There are a few VSTs out there, SPL's drum xchanger for example, that do what's called "drum replacement". I don't understand this concept. Can someone explain it to me?

Thank you!


If the drumset is recorded in a fairly isolated manner, then you can often get very very good results.

This is based on transient response. You can often assign a different sample to a different amplitude range of the transients on a given track so that you don't lose the dynamic feel (varied amplitudes) of the track.

It's not an easy process. It's not like you can just say, "I want to replace this snare," then click one button, and it's done. It takes a lot of time and tweaking to get it to where it needs to be. Also, you don't need to use a drum replacement plugin to get the effect. If you know what you're doing, you can easily use the "Tab to Transient" feature in Pro Tools to achieve the same results.

The quality of the final product is dependent quality of the samples you are replacing the drums with, and the amount of time you put into it.

I would say that probably 50% of the stuff you hear on the radio has some sort of drum replacement involved in it. When I used to work in the music world, half of everything I worked on had drum replacement in it. That included grammy winning projects. So the quality is there, it just takes time a patience.

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  • In Pro Tools, Beat Detective and Drum Doctor have made it almost possible to do it in 2 clicks... – Utopia Jul 26 '10 at 18:49
  • You can definitely do it in two clicks. Getting grammy level stuff can take a little more tweaking though. :-/ – Colin Hart Jul 26 '10 at 19:32
  • True, I have that experience :) – Utopia Jul 27 '10 at 3:34

You replace the recorded files with samples. That way you can choose a different kit but still use the original timing and dynamics.

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  • it seems to rely on transient detection... but is there something more advanced about it? i mean, the concept itself is quite clear, the idea of taking a recorded kit and replacing each hit with a single hit sample, but i'm more curious about the process through which this is achieved and whether it can actually produce good results. – innerfuze Jul 26 '10 at 16:07
  • It is a standard technique in music production and is actually very accurate. It has also been done successfully since the 1980s when Simmons drum brains were used to generate MIDI direct from the recorded tracks on the 2" tape. – user80 Jul 26 '10 at 19:17

Mentionned above Soundreplacer + beatdetective works pretty well in protool, I also think about drumagog (www.drumagog.com) which I find a lot more efficient as a trigger.

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Drum replacement is on more modern albums than not. You can either replace the original drums entirely, or layer the replaced drums over top of the original recordings, to fatten them up as needed.

There is one company that had a demo at NAMM, where they miced up a bunch of pots and pans in a traditional drum kit configuration, and then played the live replaced samples in real time as people would bash away on the kit.

Also, if you have Logic 9 (and maybe earlier versions as well), it has some nice drum replacement stuff built in.

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