Dude, like, where's the bass drum?!

A few years back I got some 8-track tapes of a session my old band did (back in the 80s) converted to digital.

Having imported the tracks I’ve found that there was no track dedicated to the bass/kick drum.

In fact the only drums track is one which has the hi-hat and snare. There’s a little bit of drums bleed on the rhythm guitar track, but it’s so guitar heavy that the only percussion you can really hear is the snare, hi-hat (so almost a duplicate of the dedicated track for same), and cymbals, almost no bass drum, and some toms right at the end fill.

Is there likely to be ANY scope for some drums replacement witchery to get some meaningful bass drums on the (re)mix?

Sound like a job for ez drummer, superior, Slate, etc and just punch it in with a keyboard. That’d be how I’d tackle it. I don’t know if that’s quite as magical as you were looking for, but it’s certainly more magical than the options you had at the time this was recorded :wink:


Groove Agent One has done a pretty good job at hitpoint replacement for the snare drum (other than a couple of quick fills which I had to fix), and even a little bit of toms.

The hi-hat, bass, and cymbals I had to play in via the keyboard. A bit of tidying required for these (combo of poor playing and I think some system lag here and there)


I’d love to hear the before and after some time!

You would have to be very lucky, but if you copied the track that had the kick bleed, you might be able to low pass everything and try to notch in enough of the kick to get samples of it, which could be sounded by drum software. Again, it is a stretch whether there is enough kick bleed to isolate it, but it might be worth a shot. That way, you would have the true performance playing in midi, and you could adjust the velocity to make up for lost signal.

You know I was wondering the exact same thing. It’d be nice to pick out as much of the drummer’s performance as I can, but I fear there’s so little in the way of bass frequencies that this probably won’t work.

Backstory: The drummer in question is someone I’ve know since about 1978, when we were at secondary school (aka high school) together. He married an American lady a few years ago, then she went through all the rigmarole of getting British citizenship, but now he’s got his green card and they’re moving to San Diego! sniff

I am, of course, happy for them, but still :disappointed_relieved:

Anyway, I’m trying to remix the two tracks we did back in the '80s as a parting gift (as well as to mildly embarrass him at the leaving party later this month - he also did the lead vocals).

Is the drummer still alive? You could always get him to try and play it again if there’s very little in the way of mic bleeding if you don’t want to Sharon Osbourne him.

That would ruin the surprise!

Besides, the last time I’m aware that he played drums was about 10 years ago, I doubt he’s played since, and he sold his drum kit many years before that.

In short, it’s never going to happen…

Shit, I only read the original post. Maybe you should replace him with a LinnDrum since it was the 1980’s

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Here’s a clip of the original, and the same section as drum replacements with Groove Agent One. You’ll hear that the replacement kick and hi-hat are off time because, well, I’m no drummer anyway, but playing in via the computer keyboard is HARD - and I was only doing one thing at a time (i.e. just the hi-hat, then just the kick drum)!


Yeah, latency issues are a bitch. I’d stick with the original homeboy, it puts out a vibe and since drummer boy is actually playing on that one I think it would be more special even without the kick.

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Yeah, the result doesn’t sound too good at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it can’t. If you use the right technique, it is totally doable. The way to do it is to extract midi info from the audio file. Have to head off to work now, but I’m pretty certain I can demonstrate it using the raw file you’ve posted.

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Is that different from Hitpoints, which is what I used for the snare replacement (which is the one part of the replacements which is bang on, I think)?

Indeed, and I’m kind of already doing that. I have the original mixdowns on CD (somewhere!), then I’m doing a new mix with the individual tracks which will have few or no overdubs (but the ‘usual’ mixing techniques applied like reverb, EQ, etc.), then
I want a third version which will have more in the way of replacements, such as the drums, and my guitar solos, perhaps added brass instruments…

Pretty sure it’s the same thing - Cubase, right?.. Although it sounds like your hits are all of the same velocity. You need to get the hitpoints to vary in velocity according the the amplitude of the waveform. That should produce a more realistic result as long as the samples you are using are from a decent multi-sampled library, and not just one-shot samples.

If you have hihat and snare track, you should be able to use that to extract the kick, because the kick will land on the same hits as the hihat. I would suggest not replacing the hihat and using the original, since you have a recording of it anyway, and it will probably be the single element that will add the greatest sense of the realism and the original performance to the drums. Hihats a devilishly hard to replace realistically anyway.

With the track below (from our own @StylesBitchley ) , we just had a stereo drum track to work with, so all the close mics sounds here are samples triggered by extracting the midi timing and velocity information from the audio in the stereo drum track:

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Had a quick little play with the file you posted and added the kick via transient detection on the hihats:



(Good song too)


Can I swear on this forum? Let’s see…


That’s amazing. I don’t understand exactly how you managed to get bass drum events extracted from an audio clip that has no bass drum in it, but there it is!

You say it’s from “transient detection on the hihats” but how? How did it grab two bass drum kicks, rather than three (out of a 1-2-3-4 beat). Clearly it hasn’t assumed that ‘no snare = kick drum’, so…how!?

The clip you posted (and yes I TOTALLY agree with your point about artificial hi-hats!) has the same double bass drum that I’d played in as per my ‘replacements’ clip, but that was me guessing. I honestly can’t remember what he played, but that was what just sounded right to me. So did your clip contain double kicks because mine did, or because that was what your process picked out automatically?

Honestly, I’m absolutely astonished (and excited) by this.

Transient detection (or hitpoints) doesn’t automatically work our what the hits are, it just detects hits. You have to assign the hit to the drum you want. I just took a listen to the replacement clip you posted and imitated what you did. But rather than play the kick drums in via a keyboard, I just used the “1&” and “3&” hihat beats as a source information (timing and velocity) to trigger the kick drum sample… Obviously, I had to raise the velocity of the hits to activate the kick drum at a realistic level.

…I don’'t know if I’m explaining this very well, but it all has to do with the fact that, in drumming, the hihats usually keep a constant pulse that synchronises with both the snare and kick hits.

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Okay, I think I understand. But did you have to also delete 2& and 4&?

Yes that’s right.