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Tuned Drum Kits

Drum Samples Tuned In Key | Tonal Harmony Beat Making


    In the early days bands got together and tuned their instruments during sound check. Drums had specific tonal ranges depending on if it was a kick, snare, tom, cymbal or percussion piece. Electronic instruments came along and gave us access to an infinite selection of sounds. Most music producers complete a track, then tune the drum samples to the key of the music. The guys who get it, tune their drums first... Today, tonal harmony and timbre are part of the equation for beautiful music.

    The sonic characteristics of a sound that determine its timbre include harmonics, frequency spectrum and envelope. Musicians can control the timbre of the sounds they are creating by adjusting their singing or playing techniques. For example, a drummer can hit the snare or kick drums in different places, to obtain various timbres. Playing the cymbals in different places with varying drum stick angles will deliver different tonal colors. However the key of the drums remains constant.

    Tuning digital drum sounds is difficult, it took us several years to develop an accurate process. If you could tune all your drums to the exact key of your composition, what would that do for your music? As it turns out, it creates tonal harmony between your drums and instruments. The relationship between the kick-drum and the bass support each other. The harmonics of all the drum sounds interplay with the key of the composition in a way that is extremely pleasing to the ear. Tonal harmony!


      Creating amazing lofi hip-hop music tuned-in-key is definitely the direction we're headed. Technology in the way of chord progression hardware and software are advancing the way we make music in leaps and bounds. AI will also play a big part in how we create music tuned-in-key.

      More and more hip-hop music producers and lofi beat makers are becoming fluent with music theory and complicated chord arrangements. Software platforms and hardware offer solid chord progression algorithms that allow musicians to experiment with tonal harmony, in a way that pushes the envelope regarding musical creativity. These new tools encourage lofi music producers to engage in chord structures and arrangements they may not have had access to previously. As well as access to nostalgic soul, jazz and obscure musical styles that have become popular again.

      The landscape is rich with new school hip-hop music composers who see no boundaries in regard to creating rich organic music that pays homage to the culture and music that has enriched the inner city communities through uplifting the creative dreams we all aspire to. When we put the technology that is used to create electronic music in the hands of amazing youth, it exposes them to tools for life. The skills they learn can be leveraged to deliver the next director, corporate CEO, astronaut, biologist, scientist, mathematician, or modern day Quincy Jones, the opportunities are unlimited!


        By layering tuned drum-sample-kits that are tuned-in-key, in precisely the same key, something groundbreaking happens. We discovered we are able to control the timbre of the drums in a way that only human drummers can do. Selecting different combinations of drum sound layers i.e the snare, rim, and/or kick drums, yields amazing dynamics in drum pattern timbre and feel. Matter of fact, there seems to be little limit to the amount of drum-samples that can be layered or stacked to create thick soupy drum tracks. Layer variations throughout the drum pattern create rhythmic dynamics that sound like a human drummer, including timing, Flam and spatial dynamics.

        Recently the MPC Beat Community has been turned on its ear regarding drum-sample quality related to the type of A/D and D/A converters used to sample / play back the drums. Most of the new school samplers use ASIC components and don’t deliver the heavy sonic tone samplers like the E-mu Emax 1, 2 and 3 are known for. E-mu Samplers used discrete circuitry and large IC's, delivering huge sound. The signal path and analog-to-digital converters used to create the Big Noise Tuned-In-Key Drum Sample Kits have been selected for their superior vintage quality and sonic integrity.

        All the samples have been passed through the Yamaha PM-4000, our custom audio transformers and other vintage analog gear. Don't sleep on these groundbreaking drums, get your copy today!

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