Making of Splice's Vintage Grooves Drum Loops & Samples  - That Classic Disco Drum Sound

Making of Splice's Vintage Grooves Drum Loops & Samples - That Classic Disco Drum Sound

In this 'Studio Stories' blog post, I'll break down the process of creating the "Vintage Grooves" sample pack for Splice.



I've been asked by John Smythe (Senior producer at Splice) to design this pack. I had this crazy period when I was listening exclusively to disco, and disco sounds were driving me crazy. I just couldn't resist, and recreating some iconic disco sounds became an obsession. My goal was to create the drum sounds from Michael Jackson's song 'Shake Your Body Down To The Ground'.

My research helped me get the sounds featured in this pack.

It was released on the Label Discotheque on Splice, which showcases packs made by some of the world's best artists and producers.


The drum sound of this pack is the result of many factors: room acoustics, tuning and head type; mic choice and placement; microphone balance as well as processing during mixing. We'll get into all that below.



The recordings took place in my personal studio located in sunny La Palme, near the Mediterranean Sea in the South of France. It has been designed by Julien Ravary from the company Red House Acoustics, which did an amazing job at control the acoustics of this small room without making it too 'dead' sounding.

The room has witnessed drum recordings for artists like Angèle, Dombrance, and even a song featuring Beck on Adan Jodorowsky's new album.

The room plays a significant role in the quality of drum sound, even for drier styles. 



The heart of the pack is my cherished Vintage Hayman Drum kit from the 70s, featuring 22", 12", 13", and 16" drums. I opted for no resonant heads on the kick and toms, with heavy dampening in the kick. The toms feature double-ply heads with substantial dampening (mainly tape).

The snare of choice was my trusted 70s Ludwig Acrolite snare.

When aiming for a 'dead' sound, I strive to find the perfect balance between damping and preserving the drum's tone and fullness.

It's like crafting the perfect mayonnaise, a process understood by my fellow French enthusiasts.



My Zildjian cymbals did an amazing job on this one ! These were the one I used : 

Zildjian NewBeat 15'
Zildjian Sweet Crash 18'
Zildjian Cluster Crash 20'


  • Kick Drum Mic: AKG D12VR
  • Snare: Beyer M201 & SM57
  • Toms: Audix D2, D4 & Telefunken M82 on Floor Tom
  • Hihat: Neumann KM184
  • Beyer Dynamic M160 as Mono Overhead
  • AKG C451 as Stereo Overheads



All mics ran through Apollo preamps, except for the kick, snare, and stereo overheads routed through 500 format Neve 1073 & Chandler TG2 preamps.
The kick mic was positioned close to the batter head.
Toms were miked from the inside, while the hi-hat mic was rarely used to minimize snare bleed.
Overheads were placed low and spaced for a wide stereo image.



All my drum loops packs have always been mixed in the box.

I spend quite a lot of time on adjusting gates on close mics with Fabfilter's Pro G and Soundtoys' Decapitator to filter and low pass some elements. I also saturate the drum bus with an emulation of the classic Studer A800 recorder by Universal Audio.

My biggest improvement in sound hasn't been a result of throwing plugins on my tracks, but rather through improving my engineers skills and finding the right balance between the microphones.

I love being able to spend time on the mixing process, but since these tracks aren't in a musical context yet, I prefer not to overcook them (my bad if that happens anyway!) and let producers/artists push them even further.



Even if I'm working on UA's DAW Luna since a few months, I'm still cropping & exporting all the loops, breaks & samples in Ableton. Reason is I found this M4L device called 'Clip Renamer', and 'Clip Exporter' by Kentaro.
It gives me the possibility to batch rename & export groups of stems, loops, breaks ... anything.
Pretty big time saver on those kind of projects !
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