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Robert Lang Studios Mixing Class

Lesson 3 of 10

Mixing Toms and Overheads

Casey Bates

Robert Lang Studios Mixing Class

Casey Bates

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Lesson Info

3. Mixing Toms and Overheads


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Introduction to Mixing Duration:10:58
2 Mixing Kick and Snare Duration:12:35
3 Mixing Toms and Overheads Duration:20:20
4 Drum Bus Compression Duration:06:12
5 Mixing Bass Duration:08:07
6 Mixing Guitars Duration:16:49
8 Mixing Vocals Duration:27:20
9 EQ Matching with Ozone Duration:03:56
10 Mixing Q&A Duration:05:40

Lesson Info

Mixing Toms and Overheads

Toms. So here is how I dealt with the toms on this song. So here's here's, the tom mike's. We are sorry that this is the rack, tom. Let's, get to. And you can actually hear that. You can hear the hum of the tomin. This mike. You can actually hear that note. And then let's, hear. Ah! Went with where it actually hits it. That's a good tune, tom. Like it's. Just beautiful like rings out. He's, hitting it consistently and hard, which is another thing. I mean, what? When it comes to the heavier bands I've worked with, where the drums are going crazy at all times, hitting consistently. I can't stress enough is a such a huge part of how you make drum sounds. So I decided when I was doing this song that I wanted. This song has kind of a choppy feel to it. This is like, don't don't don't feel, and I wanted the drums to reflect that, and part of that is what the toms and the way I edit my tom's edit him for this song anyways, is, I let the tom play, and if there's a kick drum right after, I'm go...

ing to cut the toms off right at the kick drum, which sounds weird. Now, if we listen to just the tom that's, what it sounds like. I'm just a hard muting everything except for these edit. Now, if I were to let this ring out a little bit this, maybe you do a little fade. I found that, like, the the ring is cool, and I don't do this for everything. The ring. You know, if it's a softer part where you really do, the ring is important. But here, kick drums, landing right after. And I want that kick drum to be by itself and be the punch that happens on the next beat. Um, and I like the fact that the symbol bleed is not going to be in the song anymore. So by hard chopping it here, this is what we get with kick, snare and tom's. And you actually don't missed the end of that. Do you mean, like you kind of you? You almost your brain almost fills it in, but I like that. That kick hits, and it stops with that. Same thing. Let's. Find a phil here. That's got floor, tom, interact on like this guy. Let's, listen to this for me. This guy sounds like again, it's. A good, well tuned, well, tin drum and he's hitting it hard, that's, something you're gonna have with when it comes to tom's and bleed. Listen to the difference between the bleed and the level of his tom's here. Is drastic. I mean, he's, he is hitting those toms consistently and hard. Too many times. I mean, I'll I'll be mixing a band where it's almost hard to tell even if a tom was hit because they're doing a crazy phil and they're just tryingto roll across something and it does not come across, you know, part. You know, this isn't. This isn't really the day for me to preach about how to play drums, but my whole thing is playing it consistently and playing it. If it takes it, you simplifying the drum part to play it well, I think that's what needs to happen? All right, so I'm looking at the floor, tom, and I'm doing the same thing I'm doing with the rack time. I want to cut down on the bleed on this song, it, you know, we can listen to something like this with you without me chopping it. So this is what it sounds like. Without the chop on the kid. Now all cut him off here. Now where that kick drum happens. There's. A tightness to it that I really like. It sounds weird right now, but when everything is going it's, not something that I think is apparent, you're not. You're not hearing a chopping off right there. So, let's, look at what I did for you on these times. So what? The rack town again, I'm just using the channel strip here, probably started with some form of, uh, you know, florida are tom preset, and I am not going to be boosting high end on these. I just want to get the low end out of these, because I'm gonna come back around later and bring the high end out to kind of match how everything else is feeling. So right now, I'm just worried about getting the beef out of these these drums, and this is the set. A lot for this is what this sounds like. No, without it. Some boosting right here. My main guys around one hundred fifty, hurts any. I mean, you kind of just kind of feel this out, depending on the drugs. Somewhere in there is good and just in a little bit of bumping up with high end, but not much something probably similar to that for the floor. Tom. Here. See. So this guy, I'm going big pushing that low end up isn't this. Sounds like now, compared to without it. I just want to get the fatness of it, and I'll bring out the attack later. I'm not. I'm not even gonna compress thes, compressing toms is another thing. I mean, if I did compress it, it would be just a little bit, not too much. Just just touch it. So with thes e cues in kick snare and tom's it's here, this sounds like sound good? One of the students asked, what were the the mikes on these drums? The kick drum is ah, a kg one twelve just inside the kick drum pointed up at the beater probably six, seven, eight inches away. What you picked your mike's? Probably, you know, get it in there and just kind of move it around till you get it. You know, obviously have to have a well tuned drum and a good drummer. But as faras placement goes, I put it in and I just start moving around till it sounds good. Snare s and fifty seven it's my go to use it on everything, same thing, just kind of right off the edge of the rim. I don't really move snare mikes around too much. If it doesn't sound good, all change the tuning of the snare, uh, sneer bottom mike, I don't remember, and I don't care all that much. All use anything that's around because, like we're saying with the plug and I got on here now and I mean the compression with this. You could have just about anything on that, admiral. I can get something along those lines. Um, tom mixer, just your standard, uh, md for twenty ones. Sanitizers, nothing crazy, everything to me. I just keep it, so I try to keep it a simple as possible. So I'm with this drum makes the way I'm doing. It is, I'm bussing my kick snare and toms to a bus, just them. So if we look here, we've got drum cop on all these outputs, that's, my my drum bus, right here and then I'm actually going to busting symbols to a separate bus called drum sima right here, so let's, listen to these symbols. I tend to not use my high hat, mike, if I unless I need it for apart. And if I need it for a part, I will. Unm. You did, and just have it play for that section, I I mean, it all depends on if the overheads are picking up the high hat enough. And if you're getting a stereo image with the high hat, on the left or right, depending on what you're going for in this situation, that's, the overheads, had enough hi hat for me, so I didn't even worry about it. So this is what the overheads sound like. Part of what makes nick awesome, you know, an awesome drummer studio drummer especially is he's the volume for what? From which he's hitting everything he's not laying into symbols because if you go, you know, if you're if you're in a practice space and you're listening to your drums, the one thing you're going to hear the most of these symbols it's you know, it's not an accurate reflection of I mean, recordings are necessarily the most accurate reflection of like the real world is you tend to hear just a lot of symbols if you're standing in front of a drum kit now when you're in the studio, I try to stress the germans too not just too many guys are laying into those crashes and especially the high hats just just whacking on him and one a good lesson here is when you listen to nick's drums is how his balance is he's hitting his visiting has kicked, staring tom's consistently and hard, not the hardest that's another thing that drummers tend to do wrong is they are trying to hit the snare drum as hard as they possibly can and it's you're it it almost like craps it out you don't hear, you're not getting the tone of the of the actual drum I I find that somewhere like in a medium hard range is usually the best and you get the tone of the drums, so and it makes it easier on german, because if you tell dermot, hit it as hard as you can, every single time when it comes to those really busy parts, then they're freaking out because they they're just they're doing too much, and they can't hit it that hard. Where is when you tell them, hey, just keep it simple and keep it consistent. I don't get better results. So this is an example of a drummer that is conscious of the balance of how he's playing his drums. And I'm actually going to process thes to get rid of, you know, to basically back off of the kicks in and tom's. I want these symbols, for the most part, to be nothing but the symbols again. I want to get all of my sounds from my kick snare and tom, my individual microphones as faras. Those sounds go like the room sounds. We're going to come from the room, mike, since and whatnot, but let's, listen to this. Listen to what I do here for these overheads. So it's, just solo, one of them here and let's take like a section. The first plug, and I'm using on this guy is a compressor is one of my favorite compressors here. The a p I I always forget to turn off this analog, turn this thing off, because, for whatever reason, if you have a bunch of these plug ins going, it creates a hiss in the session. That's. Their version of analog is making tape noise, I guess. No, so I hit this hard. I want to. I want to squash all the transients out of out of out of these overheads now. I like, I, like, hit my overhead, super hard, it doesn't, it doesn't seem to screw up the symbols for me, so here I mean, I've got twelve, we're hitting twelve devi again reduction. I've got a ten to one ratio. Super fast attack. I mean, these air, these air slammed pretty hard and it's doing the trick. I'm hearing the symbol sound good, the and the drums, the kick snare, tom's air getting pushed away, which is good. And then I'm gonna bring in any queue here to take it even further. I'm gonna cut everything below four hundred. Well, I'm just dropping it pretty much. I'm taking it down ninety, be here, so and I'm actually cutting a little bit of the top end here. So this is what it sounds like with any q on it. It is a far cry from symbols are being brought out. Snow's going, push backs, that's, good it again. I want control. I want absolute control over this stuff. I know you guys are seeing the ah these things peeking out red. I don't know why I'm coming from pro tools eleven and it's slightly different. I think it. How does it's meet a ring? So these are the settings I used, but they weren't peeking out before, um, let's, add in these guys. And so here's our overhead stereo image. Here's. Another thing where if you have too much ring in a snare, the overheads, we're gonna bring it out. Even mauritz. I can't just watch the ring in your snare drums on your recording. I would rather, you know, and the other thing is, maybe you're thinking all it's got too much ring, I'll just sound, replace it later. Well, that's, fine, but you're like, you're hearing here. In these overheads, you're going to hear the tone of that snare, and I believe me, it's happened many times where I I'll let a ringo, and then I'm back and I'll try to replace it even, and you still hear that tone going over and it's nasty. These mikes are, move him, try, remember what he used. I want to say he used some u eighty sevens over the top of the kit. Not sure I typically use pencil condensers. I like him just right over the left and right sides of the kit, your standard, just a standard pencil condenser mic set up over the top. All right, the room, mike's, here's. What his room, mike. Sound like. Now, this was my probably my favorite, out of all the stuff he did this to me. Sounds the coolest, and it actually is a big part of the drum tone. As we'll see later on, he did. He did it the way my favorite is and that's to take some ribbon microphones. In this case, they were like the roy er, probably one, twenty ones, I think, put him out, you know, fifteen feet, if the ah the kick drums here and the drummer's back here, you know, putting the mikes fifteen feet, kind of spaced out this way and download of the floor, so you are minimizing the symbol a little bit. I mean, it's, it's, hard to, you know, ribbon, mike's, help with that locks. There are much darker sounding microphone. Elyan. Hear it here. You're getting a lot of kick, drum and snare, which is awesome. Even we come here later in the song where it's ah, heavy on the symbols. It's. Still not overwhelming and there's too many times where it I've had drums that I mean, the room has basically become unusable because it's just ah, wash of symbols. Again, that comes from how hard you're playing those symbols in relation to the to the drums. So all I'm doing with these guys is I want to compress them. I want to bring that room, sound up a little bit more, and I'm just using the the good old b f seventy six free plugging that comes with pro tools. Let's, hear what this sounds like with these guys. And it sounds awesome. I'm not gonna do any q on these on these, because I'm actually doing cq on the overall cymbal bus. But listen you like a drum fill. You could see how much compressions here. I'm not a twenty to one ratio. Super fast attack. Fast release. The thresholds. Not up crazy. But I am here. I mean, when they're getting hit there, getting hit hard. Listen here, where the symbols are going hard. Still getting kickin snare, which is awesome. It's not buried. Some super happy with that. And then his motto room mike. He did. I just left. It. Looks like he probably had some compression on it, model mikes. They're just kind of one of those things where I will, probably I probably would have this muted as I'm going along in my mix and and near the end, I'll bring it up just to the point where if it helps, it helps. If it doesn't, I'm not going to use it, and so in this case, I've got it, it's it minus fifteen here, so it didn't it's, not in their very loud, but it sounds cool, but with his good as those royer room, mike sounded, I was fine. I could be fine without it. So here are all the symbols playing together. Cool. Now I'm actually going toe because we can move on to the bus of these symbols. So here I've got just a nick, you on the symbol bus, this one of my go to plug ins, and this is a wacky curve. This is probably something that again started something like that and ended up up here. So let's, listen to it like this. I wanted to see the symbols. I still I don't want that. I don't want the beef of those kicks their toms to be really brought out by these mikes, so I'm going to use. I'm going to cut out a lot, this low end. Still, getting some kick in there and still gets, and the snare sounds good. The room sounds awesome. It's got the right amount of decay for this kind of stuff. But like we said, we're seeing it. I ended up somewhere around here. This issue is not as drastic as you would think. It's. It looks worse than it actually is. I mean, there's, not there's. Not a crazy difference between these two, but there's enough that you know, I probably started here and then when everything was going, I was like, I need. I need a little bit more that christmas up there. So let's, leave that in. And then so are symbols are good.

Class Description

In this class, producer Casey Bates (Portugal. The Man, Gatsby’s American Dream, Foxy Shazam) walks through his mixing process using a recent session he engineered at the Robert Lang Studio with the band, Money Pit

Robert Lang Studios is one of the Northwest’s most iconic recording studios, world-renowned for recording bands like the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Dave Matthews and Deathcab for Cutie

The studio’s unique stone and marble live room (built into the side of a mountain) along with the very best of analog and digital gear has attracted producers, engineers, and artists from all the world. 

In Studio B (The Duality Room), Casey explains, in detail, his approach to mixing drums, guitars and vocals while revealing his choices for use of compression, eq, reverb and effects. Robert Lang Studios Mixing Class with Casey Bates will give you an inside look how to mix music and set up your workflow. 


Joe Wilkinson

Regardless if you've listened to the music Casey has personally worked on or not, you'll find a lot of great information on his methods for mixing. It is such a great idea that this class comes with the files that Casey is actually work with so you can work side by side. This class includes best practices in organizing mixes, using busses, and what I consider the most important take away: listening to the MIX and not necessary just a single track over and over again. My requests: attendees had better formed questions to ask and to do another class -- I would love to hear some of the techniques and mixing that went into Church Mouth by Portugal. The Man.

fbuser 42790ebd

It was straight forward and helped show everyone it doesn't take fancy plugins or shiny toys to make great records. Even his vocal chain is mid tier but he yields excellent results with years of knowledge on his side. Casey you should come back to do a song off Emarosa's 131 album. There has to be some cool tricks there.