Question about how an electronic drum works.

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ironpony
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26 Mar 2020, 9:59 am

I tried to read on how they work, but the explanations are very technical and complicated.

So if I have this right basically, when you hit the drum with a stick, it activates a recording to play and you are playing a pre-recorded sound, is that right? Or do I have it wrong?



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26 Mar 2020, 11:39 am

That is essentially correct. "Hit Drum, Make Sound" is all the drummer really needs to know.

Anything beyond that quickly becomes technical.


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ironpony
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26 Mar 2020, 11:44 am

Oh okay thanks. It just makes me wonder how good the pre-recordings are, cause in the past, if I used prerecorded sounds to make music, sometimes they are not that good. So now that I know that, I will have to research more and check.

But it's probably good to know the technical to though, isn't it? I know a guitar player, who knows the music of the instruments and the tuning and everything, and can play, but he didn't know how electric induction worked. He restrung his electric guitar with nylon strings cause he liked the sound of nylon better, only to find out that a pickup cannot pick up a sound produced by nylon.

So I always thought it was good to know how they work for things like that, unless that's overthinking it :)



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26 Mar 2020, 12:12 pm

There are two basic methods of sound generation: Playback of pre-recorded sounds and synthesis. The former produces a more realistic result, while the latter allows for greater flexibility in sound production.

With the former, a snare sounds like a snare, a top-hat like a top-hat, and a kick-bass like a kick-bass.

With the latter, you can adjust the parameters to make the snare sound like a gunshot, the top-hat sound like rain, and the kick-bass sound like a thunderclap.

It's all good.


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ironpony
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26 Mar 2020, 12:48 pm

Yeah that's what I thought. That makes sense. Why do some people choose synthesis over prerecorded sounds. Because it saves money maybe?



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26 Mar 2020, 3:25 pm

As I said, synthesis allows for greater flexibility in sounds.


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funeralxempire
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26 Mar 2020, 3:37 pm

ironpony wrote:
Yeah that's what I thought. That makes sense. Why do some people choose synthesis over prerecorded sounds. Because it saves money maybe?


Because if you want a bass drum that sounds like a classic drum machine, that's how it's done, because that's how they worked. I believe the TR-808 was one of the first with a mix of samples and synthesized drums, the cymbals were samples but the bass and snare were synthetic.

Some types of music work better with acoustic drums, or at least samples of acoustic drums. Others work better with obviously synthetic rhythms. Boom-bap style hip-hop works best with loops of acoustic drums, but some other styles of hip-hop call for a TR-808 bass kick.


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26 Mar 2020, 4:02 pm

ironpony wrote:
Yeah that's what I thought. That makes sense. Why do some people choose synthesis over prerecorded sounds. Because it saves money maybe?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drum_machine

Quote:
Drum sound synthesis
A key difference between such early machines and more modern equipment is that they use sound synthesis rather than digital sampling in order to generate their sounds. For example, a snare drum or maraca sound would typically be created using a burst of white noise whereas a bass drum sound would be made using sine waves or other basic waveforms. This meant that while the resulting sound was not very close to that of the real instrument, each model tended to have a unique character. For this reason, many of these early machines have achieved a certain "cult status" and are now sought after by producers for use in production of modern electronic music, most notably the Roland TR-808



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26 Mar 2020, 4:36 pm



ironpony
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27 Mar 2020, 11:01 am

Oh okay thanks, but in the video, he doesn't seem to explain whether the sounds are prerecorded and just being played back or if the instruments use induction to create the sound.

An electric guitar of course for example, uses induction to create the sound. It doesn't play back sounds that are already recorded. So do electric drums use induction like an electric guitar, or are each drum in the set, nothing more than a play button, and you hit it, it activates play, to play a recording of a sound?



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27 Mar 2020, 11:12 am

ironpony wrote:
Oh okay thanks, but in the video, he doesn't seem to explain whether the sounds are prerecorded and just being played back or if the instruments use induction to create the sound.

An electric guitar of course for example, uses induction to create the sound. It doesn't play back sounds that are already recorded. So do electric drums use induction like an electric guitar, or are each drum in the set, nothing more than a play button, and you hit it, it activates play, to play a recording of a sound?

The sounds for that particular kit are part of the package (presets). I would imagine that you can edit certain parameters to a small degree, such as the pitch, length, frequency of the waveform and choose between several kits, not sure though. You can also find Youtube videos of people triggering sounds from the music program Garage band. If you wanted to make your own kit, sample you own samples, it's possible to trigger any sound on a computer by using a midi interface. One could theoretically trigger percussion sounds on an analogue modular synth using a midi to cv gate. It all depends how deep you want to go into it.



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27 Mar 2020, 2:32 pm

Oh okay thanks, that helps a lot, that's very interesting. One thing I noticed in the video, when he plays the drums, the snare sounds like a real snare, the symbol sounds like a real cymbal... but the tom toms do not sound like real tom toms and they sound obviously synthesized. So maybe his tom tom samples are not near as good as the snare and cymbal on comparison?

But why do they call it an electric drum set then? Electric, at least to me, implies that uses induction to create the sound. Wouldn't a more proper term be a synthesizer drum set, like a synthesizer guitar, or a synthesizer saxophone?



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27 Mar 2020, 3:12 pm

ironpony wrote:
Oh okay thanks, that helps a lot, that's very interesting. One thing I noticed in the video, when he plays the drums, the snare sounds like a real snare, the symbol sounds like a real cymbal... but the tom toms do not sound like real tom toms and they sound obviously synthesized. So maybe his tom tom samples are not near as good as the snare and cymbal on comparison?

But why do they call it an electric drum set then? Electric, at least to me, implies that uses induction to create the sound. Wouldn't a more proper term be a synthesizer drum set, like a synthesizer guitar, or a synthesizer saxophone?

He says that the pads trigger samples and to me the toms sound authentic. To me a "synthesizer drum set" implies that the sound would be created using digital or analogue synthesis and have tweakable parameters. I would guess the kit he has comes with a preset soundbank loaded with various kits to choose from. "E-drums" is less of a mouthful than "midi triggered drum kit / module" (I'm struggling to think of a suitable name) :D



ironpony
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27 Mar 2020, 3:33 pm

Oh okay, that's a good point, but the term electric drum set, just seems to me that it implies that the sounds are created through induction.

What about the drum sound at 0:41 into this clip? Would this be a synthesized tom tom sound and not playing an actual recorded sample of one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbJE_L80QRI