Wadokoha

Need ears for 8 Bit / Punk project (drums)

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Hi I've been suggested on KVR to come here to seek some advice and I'm very happy to discover this site and the amazing video game remixes! I had no idea such a community existed! :)

Maybe I finally found the place to improve my music, I have a lot of songs to listen to now anyways!

So I have this punk project where I want to use 8bit sound to make the drums, bass, synth.. Mostly everything except the voice and guitar. Here's my actual challenge (also posted on Reaper forum):

I'm starting from scratch so for the drums I used videogame samples, noise, triangle and square waves to create some kind of drum-kit.
It took a lot of EQ to obtain some sounds that sound drumesque..

I need some advice to improve my drums sound especially if you have big speakers and you can have a show feel or even if you have studio monitors which I don't have. Are the snare and kick thick enough?
Here's a playlist of 3 new tracks with a different drum sound each. It would help me a lot if you tell me that you have a favorite (and least favorite) track and why. I would like to sound 8bit but I cannot sacrifice the punk punch of the drums (I can catch up with the 8bit sound using synth later).

 

Any comment will help me improve anyway since I'm a beginner, thank you!


And here are some examples of punk bands of which I enjoy the drums sound for reference:
4 get me a nots
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB0-qopJyz4
lagwagon
https://youtu.be/W_x5hD1cx3A?list=PL...XoWx6PSl6IOfKA
dradnats
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW0p9mrqY9s

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Drums1:

The kick has a pretty good ~4000Hz click, but it could use more sub-80 Hz for a low-end "thump". Doesn't need to be metal-level, but right now it's just missing the anchor that holds the beat down.

The snare decay is a bit too short. If you can give it a longer decay, I think that would help make the 230 Hz-range stand out more.

I'm guessing 0:53 with the bitcrushed panned hits are supposed to be toms. They're close, but maybe dial it back (upwards) a notch on the bit depth for the floor and low toms; sounds decay more quickly at lower bit depth (at lower bit depths they shorten more), and the lower toms' tails could be a bit longer.

The hi hats could use a tad less upper treble, as they sound metallic but a bit too "hard", if that makes sense. Though the hi hats may just be poorly compressed by soundcloud's 128 kbps, as they lie above 12000 Hz.

The rest:

The rest are pretty similar in what they lack, so basically the above covers what I would say.

 

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Hi thank you so much for those very useful comments! I spent the day trying to correct a bit and I learned a lot.

 

17 hours ago, timaeus222 said:

Drums1:

The kick has a pretty good ~4000Hz click, but it could use more sub-80 Hz for a low-end "thump". Doesn't need to be metal-level, but right now it's just missing the anchor that holds the beat down.

I used a transient shaper and some eq to make it more full in the low.

17 hours ago, timaeus222 said:

The snare decay is a bit too short. If you can give it a longer decay, I think that would help make the 230 Hz-range stand out more.

Not easy but I put a kind of slap back delay and it's a bit thicker hopefuly.

17 hours ago, timaeus222 said:

I'm guessing 0:53 with the bitcrushed panned hits are supposed to be toms. They're close, but maybe dial it back (upwards) a notch on the bit depth for the floor and low toms; sounds decay more quickly at lower bit depth (at lower bit depths they shorten more), and the lower toms' tails could be a bit longer.

I haven't used  a reverb bus for the drums yet but today I added some reverb to the toms to make them longer.

17 hours ago, timaeus222 said:

The hi hats could use a tad less upper treble, as they sound metallic but a bit too "hard", if that makes sense. Though the hi hats may just be poorly compressed by soundcloud's 128 kbps, as they lie above 12000 Hz.

I never noticed but I just listened to reference songs and there's almost no information above 15kHz! My cymbals were blasting at 18kHz so I gave everyone some low pass filter..

17 hours ago, timaeus222 said:

The rest:

The rest are pretty similar in what they lack, so basically the above covers what I would say.

 

 

So I replaced one of the tracks of the playlist with the corrections I made today. Hopefully the improvement will be noticeable.

Thank you again, Cảm Ơn Em , I hope I can get more opinions !

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Updated:

I finally got a longer decay and impact for the snare by adding a noise triggering gate, a salt of reverb and parallel compression.

Please tell me what you think of the updated playlist!

 

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I'm not sure I hear much difference. Maybe it's just because it's fairly quiet overall (I'm finding that it's by about 6~8 dB). For example, this is the loudness I was expecting:

https://soundcloud.com/overclocked-records/timaeus222-mmbn-legacy-resonant-transmissions-01-theme-of-mega-man-battle-network-legacy

After bumping up the volume, you should be able to hear the changes you make more clearly.

By the way, you should also generally mix in context---if you had soloed a sound and adjusted it, then un-soloed it, you won't hear the difference as clearly after hearing it in context.

I think the hi hats sounded cleaner. When I look more closely, when the toms layer with the kick, they become collectively louder than the snare. That's a natural thing, but would become an issue if/when you use a limiter, as the limiter would generally push down harder on louder peaks.

As an experiment, I bumped up the overall loudness, and A/B compared with EQ and compression, vs. without (note that the EQ affected everything though, including the snare).

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/59338379/8bitpunk_before_after_comp.wav

8bitpunkEQ.png

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9 hours ago, timaeus222 said:

I'm not sure I hear much difference. Maybe it's just because it's fairly quiet overall (I'm finding that it's by about 6~8 dB). For example, this is the loudness I was expecting:

https://soundcloud.com/overclocked-records/timaeus222-mmbn-legacy-resonant-transmissions-01-theme-of-mega-man-battle-network-legacy

After bumping up the volume, you should be able to hear the changes you make more clearly.

Hi, thank again. Wait are you saying that if I render a quiet track  and turn up the volume  on the speaker and if I push up the faders before rendering (without any limiting, compression..) the 2 results will not sound the same if I adjust the speaker volume? I don't know about that!

I didn't consider loudness because I'm just focusing on sound shaping now, mixing is still far yet.

Well I just replaced one of the 4 tracks so 3 are still the same as originally. But if you didn't tell me "track number X" sounds the best then I guess I failed at improving sounds.. :(

 

 

9 hours ago, timaeus222 said:

By the way, you should also generally mix in context---if you had soloed a sound and adjusted it, then un-soloed it, you won't hear the difference as clearly after hearing it in context.

 

Yes I learned how evil solo button was!

9 hours ago, timaeus222 said:

I think the hi hats sounded cleaner. When I look more closely, when the toms layer with the kick, they become collectively louder than the snare. That's a natural thing, but would become an issue if/when you use a limiter, as the limiter would generally push down harder on louder peaks.

As an experiment, I bumped up the overall loudness, and A/B compared with EQ and compression, vs. without (note that the EQ affected everything though, including the snare).

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/59338379/8bitpunk_before_after_comp.wav

8bitpunkEQ.png

 

Maybe sound is also cleaner because this time I imported wav instead of mp3.

It sounds good with your compression. But for now I need to restrain from putting anything on the drum bus.

 

Quote
Quote

 

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4 hours ago, Wadokoha said:

Hi, thank again. Wait are you saying that if I render a quiet track  and turn up the volume  on the speaker and if I push up the faders before rendering (without any limiting, compression..) the 2 results will not sound the same if I adjust the speaker volume? I don't know about that!

I didn't consider loudness because I'm just focusing on sound shaping now, mixing is still far yet.

Well I just replaced one of the 4 tracks so 3 are still the same as originally. But if you didn't tell me "track number X" sounds the best then I guess I failed at improving sounds.. :(

Well, like I said, it could just be because it was fairly quiet both times, and I don't entirely remember how it sounded previously. So it's not just you! Everyone's been there; you're just working your way up! :)

By the way, on the A/B comparison I posted, I was actually turning the EQ+compression on and off. When it's off, the sound is how it was after simply bumping up the volume. When it's on, there is less treble in the hi hats near 15000 Hz, and the sound is a little tighter. I was hoping that would help you with EQing the uppermost treble, and with compression for cohesion. ;)

-----

If you render a quiet track and then turn up your speaker volume (scenario A), it's not the same as moving the volume sliders up inside your DAW (digital audio workstation) with or without limiters (scenario B), even if you are listening at the same output volume.

The difference is this:

- Scenario A gives you a music file that is quiet on an absolute scale (usually indicated in dB). That means if someone listens to the song on your computer and turns up the volume, sure, it would be loud, but for someone whose speakers are calibrated for louder music, it will sound quieter in comparison.

- Scenario B gives you a music file that is closer to the common loudness standard: close to 0 dB, but with an applied limiter so that there is no added distortion to the song in the form of crackling, known as clipping. Sure, now you would have to make sure you don't make things too loud, but this way, people don't have to turn up the volume just for your song, and then down again for their other, louder music. :)

Another way to understand this is by the waveform of the song. That's the loudness plotted against the time passed.

- Scenario A gave you something approximately like this for your Drum Test 1:

8bitpunkscreenshot.png

- Scenario B would give you something more like this (which is what I ended up with):

8bitpunkscreenshot_normal.png

In Scenario B, I think it's easier to see any unevenness in the loudness of each section in a song. Maybe you can notice that when the kick and toms layer, they are louder than the toms or kick by themselves (which is natural for the constructive overlap of sound waves). Also, scenario B is what I've been seeing, at least in the time I've been writing music. :)

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Ok I understand now! So I (supposedly) improved the sounds again and brought levels louder using a master limiter. It's on the playlist that has 3 tracks. No favorite yet?

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At this point, I'm a fan of the snare + toms on Drums1 and the kick on Drums2. The hi hats are pretty similar across the board, so any version of them work. :)

In comparison, in Drums2, the snare tuning just seems odd to me in the first few seconds where the snare is hitting multiple times quickly, while in Drums3, it's something with the reverb low end that makes the snare feel a little distant.

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Alright! So I updated again:

-Didn't touch track 1

-Changed tuning of the snare and cymbals on track 2

-Tried to bring the snare in front on track 3

Are you still having the same opinion?

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At this point, the snare on track 1 is still the most refined IMO;

- In track 2, the snare is a bit too boosted near 240 Hz in comparison to track 1.

- In track 3, the snare is a little more reverberated in comparison to track 1, but slightly less overboosted near 240 Hz compared to track 2.

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Hi Timaeus you were right! I went to the studio to use live monitors for a loud sound and I settled for the kick of track 2, snare and toms of track 1 and cymbals of track 3..

Thank you again for your precious help! I hope to come back soon for bass :)

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