Mixing Drums: Snare Drum
This is really how I makes when I opened up a session the first thing I dio basically from segment too is start of where where I started makes I opened it up I'm gonna listen everything raw for a second so I understand what the song sounds like in the first thing I do is diving on the drums and I'll start with the kick drum and make sure I have the kick drum sounding the way I want and then I'll move on to the snare and make sure the kick and snare sound the way I want and then I'm on tom's overheads and rooms than all of my group um mixing stuff that I showed you earlier so as we're going this is this really how I went with as I was going through in mixing so the next thing I have is a sneer and I've actually printed the snare on this um because like I said, I wanted to print a lot of these tracks and make sure they were just easy to recall and at the time the compressor I was using on the snare I was using on a lot of other stuff so right now I'm gonna show you the printed version an...
d then I'm going to kind of recreate it with them the gear I used to make it so this is the final snare mean lives track that's where I ended up with snare and this was snare before anything was processed it's different but you know you can hear that is the same snare as some fifty seven kind of having a lot of mid range again that my my motive a lot of times is to capture that middle range punch and then expand it with boosting and highs and lows and doing a little bit of cutting but so this was the snare just raw this's where I ended up there's no samples or anything on that that's just the snare um so let me show you how I got there. I'm gonna make a new track actually, I'll just run this life I don't need to do what I did before, so first thing I'm going to run is inputting output for on my converter I'm gonna come over here and the first thing I used was this a p I fifty five hundred it's a lot like the accused in the fbi consul's, except the advantages it has is that you can actually control there's a switch that lets you control how much gain your adjusting with the game knobs and in equalizers what control is a way to control frequencies on different frequency points, boosting and cutting ap, accusing consuls in most of their classic consul's normally on ly boosting cut to tb and if you've ever seen him in like five hundred siri's racks like five fifty a m five fifty p which are really cool five fifty eight they just started re issuing, but a lot of them are vintage ones. I used to own a pair of there really need, but they have a couple flaws to me, and one of them is that everything that you change is into tv increments and that's a lot that's a huge boost to dvds, I mean, and like I said, I do a lot of huge booths, but even if I'm boosting ten d b, I want to hear what ten point five tv sounds like in nine point five d b sounds like I don't want to be stuck with ten, eight and twelve, so what's cool about the cq is when you're in one times and you change the gain even though it says two, four, six, nine, twelve, which it gets a little dicey there, but, uh, you know, two, four, six instead of doing that well, when I'm in one times mode that's what it's doing? So this would be a sixty v boost at ten k with this, all I have to do is flip this switch two point five and this sixty b boost is cut in half, so it's actually a, um three d b boost if I want even less I do ah point two five and it's actually just a one point five d v boost and that's a really cool thing because I can get super drastic with the q in one times fun like I like the curve I've created but it's just too much overall I can cut it in half instantly by flipping that switch and that's really cool and if I'm running it through the mixed bus or something and I really like the sound of the fbi on the mix or or on anything but I want slight booth with this one unlike any other a p q I can put it on point two five and this is just a half tv boost instead of a two dp boost. The other advantage to the cq is that all of the rack mount a p I accused in the five hundred siri's are unbalanced because they were originally designed to be in the a p I console. So even though this is the exact same cue with some extra features um they've added output transformers that balance it as opposed to the five hundred siri's versions five fifty eight five fifty b you're going to lose some volume on the output and that could be kind of frustrating for some people it doesn't matter for some people it does and that's because it's it's the it's the signal level when it's in the console but the part that the part that makes up the gain in the council is not in the in the rack unit, so when you take it out and put it in the five hundred siri's you're missing that output gain, and with this they fixed that and I was so happy when they did that cause I've always loved they're accused, but I was always frustrated by the changing in gain because it is deceiving when things change in volume, you tend to when things were quieter, you like him less. So how do you like him or even if they're really not different or if they're not what you want? You tend to choose volume over any other factor, so having it remained the same volume is incredible. So now that I've talked about that, let me patch it in and I'm going to go out of the fourth channel on my first prison into the f b I e q input on the patch bay. The first input on the fifty, five hundred out of the fifty, five hundred into the eleven seventy six is what I what I used for snare compression so you can run more than one piece outboard gear at a time and you only have to go in and out once you're done obviously patch multiple things together to create different sounds, I can patch every single thing in here and run it all at the same time in the one thing it could sound incredible we could sound like the worst thing you ever heard it just depends on on how you're running things and that's a little absurd of a thing to do but you can do it however you want it so in this case I'm going from the rock track in the computer out of the converter into the fbi out of the fbi into the eleven, seventy six out of the eleven seventy six back into the computer via the prison eighty converters so and I'm patching that all in on the patch bay so now I've got out of the fifty, five hundred going into the eleven, seventy six I need one more cable out of the eleven, seventy six it back into input for now it's going back into the computer so the first thing I'm going to do so I've set all of these e q points to how I do a snare drum normally, but I've set the game to zero so when I turn it on even though it's bypassed right now um it's once I engage it, I won't be doing any q all you'll be hearing is the circuitry and I have the eleven seventy six bypassed by there's a little switch on the attack that bypasses the compression so in pro tools I've selected insert for on my first prison and I need to add a time adjuster that's in the delay plug ins that needs to be at twenty one samples for this session now another way you can do that I didn't slower away just to show you but I also could have just held option clicked on the time investor I have over here drag it here let go and it doubles it so it doesn't get rid of the original one and you do that by holding the option key um but in doing that I've transferred over the gain as well so I have to open this up and zero out the gain and that's also option on pro tools you just click it it brings your fate or back to zero in most plug ins on all the failures many failures have option click on it it goes back to zero which is a quick way to not fumble around so now I have this running through everything should be bypassed and we're just hearing the ross near sound eleven seventy six is that it doesn't bypass the there's some there's some uh eleven eleven seventy six inspired compressors that have real bypasses but the eleven, seventy six you can bypass the compression but the game is still affecting it so I'm gonna make sure that my gain is good here questioning why I'm touching eleven seventy six but also saying that it's bypassed so that's pretty good volume it's a good starting point turn this down a little bit blasting my face here so have the q bypassed I'm going to take that out of bypass another cool thing about this e q is you khun it's got a true bypass which means that it's not going through any electronics the cable is basically input cables basically directly connected to the output cable so you're not being affected by anything um other than the connection of the cable which is pretty much nothing so you can bypass this and still have the q section bypass but just run through the transformers and the op and switch on track like this doesn't make a massive difference um it does especially once you start queuing but not not just running by itself so I'm going to turn this first channel on and I'm a dialogue to seek you a little bit to it and like a lot of one fifty and my snare drums however I feel like a snare sounds when I'm hitting it has a lot of low and punched a lot of high end punch so right now I've got this on one so every gain selection you see is the true amount of gain I'm adding so I'm going to start with forty b of one hundred fifty hurts but it's probably going to turn it up more than that because it's one of my favorite frequencies um and then I'm gonna do the highs because I really the first thing I want to do when I start working on the stairs I really want the highest crack and I want the lohans to punch and as a drummer I'm really picky about that stuff and I like the snare or be like exactly how it sounds when I'm hitting it but then a little more superhuman beyond that just a little so I want to add some ten k here and by having this disengaged this is a this controls the frequency as a peak instead of a shelf which means the main the highest frequency being are the loudest frequency being controlled this ten k and it's slightly controlling the frequencies around it when I engage this it means that everything above ten k is being being risen or anything above whatever frequency I said all the way down to two point five so if I haven't said it two point five k and I engaged this all frequencies above that are being lifted that's called a shelf for snare drum I don't want to do that and I want it back on ten I want to just do a bell curve because I don't want all the really harsh high symbol sounds to be coming through the snare track because again you do have bleed but I don't want to shelf on that because I don't want fifteen k symbol bleed coming through my center channel on my snare I really want to focus on the crack of the snare um I don't want all that extra junk so ten k for me is the highest the highest point of the crack on a snare drum and I like that so let's do forty b of gain on that forty b of one hundred fifty hertz and we'll hear that bypass it we're already getting a little bit closer but it's not drastic enough so let's go sixty b on both now I'm getting a little bit of boeing in this here on I want to get some of that out so I find I hear that low residents that kind of comes through a snare drum from it's from being having the mic close enough to the snare to get enough to not get too much bleed but you're kind of getting that proximity effect of getting a real buildup of lohan and low mids so even though I want to move slow and I feel like it's there's too much little mids and there's a little too much of that boy any sound so for me most of the time and the mikes I used in the way I set things up it's pretty much always four hundred hertz so I'm gonna go to this low band and I'm gonna pull out forty b four hundred hertz and again I don't want the shelf on because I don't want everything below four hundred hertz to be dropped I just want the four hundred hertz itself to drop so really cuts down on some of that goofy, low enduring here's without it boxy cut some of that out still there, obviously, but it's a lot lot more minimal and it's not that weird boigny sound it's more of the true cool snare sound now I'm feeling like maybe there's still a little too much mids, so I'm gonna try cutting a little bit of one point five getting into the territory that I want to be with the snare starting to sound real clear, cool, punchy, I'm just going to listen to what I have before to double check oppression this's what I'm setting up now, that's what I did on the record, so I'm going to leave that like that for now, and I'm going to kind of dial in the compression and again, this isn't a control level so much because josh it's really evenly killer drummer, so I don't even have to think about that aspect I'm coming in and this and these are techniques that you can even do with drum samples because that's another thing about drum samples is a lot of times you get him and like especially ones that you purchase they're a little boring sounding and they don't really have a lot of life to so a good way to add life using analog here using an outboard compressor um I preferred eleven seventy six on snare but distresses really cool on stare to vertigo can be cool on snare the western dynamo could be cool on certain stairs fatso is killer on stairs, there's all kinds of different stare compressors, but here we're going to use the classic eleven, seven eleven seventy six on this is actually not a real one it's a reproduction by hairball their kits that you can build, which is really cool because you can get in for pretty cheap and you can learn about electronics and and build a really cool compressor. So definitely definitely a fun thing to do on a fun thing to have, so I'm going to turn the compression on and again eleven seventy six is or super weird, the attack knob is also a switch and it turns on the compression, so if you ever been using eleven seventy sixty like, why can't I bypassed this? I don't get it that's what I did the first time and I was like, also why does the attack have been off hit off it's actually a switch and I was going like this like what? It doesn't go down there and then just manhandle it and turn it off so I like my attack on eleven seventy six for a snare to be about at nine o'clock release all the way up, I think you're going to see throughout the day I love fast release, I'm usually at the fastest release possible. I think it sounds cool in rock and roll. Um, for for most things and the things that I used that don't have a fast release or fixed release already. So it's its preset, so kind of like the distress, sir, with the eleven seventy six, the input drives into the threshold, so there's no threshold to bring down on top of the signal, you're actually using the input to drive teo, create compression. So I'm going to drive the input to the point that it's compressing what I want, but at the same time, I'm probably gonna have to turn down the output because bring up the input obviously turns up the overall signal, so we'll see me working both at the same time, this's gain reduction here. Also all these controls control the meter on dh I wanted teo, I want to be able to see the game reduction beat it again, thief view meters, saying about three that's actually a little too much for me because I'm not trying to control the game, but when you're looking at a view meter, especially like on eleven seventy six when it says three it's actually doing a lot more compression than that view meter is a little slower it's not catching all the super fast peaks so always keep that in mind, you know, it's their different compresses or a little different on the view, but for me, I like the view to right around one because it sounds more like three or forty b of compression, so let me get it dialed in there crank the output on this because the more you turn up the output on eleven, seventy six, the court for the one yeah, the eleven seventy six has four to one eight to one twelve the one twenty to one and a cool trick is that if you just kind of get in there, you can turn them all off and then do it one more time and you're turning them all on and I believe that does like a it makes a really, really high ratio. I don't actually know the exact amount, but I can show you what each one does just like the distress er um I like four to one on the snare if I'm using a different compressor actually like three to one because it's not doing a ton of compression just has a nice sound to it, but well, the levin seventy six doesn't go down that far you could actually modify them to do that, which is something I'm planning on doing but for the one works great for me with these settings eight to one I might use on overheads that's a pretty cool sound um twenty to one I could do what I'm doing with the drum bus here but again eleven seventy six doesn't really have the same sound that I get out of this, so I basically keep this a four to one and I keep it on the snare drum, but I can run through him again so you can hear the different ratios and and how the ratio affects the envelope in the sound of the drums turning, changing the snare drum there but let's just use that part. I like that part I'm gonna mess with a little more high and low we cue here using my monitors, but I kind of like that because I find when I start adding compression, it knocks the queue down a little bit and it brings up whatever you've cut out just a little bit. So I'm compensating for that by turning up a little more to fifty on a little more ten k there, so let me go through the ratios on the eleven, seventy six that support a one thousand running it here's eight to one also cool setting is just doing a little more compression that I want here's twelve to one sounds nice, but still more than twenty to one, not a huge difference when you're doing that little of compression, but then I can show you the what people call all buttons in mode. Um, I've actually you could see that I had it on twenty took them all out, and then I put all of the buttons and sometimes they don't want to go in that time. It did is going to make a mental note that I'm right under that dot so I'm going to show you here a little more gain a little more gain reduction so you can really hear all buttons and can do and it's a great effect, and you've probably heard it on the start of songs. When you hear a song that that comes in with, like, really compressed kind of lo fi drums, there was a really popular band around the early two thousand's that had a huge hit, and that was the sound of their drums coming in, and this was on the whole there's an eleven seventy six on the whole kit, but you people do this on records all the time and it's super cool all buttons in mode and just crushing the signal. Obviously I'm going kind of crazy with it, but you might recognize that effect it's something that's been used a lot it's kind of hard to duplicate with anything other than eleven, seventy six it sounds like distortion it sounds like a mass amount of compression, but it's really just one thing and it sounds cooler if you put a whole drum set through it not just the largest this year, which I have time I'll do that later because it's always fun I enjoy it. I'll show you another trick with the eleven seventy six here on snare get back to my settings this is where I was before if I've got a guy who's really not hitting a snare even and I need to control some volume, I'll take the attack and I'll put it more around noon and I'll work my way to teo straight up uh twelve o'clock and it kind of levels out it'll bring up the bleed more little really level out the attack of this nature and it's a pretty cool sound tio you can hear there's a little less attack and it's a little more boxy it's pretty cool controlled sound so that that's what I've done to the top snare mike on this, we'll blend this in with the kick drum sounds because I really like to hear how much my snare blends with kick drum keep terms obviously a little too loud right now, but I'm going to blend some other snare tracks in with it and one more thing I want to check on the snare is just maybe I've done a little too much like you go e q happy man used this switch to cut the amount of the q and a half and then in a quarter pretty happy with where I'm at let's check it bypassed for more time, powerful and cool that he was and you could tell it that's what? Like that a p a he was a really common snare sound it's part of having that really cool saturated, beefy snare same with the eleven seventy six one more time I was taking everything off so you can hear the absolutely wrong track oren bring some life back into it. This is the entire hardware chain and again, which is the a p fifty five hundred into the eleven, seventy six that's really the backbone of my snare sound on a lot of records and I'm kind of feeling like I don't have enough output volume up on that a little bit. Now I'm going to blend in some other tracks and I actually have what I've done another again teo kind of fight the bleed in the snare drum a little bit is I've gone back and I've added samples under every snare hit that are actually just a sample I took of the snare drum during the session and that way I have the same snare sound that I'm using but I'm getting a sound that has no bleed that I can mix in that's consistent but I don't want to mix too much in because I don't want to snare to sound fake because there's no need for that it's really just about making it cut through super heavy guitars and loud vocals and all the other electronic production it's not about it's not because there's an issue with the actual drum tracks or josh or anything it's just basically the way to meld the acoustic drums into all the electronic and electric aspects like the electric guitar, electric bass and all the sense it if you're familiar with issues there's a lot of synthesizers is going on that is super cool when you have just rock who stick drums they don't really mesh with all the electronic elements so blending a little bit of the samples from the kit kind of just helps bring those two worlds together and I'll show you here this first track um was processed through a mother on track actually I've done a second track on this before I get into the done a second track on this that's just e q through the snare with no compression and I did that to blend in with again with with less bleed so it's pretty much identical with slightly more top end to the track. I just showed you that I set up, but it's with eleven seventy six turned off and that's because when you're adding impression you're adding bleed so every little bit of bleed I can get rid of helps. So with this track, you can hear bringing it in more snare without bringing up to much more simple here's ah, just the track we built. That's the cue going into eleven, seventy six running live here's, the that track blended with just any acute acute track that I printed on, like I was saying that's sometimes why printing tracks is helpful because I ended up using the fifty five, the other channel of fifty five hundred and something else by printing it, I can use the fifty, five hundred more than twice, even though there's only two channels so here's the two together, this on and off, and you're gonna hear the volume of the snare drop, but the symbols won't change a ton. Another little trick to be things up. And here I'll bring in my my first track of the blended samples that I was talking about in with those other two tracks. Adding volume is I'm doing that someone turned my monitors down because I don't want to get fatigued were here all day that's a really important important part of mixing no matter how you're mixing, make sure you're not blasting yourself all day because you're gonna go deaf in two years and have no job that's this is not what you want that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but if you want to do this for the rest your life, keep your monitors that relatively low volume and if you're turning him up just back away like I mentioned yesterday, I'm gonna go to apart with a little more believe here so that this makes more sense it's cool here is that the compression really brings up the ghost notes he's doing I'm gonna take the sample out for minutes he can hear those writer beats in there and compression helps bring that out cuing helps bring that out to sew on my sample track. I'm not backing up those ghost notes no, I'm all I'm doing is backing up the big hits because like I said, I'm not trying to replace the snare drum I just kind of want to blend into the electronics so here's without the sample track here it doesn't sound like a different snare drum or anything it just adds a little more stability and a little more of that cool, superhuman sound that I like so without being sounding like a robot or completely ridiculous and then I have a second track here blended that's actually my own snares that I've recorded, but they're different snares and one's a little bit lower and one's a little bit higher and that just I'm going to bring it into kind of enhance liken enhancer it's just going to bring in a little more bucket and a little more crack you can hear it kind of does beefs it up a little bit, but I'm not going crazy with it and the cool thing is that keeping the samples at a minimal volume I'm really allowing the ghost notes to come through in that real field to come through so that's, like I said that's really just there to serve a certain purpose and not to replace the drums or make the drum sound like different drums kit we used on this was a d w that I own this sounds awesome and the snare was a thoma monarch thirtieth anniversary it's it's a really cool snare drum I like it a lot and then last but not least for the snare drum bottom snare and this is where it's really important to know the limits I mean, if I had the money and maybe someday will have the money to have fifty of these things I would run the bottom stair with outboard gear, but because I'm mixing it like fourteen d be lower than everything else it's really not worth running through analog here, I'm just going to compress it with a plug in all I really wanted for us and high sizzle, it's, not a major player, it's, not the backbone, so the reason I'm doing the kick and snare through analog here is because analog here creates a really punchy, full sound, and it is really consistent sounding and that's what I wanted kicking snare to me, that they're there the main part of the backbone in a mix, you know, I want to feel the kicking snare at all times, and I achieved that by doing the things I have done with outboard gear, so just for one second, I'll play this thief that was too loud for a second put that's what the bottom stair in with it out in one more time, a little bit of crack and a little bit of sustained of the ghost notes, but it's really not super important, that it have some kind of a crazy character to it it's really just the supplement, and I'm just boosting some highs and some lows with the plug in you, and he has some pretty cool q plug ins that air they're actually they're pretty cool sounding that they don't all compare across the board with the analog here but they have their own character that I really enjoy for certain things like that and then I'm doing some more a little more queuing with this eighty eight r s u a d plug in and then a little bit of compression what a bit of compression on the bottom like I said because it doesn't need character I just want to add a little sustain and some sizzle to it just doing it with plug ins it's not a big deal so I'll go through these next things a little bit because actually didn't use outboard gear in the stuff because again the tom's I've edited out actually no I'm gonna go back to the snare here's one trick I did on this song let's for really cool for drummers like josh who have a lot of finesse gettinto like super funky complicated parts with a lot of dynamics actually forgot it into this on this song for a second I did this on all the parts on the issues album where you hear the snare drum come up and you can hear all his ghost notes really cleared and he does it in a lot of verses and outro owes and bridges josh gets super fancy and the way I accent that is here here's here's one of those parts this is just the snare again did you did you did that debt and that's? Those are lighter hits he's doing super fast on the snare and they're meant to be light like that because that's the you know that that's the un accented part but it's part of the field when you've got all these electric guitars, bass vocals, I mean so many, you know, we got like one hundred ten tracks of stuff here that he's fighting with on those tiny ghost notes that are relatively pretty quiet a cool way to not completely change a snare sound but accent that is a mixed in one more track that's pretty compressed through the eleven, seventy six and again that's why putting tracks or cool? Because I get to print that track and I can bring it in any time, and what I've actually done is you don't see it here because I've already muted it out, but I'll have that whole track and it's already been processed when the entire song, but I wanted playing the whole time because I don't want a bunch of symbols where I don't need them brought up in the snare track, so I've muted everything up to this section and then I unneeded the track right there meted everything after and then end section he plays the same beat it's now I'll play this track for you as it enters and you can hear how I'm bringing up the ghost notes and keeping the stair really clear and group b seven ghost no, that sounds really cool I don't play that again in the entire kit eventually once I get there but, um what that track is ladies it's just that I'm used t racks clipper actually to get even more um cut down the high peaks more and bring up the low piece it's clipping out all the high peaks on just leaving the lohans it's doing like it's like bringing him down about five tv and that's a really good trick make a track like that to blend in and do that on a lot of records from guys ghost notes sections because again, if I had a track like that going the whole time, I just be fighting a lot of symbol for absolutely no reason then there's really no other benefit other than bringing up the ghost notes. So I like to bringing that tracking on lee at the points where he's playing ghost notes and I wouldn't do it just on the ghost notes themselves because you get these weird symbol blooms thes parts where symbols were coming awkwardly, so what I like to do is bring it on the whole section so it's kind of ah once the whole mix is going it's really undetectable all you realize is that all of a sudden the drums were cooler and you're feeling a little more so the other thing I've done is you can see my approach will session here is I'm actually muted one of the other snare tracks during this part so that I don't get a huge jump in gain by adding a whole new track. So that's a tricky that you can do without having to do really automation or automating a plug in or anything like that just have a second track it's kind of like it's kind of like a throat like I was talking about yesterday and I'll talk about later today you do that on vocals, it's kind of the same thing for drums. So let me play this with the transition so you can hear it feel the drums have changed with pretty incognito and in the mix, you don't really hear it, we'll do that one more time, snare bottom track and they're too, and the kick I want all my snare tracks up just a little bit balance out with the kick and I could have grouped those, but I didn't I will do that next time we get the all the other drum tracks in here again, I still don't have the overheads might be a little overpowering because I'm not going to put in the drum crush, thus that I had going earlier, that is part of the real mix so that's a transition in and out of that part and that's. Just a really cool trick toe to make parts like that more exciting. And josh does stuff like that. And I totally don't want toe overpower josh with anything else, because he's, such a cool drummer. When your band like that that's like his time to really shine. And as a mixing engineer, it's my job to make sure it really shines.