Drum Processing Question on a Jeff Mills Track

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Mosiej
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Drum Processing Question on a Jeff Mills Track

Post by Mosiej » Wed May 30, 2018 12:10 am

Hey Wigglers, so I hope this is the right place to post this production question. I recently stumbled on this Millsart (Jeff Mills) step to enchantment (stringent) track off the Mecca EP (link bellow). The track blew me away but particularly the sonic texture of the drums. This is real raw vintage techno from one of the masters. Anyway I've used / heard lots and lots of drum techniques over the years, but I am curious as how fellow Wigglers think that Jeff achieved the sonic quality of the drums. I don't want to ripp 'em off verbatim yet the balance of heavy-hard drums with a textured lo-fi quality is irresistible.

My initial assumption is that it is a 909 being heavily compressed, slight reverb on certain channels (like the clap) and then put through a tape deck of sorts? Yet any other revelations or ideas would be fruitful to discuss. Also any techniques that y'all have used to achieve similar sounds would be great to hear!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQOd9bfaeko

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Zerius
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Post by Zerius » Wed May 30, 2018 5:53 am

Interested to know as well how he made this track for drums :hyper:
I can hear two kick drums playing at different time
One on a basic techno 4/4 but the other one seems off beat to the main rhythm

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lasesentaysiete
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Post by lasesentaysiete » Wed May 30, 2018 6:20 am

all time great Mills track!

I'd start by running individual outs from my drum machine through an older Mackie or Boss mixer. They contributed to a lot of the overdriven drum sounds of that era. I have a Boss BX-80 and can get that type of sound relatively easily. Obviously, the programming is altogether a different affair :)

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CDavis
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Post by CDavis » Wed May 30, 2018 2:38 pm

Mackie 1604 in the red is my guess

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lasesentaysiete
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Post by lasesentaysiete » Wed May 30, 2018 2:42 pm

CDavis wrote:Mackie 1604 in the red is my guess
exactly. As per my post above.

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Post by jahreed » Wed May 30, 2018 4:19 pm

the answer is that mackie mixer overdrive
on the kick and mixer gelling the parts to sound like compression but is probably just mixer bandwidth limiting/overdriving.

there are two synth lines - the rumbly bassline and the stabs

the rumbly bass is percussive and blends with the drums
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Post by zeit » Wed May 30, 2018 6:43 pm

I love this site, people have so much knowledge on things...great for beginners. :party: I would have never guessed that the mixer would be key to getting that type of sound. Probably excellent for industrial type sounds as well. I'm going to have to invest in one of those types of mixers now. :party:

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Mosiej
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Post by Mosiej » Thu May 31, 2018 6:03 pm

lasesentaysiete wrote:all time great Mills track!

I'd start by running individual outs from my drum machine through an older Mackie or Boss mixer. They contributed to a lot of the overdriven drum sounds of that era. I have a Boss BX-80 and can get that type of sound relatively easily. Obviously, the programming is altogether a different affair :)
Thanks so much, and to everyone who chimed in. Really cool to learn this technique as I am fascinated by the production of this epoch's techno. So cool to see how resourceful the pioneers were. Nowadays everyone is looking at the latest over drive or latest module to replicate the sounds they love.. the possibility are almost daunting.

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Post by orangehexagon » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:06 pm

Mosiej wrote:
lasesentaysiete wrote:all time great Mills track!

I'd start by running individual outs from my drum machine through an older Mackie or Boss mixer. They contributed to a lot of the overdriven drum sounds of that era. I have a Boss BX-80 and can get that type of sound relatively easily. Obviously, the programming is altogether a different affair :)
Thanks so much, and to everyone who chimed in. Really cool to learn this technique as I am fascinated by the production of this epoch's techno. So cool to see how resourceful the pioneers were. Nowadays everyone is looking at the latest over drive or latest module to replicate the sounds they love.. the possibility are almost daunting.
Not just daunting, but you can quickly reach a point of diminishing returns.

The same goes with all those gear purists and the tb303... the sound of acid house was created by people who used whatever cheap gear they had on hand and used it in a way that it wasn't intended to be used.

Always:
Creativity > Gear

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grinch
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Post by grinch » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:43 pm

orangehexagon wrote:
Not just daunting, but you can quickly reach a point of diminishing returns.

The same goes with all those gear purists and the tb303... the sound of acid house was created by people who used whatever cheap gear they had on hand and used it in a way that it wasn't intended to be used.

Always:
Creativity > Gear
I use my 303 clone so rarely because I havent made Acid Techno in yeeeaaaarrsssssss.......recently Ive been looking at it with intent to use it but then I hear it and shove it in the corner again....

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Post by Seaweed Sound » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:38 pm

I don't think there is any reverb on the clap.. that's just the heavy gain bringing up the tail noise of the analog clap. Also hear some swept mid eq boost in the track

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Post by The Grump » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:53 am

Keep in mind that those are most likely the pre-VLZ series preamps which one would find in a CL-1604 or 1202 Micro Series. The VLZ ones don't break up the same way. Now, add the fact that that track was mastered by none other than Ron Murphy himself, and you'll start to get a better idea of why there is such rich tonal content in those drums.

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Post by Panason » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:29 pm

I read an interview with Aphex Twin where he was laughing at how he used to get lots of people asking him what techniques he used to produce "Selected Ambient Works" and he said he didn't know wtf he was doing at the time.

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Post by flabby » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:45 pm

One of my all time favourite Mills tracks by far.

In terms of the drum and bass programming it's always quite difficult to tell with Jeff Mills what is programmed unaccented beats, what is a delay, and what is him adding accent/dynamics with his unique knob wiggling style.

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Post by tron23 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:31 pm

Panason wrote:I read an interview with Aphex Twin where he was laughing at how he used to get lots of people asking him what techniques he used to produce "Selected Ambient Works" and he said he didn't know wtf he was doing at the time.
Music was about feelings, and younger people sometimes have the ability to express those feelings easier and faster, before they get lost. I mean without thinking too much and start ruining everything.

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Post by BailyDread » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:50 pm

that's 100% the sound of a mixer being slammed to hell, w/ reverb returns and everything all running through the mixer

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Post by felixer » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:36 pm

yeah, mixer distortion. i got critizised for that when i did sound and always had the kick go into the red. esp on an older soundcraft (200/400) that works great. and it saves on using a comp/lim.
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

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computer controlled
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Post by computer controlled » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:30 pm

This track is simply a 909 being overdriven in the mixer, and a fairly static 303 sequence. Sounds like there might be a 727 under all that as well.

Classic track, i used to play the hell out of this one!
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Post by anomie » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:25 pm

BailyDread wrote:that's 100% the sound of a mixer being slammed to hell
So funny that so much of that sound comes from the original 1604, a mixer we couldn't *wait* to upgrade from and get the hell off. I wouldn't be surprised if some ebay shark is trying to pitch them as vintage mixers nowadays.

I'm sure Mills was tweaking a lot of this on the fly as well - live, he is a beast on the 909

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