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Fix It In The Mix

Lesson 16 of 17

Kick Drum Techniques II

Kurt Ballou

Fix It In The Mix

Kurt Ballou

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Lesson Info

16. Kick Drum Techniques II

Lesson Info

Kick Drum Techniques II

So base drum let's hear the same kind of deal we can we can kind of compare as delivered um to teo my version of the mix here eventually but let's just start with a b bit of as deliver stuff there's no video associate id with this track so we don't have any of that stuff to to inform our decision, but we're also we're also not confined by any any video limitations so we can we can just mix the audio in whatever way sounds best to us so here's a bit of track way so um pretty wild sounding the kick has a particularly wet sound timothy that I don't really care for and I think that that's the outside kick my car they're calling a kick resident that might that sounds like it might have been maybe like a d six sort of on the whole of ah of ah unruffled or lightly muffled bass drum it sounds sort of tonna lee and but with excessive clicking this this might even have been a huge at the mixing console already or something but I don't really love it the the kick sound that we already messed with...

in drama tom here's here's here's it before having been messed with while I don't totally love that either it seems a bit more normal and less wet and maybe like a better a better starting point it does look a lot a little bit asymmetrical and I'm not sure it's going on with that looking down here too at the bottom snare mike this thing is super asymmetrical so you know, maybe there's either a problem with the cabling or mike pre amp or mike or something but like the topside the way form is like really crunched and the bottom side of the way form is is big so there's definitely and this isn't just like a dc offset there's definitely something weird going on on that bottoms near tracks we might wantto cast that one aside too and just use that that reem trick that we used on the previous song uh to get our snare sound so um yes so let's see what we can do with this kick so we will go down teo my other session uh green the green zone and check out the bass drum alright so little what are we doing here? Um okay got this track called kicking oh, you know what I think I got a do is um turn on kick kick resident I'm not using yeah. Okay, so this this track here called um kick batter um been processed that is, um make these other kick small for now that is the, um the drama tom the version of the kick and I've gone through and done some some additional editing to that and here so here's what I did just turn this one on um alright and assign it somewhere where we can hear it and, uh gonna make these two plug ins inactive for second. All right, so this is this is the one that we processed with drama tom and but still some of the kick some of the snares are still making their way through some of the kicks are still kind of quiet, so I want to go through too much a clip gain on this thing to kind of level out thie kick dynamics there's like there's some super loud hits were tony the drummer got really enthusiastic. We're gonna bring those down just, you know, moves up he up, up and down forty be here five. Sixty be there like passages here have still have some really loud snares. And one of the reasons why I really want to get these snares out of here is because I'm going to do a similar thing to this kick drum that I did with the with the toms in the previous session where I'm gonna do a sine wave underneath the kick that's gated keyed off the kick so I really want to try to clean up this this kick kick nicely so what I could do is, um, do a little of me let me activate this, um, this compressor here, okay, so I have I have my um have my sneer track over here and my my my tops near track which um no I'm gonna need that now could send weaken send um you do is compressed the kick track keyed off of the sneer track so basically whenever the snare hits the bass drum is going to compress so I have so on my sneer track I'm sending out bus one and then on this compressor here which is which is inserted on the kick track um I have bus one coming in the key and put so let's uh just listen that kick again and then check out well solo the key but you can hear what's coming in uh you're nothing coming in um oh my sorry I've sent is muted okay so you hear the snare drum coming in when we auditioned this side chain path we with this little speaker but we can hear what's coming in the side change so that means is that that the whole action of the compressor on that kick track is not based on what kick is doing but on what the snare is doing so every time ah snare hits that the volume of kick track is gonna duck out of the way this is gonna help us remove snare drum from the kick track so let's see how that's working all right so that's really helping now behind the scenes stuff I think I I had to go in this there's only a few locations where kickin sneer actually hit together, but I had to go in onto that sneer track and write a bit of automation on this end like you see some of that automation here to make sure that I wasn't compressing the kick off the snare in areas where the kick it's near hit together because we don't want to kick itself to go away. We just want the snare, the snares they have here on their own in the kick track to go away. Um, so kick is starting to get pretty clean, and then so we've got that we've got, we've compressed the snares out of the kick track, you know, we've got my favorite thing overhere transit fi, which would make active and, um, this we're going to use let's see what we automating on this thing just master bypass, so I have, um, uh, been a bit of the sustain of the bottom end and a bit of the attack in the upper mids boosted on this thing and let's, let's take a look at the automation on transform so we can see where we're using it. So just sparingly throughout the song is a couple of double bass passages, so here's one you can see when it comes on, I'm using it really suddenly but it does give a bit more attack but more pushing a bit in a bit less sustained on the kick during during really fast passages I think there's actually some straight double kick later on check that out too so obviously not the most consistent double cake in the world but it's definitely helping to do that so then when I did after that because this is kind of convoluted looking track it's got a bunch of plug ins with a bunch of automation and it's all chopped up and clip gained all over the place too be levelled out probably easier just to print that to its own tracks so we don't have to really worry about all that stuff and just consider that stuff done um so what I did was I bounced that stuff down onto a fresh track and now considered now now I can think about about it like I'm going to start mixing now and so I have my kick in track, which is, you know, just the straight version of um all those exports oh so I have a master bus thing on the kick happening now that alright, something quieter is because that's how we mixed it um but that's what we expect to hear um there's also a thing I made called kick turbo track I won't I won't spend too much time on that because I did spend quite a bit of time on turbo tax in my last course, but basically I call these things turbo tracks kind of an honor of matthew ellard, who who worked with converge on jane doe who's a fantastic engineer and he called in trouble track so I call him trevor tracks what it is is um a duplicate of a kick track and I do this for snare as well it's a duplicate of the kick track which has gating e q and compression to sort of make it like a really poppy sort of in the face a tacky version of the kick that could be blended in subtly with the dry kick track tau adm or attack to that but without sort of completely killing the dynamics of the original kick track so it's like a it's like a undine and kick that you could blend with the with the dynamic kick in order to reinforce it I guess it's like what people use one shots for and triggering so let's hear let's hear the kick turbo on its own and take a look at what I did there just some basic gating and then some compression and even bother to ask you this one all right so let's hear what it sounds like to combine kick in with turbo yeah, you can hear like tonally you can hear tony like really digging in on those on those slower hits but you can also hear the fact that like kick turbo is especially is helping contain that volume and we're also going to use kick turbo since it's gated as our send into our sub track now for the sub track on this song I chose um I figured out the song was in the key of g so I chose uh forty one hertz which is a g so it's in the kick the kicks up is going to be in the root of the song so let's let's hear uh just that for a second so nice a nice deep sine wave and we can do the same thing like we did with the toms on the previous song where we throw gate on that sign way and with kind of a slow attack and uh sort of the release I have quite a bit quicker on this just because the cem cem cem real serious passages of a fast double bass so what we're going to do is use a knox end from the kick turbo track going out bus three pre fader and um going into um this uh this gate gate plugin that's on the track of the pure sine wave and there's the key input here which is also said to bust three so all the gating action is going to be cute off of the kick turbo track and we can weaken solo that here so that's what that sub sounds like you can hear that it's, not it's, no longer a steady sine wave it's got, you know evan flow, but that follows the kick track so let's hear it now, let's build up the kick from just the kick in, and then we'll add the kick turbo and then we'll have a cake sub and we'll hear what all three of those signals sound like together. So, you know, it's still kind of messy, but it's a live recording and in the context of the mix, it's going it's going to work pretty well. But, you know, in reality you probably would just replace that trump, but let's, let's here we can do if we can further improve it with a bit of stuff on a master bus, so I've routed all three of those kicks singles to kick master trusting pro and be on there. So amusing program be for some basic tonal shaping two kind of suck out some low mids and just make it sound more flattering and bigger. There's a bit of compression lows just tow just a tie in that sub kicked track with the with the other track as well as att thes top two bands doing doing you know, the typical thing that I've done before, where, trying to contain the really, really bright hits just to make the kick signal bit more consistent sounding than if I if I weren't doing that so let's, hear that again, also filling in some of those low meds, which helps bind the sub tract to the microphone tracks so that's more stuff, this drum forage dfx site is another cool, cool thing to use on kick we used in metal kick mode from the previous session on this one were to try a rock cake mode, which just sort of adjust the crossover points between each of these four bands. Sounds more exciting, right? Um, and then finally, uh, be ex consul, the usual, uh, usual thing to sort of simulate what by mixing console would do I decide to take advantage of the gate this time, just just to kind of get a little bit more of those snares under control and, you know, scoop it out, make it a bit more modern and a bit more steady in level.

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.