Actually most of the production process is done In The Box, only with softwares in the computer.
This is considered now a standard because of a total recall of the project settings, no loss of audio quality duing converions and more funtionality within the virtual intruments.
I totally agree with this modus operandi, and I too use a ITB approach for most of the production process, but I think that a little interaction between the “standards” and somenthing “personal” can make the difference.
A useful tip in my making music process is to treat the drum sounds Out Of The Box, usually using old hardware samplers.
In hip hop or r’n’b, even today, there’s a hard culture on old samplers, together with the vinyls and turntables they are seen as the “instruments” to have that phat beatz.
Paying attenction to the power and details of hip hop and black music, especially from the usa, the fact that the sound is incredibly present and detailed is true, even for the people who don’t like the genre.
The making of this sound is composed by three main points:
- Choosing the right samples, not the ones that sound better standalone, but the ones that are thought to sound better in the contest we are planning to create.
- Hardware sampler processing to give the sounds a certain “imprint” together with the ability to cut the samples in a personal way that makes the samples stand up in the composition.
- Hardware processing with hi-end outboards to give more definition and to maximize the sounds and reshape the dynamics.
The aim of my post is not analizing the hip hop making of but take inspiration from that attitude.
Hi-end outboards are really expensive so I plan only to use old samplers to make an A->B test.
The first thing is to get the good material to sample.
Samples from a library are usually compressed and eqed so they are just perfect to try the sampling process in an easy way.
Using our own sampled or synthetized material can be often more difficult because we have to “preprocess” the sound before sampling.
We can choose between two different tipe of processing:
- Sampling a one shot sample into the sampler, tweak it and then sample again the sound played by the hw sampler into the computer.
Making this process we obtain a “personal” drum sample with more punch ready to play with our favorite sw sampler.
- Sampling a track of a drum element played by the sw sampler into the hw.
Making this process we obtain a “coloured” new track to rerecord into our daw to mix or to use instead of the same track “before sampling”.
Usually sampling a loop not only change the dynamics of the audio material but create a particular “ambience” that’s the strong carachteristic of hw sampler.
At the end of the process we have two important conclusion to take care of:
if the sample is a short one shot the hw sampler give a more punchy and personal sound but that can fit really well in every softsampler because the short sample sounds “dry”, if the sampled part is longer, a kick loop for example, the loop will sound more “processed” but also less or more (it depends on the sampler used) “ambiented”.
A famous hip hop statment about the Akai S900 is “everything sampled with the 900 sounds like old vinyls…”