The first step to mixing drums successfully is to set up your tracks right. Here’s a diagram of drum tracks properly bussed out for mixing. Toms sometimes get compressed as well, but it depends on how often they’re used in a song. Attack times are generally slow to allow the transients of the kit to punch through. Heavy compression can sound great when the drums are solo’d, but it can make them disappear in a full mix. Darunter befindet sich definitiv nichts, was ich für meinen Mix oder meine durchsetzungsfähige Snare benötige. When tracks are out of phase, it may cause phase cancellation, which causes certain frequencies to sound unbalanced or disappear altogether.To understand why phase incoherence is so common with drums, think of the physical distances between pieces of the drum kit and the microphones used to capture it. That means creating busses to organize the tracks and process them in the right places. Compression can be tricky, but it’s one of the keys to achieving a modern drum sound.It’s common to apply between 3-6 dB of gain reduction to the kick and snare. For dynamic control of the drums, the whole drum mix is often routed through a compressor configured with moderate settings. Finally, you should create a separate bus for the left and right overheads so you can adjust them independently. And some like the old-school sound of the RS56 or PuigTec EQs.Here are some of the most common frequency areas to focus on when EQing each drum in the kit: Kick Lows: 50Hz - 100Hz — Great for adding power, but too much can cause boominess Low mids: 100Hz - 250Hz — Great for adding fatness, but too much can cause muddiness Midrange: 400Hz - 800Hz — Too much can cause boxiness High mids: 3kHz - 5kHz — Great for adding snap, attack, and beater noise; too much can be harsh Snare Low mids: 100Hz - 250Hz — Great for adding fatness, but too much can cause muddiness Midrange: 400Hz - 1kHz — Usually where the fundamental ring can be found; too much can cause boxiness High mids: 3kHz - 5kHz — Great for adding snap and attack, too much can be harsh Highs: 10kHz — Great for adding 'air' and 'buzz,' too much can be shrill Toms Lows: 65Hz - 100Hz — Great for adding power to floor toms, but too much can cause boominess Low mids: 100Hz - 200Hz — Great for adding power to rack toms, but too much can cause muddiness Mids: 400Hz - 800Hz — Too much can cause boxiness High mids: 5kHz - 7kHz — Great for adding snap and attack; too much can be harsh Cymbals/Overheads Low mids: 200Hz - 500Hz — Great for adding “meat” to cymbals, but too much can be muddy or boxy High mids: 3kHz - 5kHz — Great for adding presence, but too much can be harsh and fight with the vocal Highs: 7kHz - 12kHz — Great for adding ‘air;’ too much can be shrill. You could also use the expander function, setting the range so that the bleed is reduced by a defined amount, instead of muting it altogether.Oftentimes with toms, engineers will edit the tracks in their DAW, deleting the drum bleed while the toms aren’t playing. Old electronic components like tubes, transformers and magnetic tape are famous for their pleasing sound. Adjust the attack time to (how quickly the gate opens) to affect the ‘pop,’ or the transient of the sound, and adjust the release time so that the gate closes as the sound decays. Depending on the sound you're going for, maybe you'll send just the snare and some hi hat to the parallel buss, or maybe you'll add the overheads with a touch of toms too. Michael Hahn is an engineer and producer at Autoland and member of the swirling indie rock trio Slight. So far the drums are sounding nice and clear with solid power and convincing ambience. After adjusting the tuning of your drums, it’s important to make sure the phase relationship between the various tracks is intact. The kick and the bass. Try to use narrow bands with high Q values to pinpoint problem areas in your recordings. Saturation is the subtle distortion that adds complex harmonics to your sound and makes it more present in the mix. Probably because I made that quote up today. Anytime you start mixing drums you can try these tricks to instantly make your drums sound better. So how do you get the sonic benefits without losing the punch? 7 Steps to Pro Mixes at Home To trigger samples with your drum mics you’ll need a sample replacement plugin. When listening to all mic channels together, they will play back some phase variance and ‘blurriness’ in the sound. Thankfully, seasoned mixers Chris Lord-Alge (Green Day, Muse), Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin), Jack Joseph Puig (John Mayer, Lady Gaga), and Tony Maserati (Beyoncé, Jay Z) have helped put together plugins featuring easy access to their tried-and-true processing chains.The Signature Series plugins offer unique combinations of EQ, compression, reverb, and dynamics processing for kick, snare, toms, overheads, and room mics.
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