How to mix a drum kit in the box
Old 3rd April 2004
  #1
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lukas's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
How to mix a drum kit in the box

hi charles

I was wondering if you might give some tips how you mix drums (especially what kind of compressors you use) inside of protools

of course I know that there is no `general`snare setting but I was wondering if there is some kind of good starting point or something like that

I often use ren comp for drums which is IMHO one of the best comps anyway

what about overhead? If I compress them a lot I get a nice sound but I kind of lose some power - what about kick? do you comp them? snare?

thx

luke
Old 3rd April 2004
  #2
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mplancke's Avatar
Re: How to mix a drum kit in the box

Quote:
Originally posted by lukas
hi charles

I was wondering if you might give some tips how you mix drums (especially what kind of compressors you use) inside of protools
I like to use parallel compression just like I would on a console. I'm using Samplitude which doesn't have multiple bus assigns so I must use an AUX send which is assigned to a compressor. With the auto latency compensation in Samplitude it makes it a breeze.

Quote:

I often use ren comp for drums which is IMHO one of the best comps anyway
Since finding a number of alternatives to the Waves Ren Comp my opinion of these plugins has plumeted. They tend to sound very generic and suck the life out of stuff very easily.

I've been using the Ultrafunk compressor and other of their plugs with great results, a very flexible and good sounding plugin, much better than the Waves stuff IMO. I think the Ultrafunk plugs got sucked into the Cakewalk family but don't let that scare you, these plugs are top notch.

Mark
Old 3rd April 2004
  #3
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Old 3rd April 2004
  #4
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lukas's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
quote:

I like to use parallel compression just like I would on a console


what is parallel compression?
Old 3rd April 2004
  #5
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doug_hti's Avatar
 

I usually run the drum bus out to a c2, but I also have great luck with Drawmer Dynamics expander or gate on individual toms and sometimes snare. I can get more snap out of those plugs than any other plugin
Old 4th April 2004
  #6
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Charles Dye's Avatar
 

krid,

Thanks for posting the link.


lukas,

The Every Mixer Tells a Story - Drums Set the Stage column from my Hard Disk Life series that krid mentioned has a complete breakdown of how I approach the drum kit when mixing, discussing the plug-ins for every track. The settings, the reasons I used them, and all the reverbs. Below is pretty much the same thing that was in HDL about parallel compression along with some new info:
  • Drum Sub Mix

    This is a popular analog console effect that is accomplished by bussing the drums to a submix and squishing the crap out of them and then blending the squished fader back into the stereo mix to add punch to the kit. The uncompressed kit is allowed to breathe while the submix has an extremely tight sound. The end result gives a very powerful sound to the tracks bussed to the submix.

    With PT two Aux Input faders are used to accomplish the same effect. All the drums are bussed to a PT bus labeled Drums with both the Aux fader's inputs set to the Drums bus + their outputs to the stereo mix bus. I don't route the drum reverbs to the Drums bus, I send them directly to the stereo mix instead. And depending on how crushed I want the cymbals + hi hat, and how much I want the kick and snare to affect them, I may send them directly to the stereo mix instead of the Drum bus.

    For the tracks routed directly to the stereo bus in your drum kit (i.e. cymbals) you will need to use a Time Adjuster to bring them in phase with the Drum/Squish drums. To calculate the TA setting add the delay of the plugs on the Squish Aux fader (HD/MIX=70 samples), plus the delay of the Drum bus itself (HD/MIX=10 samples). If you're already using a Time Adjuster on the stereo bus tracks, simply add the total (80 samples) to your TA setting. If not, insert one + set it to the above total. And only for the time being with PT, no longer w/ 6.4. ;-)

    The two faders are:

    -Drums-

    This is the first Aux with only a Time Adjuster set to 69 (MIX) and 70 (HD) samples, the amount of delay of the second Aux (-Squish-) to eliminate any phasing. I usually set the level of this fader to zero.

    -Squish-

    I mute the -Drums- fader and then use AC1 to add some analog console edge, and I set RenComp to really compress the drums. I go for a nice and tight sound on this fader, but usually not too distorted. I then fade it down, turn back on the -Drums- fader and then bring this one back for the desired punch.
Hope this helps.
Old 11th April 2004
  #7
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drew's Avatar
 

Since they share the same send how do you not add cymbals or hh to the squash and still have them make it to the 2 mix?
Old 11th April 2004
  #8
I manage this by making 'copy tracks' to send to the compressed bus.

Kick
Sn
Toms
+ overheads & room mic's if needed...

Send the regular kit to the uncompressed bus.

Dunno how Charles does it.

You CAN create the 2 mixes on the drum AUX's via SENDS (to give you indevidual control over the blends) but this removes the mixer's main faders from any 'hands on' capability (via my control surface) so I find this a PITA workaround.

The trade off with making 'copy tracks' is the extra track count and DSP power used up by putting plug ins on the copy tracks AND the originals.
Old 11th April 2004
  #9
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Nutmeg II.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
I manage this by making 'copy tracks' to send to the compressed bus.

Kick
Sn
Toms
+ overheads & room mic's if needed...

Send the regular kit to the uncompressed bus.

Dunno how Charles does it.

You CAN create the 2 mixes on the drum AUX's via SENDS (to give you indevidual control over the blends) but this removes the mixer's main faders from any 'hands on' capability (via my control surface) so I find this a PITA workaround.

The trade off with making 'copy tracks' is the extra track count and DSP power used up by putting plug ins on the copy tracks AND the originals.
Hey Jules,
i think you just create 2 AUX faders and set the "Drum Buss" as input for each of them.
Don't assign the the Drum Buss output to anything.
Old 15th April 2004
  #10
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Charles Dye's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by drew
Since they share the same send how do you not add cymbals or hh to the squash and still have them make it to the 2 mix?
drew,

I re-wrote part of my original post to make it clearer, but the answer to your question is that everything going to the drum bus will get "squished" (the two faders are just a way to keep the uncompressd + compressed drums in phase). If you want the cymbals to go to the stereo bus you simply don't route them to the Drums bus + instead route them to the stereo bus.

Hope this helps.
Old 15th April 2004
  #11
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Charles Dye's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Nutmeg II.
Don't assign the the Drum Buss output to anything.
Nutmeg II,

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this, but if you mean that the output of the Drums Aux Input fader should not be routed to the stereo bus, then the uncompressed drum sound would never make into the mix. Both the Drums + Squish Aux Input faders' outputs need to be set to the stereo mix bus.

Hope this helps clarify. Sorry for the confusion.
Old 15th April 2004
  #12
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ixnys's Avatar
 

I'll try to break it down for you in steps. This is what I do. I believe it's basically the same thing Charles does.

STEP 1
Create 2 stereo AUX tracks

STEP 2
Lable one of the newly created AUX tracks "DRUM SUB" and the other "DRUM COMP"

STEP 3
Assign the input of "DRUM SUB" to a stereo buss such as "Bus 1 and 2" and assign the input of "DRUM COMP" to another stereo bus such as "Bus 3 and 4"

*NOTE - You can go in to I/O preferences and name a pair of stereo busses "DRUM SUB" and "DRUM COMP" as well to help you route things more clearly.

STEP 4
Take ALL of your drum tracks and change the output from "Analog 1 and 2" to the stereo bus that you assigned for your "DRUM SUB" input.

STEP 5
Create sends for all of the drum tracks you wish to be compressed and send them to the stereo bus that you assigned for your "DRUM COMP" input. (Pre Fader)

*NOTE - At this point, I think it's a good idea to create a breakpoint at 0db on the "DRUM SUB" AUX track. This way if you decide to lower the volume of all of your tracks, your overall drum submix level won't be lowered.

STEP 6
On the "DRUM COMP" AUX track, add the desired plug-ins such as AC1, RenComp, and an EQ.

STEP 7
Take the SAME plug-ins you inserted on the "DRUM COMP" AUX track and place them on the "DRUM SUB" AUX track. BUT BYPASS THE PLUGINS!

*NOTE - You can easily copy a plugin to another track by holding down the option button and then clicking and dragging that plugin to another tracks insert.

STEP 8
Mute the "DRUM SUB" AUX. Now you are only listening to the "DRUM COMP" AUX. Adjust plugins untill you achieve the desired compressed/squished drum mix.

STEP 9
Un-mute the "DRUM SUB" AUX. Take the "DRUM COMP" AUX and move the volume fader up and down until you find the desired blend between the uncompressed drum mix and the compressed drum mix.

Walla! You have one fader that is your original drum mix (that should remain at 0db...any mix or balance changes should be made with your drum tracks still) and then another fader that is your squished drum mix. You have also eliminated any time latencies between the two tracks.

*NOTE - Your squished drum mix doesn't have to contain all of your original drum tracks nor does it have to be mixed with the same relative volume levels as your original drum submix. Charles for instance said that he didn't always like to route his cymbals to the compressed AUX.

I hope I helped and cleared up any confusion. BTW Charles rules.
Old 15th April 2004
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Here is a PT session file that shows the Drum/Squish submix setup for those who need help. Seeing it along with the explanations above should clear things up.

Shane
Attached Files
File Type: zip drum sub example.zip (43.4 KB, 797 views)
Old 16th April 2004
  #14
Gear Head
 

Ok, I'll provide the steps in Samplitude 7:

1. Create an AUX buss.

2. Insert the desired compressors/effect on this AUX buss.

3. Adjust level to this buss for the drum tracks ya want in there ( pre/post pan/eq/plugs...whatever desirable for each track)

Old 16th April 2004
  #15
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5down1up's Avatar
 

keep it simple !

take all the desired tracks and set the out f.ex to bus 1-2 .
create to aux inputs with both input set to bus 1-2 .

compress one aux input and no processing on the other .
if you open up a plugin in pt , a little delay occurs , to fix that use time adjuster to avoid phasing . thats it !

BUT ?

doesnt the time adjuster plug create a delay of 3 samples itself ?
Old 16th April 2004
  #16
Gear nut
 

Hello Charles

Could you explain how you might deal with the delay in PTLE "001" in this situation?

I buss drums from each track with an insert to a stereo buss, Then smash them and blend back in also.

Any tips for delay in PTLE land. Thanks.
Old 16th April 2004
  #17
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Follow my steps, they work for a digi001 as well.
Old 16th April 2004
  #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by lamp
Hello Charles

Could you explain how you might deal with the delay in PTLE "001" in this situation?

I buss drums from each track with an insert to a stereo buss, Then smash them and blend back in also.

Any tips for delay in PTLE land. Thanks.
Download my PT le session earlier in this thread. #13 from the top called 'drum sub example.zip'. It is an attachment. It shows you how to handle it in le. Very simple.

Shane
Old 16th April 2004
  #19
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wallace's Avatar
lamp,

I am doing the same thing you're doing in PT LE. I did the control+click on the volume display and the sample shift (dly) read "0". What are you getting?

Kevin
Old 16th April 2004
  #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by wallace
lamp,

I am doing the same thing you're doing in PT LE. I did the control+click on the volume display and the sample shift (dly) read "0". What are you getting?

Kevin
This feature is not perfect in PT le as alot of us have found out. There was also a recent thread posted at the DUC regarding this. Download my session above and you will see an easy solution. Works great for Drum/squish submixing.

Shane
Old 16th April 2004
  #21
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wallace's Avatar
Hey Shane--
Thanks a lot... I downloaded your file. I'll give it a try and check it out. It should work on a PC, right? What is the DUC, btw? Where's the thread?

Kevin
Old 16th April 2004
  #22
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CrazyBeast's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Shan
This feature is not perfect in PT le as alot of us have found out. There was also a recent thread posted at the DUC regarding this.
Shane
Do you have the url for that thread? I'm curious...

Is the number that's displayed when you command-click in samples or ms?? I've always assumed it's samples, but usually I just move things until they sound right.
Old 16th April 2004
  #23
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Crazy Beast, the number is in samples. I will try to post a link.

Shane
Old 16th April 2004
  #24
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spherop's Avatar
 

for bass? etc?

Do any of you use similar techniques for Bass - or any other aspects of the mix?
Old 16th April 2004
  #25
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CrazyBeast's Avatar
 

All the time, and it varies by song...
Old 17th April 2004
  #26
Gear nut
 

from wallace
Quote:
I am doing the same thing you're doing in PT LE. I did the control+click on the volume display and the sample shift (dly) read "0". What are you getting?
The first click shows peak DBFS, the second click is sample delay and it varies with each plug.

A good way to deal with this, as posted above, is to add the same plug you are using on the squish bus to the dry drum bus also and bypass it. This gives both busses the same delay. However, even though the plug is bypassed, it still eats up CPU power. You could determine the total delay in samples on the comp bus, then print/record the comp buss, remove the plugs from the dry drum bus, and shift the new drum/comp track earlier by that number of samples. Ive done this with outboard compressors and it"s a real pain in the arse, but works.

Shan, Thanks for the email link.

I read Charles's Hard Disk Life when it came out, but gave up because I didn't have most of the plugs. Ive got a few good plugs now so Im going to go read it again. Thanks to all.
Old 17th April 2004
  #27
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Charles Dye's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by wallace
What is the DUC, btw?
Kevin,

The DUC is the Digidesign Users Conference. It is a forum hosted by Digidesign similar to this, but the only topic is PT. A wealth of knowledge can be found there.

Check it out.
Old 18th April 2004
  #28
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jeronimo's Avatar
Give ixnys example a try... It works... that's how I allways did to have the compressed/uncompressed mixes 100% in phase.
Old 18th April 2004
  #29
Gear interested
 

Instead of wasting all that processor by duplicating the plugs on both auxes, why not use a single delay instead.
Old 18th April 2004
  #30
Yes TimeAdjuster can do the delay task of a whole stack of DSP greedy plug ins... With a minimal DSP hit
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