Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

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ian_superfly
KVRer
6 posts since 16 Aug, 2019

Post Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:37 pm

Hi,
I’ve a dream that been in the back of my head for some 35 years now… I would like to recreate the sound of the first Ramones album (you know the one with Blitzkrieg bop, bass guitar to the left and a chainsaw like guitar in the right speaker).
In the middle, THE drums!.
Joey’s fantastic voice is fully panned L and R.

The drums are played by Tommy Ramone and I just cant get even near that sound.
The bass drum is wobbly, indistinct, even hard to hear but still “just there” (and to me, it SWINGS!). The hi-hat is sizzling with no attack, but has a looong decay and just flows without any bottom (100% in left speaker).
The floor tom is super compressed and 100% to the right. The snare is completely “dead” but also “there”, right in the center and never missed even though its volume is quite low.
I think the OH is mono (and seems to lacks both hi hat and floor tom?).

So, how would YOU recreate this sound? I’ve access to a Tama low budget kit from the 80s but I think the only possible way might be to do it in Superior drummer (I have 2.0 plus “the lost NY”) or maybe EZDrummer?

Please help!

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Forgotten
KVRAF
2256 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:24 am

Tommy wasn't really a drummer though, he was a guitarist and the band's manager and live sound mixer, so what you hear is someone doing the minimum amount possible to produce a backbeat for the songs - he never wanted to be the drummer (and eventually gave up the drum stool to focus on production work).

It would be hard to reproduce that sound, but you have to remember that it's not just the amount of compression used, but also how much it's cut to make it fit in the mix like that. If you isolated the drum track it would probably sound very strange on its own.

Experiment with some harsh EQ cuts and various compressors and see what you can come up with.

ian_superfly
KVRer
6 posts since 16 Aug, 2019

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:03 am

Hi,
Thanks for answering.
I do not think there is any extreme EQ.

'What I believe I found:
There do not seem to be much drums in in the OH (i.e. there is only cymbals/Hi-hat).
There seem to be an "ambient" mic (but I do not understand how as both the hi-hat and the floor tom is 100.000000% panned to right/left...
There is a Flanger on the hi-hat and the bottom frequencies are rolled of below 300, it is lifted at 8kHz+.
The snare is well damped and close mic-ed only and maybe from underneath (there is VERY much snare wire in the sound).
The snare is also mid scoped, it has low frequencies and a peak around 200Hz AND at the top but not that much middle frequencies.
The bass drum has some sub/bass frequencies, a dip around the 150-200 and then a new peak in the "paper box" frequencies (without having that problem?). The skinn on the bassdrum is looser than normal.
The complete kit is also super compressed so it almost "pumps" like dance drums... (?)

This "pumping" together with the bass guitar is what confuses me the most (if the rest above is correct)

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
1815 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:15 am

You could get this, Bandcamp's a funny way to sell drum samples though, he's done a bunch of "hits" per drum, but you'll need to chop them up and map them yourself... again, he's gone a funny way about it.
(Having a second look, I think this is samples of Tommy's actual kit, I thought it was just samples in the style of the Ramones)
https://kobanes.bandcamp.com/album/tommy-ramones-drums

Another way is to get a crappy acoustic kit and make your own hits, and deliberately use crappy mics and don't do great job of it, that'll get you a pretty punk sound.
Last edited by an-electric-heart on Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
1815 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:22 am

I was going to suggest this free kit, but it seems to have gone from their site... yes, wrong era of punk, but I thought it might make a better starting point for tweaking than Superior.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YkZTi5LXeU

ian_superfly
KVRer
6 posts since 16 Aug, 2019

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:02 am

Hi,
Thanks for the links.
But, my biggest problem/challenge seems to be the sound of the bass drum and to get that Ramones bass drum sound of their first album (listen to Blitzkrieg on Spotify).
Last edited by ian_superfly on Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
6005 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:12 am

A fairy vintage stylee very dry kit with damping, lots of it....

15 minutes f**king about with the 'Vintage Dry' kit (mostly) in AD2, slammed into MJUC and TB Ferox ,and not a million miles away..

http://www.bennyleeds7.myfreeola.uk/heyholetsgo.mp3

Kick and toms probably need to be less aggressive, and couldn't be arsed with the panning, but you get the idea.

ian_superfly
KVRer
6 posts since 16 Aug, 2019

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:19 am

The snare is good! The hi-hat needs a flanger/EQ and the bass drum is not really as "wobbly" as the original?
The floor tom need a ton more compressor and a LP?

I will buy that VST IF I beleive I can get the right bass drum out of it.

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
6005 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:25 am

ian_superfly wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:19 am
The snare is good! The hi-hat needs a flanger/EQ and the bass drum is not really as "wobbly" as the original?
The floor tom need a ton more compressor and a LP?
Hehe, go for it then..! Was only messing around for a few minutes, got to go back to recording my sludge metel track now, and more importantly, have my tea.. :cry:

I'm sure SD2 will have something similar in terms of a 70s damped kit kit you can tweak. I think the key is definitely in the damping. You were right about a lot of mid-scoop on the snare, and I used all the bottom mic and no top (obvious;y this will vary with what kit you use). Good luck!

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
1815 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:51 am

ian_superfly wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:02 am
Hi,
Thanks for the links.
But, my biggest problem/challenge seems to be the sound of the bass drum and to get that Ramones bass drum sound of their first album (listen to Blitzkrieg on Spotify).
I'm into The Ramones, I actually own cds... but I'm in bed on tablet :P , so I'm not in ideal conditions to listen for the subtleties you're talking about, but I doubt there's any flanger... there probably wasn't much (if any) processing at all, besides levels and panning. More likely their first album was recorded with a setup less powerful than an old Tascam 4 track, and what you're hearing is just tape wobble and other assorted artifacts. :shrug:

ian_superfly
KVRer
6 posts since 16 Aug, 2019

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:18 pm

Hi, that record was actually recorded at a top of the line studio in Radio City Hall, NY (Plaza Sound studio).
Even though they completed the recording in just 5 days it was recorded using the big studio and they used Neuman U47, AKG D-12, Sennheiser 421, Urie, Pultec, Neve etc etc.

Just "hearing" the record might give you the impression that it is "just a raw punk record" but when you start to listen it is a very unique, (and in my taste) fantastic sound and mix (recorded by Rob Freeman, Kiss, Twister Sister, Blondie etc) and produced by Craig Leon (and Tommy Ramone).

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
1815 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:50 pm

ian_superfly wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:18 pm
Hi, that record was actually recorded at a top of the line studio in Radio City Hall, NY (Plaza Sound studio).
Even though they completed the recording in just 5 days it was recorded using the big studio and they used Neuman U47, AKG D-12, Sennheiser 421, Urie, Pultec, Neve etc etc.

Just "hearing" the record might give you the impression that it is "just a raw punk record" but when you start to listen it is a very unique, (and in my taste) fantastic sound and mix (recorded by Rob Freeman, Kiss, Twister Sister, Blondie etc) and produced by Craig Leon (and Tommy Ramone).
Aaaaaaaah, OK, I knew they worked with bigger producers (Phil Spector for example) later on, but just thought that early stuff was demo-ish, and pretty garage, I don't doubt you. :oops:

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Benedict
KVRAF
2977 posts since 5 Mar, 2004 from Gold Coast Australia

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:09 pm

Everything about the Ramones seems to be an illusion. They seem retards who just happened to be playing as they wandered through some back alley studio when the red light was on but in reality, their whole act was pretty sophisticated.

This mix leans on '60s panning and '50s recording style but in reality had to be using overdubs and other modern techniques to get parts of the kit hard panned. It is entirely possible that the Kik & Bass are side-chained (EDM didn't invent nuttin').

This uses the Rockabilly method of having the (Double) Bass drive the beat with its "bite" freq. The Kik is adding the body-thump in this case. The compression pulls the two together.

I also think that there is one reverb shared either via a send or the whole Bus - either section or even the whole Master to get that 50s band-in-a-room vibe. This really changes the sound from the way we do things now.

I'd not be looking for the right sample so much as the right mindset.

A great thing to be aware of in emulating older recordings is to remember that a DAW is not automatically a good replacement for a studio from '79. There are so many factors in-between then & now. The most vital being 'taste' as we find it so incredibly hard to roll off highs & lows and separation that we associate with the idea of music being good, yet were not a useable part of the arsenal of a studio outputting to AM Radio via tape & vinyl.

:-)

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Forgotten
KVRAF
2256 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:07 pm

You've got to remember that Tommy worked on sessions with quite a few big names in rock from the late 60s onwards, and engineered records by Jimi Hendrix among others. He knew what he was doing, but maybe he was focused on repeating some of the techniques he heard when he started out.

Listening to the album closely I think the compression is at least partly from tape compression as it sounds like most of it is recorded pretty hot. As donks says, the bass drum is heavily dampened and I think there's quite a bit of high cut on the drums. The kit is well isolated from the other instruments, and sounds like it was recorded in a very dry room. Cymbals sound opposite to drum skins in some ways - all mids and highs. The flanging is definitely there on the cymbals too.

The panning reminds me of the fake stereo mixes made from the original Beatles mono recordings. It also sounds somewhat deadened overall from additional compression, I would guess to prepare it for mastering after recording it so hot.

ian_superfly
KVRer
6 posts since 16 Aug, 2019

Re: Recreate the Ramones drum sound from the first album “Ramones”

Post Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:45 pm

Hi all, and thanks for all your inputs!
I am fairly close with the sound of the hi-hat, cymbal and Floor tom.
There is clearly a flanger on the hi-hat and the cymbals are also quite distorted/hot recorded. There is also more of the room sound in the cymbal than in the hi-hat/floor tom. I might also have to get the OH sound to pump some (more) with the bass/snare but I do not know that yet (see below).

I can get the snare somewhat OK but I do still have problems getting enough snare wire sound without making the snare too “light” and snappy. I use EQ + tape sim and also a gate to get the snare as OK as possible (there was no gate on the original recording but I use a gate to simulate dampening).

I do still have massive problems with the bass drum. I just can’t get it to wobble and pump like it does on the recording. The strange thing is that it FEELS like it pump a lot but it does not as it is almost difficult to HEAR the bass drum… It makes me confused! What do you think about that? Is the complete drumset pumping or is it just the OH that pumps when snare and kick presses the compressor?

Also, when sweeping with EQ, it seems like the bass drum has a bottom peak at approx. 50-80Hz and the snare starts already at low 100Hz, but it does not sound like that to me, that is just from a EQ-sweep. Both drums have their bottom peak higher up “in my head” but not when sweeping… What do you think?

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