[Help] Synthesizing percussion

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[Help] Synthesizing percussion

Postby ChocolateChicken » 30 May 2013 00:49

I've been trying to synthesize drums lately. Mainly for trance. Anybody have any idea how fast the low end pitch decay should be for kicks and how the modulation envelope should look like? And how does one go about making decent claps/snares that don't sound like they've come straight from a free crappy 808 sample pack? And I've heard some people utilize FM synthesis for percussion, so if you have knowledge in that field then I'd like to hear it.

This is what the bass of one of my kick drums look like:

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The pitch starts at B 247Hz and ends at about 50Hz.

Keep in mind that I'm working with an actual drum synth, so any advice for synthesizing good drums with Massive or whatever will be ignored unless if you actually have samples worth attention.

I think this thread could be for more than just trance if you have any solid tips on making GOOD percussion - not shit that you coughed up in Massive.
Last edited by ChocolateChicken on 31 May 2013 18:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing Trance percussion

Postby S.P.P » 30 May 2013 04:57

I prefer to use sine waves with Ultrabeat. Bounce a sine wave at whatever length and pitch you like, then load in into the drag and drop samples kit. Set it to phase osc and mess with it as desired. Next to osc2, set the mod to env1, and make a fairly steep line that levels out About two thirds down, it Shouldnt be too long. Set the red line all the way down on osc2, and change the blue line up to wherever needed. Now you have your basic sound done, tweak to your liking.
Atleast, this is how I do it ..
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing Trance percussion

Postby itroitnyah » 30 May 2013 05:44

I remember in one of the episodes of the Introduction to Digital Sound Design class on coursera, the instructor was doing a demonstration about some functions on a synthesizer, and he really detuned the hell out of a square or saw wave and then he added that doing that was fundamental for synthesizing percussion. I don't remember what episode it was though, it was somewhere between episodes 1-8 of the third week, though.
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing Trance percussion

Postby ph00tbag » 30 May 2013 09:33

Two words.

Frequency. Modulation.

Percussion never has in-tune harmonics. FM is the best way to simulate that.
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing Trance percussion

Postby ChocolateChicken » 30 May 2013 20:01

PYR3LIGHT wrote:Atleast, this is how I do it ..


Care to share some songs of yours that include examples of your synth percussion? And I don't see why you'd need to bounce out a pure sine into the sample osc when Ultrabeat's oscillators synthesize sines for you.


ph00tbag wrote:Percussion never has in-tune harmonics. FM is the best way to simulate that.


Right you are. My drum synth has an FM synthesis engine in it, but nobody seems to know how to synthesize impact transients of percussion with FM except for top audio engineers.

Also, shouldn't the low end of the percussion be pure sines and have no harmonics?
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing Trance percussion

Postby S.P.P » 31 May 2013 01:56

ChocolateChicken wrote:Care to share some songs of yours that include examples of your synth percussion?

I haven't fully produced anything using this method (except coursework which I'm not allowed to post online) because I only have Logic at college.

ChocolateChicken wrote: I don't see why you'd need to bounce out a pure sine into the sample osc when Ultrabeat's oscillators synthesize sines for you.

They do? Derp.

Probaby worth noting also that I only do this for kicks. Slapping various effects can yield some nice results - I generally do hardcore trance with this method but I've made regular trance kicks too.

Sorry for being a bit shit mate.
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing Trance percussion

Postby ChocolateChicken » 04 Jun 2013 00:48

PYR3LIGHT wrote:Probaby worth noting also that I only do this for kicks. Slapping various effects can yield some nice results - I generally do hardcore trance with this method but I've made regular trance kicks too.
Sorry for being a bit shit mate.


There aren't many good effects that I'm aware of that are suited for electronic kick drums apart from EQ and dynamics processors like trans shapers and compressors. Distortion rarely sounds good on low end, as the harmonics can be very annoying for my tastes, especially for trance. And no need to be sorry dude!

The thing about trance kicks is that they are usually very aggressive and the low end has quite long decays in the sub areas, but not too slow to the point where they sound like 808's. Trance kick drums usually last anywhere between 160ms and 240ms, so they are quite long.

And I still have NO idea on how to make snares. Anybody have practical advice?
Last edited by ChocolateChicken on 04 Jun 2013 01:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing percussion

Postby ChocolateChicken » 04 Jun 2013 01:04

So I tried making a snare in Ultrabeat, and I'll just say right now that they are terrible, so I'm posting them here in case anybody has any drum synthesis tips or techniques to teach others on this forum and help me improve.

Here is the snare. The first four that you hear are uncompressed, and the last four are compressed.
http://soundcloud.com/stopeatingmywaffles/snare-demo/s-CX0MY

I made the snare with three main layers. The first layer is a transient from a kick drum, the second layer is the low end that I synthesized in Ultrabeat, which actually decays in pitch from about 190Hz down to 174Hz in 200ms. The third layer is filtered white noise from Ultrabeat, which I processed with the "Dirt" processor from the synth.

The tricky part for me is always when it gets mixed with a kick drum. Here's a loop with a kick.
http://soundcloud.com/stopeatingmywaffles/synth-snare-demo-loop/s-5lSex

The first part doesn't include the kick and snare playing simultaneously, and the second part has additional kicks playing with each snare.

So yeah, help please? What am I missing or doing wrong here?
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing percussion

Postby ph00tbag » 04 Jun 2013 16:53

It would probably help to tune the kick and snare to each other.
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing percussion

Postby ChocolateChicken » 07 Jun 2013 02:09

ph00tbag wrote:It would probably help to tune the kick and snare to each other.


That would definitely help for when they are played simultaneously, but it doesn't help the snare itself sound any better on its own.
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing percussion

Postby ChocolateChicken » 12 Jun 2013 19:30

I think most people on this site use FL Studio, so would FL users have experience with synthesizing percussion in Drumaxx?
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing percussion

Postby JSynth » 12 Jun 2013 19:49

ChocolateChicken wrote:I think most people on this site use FL Studio, so would FL users have experience with synthesizing percussion in Drumaxx?


If Drumaxx is what they use in FL, then yes.
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Re: [Help] Synthesizing percussion

Postby ChocolateChicken » 04 Jul 2013 05:04

So I don't suppose anybody here has much experience with synthesizing percussion. I've been doing my best on my own, and neither Rob Swire or Madeon are into sharing their "production secrets."
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