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Fix It In The Mix

Lesson 17 of 17

Snare Drum Techniques II

Kurt Ballou

Fix It In The Mix

Kurt Ballou

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Lesson Info

17. Snare Drum Techniques II

Lesson Info

Snare Drum Techniques II

Let's just kind of dive into the snare drum um let's take a look what I so there's that there was that asymmetrical sneer bottom track um I'm just gonna throw that out the window because I already had for the other session already had my sneer reum things set up so I uh decided to just reem the snare and you know did the same sort of stuff that I did to sneer as I as I did on the frost home track and I took it's here what let's hear what the uh uh group it was here this is just what the um with ross near sounded like theo that's not quite with ross near sounded like I went through this near track already and tony's a bit overly dynamic with with the way that he plays his snare drum so like the the the grace notes in between louds near hits and blast beats that kind of stuff tends to be kind of quiet so I sort of went through the sneer track as a whole and took a look at where the areas that air there quiet and kind of gained up gained up all of those areas um it's looking like my clip ...

pain went away I'm using pro tools eleven here um and I use pro tools twelve home I wonder if something happened with my clip gaines anyway all these like sort of regions of of smaller wait a second that might owe you know sorry I'm wrong um I didn't I didn't use clicking all there what I used was almost like did use cooking in a few spots but what I actually used was an audio sweet instance of trans if I so rather than like trying to automate um you just open up a transfer fighters weaken you guys can see what I'm talking about so instead of trying to automate a bunch of parameters on trans if I as an insert I decided to just kind of go in an audio sweet and know that every time he's playing some grace notes that we need maur level and we need you know, maur attack in the bright ranges and less less sustained in the ghani low mid area so I just kind of went through and then and then you know, use the render feature in audio suite of trans ified to render all of the regions that needed some extra extra help with the snare drum I've already done that and then but even that wasn't quite enough. Overall I felt like the snare drum had just it needed to be muffled it hadn't been muffled, it just was really kind of gandhi and for really fast music like this having a snare drum with a lot of of natural decay particularly like lower style decay can be kind of annoying I think that you know this drama's got that going on the long long when he's playing blast beats it just sounds like a song kind of running along underneath the song so I wanted to get rid of some of that stuff on dh my go to for that would be trans ified but just looking at the sustained the low mid band so check that out so that makes this near feel a lot more direct to me which I think will be flattering for this song so uh I went into the turbo track thing somewhere the kick where there's a gate and a compressor on the sneer as well and I left that trans if I on my turbos near so let's hear how all that stuff stacks up sorry had the river bon but yeah this is a little you know little clunky sounding but we want a super gated single to send to our our snare for we having so it's compressed that single bit too just teo give it a little bit more pop all right, so that's what I said actually we go back a slide for a second um that is what I sent out to my snare reem so again sort of the same same path um sending a gated sneer signal to speaker arresting on top of the snare drum in order to excite the snare drum and create a new snare bottom signal and the result of that um sounds like this um I think I need to reverse the polarity of it so I just put trim on there to reverse the polarity and then I think it's pretty much the same scheme that I used for frost town um there's some like resident peaks them kind of pulling pulling down here it's okay, if this this bottoms near sound a little bit darker than the other record because we actually have an isolated sneer track that sounds pretty good for this record. So for this, we're really just trying to add a little bit of bottom snare in with a snare signal we don't really need a whole ton of it. Um so let's hear what all the sneer sound like together I'm gonna turn off my stairmaster bus stuff so for this one I really can focus on just the regular top snare and the turbos justin there's the turbo in the and the re emp bottom bottoms near sounded just in there real subtly just add a bit of a crack and a bit of dimension all right? And then all that stuff is routed to a snare master bus andi got dfx side on there again and I'm going rocks near mode and make it more exciting so it goes from just kind of poppy and honky to like, you know, a bit more modern and crack e and a bit edgy almost kind of like like it's kind of peeking out a bit but in a cool way um and then finally the normal we'll be ex council thing uhm force of final compression in the queue like we do at my console theo and taken advantage of the wet dry control in this compressor like I would on my console tio let some of the transients through and sort of and reinforce them with a really compressed version of this near all right, so that's pretty much what I'm doing with the snare I'd love to walk through everything else on the mix of this song but it's not it's all pretty standard stuff from here on out just like normal stuff I do teo you know, a well recorded a song that I was mixing, but we could just do like a really quick kind of yesterday versus today comparison where I can show you what the tracks were that I brought in versus what I ended up with. So um so I think I should be good to go so uh here is as delivered all right here's what I know that sounds terrible. All right? So some some things like I didn't really have much time to spend on this session so something's kind of jacked up about about this mix, but trust me, it's sounding great in my studio um but anyway so that's uh those were much tips and tricks you can do teo to kind of coax some life out of otherwise lifeless tracks and my hope I hope so stuffy useful and if you have some cool recordings of great performances that are that are aren't sounding so hot I hope you can employ some of those ideas and also get inspired to make new ideas to make those tracks more listenable. So uh the final cues um how often do you use a lot of these tricks just in your everyday mixing when you do the whole capture um I would say that in my recordings um not a lot of like the stunt kind of stuff it's not uncommon for me to do like like I mean this is definitely a bunch of things that I talked about that I will do like you know, multiple compression on room mike's for example just to kind of re balance drums versus symbols or like um keith compress of compressor on the bottom end of the base off a kick just to kind of control all the all the low end to make it a bit more stable that stuff I do a bit of the saturation stuff I do but something like the things kind of early in the chain all that like wild editing toe sort of equalize the levels and tones of the kicks I don't do that stuff super often um generally speaking like, you know, like I've been recording for a long time so like when I went in engineering things if it's you know this this performance things that I need to correct and mixing sometimes, but when it comes to like engineering I feel like what I recorded generally pretty mix herbal but sometimes the stuff that people send me to mix you know, either I just I don't quite get where they're coming from or maybe wasn't recorded under ideal circumstances I find this maybe like a least one thing on every record that I mix for somebody else that there's something funky that I need to do tow correct to make a correction so I chose that frost time song in particular because it had felt like I had a lot of a lot of the things that I see commonly all but all in one location so we could just kind of work through one whole song typically it's like one of those problems per mix on the frost some song would your approach to the the painting of the instruments have changed if the final if the final medium for that song were to be, say, a vinyl record or a cd or so you know versus ah video so in other words, would you maybe choose mohr to duplicate the guitar and pan it left and right and keep the base center yeah I probably would have the right duplicate guitar mohr equally balanced with left implicating the base pan center or um or maybe less of the right and maybe mohr panning to the base or maybe I just keep him straight up I'm not exactly sure I definitely would have less reverb and less room mike if it was not intended for for video purpose and I don't know if that would be a conscious choice so much as it is what my brain feels like it's appropriate like I know when I've when I've worked on mixing stuff for video before and I get through the first you know seventy five percent of the process before even turned on the video as soon as I turn on the video whoa this sounds totally weird and now I need to like re shuffle things around make it sound less good to make it sound mohr ambient to make it feel like it's appropriate for video but when the videos turned off my natural instinct is to make it much more polished in less ambien sounding yeah yeah dave any final thoughts I kind of closing final closing thoughts I don't know man uh make music have fun um and uh never give up never give in um be excellent to each other on uh yeah I mean I hope I hope this stuff I hope this class has been useful and I you know I hope you know, help hope to learn from from from you guys in the future. If you have, if you end up taking any of these ideas and turning them into something else that I can benefit from, you know, be excited to learn that stuff. So it's, all just a non stop learning process. And, you know, we're just we're just on that train.

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.