantly.


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