Mixing Kick and Snare
I start with drums every time I'm gonna start with, It's to me. It's one of the most important things about a mix and it's my foundation. So here we're gonna I've got everything bust. So I've I've got all my base bust through a bus here. I got my guitars here. I'm gonna send meet all this stuff so we can start here on the drums. All right, so the first thing to do when I get some raw audio files from somebody's I'm gonna listen to the kick drum. So that's what this kick drum sounds like. Now, this was record. This actually wasn't recorded by me. I I I recorded and engineered everything in these songs except for the drums. Ah, they were done by Nick, who is the former drummer from the band Acceptance. There are awesome Seattle band from a few years ago, and he did a fantastic job. He recorded these out of his place. Um, he got a little bit input from me as far as how I wanted them done, but it it helps that he's ah, pro player. So this is in his kick drum. So the bleed on this kick drum...
is not bad at all. The kick actually sounds awesome. Is one of my I Love how he recorded these drums. The kick drum is nice and punchy. It's dry. There's not a lot of boom to it. It's just something it's It's easier for me to work with. I like the short decay on it and you can see he either had a light amount of compression on these drums as they were going in, or he's just that good. I'm not sure for they're pretty Even. So, the plug and I use on this kick drum is this guy just your basic pro tools channel strip. I got a bit of a wacky que going on here, and this probably started as a preset. I'm a big, preset guy. I'm gonna start a lot of stuff I'm going to start with is gonna you know, I'll goto cycle through a couple kick drum presets and see if it's any of them gets in the direction I want it to go and then I tweak from there. So let's listen to this without this plug in, and then I'll insert it and then now with it in one thing I probably changed quite a bit from the original setting is this yellow guy right here? And I'm a big fan of the mid range drum tone sound, which is the kind of the one k thing. And I learned that from Eric Valentine. He's might. He's my favorite mix mixer producer, I think his tones and drums or phenomenal. But he's that guy with the weird kick drum sound that I absolutely love. And it's It's probably one of the biggest references for this mix is on Eric Valentine mix, so this is probably closer to your closer to your standards. Kick Drum Hugh is that high click. But I'm a big fan of these mid range bumps. And one thing I'm gonna listen for when I'm doing this is bleed. And here is like a section here where you can hear the snare now without it are bringing some bleed up in this quite a bit. But now it doesn't sound bad. To me. That's not a bad bleed sounded I mean, kind of sounds like a bottom of a snare mic. I'm not that worried about it. Well, and we'll see if it's something that I need to come back through and gate this. I will. But I know how this makes came out, and I didn't. So it sounds good. Um, let's move on to the snare. So this is what the snare sounds like Dry. I love the snare sound he got on this. It's not, doesn't have a lot of ring to it, which is one of the problems I'm sure you guys had a lot of issues with. When you get a snare that it has too much ring and then you're trying to process it any Q. It and all it does is make the ring so much worse. Um, I'm a big fan of low fat, beefy snares, and I find I can control them a lot better. Ah, he didn't he didn't compress the snare going in on this one. This is just his playing, So I'm gonna dio a little bit of compression. I'm not a big fan of over compressing individual kick snare Tom's. You know, initially I attended the life can get sucked out of them to quickly when you do that. So let's listen so dynamically. This is what I did, not hitting it too hard here. There's like about a three minus three games are getting reduction on the snare when it hit. The snare hits it a little harder when you get to a snare filled, but if I take it out, it doesn't. I'm not losing the body and it's giving me a little bit more control. Just that little bit of compression. E que wise I am. I love that beef Penis, so I'm pumping it up down here around. Ah, where is this around and cut? Not a lot of the lows and coming up the highs. So let's hear what this sounds like. Didn't bring the ring out in a negative way. Sounds good. Let's hear it without the high end here. Sounds good. So here's our kick and snare together. I mean, this is literally just these avid plug ins and pretty much just dry drums, and it's it's sounding good already, and and a big part of that is what you have going in. That's one of the e I don't care who you are. You gotta have quality sounds coming into pro coming into your session, or it's not gonna the the damage control you have to do in the end. It is tough and you need good drums. A good player, good tuning. Which is a big, big part of how good drum sound. So let's move on to the bottom snare mic here. Could you say more about the drug? Uh, drum tuning? I'm not I'm not big. I don't have Ah, I have drunk text that I come out and help me do that. It's It is not something you can fix in the mix. I mean, aside from replacing them, which I will dio I mean an often depend, you know, if I get some horrible sounding times, I have a library of, you know, Tom Samples, and I'll go in there and replace him if I have to. Um and but it's not something you can fix and mix in a mix. If they sound bad, they're gonna sound bad. I mean, if their attitude, uh, my go to would be to replace him, so yeah, alright, sneer bottom. I'm a big fan of hearing snares in my snare tone. So here, but this is the top Mike, and there's not a lot of ah snare sound in this top Mike. So I want to bring I'm gonna use this bottom, and I I almost always Micheal bottom snare. I I like to have this, especially with when you get drums that do any sort of like marching band fills or just fills in general, the bottom stair Mike can really help pull that out. Now. What I don't want is I don't want the attack of this bottom snare mic to overwhelmed the attack of the top snare I want to get I want to get my attack in beef from the top. Snare mic. I want to get this snare sound from the bottom snare mic. So one of the things I do here is I'm gonna gate this bottom snare mic. This is another the easy DJ plug in here. I've got the attack almost basically all the way up here. And I timed the release to cut out this kick drum bleed that's in there. So if we listen to it without, I want to get rid of that kick drum in there so you can do that by, uh, messing with, like, the release here. Like, you can just pull this back, just getting that snare one of the issues that I'm sure these these guys have dealt with and I've dealt with it quite a bit before is when you don't have a consistently hitting drummer or you got a busier drummer. These kind of hits the gate is the gates don't work. You know they'll grab. You know, a lot of times you might have a drummer that's doing this. Where there they're hits are a little too quiet, so let's go even farther with it. Maybe there's not quite getting it, so So that's so it's not it. Not It didn't pick up those two snares there. So what you have to do is you could either. You could either replace it or you could go in and actually go in automate, zoom in and start automating all these snare hits, which I've done. Sometimes it takes that much to make it work. So here we have this gated snare. What sounds fine, but I still it's got too much attack in it. I want a level it out. So one of the plug ins, one of things I love for this is this Maserati plug in from waves. I honestly I don't think I have used it for anything but a bottom snare mic. It's kind of a one trick pony for me, but this is what it sounds like for this type of a song. I like this kind of gated. Just sound with the snare. It takes most of the dynamics out of it completely. So let's listen to it with the top snare mic. It was like a Phil here. So right now I am. It's all about control for me. And now I have full control of this bottom snare mic, and it's I'm not worried about it jumping out and screwing with the top Mike, maybe there. Maybe they're slightly out of phase. I don't know. By taking away the transient, the phase issues become less so Yeah, so here, let's we got kick snare and Toms started taking care, and that sounds good to me. It sounded really good. The going back to the kick drum here. Now these accuse that we're looking at are the ones I arrived in my final mix, and honestly, this was probably a lot less than this. Like when I was initially e queuing these drums, there was probably something you know more along the lines of this, like, ah, much less dramatic effect here. But later on, and we'll we'll go over this. I probably came back. So you know what? I need a little bit more of this and a little bit more that with this kick drum. So I you know, this might look extreme. So when you're initially starting, maybe don't go this hard, but we'll see as we go, I'm gonna need even more of that kick drum set.