Turbo Tracks for Kick and Snare


Gear Gods presents Studio Pass: Kurt Ballou


Lesson Info

Turbo Tracks for Kick and Snare

So essentially what a turbo track is and you may have you may have tried something like this before you might be familiar with the terminology of parallel compression that's the idea that you can take a um you can take a track um and then duplicate it whether it be inside pro tools by depict duplicating the track or whether it's at a mult on your analog console and using another fader on and then process those duplicates independently of one another so the idea being that the original track would be largely unaffected and in natural which sort of preserves the natural dynamic of the performance combined with a sort of ah heavily gated and or squashed in or if you'd signal that you can blend in with the dry signal toe to reinforce that give it war mohr body or more biter whatever whatever you're trying to get without without totally messing out the original signal so we start with the uh with the kicks and sets at the top of the pile here just refreshing memory on with kick sounds like ...

go back to back pro tools all right all right, so that's thea thie gun unprocessed kick track so I'm going to make a duplicate of that kick track and I'm gonna call that kick turbo okay so now I'm going to solo on lee kicked turbo sounds the same um now let's start adding some stuff to it and if you have ah pro tools or any other daughter want make sure delay compensations turned on this point as you add plug ins plug ins inherently have I have laid in sea and you'll get well vaizey sound if you don't have your delay compensation turned on uh okay so first thing I'm gonna do with kicked turbo is put a gate on it and there's a whole lot of gates the dj ones are pretty cool that dj channel strip is actually a pretty good device to use for the kick term a track because you could do all the processing that you need to with one point I noticed that they've got this I love this company actually gonna pronounce her name sana kisses kisses I don't know their french so it's something french uh but their gate is pretty great so let's start playing signal through this gate all right that's weird um make the attack as fast as it'll go so it starts grabbing stuff better just adjusting the threshold there and the idea is that here that I'm gonna be making just like a super attacking super consistent tone that I could blend in with the other kick mike's just teo to reinforce that and as there's a wall of guitar you need to have just something steady and kick tone to you know make the kick always present in the mix without being always annoying I don't like mixing kick crazy loud because that's not typically how you hear it, you know, in a real context, so if I can make the kick extra consistent than I can mix it quieter and still have it be ever present. Um, this particular gate has a nice feature of side chain filters, which could make you're getting more accurate. So what's listen, tio let's, listen to the signal let's, listen to the signal with the filter's turned on so that's with no e q and you can hear a little bit of bleed from the bottoms near mac, especially so let's start filtering that out and then also adding some additional mid range cue in the low mids that boosts the level of the kick, so that was just real quick. I'll spend much time on that later or excuse me in my own studio, I would spend a lot of time on that, but let's just see how that works looks like I'm really up the upper end of the of the headroom within this plug in, so I'm going to actually turn down the input gain on it s so that I have a little bit more breathing space here, and I have the release and the whole set is faster, they'll go because I'm not trying to get any residents out of this particular. Track inside pro tools, but if you want to have a more residents signal, it will start to bring this stuff up. Uh, the other thing is that you're trying to do more natural getting you might want to play with the range control. So what the range does? Is it it says, I'm getting this thing to one hundred percent when I'm when I'm not letting the single through my going down to zero volume, or is it just reducing it by, say, five or ten or however many decibels? All right, so now you haven't kicked gated, and the next thing we do is to, um, thank you, my kick. Um, you can eat you or compress first, innit? It just all depends on the sound, the sound that you going after, uh, it'll have recused, uh, whatever, I'll just do the seven, man, thank you. That's enough, ugo, but with the kick, we're just trying to get some some punch and some attack out of it, so let's do a few things with it that was super quick, but I'm doing a little bit of a low mid suck to give it the feeling of mme or more weight and more depth, but I'm also cutting out of much of the rumble. And then doing a little boost over here that gives it the bottom or punch as well as a couple little boosts up in the cliquey and punchy ranges up here I certainly would spend a whole lot more time on this at home and I would make it a very internal process so now we've got a little bit more modern sounding kick track and we want to compress it uh what we get for compressors that much stuff uh uh bomb factory seventy six is probably not the best eleven seventy six plug available but uh it's not bad actually cd five's pretty cool let's try that. All right, so that's some compression on the kick attack and release times we could actually do probably a whole class on that but just real quick faster attack times will certainly respond to the kick maurin if a kick is very dynamic you might want to go with faster attack time just to sort of grab all of the peak suspect things not let not let the real wild peaks through but if with with slower attack times if you have like a prickly resident kick you can lead the attack of the kick through and then compress the resonance of the kick so it's ah be amora tacky type of tone if you want more resident tone, you also might try a faster attack and a faster release I'm going medium on both of these the releases generally set on both on the temple of the song faster songs will get fast release is because you want the compressor to return to steady state before the next kick attack. So on a slow song, you don't need teo, you can have a slower release because the next kick is happening later and then also the the if you want a more resonant tone of the kick, you'll have a faster released so that the the sort of resident part of the of the volume envelope of the kick will come through better. So I've got a little quick, quick compressions up thing here, so let's uh go now that I have these three three things on it let's, um I'm going to go change my solo mode. I do this a lot changed between lad latch and x or um and uh now I can solo between the two kick singles. All right, so you can hear there quite a bit different now. The kick turbo is a lot more modern, a lot more control. The kick in has a lot more character, so turn down kick in just a little bit more just so there are a lot more balanced and kind of swap my solo mode again to latch and let's hear what they sound like together obviously gets louder when I bring both of them in but the kick in you know, sounds a little wimpy without kick terrible in there when it comes to kick out depending on how resident that drum is I might I'm ashley grab spl is transient designer I think ways and and uh sony oxford also make transient following plug ins but thie idea behind the transient follower and let's actually zoom in on this kick kick out volume envelope and talk about what that is a little bit get a single single kick it okay, so you've got sort of the attack portion of the kick first and then down here you have the decay portion what envelope follower does? Is it it sort of follows the progression of the amplitude of this of this wave and it allows you to manipulate that. So um let's go over here and just make a little take a little loop of few ah few kick it's like this is long enough miles in six eight now um so, uh, transient designer yeah, here we go this's a need this is a neat plug in. So this this outside kick mike isn't super ringing, but if you happen to have, you know, totally unruffled bass drum that you were trying to reel in or if you have a super muffled bass drum that you're trying to make more resident, you can kind of adjust that stuff after the fact using using this plug and this is actually a model of some spl hardware that does the same thing kind of sounds like a gate when you reduce the sustained but it's functioning on a different principle so let's hear what it sounds like with the sustained boosted up so that's normal and that's kind of like a reasonable way to get some more sustain out of the outside kick and then the same holds true with their attack feature you know, like if you had if you're mixing somebody else's records you wanted the sound of an inside kick but they didn't happen to have any sidekick might be only had an outside you can use you can dupe your deep your kick track and then used transient designer on the duke of the outside kick mike tweak out the attack and sustaining make that sound more like an inside mike it's a really good tool for forensic audio I also for bands that have blast beats I really love this tool because a lot of time snare drums aren't struck very hard and super fast patterns and I'll bring this tool onto a blast being automated on just for a blast be to bring out and they also give this gain control here which is nice so I'll set up some settings you know, maybe reducing, sustain, increasing attack and boosting the output on then have some automation so that normally bypassed and has turned on on ly for blast beats which could make a blast cut through more without having excessive symbol leakage. So that's uh that's basically transit time designer actually let me just real quick throw um transient designer on a snare track so another thing the trains in design is really neat force if you know either you didn't record a whole lot of indian tracks and you want to get some more immune it's out of the drum kit or you're mixing some stuff that was maybe recorded live for somebody else recorded you doesn't have a whole of ambience you can use transient designer tio sort of create a room track out of something that never was a room track before so let's check that out I'm gonna go with sort of restore the nominal settings on this thing listen to this near track all right? I'm gonna mess around with the settings and essentially turned this near track into a room mike from so not exactly a ra mike but there's a whole lot more residents in decay in room tone in that and you could do that to your overhead tracks or your room tracks or whatever tio like if you have undisputed room likes you can put that on the rue mike's toe add some diffusion to them so handy handy tool for forensic audio and I wanted to go through the turbo snare track stuff it's essentially the same principles just applied to the snare, but I don't have enough time to go through that right now, but I do want to mention that if you choose to do these turbo track things don't leave them on all the time, especially if it's a dynamic song if you if you reach a slow passage of the song, turn him off, especially I especially like the gated kick and especially the snare, sometimes with snare rolls, there's, some sort grace notes or nuance hits that aren't coming through with the gator track, and you might either want to automate some settings on your gate or just remove that track entirely from the mix. If it's amore gentle passage because you don't misfiring gates or not something that you want to hear in your final next so you always wanted try toe, you know we're doing all this like really technical minutiae, but the goal for me is to create something that feels organic and it feels like you're really there. Unfortunately, I think the eyes or maybe a stronger sense that the years are so when you're watching a band live that's all this like visual stuff going on, this visual excitement, people playing together that will lead your ear to hear a certain thing and when you're making an album, you don't have the advantage of that visual excitement. So there are some sort of inorganic techniques that were doing to conjure the feeling of that live excitement. That's, not that's, not present on an album.

Class Description

In this two-day course, prolific producer Kurt Ballou will take you behind-the-scenes of GodCity Studios to show you exactly how the magic happens. This all-access studio pass will immerse you in every aspect of Kurt’s distinctive sound — from choosing and setting up gear, to tracking and mixing.

Kurt will show you the basic and advanced techniques he uses in his studio every day, and teach you how to apply them to your own recording — regardless of whether you’re working in a studio or at home with a DIY setup. Using anecdotes from his years behind the board, Kurt will also teach you his best practices for working with bands to extract the best and most inventive sounds.


Keith Foster

First off, even though I'm neither a beginner nor a recording professional, this class is absolutely worth the money you spend on it - especially if you plan on making heavy music. There are enough tips, tricks and guidance in here to get your money's worth many times over. That said, as an indie artist who goes to a studio to record drum tracks, then does the rest ina home studio I found some of the things disheartening. Much of the class follows a "I do this thing using item / amp / microphone / plugin (X), it's pretty cool" vibe, and it sounds cool.... until you check the price. As an example, the 'stereo buss processing' section sounds fun to try, except for the part where the three pieces of gear cost about $8K. As a result I found myself figuring out how to incorporate the essence of what he was saying without the gear budget to do so. Maybe I'm not the intended audience but a little more concept and less gearhead would have been even better. That said you should totally get it, it's a low price for so many hours of great content.