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Drum triggers in old productions
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Lothar Schramm



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Posts: 368
Location: Oslo, Norway

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 3:50 pm    Post subject: Drum triggers in old productions Reply with quote



Last night some guy tried to convince me that the bass drums for Obituary's Slowly We Rot were in fact triggered. I was of course in shock and denial, but I can't find any info anywhere to strike back on this heretic.

So, it's time for a thread for info on the use of drum triggers in old productions.

First, for a short explanation of what drum triggers are, it normally means you put a device on your drum head that sends out an electronic signal each time you hit the drum head. Then a "drum machine" box turns this signal into the sound of a drum. Either artificially made, or by playing a sample of a real drum. Now, you might ask why the hell is this interesting? Well, there are a couple of issues with triggers. First off, you don't hear the microphones in the recording room with the sound of the drummer's real drum kit, but instead a "generic" drum sound that hundred or thousands of other drummers use, in fact you're listening to a drum machine reproducing what a drummer has played. So this removes let's say half of the organic quality of the drums. And even worse, most drummers or studio technicians set the output volume of each stroke to a flat volume (as opposed to different output volume for different strokes), removing the dynamics, hence killing the other half of the organic qualities of the drumming. There are other ways of trigging too (today you can trig the drums afterwards in your computer), or you can use an electronic drum kit.


So, to begin:


Darkthrone - Soulside Journey
Recorded 1990 at Sweden's classic Sunlight Studio, well-known for productions such as Entombed, Dismember. When the band arrived in the studio, there was an electronic kit set up, and the studio technician wanted them to use this. After some debate, a real drum kit was used, but with the bass drums from the electronic kit. So the bass drums are triggered, the rest of the drums are not. This info is straight from the band, and not a rumor. I've heard some rumors before that the snare drum is triggered. This is not the case, in fact, the snare drum is a perfect example of why triggers is an abomination. Listen to the opening track, Cromlech. At 1:57, the drummer slams the snare drum extra hard (or in a technical term, an off-beat accentuated stroke). In my ears, this is pure musical poetry, just a subtle little move that lifts the song in a great way.

So, do you know anything conclusive about triggers used in old productions? And please don't tell me the mighty SLOWLY WE ROT is triggered Very Happy
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jameswolfe



Joined: 28 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think most of the early dm bands began using triggers to help the bass drums cut through the chaotic mix. Over time I think most albums of bigger bands moved to using triggers. Even the bands where the complexity of the music does not require it.

I know what you mean....I prefer drums not be triggered except on technical death metal albums where tightness is key. But on the other hand I dont like technical death metal that much save for a few albums on occasion.
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profanation



Joined: 17 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I've heard or read most of the old Sunlight and Morrisound stuff was triggered...but don't quote me on it.
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ryan_the_snake



Joined: 30 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course Sarcofago "INRI" uses an electronic kit, and Morsure used one too for their full length.
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dildo shop burglar



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
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Location: oslo by night

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 5:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Drum triggers in old productions Reply with quote

Posting in this thread mostly 'cause I liked it when you refered to Fenriz as "the drummer."

On the semi-recent reissue of the second Morbid Angel record there's a funny interview bit with one of the dudes from Morrisound (I suppose it's Tom Morris but I can't remember for sure) where he details the sordid triggering process on that record. Apparently they ran a compressed, slightly offbeat recording of the kicks into a computer that picked up on the each beat and spat out a corresponding kick sample that was run back into the mix. So, no fancy shit clipped on the heads... I suppose if this is the way they did it in Morrisound in '91, I doubt they had some high tech crap going on in '88/'89 when they did the first Obituary in the same studio.
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K_S Imprecator



Joined: 19 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well they did have an ssl desk,not sure exactly when they got it but they cost 500,000 dollars at the time.was pretty high tech back then.
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AngeldeathGreg



Joined: 16 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well... I think I can shed some light as to why that guy would think Obituary used triggers back then...


If you listen to Pete's playing on Blessed Are The Sick, the drums are remarkably clear and pretty consistent, velocity and volume-wise.

Yet, if you watch the bonus DVD with the new reissue, Tom Morris talked about how Pete's kit is absolutely NOT triggered in any way. They ran the mics through compressors and limiters to get a clear, and trigger-like sound, but its still completely Pete's strokes being recorded. I'll have to go back and check, but I'm pretty sure thats what they did, to make sure it was still organic and with Pete's nuances.

Although I am 100% certain on them not editing Pete's playing whatsoever.


On a second note, I read an interview with Seth Van De Loo, drummer for Severe Torture, where he said that they worked for a while to get the triggers right for "Feasting On Blood", which doesn't sound triggered to me, but I guess it was just the kick drums, although I am not completely certain. But either way, that gives us a timeline of 1991 to 2000 at least.
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cl8on



Joined: 29 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AngeldeathGreg wrote:
On a second note, I read an interview with Seth Van De Loo, drummer for Severe Torture, where he said that they worked for a while to get the triggers right for "Feasting On Blood", which doesn't sound triggered to me, but I guess it was just the kick drums, although I am not completely certain.


The snare sounds triggered too, but it certainly isn't as overpowering as the bass drums. Those are far too loud and 'clicky' - generic samples too.
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Törrmentor



Joined: 11 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somwhere in a Master's Hammer interview, Storm says that The Fall of Idol demo was recorded with triggers that Voral build himself.
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krakentorso



Joined: 23 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:11 am    Post subject: Re: Drum triggers in old productions Reply with quote

Lothar Schramm wrote:
or you can use an electronic drum kit.




as far as I know all early sunlight productions were recorded with an electronic drum kit. maybe this trigger stuff was electronic standard back then in order to give all those 15 year old death metal "drummer talents" a bit more structure?
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NCF



Joined: 24 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunlight still does that. Or, at least they want to record with an electronic kit. A friend of mine had to spend half a day convincing Skogsberg to let them use real drums.
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tristr



Joined: 09 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slowly we rot is not triggered. cause of death is. i remember reading somewhere (old aardschok?) that they tried triggers for that one and were so unhappy with the result that they swore never to use them again.

some other albums that are triggered: dark recollections, charnel deity, of darkness..., children of the scorn.
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boogs



Joined: 18 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

most early 90's sunlight and morrisound drums are triggered. It's pretty easy to hear the triggered kick and snare on your average morrisound scott burns record. I remember reading a Grave interview when You'll Never See... dropped and they said they brought their own drumkit to Sunlight to omit the clinical e-drum sound.
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Worthless Joke



Joined: 24 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The point is that you like "Slowly We Rot", why should this piece of information change that in any way? If the drums we triggered it never bothered you before.

But I can understand wanting to know out of curiosity of course.
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Unearthly



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 131
Location: NYSTAD

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Triggering" was done already at 80's but in a different way. Sound from the mic was just driven through midi samples and was processed a lot, when now there's ready trigger systems (like the one in the picture in first post) and sound modules. Much easier way to do it.

As example Mötley Crüe's "Girls, Girls, Girls" has midi drums, and its even done in more harder way. First just drums (without cymbals) and then symbals recorded separately to be able to process and sample the drums, in search of "better" sounds.
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