Monthly Archives: September 2009

How to produce a drum sound similar to Massive Attack

This kind of drum sound is not very easy to obtain, but here are some tips to try (from the kvraudio forum, posted by soniccouture in 2006)

You don’t need 9 vintage comps to acheive that kind of drum sound. Some thoughts …

1.Use a combination of real and electronic drums. Shorten the decay of real hats and snares to make them sound more electronic. Practice layering real kicks with electronic ones.

2. don’t underestimate the importance of tuning drum samples. This can make a real snare sound slightly synthetic ( in a good way), or tighten up your hats or kick within the rest of the drum pattern. The way they fit together is the key, not the way they sound in isolation.

3. EQ. snap up real snares with lots of 10khz, cut the low end around 200hz. Fizz hats with 8khz.

4. More EG work -once you have your drum pattern going, adjust EG’s of individual sounds so that decays don’t intefere, to give a more intricate, precise sound.

5. Start compressing and limiting. To get the clicky, snappy high end, set a comp ( on the drum group channel) to very short attack – 1ms, and a very short release – 30-40ms. bring down the threshold, bring up the ratio to 4. Hear it get poppy and snappy. back of threshold until its sounds right to you.

5. Now try compressing again, with something more gentle, to squash it all together a bit.

6. Limit. hard. Get the peaks whacking a hard limiter, it’ll flatten and crisp it all up some more.

7. if its still not there, maybe add some EQ after the limiter. be creative, see what works. cut some 1khz, boost some 3, or 8, or 10. birng up 75 hz if kick is a bit thin.

8. Practice this alot. for many years! Being able to make great drum sounds does not happen overnight.
Good luck.

Link to the complete thread:


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Massive Attack – Recording 100th Window

An excellent article about the recording of Massive Attack album 100th Window, including an interviw with the producer Neil Davidge, published on Sound on Sound in 2003:

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Limiting CD / DVD drive noise

I have an home theater PC based on a NVidia ION motherboard (ZOTAC), and I had a strong noise produced by the DVD drive, because it runs at full speed when it has a disk inside. Using the following command the drive speed is limited to x2, making an acceptable noise for its function.

hdparm -E 2

If you already have the CD/DVD disk in the drive you have to remove it and insert it again in order to enable the drive speed change

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