Monday, March 7, 2011

RANDOM TIPS : Mixing your drums

Random tips... not always useful but nice to know. 

1.) Snares love plate 'verb 

2.) Multiple 'verbs on snare often works 

3.) Cutting top end off room mics is often good 

4.) "Modern" kick drums have a lot less low end than you may think, and a lot more 4-6K... you may end up boosting +12 db in that range... don't fret, it happens. 

5.) Nail you kick/snare compression attack/release curves right away. Once you nail that (and you'll hear it when you do) you've got the drum sounds nailed. 

6.) Don't pan the toms too far... 75-45% wide does the trick. 

7.) Don't go insane with the top end of the OH's.... too much 10K+ ends up with a very amateur sound. 

8.) Snare EQ: HP around 70hz, boost around 120-240, cut around 500-700, boost at 1.2K, and look for something between 3 and 10 K for more boost depending. Depends on what you got and want. Piccolo snares tend to like 6-7k boosts. 

9.) Try parallel compression on only the rooms--run one fairly mild, and the other set to annihilate. Balance them out until it sounds cool. 

10.) Knock out some 200 and 800 hz in room mics... leave the rest of it alone except for maybe some mild 8 Khz lowpassin'. If the kick has to be tight, HP the signal as well.

11.) Ruthlessly cut the lower mids on kick.... 6-15 db cuts should do around the 300-500 area. Set bandwidth to taste... the tighter the kick you want the more around 150-250 you should be rollin' off on. 

12.) Pick either your OH's or rooms as being dominant. Don't put 'em in at the same levels--have one louder than the other. The "modern" way is to choose the rooms a bit more--to balance out the ultra compressed and loud direct mics. Most OH's these days are cymbal info and a little clarity only and are often low in the mix (like -12 db on the meters it seems). 

13.) Limit *AND* compress kicks and snares. Love compression with a vengeance for that Lord Alge sound. 

14.) Put a stereo widener on your OH's... makes the drumkit image bigger, can make the snare sound a bit fatter too. 

15.) Put 20 ms delay on your room mics to get that Albini sound. 

16.) Apply vigorous amounts of tape saturation as the first plugin in your chain.... you'll need less compression later on. Gets a good vintage/indie type sound if you lay it on there. 

17.) 20-80 ms of predelay on snare 'verbs can be cool. 

18.) Non-lin verb sounds on drums is probably going to come back in style--I've already gotten requests for "big 80's drum sounds, tons of reverb" from young bands. 

19.) Don't compress your OH mics. 

20.) See if you can get a good sound using only your OH's and (some) room mics. Add minor amounts of close kick/snare (maybe not snare) for a vintage type sounds. It can be interesting how great you can get this to sound (except forget it when doing "modern" rock or metal--you need all the close mics you can get). 

21.) When in doubt use triggers/samples. However, if it's a "learning" session or your trying to improve your chops don't use those things until you learn how to mix without it. Use the bare minimum when you do use 'em... 

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