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Drum Compression
Old 29th June 2020
Gear Maniac
Matt Smith's Avatar

Drum Compression

Hi Jens—
Love your work. Your work sounds different from artist to artist, as it should, while maintaining a consistent level of quality. That’s a tough place to get to, so kudos.

I’ve always appreciated your unique drum compression, and wonder if you could talk a little about that. I seem to remember you using a pair of Distressors, but I may be wrong on that. And would this be across the entire drum buss, or shells only, or in parallel, etc.?

Thanks for doing this.

Old 1st July 2020
Thanks Matt! Well, drum compression used to be easy when I was on solely outboard. The Jomeek SC2 in parallel was a favourite back then, and I've also used the 1178 and Dynamite quite a lot. When I went hybrid just over 10 years ago (ITB + summing and hardware inserts), I mainly used a hardware 1178 for the drum bus.

As automation and recall became more important, I started to look around for plugins that could do the trick. And I'm still looking, to be honest. But I've used, e.g. Waves V-Comp, Softube Valley People Dynamite, Chandler Zener Limiter from the same company or thru UAD, and more recently the Lindell 254E (nice 2254 emulation) and the Klanghelm DC8C. Parallel compression is more important to me than individual track compression. If called for, I might strap a tiny bit of 1176 on the snare, and/or a transient designer. This is a balancing act against bleed.

I'm not a big user of gates, mostly since the drummers I work with tend to be ghost note maniacs. On the kick, I tend to use some SSL (dBx) compression and/or transient designers and 1176's. Basic stuff. Sometimes I will slam kick and snare on 2 extra busses, respectively, where I will crank the living **** of them with whatever comes my way and blend in.

I rarely compress the sum of drums. I like to retain some un-affected signal in there to hit the mix bus compressor.
Old 1st July 2020
Gear Maniac
Matt Smith's Avatar

Wonderful! Thanks so much for the awesome, detailed reply.

Cheers Jens,
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