Creating a Sound Library

In this report I will critically analyse my production of a sound library for AUD114.3 and it will evaluate the project reflectively. For the creation of my sample library, I chose to produce drum samples from eight different sources on the same drum kit.

Research and Preparation

For research, I listened to other drum sample libraries that I own from the Toontrack – Superior Line. These drum sample packs were a great way to get an idea of the types of sounds that I needed to capture. I was able to find a similar sounding samples to my drum kit within those libraries. The Pro Tools session was set up to allow for all of the required mic inputs and processing equipment was selected.

How My Design Addressed the Brief

I used the correct submission format of 44.1kHz 24Bit and presented it in a single zipped folder. I sampled percussion instruments, namely, a Pearl Export Custom drum kit and included dry and processed samples. I utilized a range of outboard gear and plugins to process samples creatively, even to the point of experimentation with sample rate on a rim shot to get an “alien” sound.

Effectiveness of Process

My process could have easily been faster if I had worked with an assistant when setting up and adjusting gain. This is something to note for future if I am required to conduct a similar activity. The actual sample processing was quite fast as I have familiarity with my equipment and plugins and was able to achieve a desirable outcome.

Recording

I was able to capture multiple tracks using several microphones simultaneously, with both dynamic and condenser microphones. Setting up was almost identical to miking up for drum tracking, the position of the room mic was only 3m away from the kit.

I captured my own playing of the instrument and recorded it using Pro Tools Control app. The only problem I encountered with this was going between the console and the kit to set the correct gain levels. This was only a minor inconvenience but it would have been a lot more efficient with an actual drummer.

Each source and mics used are as follows:

1. KICK BETA52A, BETA91A

Room – NT2A

2. SNARE Top – SM57, Shure 16L
Bottom – MD421
Room – NT2A
3. RIM Top – SM57, Shure 16L
Bottom – MD421
Room – NT2A
4. HH OPEN SM57, Shure 16L
Room – NT2A
5. HH CLOSED SM57, Shure 16L
Room – NT2A
6. TOM1 SM57
Room – NT2A
7. TOM2 SM57
Room – NT2A
8. TOM FLOOR SM57
Room – NT2A

Microphone selection was based on their suitability for each task and the sound that I was trying to capture. I had some other small diaphragm microphones but I wanted to experiment with my electret Shure Prologue 16L. It was a gift that I had in a drawer, unused for many years and this assignment provided a good opportunity to try it out.  From the start it impressed me with the sound it captured on the snare and the high hats, giving a nice crisp boost at 6k without sounding too brittle and gentle low roll off from 4k. To my ears, this mic sounds great and I am definitely adding it to my recording arsenal.

The tried and true SM57 was used on everything but the kick. I have found the 57 to be pretty foolproof and was a no-brainer to use as a dynamic mic.On the kick, I used a BETA 91A condenser and BETA 52A dynamic because they are designed to handle high SPL and are optimized for low frequency applications.

Processing

I used a range of outboard equipment and plugins to process my samples. When creating my own samples, I did reference other similar samples but largely just for inspiration. The rim shot “alien” sample was created by manipulation of the sample rate with a rendered 1/16th delay.

How Will I Improve My Practise

I should work with another person to conduct this type of activity in the future as I believe that it would make the process significantly faster. Upgrading and collecting more audio processing equipment including microphones will improve the quality of the recordings that I am able to provide. Finally, I would record the samples at a higher sample rate (96kHz) if I was going to use a similar sample library on a recording.

Summary

Creating this sample library has been a valuable learning experience. I have developed my skills in capturing and processing audio. Also, I discovered that some electret mics are quite good at recording snare drums and I experimented with sample rate to get new sounds. As time goes on, my collection of microphones and gear will improve and also the quality of recordings that I am able to provide.

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