Mixing

Snare Drum Mixing Tips

In my judgment, one of the most compelling instruments in the genre of rock drums is the snare drum. If you hear an excellent rock song, you will definitely hear a first-class, powerful snare drum.

Thinking back, my favored bands with strong and one-of-a-kind snare drums where Genesis, who can forget that gated reverb effect perfected by Phil Collins. Van Halen had a distinct snare drum sound and one of my most favorites is Led Zeppelin.

How do these snare drum sounds get produced? They get created with the kind of snare drum used, the type of microphones used for the top and bottom of the snare drum, the type of pre-amps used for those microphones, and they get defined by the positioning of those microphones. There are extra recording techniques, and mixing techniques that make for a fantastic snare drum sound.

I believe we should start with EQ. Eq for a snare drum will be different for each and every song. So these standard settings that I’m going to be giving you are just that, general standard settings. Yuo will need to use your ears to dial in the correct EQ settings. do not fall into the trap of thinking there are set settings for EQ, compression and other audio effects, because there is not!

Attempt using a high-pass filter set at 120Hz and under. 120Hz is an excellent starting point and then just slide the filter downward for desired cut.
Boost between 150 – 300Hz. This will fatten the snare drum up for you.
Try cutting around 400 – 900Hz to knock out some boxiness low end.
Boost between 5 – 7kHz for a crispness.
A boost between 9 – 15kHz will add some nice brightness to the snare. Just make sure it doesn’t interfere with the vocals in that range.

For heavy snare sound: Boost +3dB around 100Hz, Q= 1.0, Cut -5dB around 2000Hz Q= 1.4, Boost +3dB 8000 Hz Q = 1.0
For a crispy and powerful snare drum sound: Cut -3dB around 200Hz Q= 1.0, Boost 3dB at around 8000Hz Q=1.0

If your going to play around with these settings, you will need a parametric EQ. Parametric EQ’s have a setting for the Q.

Here are some very general compression settings:
Attack: 20ms to 60ms
Release: 30ms to 100ms
Threshold: – This depends on the strength of your signal. It can be set at -6dB or -16dB, depending on your signals dB level.
Compression ratio: 2:1 to 6:1

Pan settings for a snare drum. Most people pan their snare drums dead center. But in reality, the snare is not dead center. Its either off to the left or right, depending on if the drummer is left handed or right handed. If the drummer is right handed, you should pan the snare drum slightly off to the right and if your a left handed drummer, pan it slightly to the left. When I say slightly, I mean something like 5 to 7 units, so it will read +5 or -5, depending on if the drummer is right or left handed.

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EQ and Compression Techniques For Drums in Mixing

Even though the drummer plays the entire kit as one tool, the miking of individual drums and cymbals will make for a tremendously complicated blend scenario. The main reason we reference country and stone songs particularly is due to the fact that during these genres the sounds associated with individual drums and cymbals are not just designated by specific microphones placed on all of them additionally their noises tend to be exaggerated to create an even more dramatic effect.

Think about, for example, the tom fills in Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” By comparison, jazz drums are often treated as a more cohesive, unified sound and it’s maybe not unusual to use a simple set of expense mics to fully capture the noise of the entire jazz drum kit.

In this essay, i will get drum by drum delivering EQ and compression settings that’ll, ideally, offer you a jumping-off suggest getting great drum noises in your mix. Due to the all-in-one mixing board station strategy, i will be making use of Metric Halo’s Channel Strip plug-in featuring its EQ, compression and noise-gate to illustrate my commentary about different EQ and compression options.

Kick Drum

Once the heartbeat for the contemporary drum kit, the kick drum noise we have cultivated used to hearing is actually boomy and round regarding bottom and contains a pleasant, bright click into the high mid range. It’s the balancing act between EQ and compression that offers the kick drum being able to stick out in a mix. Starting with EQ, the ultimate way to accentuate the lows and highs would be to pull some low-mids. I’m a big believer in cutting rather than boosting EQ to accomplish a desired impact. Consequently, we have a tendency to pull somewhere within 2 to 4db at between 350hz-450hz. After that, after removing several of this low-mid dirt through the sound, I am able to boost the clicking noise associated with the beater striking the top for the kick drum by boosting around 2db inside 2k-3k range. I am offering estimated dB and frequency range options because according to the kick drum, mic positioning and, obviously the drummer, all of these options will change. Make use of these general ranges as a jumping off point after which trust your ears.

So far as compression configurations go, the secret will be preserve the transient assault regarding the kick drum with a fast not too quickly attack time (9ms in cases like this) after which an instant launch (11ms) and so the compressor is preparing to answer the following kick drum hit. The proportion I prefer is a somewhat mild 2.5:1 and I also adjust the limit until I hear the kick sound i am looking for. Eventually, to give the kick drum noise some split from remaining portion of the system, i personally use a noise gate and adjust the threshold allowing the kick appear to come through while basically muting most of the other drum/cymbal sounds. Also, while establishing the assault to your Channel Strip’s fastest “auto” environment, we enable a long (400ms) launch.

Sub Kick

This kind of miking technique is just one that can be used to create great low-end presence into kick drum. By way of explanation, a brief stand keeping simply the woofer of a speaker is placed while watching kick drum and sees predominantly the reduced frequencies. Whenever blended with all the kick drum mic, the sub-kick makes great-power inside most affordable the main frequency.

So that you can accentuate the most important aspects of the sub kick’s sound, I often make use of a low pass filter way of my EQ that removes all frequencies above 500hz and falls off even more significantly below 100hz. It is to ensure that only the crucial areas of the sub kick’s sound come through. The sub kick is thought over it really is heard. In terms of compression, a ratio of around 5:1, a comparatively slow attack (120ms) and medium quickly release (57ms) let the sub kick’s tone to keep present and complete under the noise for the kick drum’s regular miked noise. After that, we’ll utilize a noise gate with a quick assault (20ms) and slow release (200ms) to help keep out any system sounds which may usually bleed into the sub kick noise.

Snare

Together with the kick drum, the snare drum is vital for driving a rhythm track. Bad EQ and compression practices can keep it sounding slim, lifeless and generally uninspired. To accentuate the very best areas of the snare sound with EQ, We’ll increase the reduced end associated with snare by 2-3dB at around 80hz, cut 2-3dB between 350-450hz after which boost once more, if required, for more high-end brightness, by 1-2dB at 5k. These three EQ things are a good starting point to sculpt an appealing snare sound.

Compression on a snare is an actual balancing act where way too much will need away the vitality regarding the performance and inadequate could make it virtually impossible to get a hold of a suitable degree the snare when you look at the mix. I prefer a ratio of 2.5:1 with an extremely quick assault (2ms) and release (11ms). If you are discovering that you’re losing the breeze of the snare, slow your compressor’s assault only a little but remember that slowing the attack too much will need the compressor too-long to grab onto the noise and will keep the snare less workable in the combine.

Adjust the limit settings until things sound straight to your ear. This fundamentally lets you regulate how much total compression you will be applying. Don’t overdo it or perhaps the drum will lose its power but don’t go also lightly or the snare wont stand-up within the combine. Gating the snare is an endeavor and mistake procedure besides. According to if the snare method into the track is aggressive or soft could have a lot to do with your limit options. Like in the kick drum, I use the very quick “auto” attack and a slower launch regarding gate so as to hold out the ambient noises of cymbals, toms and kick.

Hi-Hat

While obviously a cymbal, the hi-hat is actually used much more as a rhythmic factor than a tone shade like a number of the various other cymbals in a drum system. Making sure it has its very own sonic area and speaks demonstrably without being too loud and distracting is what EQ and compression tend to be about in this situation. For EQ, we’ll once again utilize a shelving method at around 200hz that effortlessly drive out low-end information this is certainly non-essential toward hi-hat sound. Easily’m contemplating bringing in a little more high-end shimmer and sizzle, I’ll boost between 1-3dB between 6k and 8k once more using my ears to inform myself what exactly is working. Generally speaking, We tend to keep away from compression regarding hi-hat since it will get a hold of is own dynamic range without an excessive amount of extra assistance.

Low (Floor) Tom

A well-mixed pair of toms make all the difference between drum fills which can be interesting and people which go by without catching the listener’s ear. Starting with the lower tom, I have a tendency to choose the locations in the regularity range that draw out both the boom plus the breeze (just like the method we approach the kick). To accentuate the low quality of this drum, I’ve found that a dramatic slice (12dB) at around 500hz allows the drum to speak obviously. In addition, to include the high-end breeze, a semi-aggressive boost of between 4-6dB at around 3k will do the key. Compression in addition adds too much to this equation. A ratio of approximately 4.5:1, a slower assault of 120ms and method slow release of around 90ms helps the noise continue to be full and resonant. For the limit, i merely adjust before the tom bands correctly. Gating is yet another major factor for toms while the huge diaphragm mics put on these drums usually pick-up a lot of the extraneous noises from remaining kit.

We set the gate using fastest “auto” attack and a slow 400ms launch and adjust the limit until i am reading just the low tom come through when it is struck. For the “tweak heads” in our midst there’s a slightly more accurate and labor-intensive solution to do this. By entering the sound files in your DAW and deleting all however the tom strikes by themselves, you are able to develop a perfectly gated tom track.

High (Rack) Tom

Just like the reduced tom, the large tom features it really is own frequencies that ought to be cut/accentuated to bring out of the sweetest elements of the noise. For EQ, I’ll do another big slice of approximately 10dB at 600hz and I’ll make a similarly huge boost of approximately 7dB at more or less 2k. For compression, I prefer a slightly more intense 6:1 ratio slower assault (100ms) and an instant release (25ms). Much like the reduced tom, I’ll gate the high tom with the identical gate assault (fastest “auto”) and launch (400ms). The answer to the limit is to adjust it until just the high tom blows through keeping the channel basically muted throughout the full time. A final note from the toms, as all tom sizes, tunings and even drummers are very different, you’ll want to have fun with these configurations until you discover nice spots.

Overheads / Place Mics

Given that we’ve made a proper energy to separate and improve each of the specific drums into the kit, overhead mics provide the dual-purpose of shooting the cymbals and integrating the mixed sound associated with kit back into the noise regarding the drums. I focus on three particular EQ points to give the expense mics on a clean, balanced tone. First we’ll make use of a higher pass filter (shelving EQ) during the really low regularity of 40hz to wash up any unnecessary sub-sonic rumbling. I quickly’ll pull around 5dB at between 100 and 200hz to avoid any low-mid accumulation. Eventually, if required, I’ll enhance the general brightness of the cymbals/kit with a tiny 1-2dB boost at around 5k. For compression, we’ll set the proportion at about 3:1, the attack at around 110ms while the launch at a somewhat faster 70ms. The limit must be adjusted to ensure that the overhead/room sound blends aided by the overall system blend. Eventually, adjust the volume for the overhead mics into the combine before you pick-up just enough of the room to place some atmosphere and level into the kit.

Limiting the Sub Blend

A final strategy to add punch to the total drum system is deliver all the specific tracks to a stereo sub blend and place a limiter such as the Waves L1 thereon stereo auxiliary track. By modifying the limit before attenuation is between 5-7dB, visitors the system has actually a truly satisfying general punch and existence.

Summary

While i am painfully certain about EQ, compression and gate configurations, it’s important to remember that every combine situation varies. Use most of these settings as a jumping off point then use your ears to tweak the sounds until such time you’re delighted. Good-luck!

Sarit Bruno manages material and editorial range for Audiofanzine.

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