My first step to become more modern and contemporary was the search for a new drum-sound. Modern Metal-productions often use Sample-libraries. If there is a real drummer involved the recorded sounds are heavily processed and often replaced by samples. Therefore in my opinion modern drum-tracks sound exchangeable and mechanic, because all people are using the same sounds. Why not be more consequent and replace the drummer with a machine, which sounds like a machine and not tries to emulate a human? I liked this idea and purchased the Teenage Engineering PO-12 to experiment with analog-style drum-machine sounds (read my review about the PO-12 here). My first attempt was to sync several PO-12 to get separated outputs for the different instruments and to use the internal sequencer of the PO-12. But the experiment failed because of unpredictable volume-drops caused by the split-cables. Next I programmed the drums with the internal sequencer of the PO-12 and recorded the output it in glorious Mono. But in combination with the heavy guitars the Mono-Mix of the PO-12 was not flexible enough.
At last I sampled the sounds of the PO-12 and created an instrument in Logic’s often overlooked EXS 24-Sampler.
Because I liked just one Tom-sound of the PO-12 I first derived three differently tuned samples from the original Tom-sound. But during the mix of the first song with the new kit I was not happy with the sound of the Toms. Therefore I replaced the Toms with Toms from a Roland TR-707, which sound much better. I found free samples of the TR-797 here. Additionally I set up some natural cymbals, two Crash-Cymbals, a China, a Splash and a Ride and I ended up in a sort of Hybrid-kit, a mix of synthetic and natural sounds. Meanwhile I was hooked by the idea and went a few steps further. I also derived three different snare-samples from the PO-12 snare with slightly different tunings and different decays. For the different snare-sounds I defined velocity-areas, so I can trigger a shorter and lower tuned snare-sound with lower velocity-values and a longer and higher pitched snare with a higher velocity-value. This is in my opinion the way a real snare also reacts: A harder Hit causes slightly higher tones while a soft hit causes lower tones and maybe also shorter release-times.
The performance of my new Custom-drumset became even more lively, when I created two modulation-paths: Velocity is modulating Pitch and Envelope.
Then I created a new channel in logic, inserted the EXS24 with the new instrument and opened multiple outputs for all single drum-instruments. The drum-mix were the last task: All signals were panned, the snare and toms were send through the free Voxengo Oldskool Reverb. I applied some EQs and send every channel to a dedicated drum-bus.
The new drummer cuts very well through the Metal-guitars and sounds dynamic and unique. I have uploaded an example to give you an impression of the new drumsound: