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How to isolate drum hits for sampling?
December 1, 2006 5:12 AM   Subscribe

how does one go about isolating drum tracks from a recording? i'm trying and have been trying to sample and isolate drum hits from recordings (as in no other instruments on the sample). i know it's possible (mostly cause hip hop reminds me so), i just don't know how. i've tried to avoid the problem by just sampling from drum solos, but that usually only get's me so far. please, if anyone with experience in sampling is out there in filterland, speak now!
posted by defmute to Media & Arts (14 answers total)
 
You can't.
posted by tumult at 5:21 AM on December 1, 2006


I'd always imagined that you would need access to the original studio recordings, which would let you isolate the drum track. But I'm no expert.
posted by jontyjago at 5:28 AM on December 1, 2006


Many singles are released on vinyl in "Instrumental" and "a capella" versions. These are what hip-hop artists use.

More rarely you may be able to find and intro or drum break that exists for a good solid measure that can be used as a loop (When The Levee Breaks, Funky Drummer, Amen break).

But to isolate from a recording? No.
posted by sourwookie at 5:38 AM on December 1, 2006


As others have said, it's really not possible. That said, there are plenty of nifty things you can do with gated drum hits containing other instruments. Good ones are there, you've just got to listen for them.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:45 AM on December 1, 2006


If you have alot of time on your hands, there's a slim chance you could pull off what you're describing by using a series of really really good band pass filters, and trying to hone in on the frequencies the drums are in.
posted by dial-tone at 5:54 AM on December 1, 2006


More rarely you may be able to find and intro or drum break that exists for a good solid measure that can be used as a loop

Not that rare. This is how Hip Hop was invented - the breakbeat 2/3 (ish) thru a track or the intro or outro.

You only need one bar to loop a drum beat.

Use ReCycle to work with your chosen loop sample.

Otherwise, no.
posted by i_cola at 6:10 AM on December 1, 2006


Many singles are released on vinyl in "Instrumental" and "a capella" versions.

What about the old R&B classics that provided so many hip-hop samples? Are there James Brown a capella vinyl records out there?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:46 AM on December 1, 2006


Are there James Brown a capella vinyl records out there?

Most of the James Brown samples I've heard have come from drum breaks.

One workaround that I used to use was to find isolated drum notes using a wave editor like sound forge, say when a only a kick or snare is heard and then load the samples into a sequencing program like FL Studio. Sometimes I'd get a snare sound with a hi-hat sound at the same time, that sort of thing.
posted by drezdn at 6:55 AM on December 1, 2006


long way around doing it might be to recreate the drum track via MIDI in a program like Reason or Cubase (those are just some of the cheap programs)...

I've done alot of audio work for media classes, and in general you need some pretty high-tech software and hardware to actually split up a pre-existing tack into its component parts; unfortunately this type of software is pretty pricey, and you'd most likely need a sound board as well.
posted by azriel2257 at 6:55 AM on December 1, 2006


If (by lottery-winning odds of a miracle) you find a track you want to sample that happens to have all the drums panned, with no part of the kit in the center, and all other tracks exactly dead center, then there is a little phase-reversing trick you could do that would leave you with only drums.

But you are incredibly unlikely to find an album mixed that way.
posted by sourwookie at 7:15 AM on December 1, 2006


Here's how:

Drum tracks usually start at second four or five and run three-four seconds at repeat. Record everything to the point the singing begins, getting as much of the drum track as possible to get the whole of a single looping segment and then loop the audio in Audtion or Garageband.

Or

Recreate the loop using the original drum sounds in Frootloops or Audition.

Or

Find a karaoke version of the song, which is a capella usually.
posted by parmanparman at 7:22 AM on December 1, 2006


The karaoke version will not be the original artists, but usually Korean session players who shamelessly abuse their delay pedals.
posted by sourwookie at 7:25 AM on December 1, 2006


Sourwookie— There are plenty of psych tracks, and some soul tracks, that have the drums (at least for a bar or two) panned all the way to the left, with everything else all the way to the right (or vice versa).
You can also look for 5.1 recordings, which sometimes have the drums isolated, or sometimes old jazz recordings have things mixed so that the drums are only on one side.
posted by klangklangston at 9:51 AM on December 1, 2006


If you could take drum sounds from any record, there wouldn't be much need for "crate digging."

Hip-hop producers typically sample from intros or drum breaks, or from "open" drum sounds in the middle of music. Immediately recognizing those "open" drum sounds is a big deal for a beat maker.
posted by YoungAmerican at 1:38 PM on December 1, 2006


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