Steel Drums

Panning for Audio Gold

Beautifully crafted steel pans presented in two forms; for use with orchestral material on Films, TV, & Games, to a fantastic selection of presets designed for use on modern RnB and EDM hosted on our popular eDNA engine. From hauntingly beautiful soft layers to searing metallic bites. Session star Frank Ricotti takes us on yet another adventure on the greatest scoring stage in the world.

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All We Do - Homay Schmitz (0:00 / 2:47)

Panning For Gold - C. Henson & O. Weder (0:00 / 1:51)

Butterfly Nebula - C. Henson (0:00 / 1:39)

Metallic Vibes - Lawrence Shahid (0:00 / 1:21)

Yup! - Lawrence Shahid (0:00 / 1:01)

Playa Paraiso - Oliver Patrice Weder (0:00 / 1:32)

Caribbean Vice - Lawrence Shahid (0:00 / 2:11)

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Overview

Having grown up in Notting Hill, Spitfire's Christian Henson has always had a fascination with steel drums or "pans". Not only for their evocative qualities of limes, barbecued jerk, plantain and rum on sandy beaches in Trinidad. But also for their deeply emotional mellow tones, sub-bass harmonics and rich timbral and dynamic range. Having worked with Frank Ricotti on many percussion projects (including the seminal Hans Zimmer percussion range) it was only a matter of time before Christian requested we get some pans into our favourite place to record, the hall at Air Studios, London for a sampling study of steel!

Background

Originally of Trinidadian tradition, using bamboo sticks to hit kitchenware, trash cans and drums had grown into a movement that saw its first all steel bands in the 1930s and by the 1940s had become a popular carnival instrument. 55 gallon oil drums were first employed for this use in the late 40s and made an appearance at the festival of Britain in 1951. Steel pans have echoed round the streets of London's Holland Park and Ladbroke Grove since the inception of the Notting Hill Carnival in 1966 and have become an integral part of the world's second biggest street party ever since. They can also be found on seminal works by Jaco Pastorius and the scores of Cliff Martinez and Hans Zimmer and in 2016 became very much the 'zeitgeist' sound on popular dance, RnB tracks on airwaves across the globe.

Frank Ricotti is a living legend. Beyond being one of the most in demand percussionists in the world for the top recording artists, he has played on innumerable film scores such as Inception, Skyfall, Twilight Saga, Madagascar, Interstellar, Narnia, Fantastic Mr Fox, Dark Knight, Bourne series.. There isn't an hour in the day where, somewhere in the world, his playing isn't being broadcasted.

Recorded by Jake Jackson at Lyndhurst Hall – Air Studios, on one of the finest scoring stages in the world, through an array of vintage microphones via Neve “Montserrat” pre-amps, to a beautifully serviced Studer 2” tape machine and then into digital at 96k via Prism AD converters: this is an unparalleled signal chain.

If you want the definitive and classiest steel drums library, you'll find no competition!

Features

Having a long relationship with applied media composition our first task was to record steel drums for a multitude of uses, so it was essential different microphone positions were captured for different perspectives. So our standard orchestral 'tree' array was employed for those who wish to employ these exotic drums into their orchestral film, games, TV and concert works. But also closer and more focused positions for those wanting to embrace the current zeitgeist of steel pans on their RnB & EDM tracks.

The steel drums are deep sampled, with pristine management of the harmonic language of the drums to give a versatile and really touching tone at the softer levels, almost so they're not immediately recognisable as steel pans. To the louder, brasher dynamic layers which have an unashamed Caribbean 'splang'!

We present our Steel drums with two interfaces, the standard "multi mic" designed for those familiar with our orchestral range, with front-end instant tweaking of articulations and microphones being used. We have also loaded the steel drums into our popular super-tweakable, eDNA engine with dozens of amazing 'spring out of the box' presets designed by our award winning team of composers, producers and sound designers.

GUIs

The Overview Panel

Gives you a quick and easy way to access, view and load the different articulations, mic mixes and essential controller functions which you can then re-assign to suit your workflow.

General Controls Panel

A deeper but still simple UI panel that allows you to tweak the general settings. How many round robins you would like and how you would like them to behave. How would you like memory to be organised alongside pitch options and how velocity works.

The Ostinatum

Quite simply a little inspiration machine. Not quite an arpeggiator, not quite a sequencer. This intuitive device allows you to build up complex patterns that react to your playing to achieve wild systems results tantalising Zimmeresque tension beds or cheeky multi-tonguing effects!

eDNA Engine

Over the last seven years Spitfire - in partnership with Blake Robinson - have been creating some of the most intuitive and ingenious scripts, simple to use GUIs and attractive front ends. A year ago, we wiped the script clean and set about creating a monster of a new script engine. This we call eDNA. Two sets of sounds can be used in conjunction with the eDNA engine to quickly, dramatically and awesomely create a new audio experience for the next generation of music makers.

Presets / Articulations / Mics / Mixes

Presets / Articulations

eDNA Presets TBA - Check back with us soon!

Instruments main mics:

  • Steel Drums
Individual patches:
  • Cello Pan - Hits
  • Cello Pan - Large Beater
  • Cello Pan - Rolls
  • Cello Pan - Small Beater
  • Ensemble - Hits
  • Lead Pan - Hits
  • Lead Pan - Rolls

Instruments alt mics:

  • Steel Drums
Individual patches:
  • Cello Pan - Hits
  • Cello Pan - Large Beater
  • Cello Pan - Rolls
  • Cello Pan - Small Beater
  • Ensemble - Hits
  • Lead Pan - Hits
  • Lead Pan - Rolls

Instruments stereo mixes:

  • Steel Drums
Individual patches:
  • Cello Pan - Hits
  • Cello Pan - Large Beater
  • Cello Pan - Rolls
  • Cello Pan - Small Beater
  • Ensemble - Hits
  • Lead Pan - Hits
  • Lead Pan - Rolls

eDNA Patches

  • Amazing Hit Super Bright - Use Ds
  • Amazing Hit
  • Angry SEQ - RT Fast - MW Fun
  • Awesome Filthy SEQ - RT Fast - MW Fun
  • Awesome Saturated SEQ - RT Fast - MW Fun
  • Bright Dirty Pans SEQ - RT Fast
  • Bright Dirty Pans SEQ 2 - RT Fast - MW Fun
  • Bright Dirty Pans SEQ 2 dry - RT Fast - MW Fun
  • Descending Robot Insects - MW is Gate
  • Distorted Super Duper Tight Hits
  • Distorted Super Tight Hits
  • Extra Jamaican Hits Flashy
  • Extra Jamaican Hits Gated
  • Extra Jamaican Hits
  • Good Bass Provided You Like That Note MW is Pitch
  • il-Defined Pad In Church With Robots - MW is filter
  • Lo Fi Organ Pad - MW is Filter
  • Low End Long Hits Dry And Farty
  • Low End Long Hits
  • Massive Distant Hit Low End
  • Massive Hit Low End
  • Mellow Gritty SEQ - RT Fast - MW Fun
  • Mellow Pans - RT - Wet
  • Mellow Pans - RT Fast - Wet
  • Phased Power Chords Gated - MW is Filter
  • Poorly Refined Pad - MW is filter
  • Power Chords - MW is Filter
  • Power Chords Gated - MW is Filter
  • Prehistoric Pad - MW is Filter
  • Rusty Gate Pad - MW is filter
  • Scaffolding Hits Dry
  • Scaffolding Hits
  • Simple Lovely SEQ Fatter - RT Slow - MW Stutter Gate
  • Simple Lovely SEQ Trips - RT Slow - MW Stutter Gate
  • Simple Lovely SEQ Trips n Filter - RT Slow - MW Stutter Gate
  • Siren Gate - MW is Filter
  • Slow Stutter SEQ - RT Fast - MW Fun
  • Slow Stutter SEQ 3 - RT Fast - MW Fun
  • Slow Stutter SEQ lpf - RT Fast - MW Fun
  • Soft Attack and Wet Hits
  • Steal Side RT - Wet
  • Steel Drone - MW is filter
  • Steel Drone 2 - MW is filter
  • Steel Drone 3 - MW is filter
  • Super Massive Distant Hit Low End
  • Super Tight Great Played Quietly
  • Super Tight Xtra Jamaican Hits
  • Surprisingly Useful Punchy Fart Bass
  • Tight and Dry Hits - MW is Formant
  • Underwater Organ Pad - MW is Filter
  • Very Angry SEQ - RT Fast - MW Fun

Mics & Mixes

MICROPHONES

  • Close
  • Tree
  • Ambient
  • Outrigger
  • Close Ribbon
  • Stage
  • Gallery

MIXES

  • Fine
  • Medium
  • Broad