PreSonus Blog

A Happy Accident for Drum Sounds

While trying to do something else with Melodyne, I stumbled on this way to add depth or tightness to drum sounds—quickly and easily. Here’s the sound of an acoustic drum loop.

With this technique, we can create a deeper sound, like this…

Or a tighter sound, like this…

Or a totally crazee sound for all you experimental electronic and sound design fans, like this…

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Duplicate your drum event. You’ll need to layer a processed drum track with the original drum track.

2. Click on the duplicated drum event. Open it in Melodyne by typing Ctrl/Cmd+M.

3. Then as in fig. 1, choose Algorithm > Universal (Standard). This algorithm is available in all Melodyne versions, including Essential. Then, click on Redetect if needed.

Figure 1: Choose Melodyne’s Universal detection algorithm.

4. Type Ctrl/Cmd+A to Select All the blobs. Melodyne will display your event so it looks like Fig. 2.

Figure 2: The drum blobs are ready to be transposed.

5. Drag the blobs up for a tighter sound, or down for a deeper sound. The DeepDrums audio example transposes all blobs down 5 semitones, while the TightDrums audio example transposes them up 5 semitones. (Sound design and electronic sound fans, feel free to play with extreme transposition amounts.)

6. Although not essential, I recommend inserting an Expander in the duplicated track. This can restrict the dynamics so that you hear transposition applied to only the drum attacks. Fig. 3 shows the Expander settings used in the audio examples. The optimum Threshold setting depends on the drum track’s level.

Figure 3: Initial Expander settings to restrict transposition to the drum peaks.

And that’s all you need to do! But if you want to take this further, you can drag individual blobs as desired. For example, you might want to drag a snare hit up by 7 or 8 semitones, or even more. Or, layer two drum parts modified with this technique, and use extreme transpositions…you have a lot of options!