Create Epic Drums Sounds using the 'Flip and Nudge' Technique

An advanced Samplecraze technique for processing and layering drum sounds using a unique approach to sound design - as featured in Sound On Sound Magazine.

Drum Design

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Create Epic Drums using ‘Flip and Nudge’ Technique is a Samplecraze exclusive video tutorial on how to use phase cancellation and nudge to create brand new drum textures.

As seen in  Sound On Sound magazine, a Samplecraze technique for layering drum sounds using Flip (inversion) and Nudge (move tool).

The article can be read here: Layers of Complexity

Drum Layering

Create Epic Drums Sounds using the ‘Flip and Nudge’ Technique delves into creating custom drum sounds that result in what we refer to as a ‘signature’ sound in that beat producers will often have a specific way of processing drum sounds that can then be linked to that producer. We then refer to this as the producer’s signature sound. It’s just a flash way of saying ‘yeah, he made that sound’. However, this has been exhausted to death my marketing folk with sample packs selling that are promoted as ‘Just Blaze samples’ or ‘Neptune samples’.

The traditional way of layering drum sounds in a DAW, and in some hardware samplers, is to use two (or more) audio files, one on top of the other, and to shape and process each audio file in isolation and then to use both together as one sound. In most cases this is all you need to create a great new sound from two or more existing sounds, but what if you want to take it to the next level and create truly professional and unique signature sounds? Well, you need to think a little laterally and incorporate advanced sound design techniques.

Phase Cancellation

I decided a long time ago to create a technique that used sound design principles to layer drum sounds as I felt that there was so much more we could do to create signature sounds than the traditional approach of layering drum sounds one on top of the other. I wrote an article for Sound On Sound magazine called Layers of Complexity explaining this technique in detail.

Basically, it involves importing two drum sounds into the DAW onto two separate channels. One channel is inverted (flipped) and summed with the other channel which results in silence (total phase cancellation). The second sound is then moved along the timeline (nudged) in tiny shifts. This results in partial phase cancellation. We then use dynamic processing on either or both sounds to create a new texture.

To understand what total and partial phase cancellation are please watch this FREE video on the subject:

Total and Partial Phase cancellation


Now that we understand what phase cancellation is let me show you how easy it is to use the Nudge Tool in your DAW to nudge one layer against another after inverting one of the sounds. By inverting/flipping and summing we, in effect, cancel the sounds and the process results in silence. This now gives us a clean frequency base to work from. If you use your DAW’s nudge tool and nudge one of the sounds by small amounts you will magically hear the audio change and in real-time

In the Create Epic Drums using ‘Flip and Nudge’ Technique video, I explain what phase cancellation is and how we can use it for sound design purposes. I show you how to set up your DAW to allow for this technique and I make sure to explain how to use the nudge tool in the DAW to move the sound files along the project’s timeline.

The plugin used in this video:

Cockos Reaper

Topics  covered in this video are:

  • Understanding Phase and Phase Cancellation
  • Understanding the Elements
  • Layering Techniques for the DAW
  • Understanding Equalisation
  • Understanding Nudge and the Subdivision Values
  • Equalisation layering using Cancellation
  • Using 3 EQs in parallel
  • Tips and Tricks

If this tutorial was of help then have a look at these:

The Art of Drum Layering (second edition)

The Art of Drum Layering – Advanced

Shaping Drum Sounds for Layering

Processing Low End Kicks

Creating a Huge Low End Kick

Layering Kicks using a Tone Generator and Noise Gate

Low End Compilation

Drum Layering in Native Instruments Battery

Drum Layering Basics

Layering Snares using a Synthesizer and a Noise Gate

Beat Construction