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Fix It In The Mix

Lesson 14 of 17

Drumatom Techniques

Kurt Ballou

Fix It In The Mix

Kurt Ballou

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Lesson Info

14. Drumatom Techniques

Lesson Info

Drumatom Techniques

Dive into this mix project I have for the band the arm which is actually something I'm going to mix for real I'm gonna mix it in the box which is really scary for me because I'm not good at that but I'm I'm going to do it so the armed um it's also a live recording it was done with a lot of seemingly really nice mikes and I believe that it was done actually let's put this life all yeah here we go let's move on teo the armed and don't smoke kids bad but guy does look cool um so anyway uh it was you know, well recorded live show good quality mikes and all that stuff but you know, this band or ah they're not always super precise live so in some cases kind of like performance stuff that we're working on but also, you know, there's some stuff with the kicking snare that just didn't feel quite right to me or the they're all of the other mikes and all the other signals that I have to work with seemed to like really outclassed the kick ensnare so I wanted to check out see if there's anything I ...

could do to make those kicking snares sort of up, up and on par with with the rest of the recording and there's question earlier um earlier today about drama tom and that's actually um one of the things we're gonna we're gonna learn to use we try uh drama tom to try to remove some of the bleed between the various microphones so I'm gonna find drama tom here way could switch back to the computer now I guess uh drama tom is launching and I actually already loaded this stuff into drama tom yesterday and loaded up file and here's all things so drama tom is just kind of weird program made by ac use honest and is sold through plugging alliance that is it's super powerful it works sometimes it doesn't always work I've had kind of mixed results with it for some reason it doesn't really work well on my recordings but I've had really good luck with it on other people's recordings that I've mixed so what you do is load all of your drum tracks into drama tom and and then you analyse all of your tracks and it kind of it listens to the drum set as a whole and sort of take some cues from say the overhead mike's like to know like oh this stuff is symbols ok that's what simple sound like and then you can use that information to then remove the bleed of symbols in say, a snare or tom mike and it also worked with the drums like when it when it figures out what a snare drum is um a lot a lot a lot of times you get in the basement like you get a lot of bottom snare activity so this could help remove bottom snare sound from a bass drum signal and and so forth and so on so anyway what I've done is I've loaded all the stuff and I told it what all the tracks were and then um and then uh and then you can kind of like individually check out tracts let's check out the let's check out the kick track first kind of kind of play that and turn these things down there's two controls and that's all we have one's called focus on one call one is called fine tune fine tuned sort of bring some of the dry signal back in and then focus is what removes bleed there's the danger when using this that things can get kind of dull or you can hear this weird sort of frequency shifting that happens you've got to really be kind of cautious how heavily used this but so this is what the unprocessed kick sounds like so it's gonna be difficult to like say if we want to get kicked for example it's gonna be a bit tricky because the kick itself is already really bright and kind of has almost a similar tone to the bottom stair mike so let's try to figure out what we can do um or if we can use this to remove some of the snare for that single all rights that sounds a little weird but it's removing a ton of snare so maybe there's like a happy middle ground that we can find where it still sounds pretty good and removes a lot of the snare I'm even willing to sacrifice a bit of the sound quality of the kick if I could get the snare out of there because it'll open up a lot more possibilities for me when I'm mixing all right, so we're definitely missing a little bit the top to the kick but it's a whole lot more isolated so we're gonna try this fine tune control to bring back a bit of the top end of the kick with way alright so that's working pretty well um and then, um I think I'm also going to look at the snare top uh, this this one has a bit of ah level control issues looks like it was recorded high at the beginning of the song and then whoever was running the mic priam preempt realized that brought it down, so I'm just going to get that opening opening portion and check out the snare sounds and see if we could do anything to make that better it's not really bad in terms of bleed definitely pretty ghani sounding, but the bleed isn't bad, but let's just see if, uh, adjusting these controls well, well, well all rights that's useful, but you know that that's not going to save the day, but that kick stuff may save the day, so I'm goingto close out drama tom, and if I've actually already done this process, so I've already exported all this stuff from drama tom and brought into pro tools and is not going to export it again. I'm just gonna go into pro tools and and check out what I've already imported. So believe drama tom, and then go back into pro tools we got oh, oh, yeah, we're back on the slides. Okay, so, um, the first thing we look at is the kick just need thio launch protocols here and get it set up, but yes. So with the bass drum, um, well, we'll talk about this outside kick. Mike, one of the first things I do with any mix is teo, you know, evaluate all the tracks, kind of run through everything, see what I have to work with, see what sounds good. See what sounds less than ideal. See what I need to kind of do some funny business on to make more, mix herbal and see what should just be sort of cast aside, you know, a lot of times, people will send me tracks to record are just rescued me tracks to mix. There might be, you know, they might put four mikes on the guitar because they just couldn't make up their mind, which was the best sounding mike. And they wanted to give me maximum options. So sometimes, like, I, you know, I will combine all for those microphones and other times, you know, it's, just a matter of of of choosing which which ones work the best.

Class Description

The best way to get a great recording is to start with great source material, but that’s not always possible. Occasionally you are stuck with a less-than-perfect recording and the only thing you can do is to try and clean it up. 

Lucky for you, there are reliable techniques for restoring poorly recorded audio, and Kurt Ballou will teach you everything you need to know in Fix it in the Mix. 

While replacing drums with samples and reamping guitars are often effective ways to rebuild a sub-par recording, they are time-consuming and can diminish the uniqueness of the original recording. 

Fix it in the Mix will explore organic approaches to recovering and enhancing the natural tones from the original performances. Kurt will use recordings from real-world scenarios and walk you through, in detail, the audio restoration process. 

In Fix it in the Mix, Kurt will show you how to think outside of the box to come up with creative solutions to audio restoration problems every engineer has faced. 



An absolutely fantastic course for anyone who is new (or even experienced) on how to use very innovative techniques to help bring some life to an otherwise poorly recorded demo. Thank you Kurt!


another fantastic course in the creative live audio section, kurt kills it,!! thank you!

Ashton Thebault

Definitely some handy tips in here that are useful for mixing live music, poorly recorded tracks and anything else that couldn't be rectified during recording. Kurt gave some tips I had never thought of and there were some valuable insights that came out from his discussions with people in the room. Very valuable if you deal with any sub-standard recordings and if you just want to get some tips.