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How to make drum samples from everyday objects

Are you tired of using the same drum samples as everyone else? With a touch of creativity and sound design magic, you can transform everyday sounds into unique drum samples. Let’s delve into the techniques of recording, sampling, and processing drum sounds.

1. Recording your raw material

Your phone's built-in microphone works just fine for recording your material, offering the added benefit of mobility. Get as close as possible to the sound source for a clean signal. Record interesting sounds wherever you find them. Record a wide variety of sound characteristics to work with. Transfer the audio files to your computer and open them in Soundation for further processing.

2. Sampler sound design

Soundation's Simple sampler is an excellent tool for crafting drum sounds. Isolate the desired parts of the sample and adjust the amp envelope to shape the transient. Set the sustain to 0% and play with the decay to adjust the sound's length and tail. Use a short attack for a snappier and clickier sound.

3. Finding the right pitch

Use the Simple sampler to play the sample back at different pitches to find the right tone. Common practices include pitching down a sample to create a kick drum or pitching up for a hi-hat. Ensure the fundamental frequency is within the low bass area for a kick drum and in the bass or low-mid area for a snare drum. For a fuller sound, play multiple notes at different octaves to cover a broader range of frequencies.

4. Sculpting the tone

Shape the tone of your samples using the Parametric EQ to refine them into drums. Use high-pass and low-pass filters to remove unwanted bass rumble and harsh treble. Boost frequencies you want more of and cut frequencies you want less of. Use narrow bell filters at the fundamental frequencies in snares, toms, and percussion to enhance the tonality.

5. Adding space and length

Reverb can be used to give drums a sense of space and sonically place them in a room, particularly effective for snare drums, toms, cymbals, and percussion. Additionally, reverb can extend the length of samples, such as cymbals. Try parallel processing to tailor the reverb itself for a more customized reverb tail.

6. Dynamics and distortion

Further shape transients using compression and limiting. Make the sample sustain better, bring out the reverb tail, or add more impact. Use distortion for aggressiveness and character. Use the Degrader to clip sounds you want to be extra loud or to add high-frequency sizzle or clickiness.

7. Layering for depth

In cases where one sample isn't enough to represent all aspects of a drum sound, layering can be highly beneficial. Combine a low, bassy sample with a clicky one to create a kick drum with both power and presence. Construct a well-rounded snare drum by layering a tonal sample with a noise sample and a percussive sample. Layering the same clap at different pitches with different timings can mimic the variance of a crowd clap.


By employing these techniques, you can elevate your drum samples to new realms, embedding them with uniqueness and character. Experiment with sound sources and audio effects to develop your signature style. Export your samples and import them into the Beatmaker to create beats with ease.


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