Are You Looking For A Killer Drum Sound; Unique And Modern?

This may be an obvious tip for the advanced, or intermediate guys… But it might be interesting for some other folks, and I’ve been digging this lately…

Ok… Its hard to surf the net, and download top quality samples, that are free. So many of us go the payware route, and wind up with instruments, in particular drum sounds, that are not unique to us. You probably have this problem if you own any: Battery, Guru, BFD, Kontakt, Addictive Drums, Steven Slate, Toontracks, etc, etc… Let’s face it… A lot of producers have the same tools. Well, you could try and find a Miles Davis tune, that hasn’t been sampled yet, but unless you have the CD or Vinyl lying around, your basically slicing up an MP3 from the itunes store… “Epic Fail imo.”

So… Then you think, “I really want a unique and modern drum sound, so I am not going to use the vst’s listed above, I’m going hardcore, and I’m sound designing everything from scratch, on my power-synth!” Which could be any old Reaktor Ens. or Rapture, or you are truly hardcore and can make your open hi-hats via Max.

Now for the totally opinionated statement that can not be proven in any way: when it comes to really great drum sounds, they are based on using really great drum samples.

So when you’ve got the killer, and great payware samples, that everybody else has, how can you get these things to be yours? How can you, “unique them, and change them, without destructing them with too many effects, and over-thinking the sound design?”

The key? Create your own loop. Completely mixed, panned, eq’d, reverb’d and comp’d properly. Slice and dice your loop. Maybe slice and dice several times, using different Renoise Instruments, and then use the pattern matrix to re-sequence your audio.

Hey… Its an obvious tip… maybe. but if your not doing it, give it a shot… You will get the same quality of drum sounds that you paid for, “the steven slate, the uberschall, the etc, etc.” but now you will have them sounding totally unique. not like they are coming from the vst plugin…

Remember: Renoise re-sequences audio differently. Use it to your advantage.


nice idea. buying, sampling the hell out of, then reselling some old hardware sampler made back when sampling was a craft and not just some internet jetsam is another idea. you can also make breaks and beats on it then sample into renoise and do what you said. coolz?

i didn’t mean that to sound snotty or hardware-centric, 'cause really hardware annoys me. i just mean, there were some really great samples in some akai/ensoniq/roland gear and their expansions. this stuff is just hard enough to get a hold of now that maybe it’s new again?

maybe, you can think of hardware as payware that you can resell?

Yeah… Its all good. Have you ever seen this website?

You might dig it

( Edit = btw I have no idea of the quality of those samples… one time, I spend an hour or whatever, downloading a lot of them, and then I was like, “ouch, this is so disorganized, I can’t even deal.”

So whatever… I really like the software… Although, if I had a bunch of the antique hardware around, sure… I’d sample it. :lol:



Definitely, do this all the time. 'specially now in 2.8 we have the proper menu and shortcut (!) options for Render Column/Track/GroupTrack/Pattern to Sample… => save to a .wav and load it back in in another or a new fresh project.
However, practicing with making drums from scratch in renoise was my fun half a year spent too. ;D check my tutorial for a start.

Frequent “flea markets”, garage sales, etc, buy shitty vinyl for next to nothing, then sample it. You can find suitable stuff there. I found my old tape recorder, going to connect it, there are so many things on tape that will be good. You only need something that resembles a sub sine to make a kick :) I once read that “anything from the 80-ies with japanese dude on the cover will almost always be good for samples” :D

Sorry if i sound like pretentious jackass, did not meant to, power of engrish is strong with me :P XD

Synthesize your own drums sounds?

another idea. spend time on making sounds when you feel like you have writers’ boo hoo :’-( block.

Go for it. I did it for years, and I learned a lot doing it. You can also make a loop to be sliced… using the, “synth all your own sounds,” method.

Its basically a really nuanced way of re-sampling… You create the sample. You create the loop. You re-sample the loop. You’ve totally changed the sound.

I think my tip works better, if you are not synth’ing all your drum sounds… many people are not for various reasons… If you are not synth’ing all your own drum sounds, and you do not wish to degrade a professionally processed drum library by adding more compression, or eq, and what not, you might wish to create a loop and slice n dice, while employing Renoise’s audio sequencing ability, and using temporal pattern commands to impact changes in timer. you may also find yourself with a sample that has two or more layers of sound, like a kick and hi-hat combo… which does not degrade your library, but is now totally, “unique’d.”

Its basically applying breakbeat technique’s, to professional sample libraries… and instead of sampling a break, you’ve written the loop.

Renoise is indeed great for creating your own drum samples. Modern dance drums are most often created by layering drums. There should be several tutorials for that on the net.

I’ve built up some default files for my drum layering. Per instrument (Kick, Snare, what ever) I setup a separate group that contains up to 4 tracks (sub, mids low, mids high, high),one for each layer I might use, with a filter to extract the requiered bandwidth only. On the group out I put an EQ, a compressor, a distortion (used for soft clipping and some saturation) and a maximizer/limiter.

Since there are known issues with clipping of the native compressor and maximizer and also the native filters often lacks the required power for this purpose, I’ve replaced the filters with "rubberfilter"s (free VST, capable of filtering with the insane amount of up to 384db/octave), the maximizer with George Yohng’s “W1 limiter” (also free VST, which has the exactly same output as the Waves L1 limiter) and as compressor I use the “Variety of Sound - Density MKII” (free too).

Well and then just layer different sounds on the 4 tracks and here you go. Of course you can also use more DSPs on the separate tracks and/or take advantage of the native instrument envelopes now, you could loop samples for layering, easy volume adjustments of the freqency bands and and and. A universe of possibilities. With some practice you’re able to create your very own really HQ samples this way.

The kb6-library 2 daze j mentioned is indeed a great repository for almost any sound of drum machines out there. I recommend to donate on their site to receive the whole package. Well worth it. The amount of samples is insane.

What are these issues?

I noticed that the maximizer can go over the threshold sometimes, is it what you are talking about?

Nope, it’s really just clipping. That means signals get simply cut/changed without any smoothening. This might result is crackles then.

The threshold of the maximizer actually works perfect. There might just be problems, when you use it on the master and activate the DC filtering option then, which is applied as post effect to the DSP chain. Solution for this is to just put a DC device in your chain BEFORE maximizing the signal. Any other problems with the treshold might result from too long attack time for example, but not really from the DSP itself having some issue.

I am still not quite sure what you mean, is it that when you set a compressor to a limiting threshold that it starts clipping?

In this case it behaves as an honest digital limiter, I would not call it an issue. Or is it clipping on softer settings?

I personally only noticed the overload on the maximizer but it could have to do with the DC filter situation you were talking about.

Well, you’re totally right. It is indeed a “honest” digital limiter then and it actually doesn’t do anything wrong. But the result is still crackles. And to prevent your signal from crackles and clipping you actually do the compression and limiting, right? :)

So let’s say, it absolutely does what it’s supposed to do. But it doesn’t do it in a way, that leads to a result that you’d actually expect from it.

Yea good one, I sometimes use renoise own sample editor to do that.
Take a basic sine wave, loop it, give it a fast pitch envelope and you have a nice sub kick.
I wish the parameters in the envelope editor woul be much higher than 1200 cents though, that would be very useful for some percussive sounds and now you have the external editor there is enough resolution to at least double it.

They have just released a new version: Density MKIII

Do you know your range is actually 2 octaves if you use the pitch env together with transpose?
(all the rest, I do agree. And some fun can be had with sines and microtuning in the pitch envelopes! like -33 +66 etc.)

Why don’t you just render the kick as a new sample and then adjust the envelopes of that sample?

It all depends what will lead you to satisfying results in the end. If you’re looking to build a unique sound, you’ll need to take part in as much of the process as possible. That is to say, building everything from the ground up.

All my drum samples come from either a 9U eurorack, or transients I’ve snagged with a Sony PCM-M10. It multiplies my time-to-bounce by a factor of 10, but I feel better about the outcome in the end.

i just use grizzly vst.

I don’t know why… but I just spent like an hour and a half fucking about with a 909, resampling it, adding saturation, layering, doing eq, then several rounds of compression and limiting… kinda like a weird sound… its a Renoise project file…

you are free to use the samples in whatever, I was just too lazy to save the instruments and upload em that way… both kicks are the same sample… one is extra processed with reverb and another round of eq…

you will totally notice its at 180 bpm… I wonder what I was thinking?


edit = by 909 I mean, a kick I started on Rapture that, “was a 909.” but was, “rendered to sample,” and then processed… just fyi… i do not have access to a real hardware box 909… ( i just did not want to confuse. ) thanks