The sound of a drum is one of the essential aspects in mixing. To get a great mix, drums are the most important foundation of it. If the instrument produces a dull sound, it creates a pretty bad effect on the mix. Therefore, drum mixing is the main concern for laying the solid foundation of tracks to make a solid rhythm finish.
However, drums can also be the most problematic instrument to get the right mix. The reason why there are certain things that need to be present in a great drum mix. On the other hand, there are also certain things that need to be taken out. There is only one way to skip yourself from situations like this – drum mixing tricks. With just a few simple tricks, you’ll get a tight and punchy drum sound. You can instantly make your drum sound better.
If you did a great job in mixing drum kit, drum mixing can be an incredibly great experience.
Where to Start
Secure with Compression
Listeners want to hear consistent drum sound but drummers can’t hit the drums equally. That’s commonly the problem when it comes to drum mixing. One big solution for this is to use compression to make the hit steady. Compressing a few dBs with a medium attack and release in time with a song is a good starting point to give on most drums. This will make drummers achieve nearly the same volume on every drum hit.
Some quick tips for compression would be like this: For rock and pop, begin on a ratio of around 6:1 to get the real consistency in your kick drum. If it is for heavy tom hits, a higher ratio would be better. Consider using different compression models to make different songs. If you got compression plug-ins, switch them or take them all for a spin and select which one really works best. There is no better sound in doing this; you can just see the sound difference.
Tips on Using Compressor
Using a compression in drum mixing is a subjective matter. Everyone has a different opinion on how things should be compressed. And because of that, there should be a few guidelines you can follow to get a steadier drum sound in a much better way.
The number of gain reduction you want from the compressor depends on the genre of music you use. It also depends on the steadiness and feel of the drummer to the song. You might start with a ratio of 4:1 or 6:1 and then adjust the attack and release depending on what sort of sound you want. Before the compressor starts working, you can lower the attack to allow the attack of the beater break through. Using fast attacks usually, clamps down and makes the initial attack dull.
You can also try to release the beat in time to stop the compressor from compressing before the next hit starts. You can do this better on modern DAWs for you can able to see the gain reduction making the sync release perfectly with the song. Compression is essential for any mix session and will solve mixing problems the most.
Draw on Master Reverb
Using a master reverb on all tracks is a great way to give e-drums some depth and space. The drum kits should be sent with the same reverb to balance the amount for each drum. Make sure to leave the kick drum dry, only add more reverb to the toms if needed. The type of reverb you choose depends on the song you’re currently working on. Some people found a nice drum room patch which always gives the right amount of depth even without cluttering up the mix.
Tips on Using Master Reverb
To create a fully different snare sound, apply an interesting reverb to it. Applying different reverbs can transform the sound of your snare drum. Whether that’s a rock arena, subdued room or a spring reverbs. Go through the reverbs and see what type sounds best along with the mixing song. If you need to add a bright reverb to make the mix stand out or you need to mix it into a specific room, go for it. You can even add some gated reverb to your snare if you want to.
When you cut the mids, boost the lows for power and boost the high-mids for a point, you can achieve a great drum sound. But still, you need extra power or point to the drum. Drums may create an annoying boxy sound. Boxy frequencies can be found on the mids; more or less 400 Hz. The point is sometimes referred to an attack on toms, click on the bass drum or something crack on a snare. The high-end of the drum compliments the low-end power of the drum while following the same path.
Tips on Using EQ
Emphasizing low end with EQ is important. So if you feel there is not enough bass to your kick drum, a low shelving that boosts around 80-100 Hz can help. If you have a boomy kick drum, cutting around 200-250 Hz is a good idea especially if you feel that there is too much muddiness on it. If you got a boxy kick drum sound which makes an annoying nuisance, fix it with around 300-600Hz or more EQ. ON the other hand, if you think your kick drum is all thump and there is no snap then bringing out the sound of the beater is a good idea.
Using EQ to your kick and snare is effective to get rid muddiness and another annoying drum sound.
What to Remember
Though mixing drums can often get treated like laborous job because you need to slog through before digging into the stuff, it is good to remember that working on drum mixing can be an exciting and creative process. Begin avoiding the doldrums of the dull drums by putting some aesthetic stakes on the ground and embrace the process. Shape your song and make the whole recording sound great.