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Fix It In The Mix

Lesson 6 of 17

Snare and Tom Q&A

Kurt Ballou

Fix It In The Mix

Kurt Ballou

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Lesson Info

6. Snare and Tom Q&A

Lesson Info

Snare and Tom Q&A

Do you have any questions at this point? Sure when you're doing panning for like a video like this, would you maybe do ah less wide approach if like the camera is going from like jumpers perspective to stage perspective or the audience perspective would that be kind of jarring if it's like wider? I would imagine yeah that's really interesting teo talk about in pani is interesting lives because when you are in a room with a source there's no such thing as hard panting and I probably have all had experiences where we put on something listen to it and headphones and when things are hard pan and headphones that can sound kind of crazy and even some hyatt high end headphone amps intentionally will like leak a bit of the right single into the left so it's not so hard pan things are not so so jarring and yeah, these so you're writing it can be it can be disorienting hearing things hard pan and a live recording just because you would never hear them that way in reality because I imagine and le...

ss like the director had like a preference but um you know, like if you're seeing the drummer and then you're going behind and seeing him oh you're talking about how how the shot how the panty would change shot but yeah, I mean it probably get really complicated yeah, there are engineers who I know I haven't really heard of people who will change there panning schemes based shot by shot but there's definitely like audio engineers who mix for video who you know they'll set up like a mixing console or something with with you know you know you know like the classic like maki eight bus consul for example or a lot of life consoles have the same thing where like you might have like eight channels or ten channels or something for drums but then you assigned those all to a stereo us to a stereo fader sort of in the inn like the bus section of the consul before it sees the master uh or that the output of it and so you have like this you've got drum control right here and get master guitar and vocals just get controls for each for each instrument sort of in the general sense and those guys will then ride those controls based on whatever's in the shot so like if you see the bass player it's like, oh yeah base is doing something important here let's highlight let's let's highlight the bass because that's what the audience is seeing and yeah, you can totally do that it's but it's pretty laborious andi I myself haven't I ever attempted that? But it's definitely something interesting to do and I think could make the, um the experience more immersive in terms of like in terms of like the you're panning perspective, I think that that would be kind of bizarre because then you need to change like it opens up a can of worms because then, like if you had stereo overheads, would you have to then reverse the stereo over has all of a sudden it's like a shot from behind the drummer and then or the crowd mikes are like, you know, if you're behind the drummer and the guitar player stage right are they depend a guitar pan stage right when the shots from behind the drummer and is a paying stage left when it's from the audience perspective like it's a huge can of worms? So how much of that can you do or do you really just kind of makes it all pseudo mono and that's? You know, so it's a fine line and you just have to kind of you just need it's great if you have edited video a lot of times, they don't edit the video till you do the audio and they cut they cut the video to the audio, but if you have any edited video toe watch as you're doing your mixing, then yeah, you can really go crazy like really trying to make it on time an immersive experience for the viewer um just just one quick thing in terms of like panning with what I'm doing here I am choosing to hardpan things and I'm doing that not because I want the toms to sound hard panned in the context of the mix but because I know I'm only going to be using them blended in subtly with the overhead and the majority of the sound coming from the overhead I know since the overheads going to be mano no matter what that if I just get a little subtle blend of hardpan tom's than the sum of those things will be soft pant um on the snare track you used the brain works console you had the high pass filter engaged on the compressor I think I don't think I did actually I thought I did but I was wondering I know on the on the tom bus if you did the same thing well it's let's look some of the stuff you know I did I did this a few weeks ago so not everything's like fresh in my head yeah it does look like I'm engaging the high pass filter on the tomba so for those of you who don't know aside chain filtering some compressors have a built in other compressors allow you to add it but what it does is um when audio comes into a compressor it's typically split into two paths there's an audio path and detect detector path so within the detector path that's the detector path is what uh this is a signal used to tell the compressor what to do and then the audio path is that is the path which is actually processed by the compressor so what what this high pass filter does which the thing I'm clicking on right now when I just adjusted it accident um it was somewhere around like one thirty or something what that does is it removes low frequency content from the detector path so that the compressors action is not so biased towards the loan it's more biased towards the top in and that can make the compression sound a bit more transparency I am using a bit of that so what do you think about it before I haven't used the brain works plugin yet if this thing's brand new yeah, I don't can you switch yeah before or after the wondering if you're using it after the so I am using it after the but I can toggle this thing and actually let's hear if we can hear there chris I'm toggle ing I can toggle between um between uh pre pre and post that kentucky leaky between pre and post compression wait home that's full mix we're getting to that um so yeah with tom stuff is on you don't really sound that different to me um but yeah, I mean the way the way the uh compressing before or after our started issuing before or after compression I can have a dramatically different sound especially depends on the sound of the compressor ah lot of compressors ten teo the boss of the extreme bottoms and top I tend to go away a bit with certain compressors and makes them more mid forward so if you want you can use an e q after compressor to restore bit of sparkle and depth that have been lost in the compressors action um but also if you have like sailor he'll say in the case of like a vocal where you might have some really explosive like b sounds are booked like that kind of stuff you want to use you wantto cq that stuff out before getting to the compressor like using a high pass filter so that um the compressor is not biased towards compressing frequencies that you later will remove so I tend if I'm doing subtracted particularly filtering the top and bottom ends I liked to speak before compression and if I'm doing aditya v q particularly with regards to adding sparkle and some depth I tend to do that after compression that answer what you're getting at okay and there's just the I think that's one of the more unlike misunderstood controls on the compressor if that makes any sense you know it's like it's not really a high pass filter it doesn't make the sound that comes out thinner or you know it doesn't cut the bottom it's just yeah, I mean, I think the key to understanding that is is understanding that the signal coming into a compressor is split in two and you have one side that kind of informs the compressors to what it should be doing and then another side that's being processed so within the side chain, whether it's in this case built a built in side shady cue in the form of a high pass filter um or you know it could be anything if you have a separate side chain input like what I'm doing with the compressors and gates like on the those tom subtracts like feeding, feeding a signal from the tom from the tom mike into a gate that's using aside chain as well so you could and you can use side change creatively for all different purposes like you could make a tremolo effect with a side chain like if you have a click on audible click track say you've got like sixty note click tracks and you want to put tremolo effect on a guitar you can put a compressor on that guitar you can then send do aside chain send from your click track into the compressor and then compress instead of compressing it keyed off the the audio coming in the detector path of that compressor you're keying it often external source so bye bye, sending that that click track into the compressor the compressor is gonna duck out of the way every time I click hits and give you a tremolo effect and if if you, uh and that's going to give it you know that'll give you ducking on the beat if you want ducking in between the beat that instead of a compressor, use a gate so that the gate opens whenever the click track happens and then in between it closes so that'll give you that'll give you bigger signal on the beat as opposed to smaller signal on the beat so yeah, the side change stuff a super powerful and that's one of, like, understanding that and understand the different ways in which you can utilize that is is crucial to this kind of stuff. This fix it in the mix stuff that we're talking about today so thank you for asking bread got a couple questions this kind of wrap up questions from levine. Why not opt for an instance of fab felt there's, multi band compressor duty control, the bleed on the tom tracks versus using the que um to do that? Yeah, we totally good. I mean, that's that's what I did with the stared um um and we totally could you know what? Hey, let's, let's, let's see what that sounds like um, okay, so let me just turn off my sends again and, uh, my tom track a little bigger and put fab filter pro, multi band on there. You know, this actually might be a better way to go if you know this from the spectral analyzer that there's not much happening in the low. So this might be a great way to just get some lows happening earlier in the process. So let's, check that out. And in this case, I want to use, like a super fast release since the signal from the overheads kind of on the thin side, we wantto we want to bring out the residents down, especially on those low tops. Waken also gain this up a bit to get more bottom. All right? And you know what? Let me actually gonna go to the end of the song where there's like a lot of really a bad, um, symbol the k leaking in buy houses for a second. This is like the worst part of the song for for symbol leakage into our extracted tom single and it's. Just a ton of symbols in there. So let's, uh, let's, just keep looping that and add some probably high and maybe even high, mid multi band stuff and see if we can get some of those symbols out of there. Yeah I mean that's that's pretty ugly sounding um and uh and I'm just so loving the high made band right now so let's see if we can do anything there hey yeah, they might not be anything we can do with that um let's try it just try some some high stuff to see if there's anything in there I mean kind of the same but maybe that maybe we could find something in the low mid where we can just get a bit more attack out of the the drum somewhere yeah, I think the low mid is definitely helping us a bit it doesn't seem like we're able to get rid of the symbols totally but uh having a bit a bit of that like lo made stuff boosted up seems to help a little bit so let's hear what that sounds like with thea subtracts turned on and and all that all right so that's that's with everything and let's just just for shits and giggles let's go back teo just having nothing on it. So you know, so there really is a pretty huge, pretty huge difference between that and uh this so there's definitely some like usable tom stuff in there that way wouldn't have otherwise had and good good suggestion to try pro and be there it seems to be getting a bit of helping us get a bit more throaty niss out of the toms awesome is the re empt snare tuned exactly like the original no definetly not I didn't attempt to make the re up snare tuned to the same it's original and like if you've done any work with with snare drum replacement um you know that a lot of people like to stack different snares that air that are tuned differently you know sneer does not like a guitar it's not like a pure kind of kind of pit not difficult stars appears but either but it's not it's, not a super pure tone. It's okay tohave ah variety of different pitches sort of all working in tandem they it'll it comes across is just different overtones so I didn't attempt to do that here you know some people even won one kind of cool trick I don't get to use it very often, but people who do like ballad type work will use this a lot they'll actually they'll take their snare, they'll duplicate it they're like pitch it down, say like a fifth and then use that as their river absent so that that that lower pitch near doesn't make it into the final mix but the scent to the reverb does and that gives them like a girth here just yeah, just, you know, like for like a week, you know, like whitney houston ballot or something like that that gives that that huge, like ballad river kind of sounds so it's okay to be combining snares of different pitches if if that's what works and I felt like this drummer had his snare drum tune pretty high because he's playing fast stuff and he wants that response off ahead but tonally I thought that I wanted to take it a bit born like a like an older style thrash direction where there was like you listen all of the classic barea thrash records and there's like heavy reliance on bottom snare and I think it's you know, due in part to the fact that they you know, they didn't have all the same tools that we have today in order to get the top the top sneer real presence was always like a lot of bottom snare and also like they tended to tune the stairs a lot deeper back them and so I kind of like imparting some of that sort of classic just like a bit of a nod to the past you know? This man obviously has a bit of like that classic thrash influence in there somewhere. So let's let's do like a little nod to the past and use a deep, deeper tuned staring in combination with this with this high pitched snare just to kind of give it that extra depth and also sometimes just in just speaking and read really general terms sometimes trying to combine two really similar sounding sources is a lot more a lot more difficult than trying to combine two extremely different sounding sources like what I'm making guitar if I used to mike's on a guitar I'm not going to use to similar mike's in too similar my positions I'm goingto take like my say like I had a roy or something a ribbon mic like a really beefy sounding mike I'm going to put that maybe more towards the edge of the speaker in a in a deeper sounding mike position and then like if I had a fifty seven or a dynamic mike that's kind of bright sounding mike I might put that like in the middle or right at the edge of the dust cap in a brighter position. So I'm even further exaggerating the natural disparity between those two microphones and I find that it's easier to combine and less phase dependent to combine those two really different signals together van it is to you know, take things that are really close. If I were to try to match the pitch of of of that snare to mind, they might just be end up being like a quarter tone offer as the drummer hits in different places his pitch of might might change a little bit on the snare and those two things being really close together and pitch my actually combined destructively rather than having something with a wider spread between them awesome um I'm wondering what speaker set ups would be best for the snare re amping working with it in the box set up yeah in the box out of the box doesn't really matter with snare re amping I myself have had the best success with small fast speakers and they don't need to be expensive like there's a there's a cool company called parts express that sells a lot of speaker building supplies and you might want to control their catalog and just look it look for like a like maybe like a four inch mid based driver and maybe something with like a neodymium magnet like really fast transient response it's type speakers will do it best um and if you have any old power kicking around as long as it has sufficient power and the right impedance to power that speaker that that should work you can use like solid state guitar or super clean to guitar amp might work with those might be a bit slow, I think like you know, tubes and stuff tent around and larger speakers tend to round off the transient attack and as if you remember from especially with so let's zoom in on her on our snare re amtrak again just just as a reminder um, you know these thiss track it doesn't have a ton of transient response, so we really don't want to like we need all the trains in response we can get so you want to try to use like the fastest speaker you confined and for me, physically, placing that speaker on the drum head is what works best. It might be because the parent that amusing isn't super high powered, maybe with, like a high powered power ramp, you might you might get acceptable results with the speaker pulled away from the drum head, and you'll certainly get more resonant results. If you're looking, if you have, like, a super dead sounding snare drum and you're trying to add some residents to it, um, it might be effective to, um, you know, find a way to space the speaker that you're using away from from the top so there's like, you know, a million different ways to do it. And if you if you just google like stare re amp, you probably find a bunch of different photos and videos of various ways that other people have done it, and I've done in other ways, too, and this is a very inexact science you're just trying to trying to find, basically just trying to find some tone in some bottoms near somewhere, and this is what worked for me on this particular mix.

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.