Woo, the last few weeks got kind of intense, didn’t they? Well, we can step back and take a deep breath now, because February is over, the album we made from the last four patches is out, and we’re on to other things! Real quick though, here’s that album:

Anyway, to clear the palate and take it somewhat easy this week, I decided to indulge in one of my favorite Eurorack sound design patches: drums for sampling! Before we get into the details of the patch itself, let me go over my sampling methodology first.

For one thing, I like to run most of my samples through some kind of tape. I find it gives them a nice character, and depending on how it’s recorded can add a nice crunch and saturation. For drum samples, this will typically mean running the outputs of the modular (or the drum machine I am sampling) into the tape machine through my mixer’s sub outs, then into the MPC for sampling. Typically I’ll start the tape rolling, trigger drum samples and wiggle knobs for ~5 minutes, then cut the best hits out into individual samples, normalize/process them further as needed, and voila, a new batch of drum samples is born. And that’s exactly what I did here (using some new TDK AD tape on my AKAI GXM50 tape deck).

Now you know what I do with the patch, so let’s look at the patch itself.

Hey, looks simple compared to some of these, doesn’t it? (Modular synth with color coded patch cables in pink, purple, green and shades of blue)

I figured for our first week of drum design (and yes, we’ll be making drum sounds/samples for a week or two) we’d use the drum module we have, the Noise Engineering Tymp Legio. I went into its Hit input with the output from the Mutable Instruments Ears, using the contact mic as my trigger. Output of the Tymp Legio goes to the Klavis Flexshaper, a complex waveshaping module. Flexshaper output goes to the Tallin VCA which is cranked relatively high to give some more crunch on the outputs. And then out to the mixer, to be sampled. That’s it in terms of the audio chain.

But of course, this is modular so it’s All About That Modulation, isn’t it? We’re actually keeping that pretty simple, too. The Tymp Legio (which is set to the Cat mode, with Tang switch high for nearly all of the samples I made this time; obviously different settings give a different character) is getting pitch info from the Ears’ Envelope output, attenuated a bit by the Blend, and that’s it for that module! I moved the Wack and decay knobs during sampling a few times but not much else.

On the Flexshaper we have a bit more modulation to, in essence, create an ever so slightly shifting distortion on each hit. Its middle output is getting a random value at each trigger strike, from the Kinks (which is triggered by the gate of the Ears). The Floor input gets a cycling envelope/LFO from the Function, the Mid Up input gets an attentuated Sloths output (attenuated by Blend), and the Ceiling input is getting a mix of the Sloth’s output and the envelope from the Ears. And that’s it!

I played with this for about 6 minutes and then spent an hour or less cutting out the best hits and finalizing them I ended up with a palette of 16 distorted drums that all sound like they’re related. Here’s a very brief and basic demo, just to give you an idea of what kind of results you might get…


If you want to sample those, go right ahead … or just wait, because I will almost certainly release a sample pack of all these drums once I finish these patches!

And here’s the video:

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