I have been acoustic drumming a number of years and would really love to get into the world of playing electronic drums live. On snare, I like to boost whatever low-midrange frequency I can get away with to give heft without interfering with everything else; on kick, I like to emphasize the click of the kick—the 2–4 kHz region that gives it some snap—and perhaps boost the low end. Drums. Note that the room mic might not need compression. In the live environment heavy compression with low thresholds and high ratios will only end up bringing up the spill on stage from the other instruments, such as guitars and basses. This takes some serious skill and finessing which only full-time audio techs can master. Only after establishing this picture do I listen for tonal peculiarities. You may find, at this point, that the room mics are overwhelming the picture. Is there too much harshness coming from the cymbals? Either way, if you are getting the sound you want by gating it, then I wouldn’t worry about a thing. The difference should be glaringly obvious. Copyright © 2001–2020 iZotope, Inc. All rights reserved. Here you ought to apply compression for dynamic control rather than emphasis. That’s why I thought it would be beneficial to break down two techniques for mixing live drums, delving deeply into their steps, but also cover why we might employ one over the other. Learn about the latest Neutron and its powerful new features like Mix Assistant and Sculptor. Indeed, I find it best to treat the overheads as a single, stereo sound. If I notice a strong papery sound that I don’t like—or a ring that needs dulling—I’ll take care of it with minimal EQ. Mixing live multi-track drum recordings is a challenging process, especially for those new to mixing. Read on to learn how you can electrify your live performance. This is where I begin sculpting in earnest, always making sure that what I’m doing is in service of the cohesive instrument that is now the drums—and always making choices in reference to the whole mix. It may not yield the better result, but it may indicate which one is technically correct. Just longer decay? I find these often exist between 120–250 Hz, and again at 4–6 kHz. Soon your ears will tell you instantaneously what is right, but if you’re having trouble distinguishing the best sound at first, here’s a tip: Set up an easy-to-read meter on the output of the session; something like iZotope Insight will do the trick. Still, when you’re just learning, seek out the more in-phase choice; learn the rules before you’re confident enough to break them. Is there low end rumble I won’t need? It also might not be suitable for an overly dense mix with electronic percussion—one in need of an up front drum sound. If you do, pan it to where it lives in the overheads, lest your hat sound blurry and unfocused. As your close mics are doing more of the work, you can use the overheads to lesser degrees, which allows you to make more drastic EQ cuts if need be. We asked some of the world's leading engineers how they approach one of the most common yet complex instruments on stage: the drum kit. After gating comes equalization and compression. Mixing Live Drums: EQ, Compression & Gating Simple EQ Techniques for Drums. And also when I gated the floor tom, the drummer said that low frequency was not heard. Any thoughts? Try to emphasize the good lows, take out the midrange frequency you don’t like, and give the kick some snap to cut through the mix. Focus on the kick and snare you do this: do they sound palpably better in of the inversions? As with the kick, compress for transient emphasis—or compress for dynamic consistency if the player is all over the place. Yet, most who read these articles are volunteer sound techs with limited time available, so I try to stick to the things that will make the greatest impact. It’s a bit like the other method at first. When mixing drums I will often group them as 'Beat' (kick, snare and hi-hat), and 'Kit' (toms and overheads). I’m a worship pastor at a small church, not a sound tech but we don’t have a trained sound tech and it turns out I know the most about sound (which isn’t much) in our church. If the acoustical energy coming from the drums is too much, you have options. I don’t want extraneous sound from the rest of the kit in here—just the kick, please. For great sounding drums, you first need to make sure your drum heads are properly tuned, mics are placed correctly and gain is set properly (more on that here). Be sure to watch out for pumping, though, because that will sound unnatural, and usually bad. It’s quite possible that a small range of low frequencies is sticking out above the rest, causing them to sound muddy. I am not going to say this is wrong altogether, but it is not the right solution for church live sound. Robotic music can make it hard for people to listen to the whole song, so add some human feel to your drums. Always check for polarity issues between the mics and pick the arrangement that gives you the most thump and attack from the kick. I agree, we should all dig in and learn how to use compression. Also, before mixing in earnest, it behooves us to do a polarity check between microphones (or groups of microphones). I think the sound of a TD 30 KV mixed with personal electronic sounds from a TM2 just sounds awesome. All of this is to say, don’t judge yourself for how you get to your tom sound—some of the biggest engineers struggle with it. In the live environment heavy compression with low thresholds and high ratios will only end up bringing up the spill on stage from the other instruments, such as guitars and basses. Next I bring up the under-snare mic, if it exists, already polarity-checked as outlined above (I’ll want it to add crispness without taking away body, and one polarity setting will usually beat the other). I’ve always had my brother who is an amazing sound engineer with me but since he’s awesome, he’s advanced and is now the sound and media pastor at a large church in Austin, Tx. I play with attack, release, threshold, and hysteresis to get the kick isolated. With the kick, I’m surprised that you are having too much cymbal bleed. You can use compression to emphasize transient attack, rather than to even out of dynamics. For EQ, you’ll find yourself taking out nasty harsh frequencies as you did in the outside in method (I find the 4 kHz range can often be a culprit), but also, you may find yourself filtering out low frequencies to make room for the close mics, so that your kick, snare, and hat may dominate this part of the picture. In order to deliver the best-sounding mix, you need to … Your email is safe with us. Learn about frequency sweeping in this post: The Most Important EQ Techniques for Church Sound. Or does that not matter, considering the rest of the arrangement? Unless if you feel you have to, because some mixing situations might need you to compress. And if they’re not treated properly, they’ll actually make each other sound worse. If you’re not using live drums then avoid using compressors because the samples you’re using were already compressed. Mixing Drums – Scott Banks Watch time: 9:34 Videos: 1 Preset downloads: 5 SUBTITLED IN: 2x Golden Melody Award-winning and 2x Diamond engineer Scott Banks has become one of the top engineers in the field through his dedication to upholding the artistic integrity of electronic music and imprinting with his … But also consider that technically correct might not be the best kind of correct, as Michael Stavrou is quick to point out: sometimes character comes from the lesser of two choices. The great benefit of the outside-in method is how the overheads paint our general picture—so toms will already be in the overhead capture.