Preamps and Gain Staging - Drums
So now we're going to talk about things like pre empts just because these air feel like these are the things that people who record things kind of care more about because it's more fun toe like I'm gonna buy any preamble I'm gonna buy this or I get excited about it um so I think we're going to jump right in um I'm going to show how how I talk about gain staging um how proper game staging is really important um how bad game staging can really mess you up and um what happens with different preempts when you hit him hard or him soft and how you can kind of play them as an instrument to get different field out of things um so I think probably jump right into it um so we have over here we have set up just like a high hat in a snare and the reason why I have the high at set up is so that you can hear once we start hitting these preempts hard um you should hear how the bleed also comes up because you're gaining up to preempt which gains up the extra noise to um so to start can you just kind o...
f start jamming on that okay, so I am going to are they getting that out there yeah okay um so what I'm gonna do is I'm going to I'm gonna have ones there with just kind of like a proper normal gain staging like not really clipping not kind of hitting too hard and then on the second track down here I'm going to gain it up pretty hot and um then I'm going to kind of go back and show or or play guys the difference how the pre empt gain staging can affect the tone and the intensity of the performance when in fact you're not really playing any different at all so play a little bit more for me and I'm just going to get some levels here as I'm as I'm tracking this all right so um so let me listen to this and make sure it's actually working because since I'm doing everything all in one room it's kind of hard to you know these air some of the the disadvantages you have if you're working all in the same room you don't really have a nice isolation to be listening in a normal control room at a low volume being able to properly discern like what you're doing and listening to it as your happening whereas it's happening so I kind of have to go and track a little bit and then listen back and then I wouldn't know point right yeah I mean I guess you could but mash yeah I mean you're just gonna be like you know something okay so let me check this out real quick crank this up a little bit more um but even just well yes let's let's go back I'm gonna make it a little bit more extreme so keep doing that same kind of kind of just jamming out on that pattern that you're doing and then after about maybe like five ten seconds of that um yeah added some hat and just pretend like you're playing a beat just open hat open you know and I'm just going to kind of show how the bleed gets picked up also way all right that is that it's so out on let me get I'm going back to saw off just a little bit me that same thing again like that tempo change their good um ok so let's talk about this you khun see clearly on here that the way forms look pretty drastically different um um so as I play these back just make sure that these are peaking at the same level and how I do that is within pro tools I'm sure that your uh d a w has something similar to this eleven so go down three d b what I'm doing is I'm just clip getting these down so that we have the exact same peaks in our session so we can I don't want to be fooled by one track louder than the other okay good so now the peak and this is something that's worth noting too there's there's such things as peak volume and then our mess for average volume um a lot of times like that's why compression and saturation is so important when it comes to making your mixes seem loud or just like thick um if you're the more saturated and like the thicker you can get things the more dense your mix becomes and it's almost like the louder the overall volume gets and by reducing the peaks that air coming up if you ever printed a mixed back in or if you've looked at your mix, sometimes you'll notice like you know you have a few peeks coming up there just like mammals of random peaks in there. How do I get those down? And if you're able to limit or swash those down now you can bring your overall mix way up so by doing this to your drum tracks to begin with is a kind of way of cheating against that which I think sounds better then if you try to use compression or limiting later on um but right now what I've done is I've made these two tracks the exact same and what I'm doing here is when you click on this little peek if you if you control, click or command click the volume right here in pro tools it changed it from delay to volume to your peak volume and then once you click on that it brings it down to where it is right now and then as you hit play both of these tracks there peeking at minus fourteen point eight and minus fourteen point three so actually this track up here that looks quieter is peaking at a lower at a higher volume then this is so this one is actually point five tv lower and volume then this one is peak but now we'll talk about how peak volume is kind of deceiving compared to average volume so I want to start by playing it back so here's narrow one that is not hitting the mic preempt very hard it all it's like a very good level not clipping not really touching red on the pre empt and here is what it sounds like so there's that one and now here is the one where it's hitting just slamming the pre embryo hard it sounds totally way louder to me away like thicker punch here sounds like you're playing harder so you're playing more even on does kind of go back and forth and you can see as this little yellow s button lights up here that's how you can tell which track I'm soloing at the time so as you're watching along you can kind of see and I'll just kind of go back and forth so pretty big difference office on the stairs sounds huge and fat but then again this is something you need to be careful with that because if you if you do this too much um then actually, you know I'm going to show what happens when you do it too much so can I just have to do that again? And I'm just gonna slam this thing ready so once again I can't really hear until we play it back but that should be pretty excessive but still you can see the peak volume is actually still lower than, uh the unsaturated track so here's the deal on saturday to tract extreme here distorting there so that's too much but something like this the second one here where I backed off just a little bit safe boy, in my opinion, I think it sounds good it still has some of the characteristic of being like a nice driven preempt while not going too far into distorted land. Um, the other thing you'll start to notice is you can see his playing here um little at large you can see so as it goes through and I'm assuming that is running through the saturation comes from the transformers and the components of the the analog in and a lot world it you can see how it's kind of evening out all of your you're playing, but at the same time you can also see in the spots where you're not playing it also brings up that information as well, so what's happening is your overall it's almost like a uh if any has a guitar players it's it's almost like a guitar amp to where you're driving the input gain of your amp up and what it does is it smashes down your transients which gives you like that distortion but at the same time now you have like all that extra like like if you move your fingers on the threat board you get that created just bad noise you know um so that's essentially what's happening with a pre empt it's kind of like the pre empt side of a guitar and if you look at it that way um and then something that you could be careful is is when you go and I'm gonna use the extreme track as an example cause you're able to see it big time um so they'd be careful is is when you're hitting your premiums hard or if you decide to do that if it's something you want to do, you should be very careful because the other thing that can happen is one you can distort them like distort them like that. But then also the bleed of of your symbols and any other drums that you're playing will also get brought up pretty pretty drastically so here is the track that's not being hit very hard level of lead but then as you distort the pre empt, you'll hear the high hat come much louder and this in this second if this is something that you're going to be doing with all of your tracks so imagine you had this happening with tears in their top mike yours in their bottom like iraq your floor you're high hat everything now it is just it's going to get to a point where your tracks kind of start to become unusable because you're just having every time you're playing high hat you're getting so much high hat in every microphone um so I guess some things just be kind of careful with that it's a cool trick to use because in my opinion like this track here that's not being in his home nowhere near a school is this track I mean that's I mean and that's the difference between once you throw that in the mix all of a sudden like these little ghosts these ghost notes here like when he's rolling and throw guitars behind that and those notes you just kind of get lost whereas this saturated practices really able to bring those out, you can see it like on these meters just looking at it. And the funny thing is is like saying this track here is mean still point to devi lower in volume than the first track, yet it feels so much more loud, you know, and so much more punching and present so cool little tricks about about preempts unfortunately I don't think you can really do that but within um like all in one in like a like a like interface that has like a mike pre and ah eighty converted all built in the one because you need something kind of in between there like I have some attenuate er's that I built two that I put after the mike preempts that I can use kind of like a fader to gain down the output level of the pre empt before it hits pro tools which is also another important thing because like I said on this one so this track here this last one where I went pretty extreme you can hear that it's distorting but if you look inside of pro tools the meters air not the sorting it all and that's because you need to pay attention to proper gain staging in which is if you're distorting on like a on external preempt, you need to pay attention to that because that that level what's going into that preempt and what's being saturated or how hard you hit on that print may not be the same level or you may have different media ring within your d o w or what your eight a d converters can handle, so just looking at it again, you can see how much lower in volume is here that room within pro tools yet the track is still distorting and that's really important tio to pay attention to um not only for drums but also guitars to um do you guys have any questions on that or anything you want to add? I mean, I spent most of my time recording with the pre sonus fire pod and after a long time using it um realizing what? Because you're saying that you can use those all in one audio and her face is right at the creams built into actually saturate with the pre empt but there is still in a certain amount of colorization that it gets yeah at wherever the game is so just kind of learning how the gear sounds in every setting yes kind of essential because some there are some things that I don't want to push hard like that on because it just kind of you know either makes it sound two squashed or or brings out some were transients like I don't like to push guitar is very hard on that particular piece of your very much at all because it just kind of brings out the odd characteristic that I can't really every like put my finger on it but but on the other hand I like to push their heart on it all the time yeah like I tried to get a cz close to clipping as possible right before you know and I'll just bring it back down right before that but yeah, just knowing what the gear sounds like in every stage of game is is kind of essential yeah, yeah and experimenting you're saying is like critical because exactly you said you're going to like the way it sounds on a snare but then you try to do that on a vocal there's like I don't know uh sound cool or might you know or you can know that like because you know that when you hit a snare hard through it does this cool distortion thing so maybe we'll try it on a vocal because you're recording kind of like a stroke see type of ivan you want it to sound like it's like a like a shitty old like singing so hard he's crapping out the mike you know questions online, I think it's in terms of like peek versus our master meter yeah, um but what are your thoughts on k monitoring and monitoring in general proper proper dane staging when tracking this um I don't really care for it. I like um I don't know that. Yeah. It's not, um like I I prefer peak metering. Um I have, um, like on on my counsel at home I have I can switch between er peek p p m and then the u, which is slower, I like ppm because a lot of our peak meeting because like this, for example I wonder if there's a plug in that I could show that does this I think there is if there's like the bomb factory ones um but a lot of times like these you meters and the the meter's just too slow so when you're looking at things like um like drums especially um I don't think there is one here we're looking at things like drums um and when I say the u meters I mean like the old needle style you know where it's like it moves really fast but what happens is your your peak your actual signal is is hitting in at a certain level but it takes time for that that motor inn that meter to move so by the time that snare happens and it goes in and it's done that meter is like just getting the motor running you know? So a lot of the times if you're looking at life state you meters your meter is just kind of like barely moving a little bit and then it goes to a snare like a phil likable and it's like you know and and you're like what? It's not any louder but it just is because it takes time for it to move, so I prefer ppm because I like to know exactly what's going on um and I don't really I don't really care about what the meter says my r m s level is it's. More like I just listen for. But I like my like the meters to show me the peak, because sometimes I may not be able to hear, like I can't hear that, like that's peaking at eleven. Point three, you know, I mean, but I can hear if it feels louder, you know, and I don't really need a meter to tell me that, it's, that it feels louder because a lot of that, and a lot of what we're talking about is, like let's, listen. And, like, what feels better, what's. What feels more like, more intense or whatever you're going for.