Prepping Virtual Drums for the Mix


Advanced Drum Production


Lesson Info

Prepping Virtual Drums for the Mix

Let's talk about prepping for the mix with virtual drums actually with superior drummer drums so took us back to the flam trash can snare song that we did earlier this one thing let's just assume that we live in a parallel universe where that would be okay isa sound and uh I'm going tio I'm going tio send this out tio meant to mix so basically you have two options there you used the balance feature and superior which is something I can't talk about in detail right here or you're out stuff out two oxes and then record those oxes and then you have your tracks so it's two totally separate process he or whatever the word is and I will show you both so save an alternate session always save an alternate session so you don't ruin your work so I'm going to call this routed boxes all right now this is all through the superior mixer basically if you go down here down in this range where says output, you'll see output one and two one, two one, two, one two so on and so forth see that sure you d'o...

h keeps going till you get to the buses, but you can select outputs for those as well basically, if you click in this area you see you have outputs now these air output sicko specifically to your dog so once you select these you're not going to hear out one into through superior basically out one into is what you hear coming out of superior any of these are routed to your dog so just keep that in mind once you were out something that I'm able to hear it anymore so let's start by routing out the kicks so let's see how many kicks I've got and see what's going on here I was just looking around for stuff all right? I'm going to take this kick that is my only kick ending around it out three we did this earlier basically this is what you do close that out and you select where you want this to go so out three and four since this is a mono track the kick is mono it needs to go down either three or four not three and four so basically you wanted down three that means you have to panic over too the three here that makes sense if not learned the difference too in stereo amano all right here in pro tools I am going to make a track that I'm going to record into this time I'm gonna make it on audio track the interest of time we gonna call it kick all right all right kind of kick riel and then make the output output and here the input is going to be plug in three now since I've got two instances of superior up I'm going to double check that this is the proper out there is some draft all right I am making the other instance inactive I might actually even just delete it you see a kick is going down to kick real so now I'm going to do this a little bit faster see? We're goingto snare tom's will do tom's a stereo overheads and rooms just for the sake of speed in real life what I would do would be kick snare top snare bottom if I wanted to separate out some snares I would do each one of those individually each tom individually and then every symbol channel that I have individually I would do every single thing individually it would take a long time a route so I'm gonna give you guys a compressed routing so create new tracks we said snare tom's overheads and rooms and then maybe one for the, uh chamber river that we did earlier that's five toms or stereo overhead your stereo all right, so we really just need one mono for the, uh snare and four stereos there we go so snare alright snapped riel I call these all real tom's really overhead real rooms really? And then chamber really said the outputs all right now I believe we've got a lot of snares happening here so we need to find them all so let's check this piece out again and I don't want to be listening to the music anymore that goes for the base as well all right there's our really awesome st anger snare I am going to route it teo for so we had kick on three staring for now remember when I select three or four at the pennant accordingly so this is for four pan it to the right for then I go into here my inputs for superior drummer in the dog that's a lot for right a cz you can see that horrible sneer is coming up right there now let's throw out the toms I refresh my memory on what we did for tom's way just use thes okay so these are going to be down a stereo channel so here are my tom's right time one two three four tom's wanted to send these down five and six basically what I just did was I shift I selected that then I shifted I hit shift and that selected them all I kept holding out shift hit the output selected five and six that way didn't have to do every single one individually now the fact that these were all coming down one stereo channel check out the panning on them it's already panned for you don't mess with it thanks alright tom's coming down five and six plug in let's go to a phil and make sure this is all right all right overheads and uh I realized that this part of the process isn't exactly glamorous but you got to do it at some point has gotta be mixed so out seven and eight for the overheads see right here now you have two pans as because this is a stereo channel inside of superior so have your left and right pants all right we said seven and eight of superior so this is going to come down seven and eight right here let's do the room's really fast we got our ambien close room have them going down nine and ten so shift click keep the shift down out nine and ten don't touch the panning on these then again switching and pro tools to nine and ten we'll just leave the chamber alone for now and get the real drum sound that was more of a trick I want to show you guys anyways um so like these all so light armed them to record get rid of that and then we'll record the whole thing only take a minute ready here goes throw in the blast be just for good measure at the end so we are bouncing these all the way out because tomorrow we're gonna be talking about mixing we're gonna be working on these tracks now I feel that we should be getting slightly hotter levels on this stuff you're totally within the digital realm but for ease of working it's better to have them a little harder so you don't have to have everything totally zoomed in just for ah, just for the purposes of mixing but not going to redo that right now so I'm muting superior and let's check these out. Okay. Now quick. Why would I want to do this? Any ideas going to go around the room to whoever wants answer this? Why would I want to bounce this stuff out rather than keep it within superior? Any thoughts? Well, you can use the plug ins available in the dog. All right, well, I mean, I use those within I could always just I could always just rout it out of superior to an ox rather than bounce it out like this. S o that's not one hundred percent, right? Yes, I could use plug ins, but there's one more really important reason that I think you guys should all just be supremely aware of at all times your cpu matters in your cpu is about to get seriously taxed when you're going to mix and superior is a huge, huge program you don't want superior on when you're mixing, you want it off superior is like a tracking tool. In my opinion some people leave it on in the mix, but uh I I think that your computer will start to get bogged down if you have a super extensive mix so you want to get the tracks off of superior once you're good with them you're going to get them out of there don't delete it, just disable it, disable the track you can always go back to it later but bounce them out and have your audio tracks just like have you recorded a drummer here they are so then yeah you can have more control over the tracks you can do whatever you want at that point whatever you do whatever your heart desires mixing lies theo but the main reason to cpu so everyone get how that works fire is routing it good. All right, there is another way to do this though and ah this is really really cool and it's way more powerful and this is where you get more options than real drums on. Lots of people don't use this because they know all about routing everything this way a lot of people don't use the bounce menu within superior, but I highly recommend using it let's call this metal song drums bounce down and the reason being that I don't want to ruin what I just did so I'm going back to superior and I am going to undo all that routing, which is fine because I haven't saved somewhere so selecting there I went into aa on everything once again so we're back to square one and they're going to take these tracks that we bounced out before I'm just going to disable them so I could never even happened see you guys later it's been real all right let's see here all right we're back to superior all right bounce feature is right here basically there's a few different ways to bounce and I'm going to show you why these air cool basically we are prepping for tomorrow with this you can bounce through the mixer which will give you a stereo to track you can bounce with all your bleeds on or you can split directly from bleeding which gives you your bleed tracks on whole other waves which is something you can't do in real life no drums no direct drums all bleed and then you can separate your microphones right there like say that your overheads come in on two microphones down a stereo o'donnell but you have a ride in a china and a splash all in there like say right here we have thiss china let's see in the mixer what we have channels for as faras overheads are concerned we just have overheads so basically other than high hat all those symbols air just coming down this stereo track within superior so that was toe route this out and recorded like I just did I wouldn't be able to separate those symbols that just be on a stereo track via bounce I could split the microphone and you'll see that's going teo split it into china crashes and ride so what you do? And here's a pro tip for you guys? Very, very important. I've already done this. Put a midi note at the very beginning so that it does. This is a stem. You don't want to be lining these tracks up to the drums. You want them to come out of stems and he would not know what a stem is. All right, cool. What? Why don't you explain it just to be safe? Alright, sure. A stem is a track of audio that starts at the very beginning of the file. So not where the track actually starts playing audio. So check out where this rhythm guitar begins. Wei have all this space before that. Now, if somebody else was mixing this and I was sent him the files, not in a session and I sent him this track without all this space in the beginning, he wouldn't know where to put it. He would drag it into the beginning of this session, and it would it would be something like this thing. Can I drop f bombs cluster a cluster of um so you want to make stems and just a quick tip for you guys and pro tools land. I just did it you want to do shift option three that's a quick way to make that than you export anyways I'm undoing it because I didn't want to do that to the guitars. So you put a midi note here at number one I mean at the very beginning of the file select select the entire file the whole length of it and then let's bounce through the mixer first with all the bleed on so you select the area you want to bounce and you hit record and it is going to record into this checking out pit record then hit play all right to spare you for me going through the whole song I just stopped it to take a look at how many samples it just recorded a whole lot of them then you hit bounce we'll see where do I want to go? So I'm gonna make a new folder I'm going to call it bounce through mixer example and bounce it out yeah as you can see it's cycling through all the different drums that it's bouncing out all the different channels actually so takes a second imagine how long it would take of us doing the whole song almost done and then I'm going to import it I guess it's still going right area file import audio I just find where it put it there it is all right I'm gonna make a new track and I'm going to do it this way because for some reason pro tools did not see it alright so there's a stereo track pulling it in and as you can see because I put that many note at the front and lines of exactly tart drums now set the output if you do drag and files like this you want to be super careful because pro tools will link to very, very strange places sometimes and you might such computers and of you dragged it in like this you realize that the file's missing so if you are to drag files in which I don't recommend it was it doesn't see the files if you drive them in select it consolidated boom it just wrote it into the file so let's check this out all right cool but why would you ever want to do that? I wouldn't I wouldn't want to get these all individually so make sure that you don't have bounced through mixer on and then we'll have all the bleed on and then we'll split direct from bleeding and I am just curious I'm not sure about this I don't think I need to re record it because I think already recorded it once so I'm also splitting the microphone and clicking to select and then clicking overhead so basically these are the maximum amount of bounce options I'm going to get all the bleed I can get the microphones by themselves and I'm splitting the overhead tracks so was bounced us again let's go name a new folder bounce all split up america's so I'm sure you guys could see the advantages of having the bleed on its own track the only disadvantage really would be that you're going to end up with a lot of tracks and a lot of tracks are really hard to manage so you have to be pretty careful there. Um let's see if it's done with the finder yep check it out all these files a sea of the pro tools sees them audio no, it does not see them so going to manually bring them in stereo bounce all right see how many files we got way so basically I just drag them over here to the tracks and made new tracks for them very quickly see easy way to do it now I'm going to consolidate them because I did drag them in I don't want the possibility of having blanked out files all right? So consolidating now again this stuff is not the most exciting stuff in the world but if you do this wrong you're going to screw up your mix so pay attention to the amount that I've been consolidating the last thing you want to do again is show up on a different computer to a mixed session and your files are blank open up the session and nothing's there that will happen sometimes with pro tools so you don't you don't want to be that thing knows it's twice as loud because there's a bunch of tracks so here are all our rooms there's a lot we can do with these options here so you get a good blend of these happening or who knows ditch a few can really help you drum sound out so next thing I would do here is organized these tracks these air ah a good number of tracks so I would put the rooms at the bottom here's a snare snare snare snare and kick bring those up to the top let's see snare and where my toms I got some more snares actually you can see it really split everything up so this is a lot of stuff to manage you're going to make some subgroups when you're mixing this uh this is a blessing and a curse having this much stuff to deal with lots and lots of tracks so I like I know some people like to go from top to bottom I like to go from bottom to top so kick snare toms has overheads rooms now I'm gonna make a group for these are going to call them to rahm's and turned them all down so we can go from there so apple ci drums bounced attributes don't follow the global's take everything off exit for solos volume and mute bring him down solo them now take the group off you can hear there's a lot of room action happening this because all the leads and all the rooms were separated so you're gonna have to really makes him choices here and this is going to take longer than if you do it the other way so maybe one of the cons of bouncing this way is that is just going to take you longer there's a lot more to deal with I have personally think this is really cool all this cool bleed now for instance this tom bleed in real life you would cut all of this out of the tom likes so you could immediately make some decisions like see you later tom bleeds it's been real but I no longer want to continue this relationship we think you're great we're just moving in a different direction and we don't see you as part of it now we're telling you it's you know listen you did it you're bleeds or great it's just not really we're out of the truck on outside question on the tom thing would you normally cut stuff out automated or would you get those I have we'll talk about that in detail tomorrow but I would cut it out um yeah yeah like such but we'll definitely talk about how to do this right in detail and then one of the videos that john is giving us that you can get with this class is going to be basically about forty minutes about cleaning this stuff up properly so yeah definitely I don't think that automating it is much fun and getting it with some sort of a gate is uh is not that cool either because you'll miss hits yeah, you'll tell him miss that you need to go in here to go in and do this the right way or you're going to just cut hits out of this out of your tracks so do you on your high hat bleed, check it out maybe that might make a cool room track so I'll keep that the overhead bleed just snare must be how we had our bound settings anyways that is how I would, uh, how I would prep these think the key takeaways about bouncing is that you absolutely have to do this if you're gonna mix um I don't know how many of you are on laptops or on older computers, but I'm sure that most of you don't have the newest and the latest really amazing computers so your computer will start teo fail if you have too many plug ins on I think a typical mix for us is something like something like forty tracks of drums maybe more yeah ah now you're shaking your head, but if you think about it you end up with multiple kick drums, multiple snare drums, overheads all split up multiple toms and then multiple rooms. I mean, we do bounce. I mean, sub mix things down, but you have way too many tracks. If you had that many tracks with plug ins all over them, plus superior drummer on plus all your other tracks, guitars, how many of those do you have a bunch of lead guitar's vocals. It just, uh, it just gets way bogged down, so one of things we're talking about tomorrow's gonna be memory management, but start by disabling superior drummer, bouncing all your tracks out.

Class Description

Recording drums that sound both hyper-polished and authentic has always been something of a black art — one that isn't taught at any school, one that you could only learn from one of the few elite engineers scattered across the planet. Until now.

In this three-day class, free to watch while live, you'll learn the real-world production techniques that producer Eyal Levi uses every day at Audiohammer Studios — on albums for bands like The Black Dahlia Murder, August Burns Red, Chelsea Grin, and Whitechapel. Eyal will show how to select the right drums for the sound you want, tune and set them up, and mic the kit. Oh, and did we mention that the legendary Sean Reinert (Cynic, Death) is the in-studio drummer?!

You'll also learn how to use virtual drums, including when to use Toontrack's Superior Drummer and other software instead of a human drummer. Finally, Eyal will reveal the closely-kept secrets for polishing tracks —everything from editing and sample replacement to layering samples. At the end of this class, you'll know the trade secrets of high-end drum production and be armed with a toolkit for creating world-class drum tracks.


1Class Introduction 2The Tone Pie and Process Overview 3Getting the Lay of the Land and Q&A 4Assemble Your Gear 5Drum Tuning Part 1 6Drum Tuning Part 2 7Fine Tuning Tones Part 1 8Fine Tuning Tones Part 2 9General Guidelines of Tracking Drums 10Tracking with Sean Reinert 11Pop Quiz 12Basics of Superior Drummer 13EZDrummer vs Superior Drummer 14Constructing a Metal Drum Kit Part 1 15Constructing a Metal Drum Kit Part 2 16Constructing a Rock Drum Kit 17Grooves and Programming 18General Q&A 19Prepping Virtual Drums for the Mix 20Superior Review with Q&A 21Intro to Mixing and Drum Clean Up 22Interview with John Douglass 23Intro to Drum Editing 24Manual Editing Approach 25Editing with Beat Detective 26Editing with Elastic Audio 27Sample Layering 28Replacements 29Gain Staging and Bussing 30Mixing Essentials 31Compression and Parallel Compression 32Reverb and Automation 33Mixing Tips and Tricks 1Bonus: EZDrummer - Introduction 2Bonus: EZDrummer - Intro to EZDrummer 3Bonus: EZDrummer - EZDrummer Foundations 4Bonus: EZDrummer - How a Drummer Plays 5Bonus: EZDrummer - Part Writing Part 1 6Bonus: EZDrummer - Part Writing Part 2 7Bonus: EZDrummer - Part Writing Q&A 8Bonus: EZDrummer - Intro to Grooves 9Bonus: EZDrummer - Writing from Scratch 10Bonus: EZDrummer - Intro to Fills 11Bonus: EZDrummer - Writing Fills 12Bonus: EZDrummer - Mixing in Your DAW 13Bonus: EZDrummer - Bussing and EQ 14Bonus: EZDrummer - Compression and Reverb 15Bonus: EZDrummer - Conclusion with Q&A 16Bonus Video: Editing 17Bonus Video: Toms and Cymbals 18Bonus Video: Snare Midi 19Bonus Video: Kick Midi


Michael Nolasco

To the guy that said buyer beware: this is an advanced production class, it's not meant for beginners who are learning to mic up a kit. I'm a beginner, but i'm using superior drummer, so this class was perfect for me to learn how to process drums post recording. I refer to it constantly. The editing videos are also prime information.