Single Drum WAV Out of Tune with Bass

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Dan Bass Slapper, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm by no means a producer, just able to do what I've picked up along the way of trying to record my own tracks. Hoping some of you might be able to help with this, thanks!

    Right now I'm using a factory drum loop from my EHX 22500 looper on a recording. The drums are in a single, stereo WAV file and were slowed down to match the song tempo (this was done via a function on the EHX 22500 pedal and recorded into my DAW).

    The song was sounding good until I added a bass line (higher chords and a lead line using an octave pedal were on top). When isolating the drums and the bass part, I'm hearing extreme dissonance between the bass drum and bass guitar.

    I imagine I need to do some sort of tuning to the drums, but it's tricky because the whole drum set is in one WAV file, and in any case I haven't attempted tuning drums very much to date. Any advice on the matter that could help me salvage this track would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    what recording software are you using?

    I would try one of these:
    - if you know the BPM, swap the existing beat track for another loop
    - put a noise gate on the drum track to cut the resonance. you might need to fiddle with the settings to get something usable, but worth a shot
    - pitch shift the drum loop into a sympathetic key (not tried this in my software - Ableton - but might work in theory...)

    finally - you said you can hear it when the bass and drums are isolated... can you hear it in the final mix? if it ain't broke etc.
    Nickweissmusic likes this.
  3. AngelCrusher


    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    Matters how your DAW works, but ideally you want the WAV to be set so any changes to the pitch will not adjust the tempo. You can use a sampler plugin for this and then just transpose the WAV down per semitone. And then use cents to fine tune.

    What DAW are you using?
  4. Thanks for the quick responses, I'm using PreSonus Studio One. Any recommendations on a specific plugin for that purpose? Otherwise I'll just do some Googling.

    To be clear, I discovered the issue while isolating the drums and bass after recording, but can hear it in the full mix as well.
  5. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017
    If it's just the kick drum that is causing an issue (yes, I understand that the entire kit is summed to a stereo file) : import / re-record the original drum loop, then go through your tempo-corrected version of the loop, replacing every kick drum , with it's corresponding beat from the original loop, by copying and pasting.

    Then listen to the whole mix.

    You may get away with cross fading the edits, without it being noticeable, or you may have to timestretch just the newly replaced kick beats, and creatively cross fade.

    Another option (using what you already have, without just recreating the beat using MIDI and a VI) would be to select the individual kick beats, and find the fundamental frequency of it's pitch, then EQ out a narrow Q by between 3 to 6dB, there and it's most dominant overtones - do it in the context of the full mix, so that you do the absolute minimum amount of attenuation possible.

    Don't waste too much time, it's only a demo - if you're going down a rabbit hole on this loop, you're better off recreating it on individual tracks - be that with something like BFD / Slate Drums, or a real drummer, and elevating it above demo status.
  6. Thanks, yea I might just try to re-create the beat using my own samples and doing it multi-track, as I do want to graduate to doing things the "right" way. I'll probably try some of the options above first, as I was hoping I might be able to get away with a quicker fix, but I feel it will probably be better to just scratch the drums and rebuild.

    Now the only issue is, will I have to tune THOSE samples as well lol...
    Charlzm likes this.
  7. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017

    Well to be honest, I've rarely had to significantly tune a VI, or a real kit (both of which are dead easy. Samples can require a little more work, depending...), as it's more about having the kit tuned so that it doesn't cause problems with any part of the song - than it is about tuning it to a specific key of a song.
  8. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Assuming that drums don't star in this song, I wouldn't hesitate to edit or rework the drum arrangement. And this could be a skills-building opportunity. Any decent drum software will let you tune individual drums (and w/ this approach, you could get as granular as assigning different tuning to multiple kick parts in your song). If you'll do much recording in current styles, learning your way around virtual instruments—and virtual drums in particular—won't go amiss.

    But you could look at it another way: if the arrangement was working before I added an ornamental bass part, I'd be inclined to change the bass part to avoid clashing with existing parts. That's just my work-flow preference.

    Practically speaking, if you're just playing around with recording and arrangement (and nobody else's money is on the table), take the path that seems more rewarding to you: learn how to pitch shift a track in your DAW, take the opportunity to play with drum VIs, or treat this as a puzzle in arranging bass parts.
  9. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    I'm guessing you've got some kind of 808/rap/hip hop style bass drum sound with a lot of sustain? If so, yeah, that bass drum is going to need to be in tune. Re-pitch the track so that the bass drum is tuned to the root of your song key. Depends on how busy the drum track is, but if you need a couple of different bass drum notes I'd copy the drum part to multiple tracks, tune each track as needed, then cross-fade just the bass drum hits as needed.
  10. AngelCrusher


    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    Sample One - It comes with StudioOne. You drop the drum WAV in there and transpose it. Real easy stuff.
    Dan Bass Slapper likes this.
  11. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    You'll still want to tune a sustain-y bass drum sound to the root note of your song key, but another, easier trick for the rest of the song might be to take your bass part up an octave in the problem spots. Harmony gets tricky in the low end of the audio spectrum; harmonies that sound fine in the range of a guitar can get to sounding flat out awful when you try to take them down an octave or two. You've probably noticed that you can play, for example, a major third harmony up high on your bass neck and it sounds fine, but try it down low on the E and A strings and it's a mess. So let the bass drum have the root, take your part up an octave, and the harmony will probably work a lot better.
  12. Yea I'm well aware of the harmony concerns in the lower register, I just didn't really think about a bass drum being more pitched with sustain. I think I will try to tune the drum track as an experiment, and be prepared to try to build the beat from scratch if it starts sounding like a pile of artifacts with all the editing. Thanks all!
  13. BigBasserino

    BigBasserino Guest

    Apr 30, 2017
    So maybe I'm misreading the post but your drums are recorded separately from the bass, no? If it's just one sour note you can take a better drum hit and delete the problem one and paste in a duplicate. Problem solved. If the whole tune sounds sour. all tracks through something like a demo of melodyne or whatever pitch correction is available.
  14. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    If it's feasible, pitch your drumkit track DOWN, rather than up - downtuned cymbals sound pretty RAD :D
    MattZilla likes this.
  15. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    In this case, all the drums are a single track, not separate tracks for bass drum, snare, hat, etc.... pasting in a different bass drum hit would also paste over any existing cymbals, snare, ambient reverb, etc.
  16. gumtown


    May 7, 2007
    New Zealand
    Are you able to re-produce the drum track as separate midi drum tracks for each drum/cymbal?
    You can use any sampled or midi drum kit, and quantize the track using cool features like 'groove quantize' to add your own accents to the style.
  17. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Guest

    Oct 1, 2011
    Would it be easier to transpose the music to match the kick?
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    As far as I know, Melodyne is still the only software that can do polyphonic pitch shifting and it still seems like magic to me when I use it to fix out of tune guitar chords. It will allow you to correct the bass drum separate of the rest of the kit. But Melodyne is expensive...the cheapest versions only do monophonic corrections. Which version of Studio One do you have? I know they have integrated Melodyne into some of the versions.
  19. donCameron

    donCameron Inactive

    Jun 3, 2017
    I do engineering for a living. If you've got a strange resonance between the drum loop and the bass, grab a band of parametric EQ, narrow the bandwidth with the "Q" control, add a few DB of gain and sweep around the problem area until the resonance jumps out at you. Then dip the gain until it goes away. There are two ways to approach this. You can notch out the problem in the loop or the bass, whichever one doesn't cause the rest of the track to sound off. You can also try boasting a different freq to make up for anything you lose in the correction.
  20. donCameron

    donCameron Inactive

    Jun 3, 2017
    Cubase and Nuendo have it built into the program. I prefer it to Melodyne, because you don't have to go through all the additional steps of loading the files in. Unless they changed the way it works. But I don't think that will help this problem.