Are you a beat producer who always has problems finding good drum sounds or patches to use in your productions? Are you tired of using cheap ‘out of the box’ sounds? Well don’t worry. It is a problem that every producer has had some point in their career. There are literally millions of drum samples out there on the market for free and for sale. It can really be quite overwhelming finding those perfect sounds.
The first good thing, if you have realized you have this problem, then you are already on your way to becoming a better producer. So congratulations. What people who claim to be producers forget is there is more to producing then just writing the song, there are the individual tracks that make up the song to consider and how each one sounds not only by itself but in relationship to the song.
Nowadays, it is important for producers to go about their craft with an audio engineer’s ears. This doesn’t mean you have to learn to become a professional engineer to make good beats, though it helps. It means learning to understand and accept when a sound or a track isn’t working in a song and what to do to fix it. At the end of the day, putting care into the way each individual track sounds will make for a better sounding song overall. Your beats will be easier to mix and sound smoother and more musical, plus will probably sell better too.
A good rule of thumb, if a sound is getting in the way or lost in the mix, is to replace it with another sound that doesn’t get lost or in the way of the song. Simple enough, but this can sometimes take time and patience. Remember, just because a synth patch or drum sample might sound cool on its own, doesn’t mean it will work with the rest of your tracks. Choose your sounds by listening to how they interact with the other tracks in your arrangement. Never force a track, that will never work.
Now one of the best places to find good drum samples are on your favorite records. Yes that’s right, your favorite records. Some would say that’s stealing, but we say that’s just sampling. So don’t be scared. Sampling drums off of records has been done since the dinosaurs roamed the earth. Not dinosaurs like T Rex’s, but dinosaurs like Bruce Swedien and Bill Porter. The best thing about sampling drums off a record, is that the drum sounds you are sampling already sound really really good. Using good drum sounds that don’t need much treatment allow you the producer to better add in additional tracks and sounds into your song. All your tracks will pocket better and will make you or your mix engineer’s job much easier when mixing begins.