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808 / drum layering / compression / processing Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 18th August 2008
  #1
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808 / drum layering / compression / processing

Hey gearslutz.

When putting together our beats we all know about layering the drums, especially the kick, and the advantage of maybe throwing in an 808 to add a little weight. We also know that adding compression to our drums can work wonders too.

Just wondererd how you peeps went about applying your compression when layering your various drum samples etc. Are you inclined to compress your 808 separately or do you prefer to compress your 808 with the rest of the drum hits on the drum buss? Are you one of those peeps that prefer not to compress your 808 at all as you feel that it destroys its natural envelope? Do you compress all your layered kicks together and then compress them again with the rest of the drums? Oh the madness of it all.

I know that it depend on personal preference and most importantly, what the track requires but thought that it would be of interest to share a few tips on this subject.
Old 18th August 2008
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
termtables's Avatar
 

I compress and layer and eq my drums all together in FL 8 by ear. Once I've gotten my settings I just drop in layers and see how it changes the tone of the drum with the FX settings I already have applied.
Old 18th August 2008
  #3
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termtables's Avatar
 

But sometimes I will keep my 808 separate cause I doubt myself occasionally on my low end referencing.
Old 18th August 2008
  #4
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dlmorley's Avatar
It all depends on the track
Sorry for a smart ass answer, but it really does depend. I just want the 808 to sit nicely in a track. Sometimes it needs nothing.
If I do compress, I will rarely compress the kick, but will compress the main out. I don't separate the instruments too much either. kick, snare and mix out. Quite often it is doubled with some ARP 2600 low end booms, so I can balance the low end between 2 or 3 sounds.
Old 18th August 2008
  #5
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Separate.
Old 18th August 2008
  #6
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terrytee's Avatar
 

As soul man says separate.
Buss the kick to another track, compress with a fast attack release comp, bring it back in under the original kick.
Old 18th August 2008
  #7
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When im putting my beats together I tend to feed the main drums through a compressor to help them gel together and shape the overall sound, sometimes very subtle compression, othertimes more aggressive.
Occasionally I may individually compress a particular hit such as the snare before feeding it through the buss compression with the rest of the drums.
I then bring in the 808 on a seperate channel, add a little lo EQ, remove the hi's and then add compression if needed.
I agree with dlmorley that for some tracks I find it crucial to compress the 808 but other times a clean sounding 808 can sounds better without compression.
Ok, whats your compressor of choice for your drums, 808's etc? I'm kinda fond of the good old DBX - 160X/XT, 166 original, 163X. Gonna grab me an old vintage 118/119/128 type soon as well.
Old 18th August 2008
  #8
Lives for gear
 

This might sound strange but with 808's sometimes i volume ride them instead of compress... Seems like i can let them 'pop' out just enough and at the right moments that way...
Old 18th August 2008
  #9
As usual, it depends on the song for me. I often automate the volumes of other instruments (particularly LF-heavy stuff) hitting at the same time as the 808 to smooth out peaks in the mix buss, which helps a lot. When I choose to compress the 808, it's separate, generally with a tube compressor and tube EQ (hittin' the EQ hard makes for some nice harmonic action which helps the 808 poke out on smaller speakers).

I also rely pretty heavily on the mix buss compression to tame the 808; I usually use a Manley VariMu or lately an ADL 670. If that's causing too much pumping, I'll buss the drums to a compressor for a similar vibe that doesn't effect the whole mix.

But I'd say the most useful way to "process" an 808 is by carefully adjusting the volumes of the other drums and basslines that hit with the 808, if what you're going for is clarity and consistent volume (as opposed to envelope-shaping).
Old 19th August 2008
  #10
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brian_delizza's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by filterayok View Post
This might sound strange but with 808's sometimes i volume ride them instead of compress... Seems like i can let them 'pop' out just enough and at the right moments that way...
I'm going to have to try that, I usually try with compressors and can never quite get it where I want it...
Old 19th August 2008
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
As usual, it depends on the song for me. I often automate the volumes of other instruments (particularly LF-heavy stuff) hitting at the same time as the 808 to smooth out peaks in the mix buss, which helps a lot. When I choose to compress the 808, it's separate, generally with a tube compressor and tube EQ (hittin' the EQ hard makes for some nice harmonic action which helps the 808 poke out on smaller speakers).

I also rely pretty heavily on the mix buss compression to tame the 808; I usually use a Manley VariMu or lately an ADL 670. If that's causing too much pumping, I'll buss the drums to a compressor for a similar vibe that doesn't effect the whole mix.

But I'd say the most useful way to "process" an 808 is by carefully adjusting the volumes of the other drums and basslines that hit with the 808, if what you're going for is clarity and consistent volume (as opposed to envelope-shaping).
Top post!

Good point about the tube gear and using those extra harmonics to help the 808 translate on smaller speakers, I have often struggled with that.

If the 808 has too much 'clicky' attack for the track do you tend to use the compressor to suppress this or do you prefer to adjust the start point of the sample (assuming that you're using a sample)?
Old 19th August 2008
  #12
Lives for gear
For stuff I produce, I almost never put a compressor on the kick (unless it's from a live drum, of course). Like bgrotto mentioned, I tend to rely heavily on my mixbuss compression for taming 808 kicks IF they need taming. My general rule of thumb is to get the sound right at the source. In this case it's the actual keyboard. If I don't like the way it sounds, then I mess with the filters, ADSR, etc. there first.

For songs coming in from other folks... I often have to fix stuff. And generally the kick is OVER compressed and I have to do crap to try to undo it. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to work with an overcompressed kick.
Old 19th August 2008
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
Top post!


If the 808 has too much 'clicky' attack for the track do you tend to use the compressor to suppress this or do you prefer to adjust the start point of the sample (assuming that you're using a sample)?
ALWAYS the start point of the sample for fixing the clickiness of an 808. That's where the click comes from: the starting phase of the wave cycle. 90 degrees gives you maximum click; 0 degrees gives you maximum softness.
Old 20th August 2008
  #14
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For those of you that like your 808 compressed, how many dB's do you tend to reduce by and at what ratio?
Old 20th August 2008
  #15
Gear Addict
 

after getting bored of years messing around with 808 samples, I just got myself an Mbase 01 winging its way towards me in the post. Now that should be interesting for drum layering!
Old 20th August 2008
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Touchmaster View Post
after getting bored of years messing around with 808 samples, I just got myself an Mbase 01 winging its way towards me in the post. Now that should be interesting for drum layering!
I've heard good things about the Mbase 01. Another alternative is the Minisyncussion DRM-2.

What else are you gearslutz using to produce your 808's?

Any opinions on the Mbase 01 or Minisyncussion DRM-2?

Anyone here using an actual TR-808?
Old 20th August 2008
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
Top post!

Good point about the tube gear and using those extra harmonics to help the 808 translate on smaller speakers, I have often struggled with that.

If the 808 has too much 'clicky' attack for the track do you tend to use the compressor to suppress this or do you prefer to adjust the start point of the sample (assuming that you're using a sample)?
Thanks for the kind words.

I'm actually a mixing engineer, not beatmaker, so I typically don't have the luxury of changing to a different sample (which would be the ideal way to go). On occasion, I have used samples of my own in place or alongside existing drums to help them along, but I prefer to not get into that kinda situation (which can be a sticky one).

Anyway, I pretty much always low pass 808s, especially if there's too much click. The LP filter can also be useful to reduce hiss and other weird noises that come out of the often unbalanced or sub-professional outputs of the various samplers and workstations providing the sounds.

If there's no other kick drum to provide the attack, it can help to layer one in, otherwise you gotta keep that 808 click in there. Duplicating the 808 and adding an aggressive HP filter (while LPing the other one) to isolate the click will give you the most control, so that's what I'd recommend.

Like I said, I generally don't use the click of an 808, but if I had to I would indeed use a compressor to shape it (assuming it needed shaping, of courseheh). But I guess I don't come across a lot of beats where the 808 is providing both the boom and the click.
Old 20th August 2008
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
For those of you that like your 808 compressed, how many dB's do you tend to reduce by and at what ratio?
It's so dependent on the track.

I often use an LA2A, which doesn't have a ratio control; I just adjust it till it sits right. To be honest, I don't even look at the gain reduction meters when I'm working on a compressor; the LA2A in particular stays set to meter output, which is a much more useful thing for me to see than how much it's compressing.

Like I said before, I often rely on buss compression to further tame wild 808s, and those settings are ESPECIALLY dependent on the track itself. Slow release times are generally the way to go, however, in my experience.

Another "trick" I use is to add a limiter (I prefer the Waves L1) as the first processor in the chain on the 808. I link the threshold and output controls together for adjustments so I can hear what the limiting (not the make-up gain) is doing, and futz around till I hear it working. Then I back it off a hair. This helps get a bit more oomph without having to push any of the following compressors (or EQs) as hard.
Old 27th August 2008
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dialectic View Post
I've heard good things about the Mbase 01. Another alternative is the Minisyncussion DRM-2.

What else are you gearslutz using to produce your 808's?

Any opinions on the Mbase 01 or Minisyncussion DRM-2?

Anyone here using an actual TR-808?
The Mbase 01 is seeming great so far.... good deep thump you can tweak to your hearts content.
beefs everything up a treat.
Old 27th August 2008
  #20
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Sirocco's Avatar
 

i dont compress my kicks much anymore. i mainly just edit the asdr envelopes as well as pitching (and drawing pitch graphs) to get the exact sound i want. it works for me...
Old 27th August 2008
  #21
Gear Nut
 

this is great info
Old 27th August 2008
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Thanks for the kind words.

I'm actually a mixing engineer, not beatmaker, so I typically don't have the luxury of changing to a different sample (which would be the ideal way to go). On occasion, I have used samples of my own in place or alongside existing drums to help them along, but I prefer to not get into that kinda situation (which can be a sticky one).

Anyway, I pretty much always low pass 808s, especially if there's too much click. The LP filter can also be useful to reduce hiss and other weird noises that come out of the often unbalanced or sub-professional outputs of the various samplers and workstations providing the sounds.

If there's no other kick drum to provide the attack, it can help to layer one in, otherwise you gotta keep that 808 click in there. Duplicating the 808 and adding an aggressive HP filter (while LPing the other one) to isolate the click will give you the most control, so that's what I'd recommend.

Like I said, I generally don't use the click of an 808, but if I had to I would indeed use a compressor to shape it (assuming it needed shaping, of courseheh). But I guess I don't come across a lot of beats where the 808 is providing both the boom and the click.
Thanks for the feedback. Always interesting to hear how others approach a situation.
Just out of interest what work did you do with smif-n-Wessun?
Old 27th August 2008
  #23
Registered User
 

side chaining is also good to get ur kicks to stand out!!! check the link below to watch a demo!!!



YouTube - Pro Tools Level 3 Side Chaining Tutorial

Also this video is good as well. He really explains this in more depth

YouTube - Sidechain Compression with the Freemasons
Old 30th May 2013
  #24
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
It's so dependent on the track.

I often use an LA2A, which doesn't have a ratio control; I just adjust it till it sits right. To be honest, I don't even look at the gain reduction meters when I'm working on a compressor; the LA2A in particular stays set to meter output, which is a much more useful thing for me to see than how much it's compressing.

Like I said before, I often rely on buss compression to further tame wild 808s, and those settings are ESPECIALLY dependent on the track itself. Slow release times are generally the way to go, however, in my experience.

Another "trick" I use is to add a limiter (I prefer the Waves L1) as the first processor in the chain on the 808. I link the threshold and output controls together for adjustments so I can hear what the limiting (not the make-up gain) is doing, and futz around till I hear it working. Then I back it off a hair. This helps get a bit more oomph without having to push any of the following compressors (or EQs) as hard.
Finally, I hear someone else using a limiter (the L1, actually) on 808's (sub bass) I mentioned that in a post once and got killed for it. After reading through this thread, I really thought It was one of those plug-in placebos for me. lol I just let it catch the peaks. To me it just makes it nice and "tight." I admit it may be a lazy way out as I don't do much automation.
Old 31st May 2013
  #25
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Miiika's Avatar
 

^ Finally? You could have noticed that 5 years ago! :-)
Old 31st May 2013
  #26
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Ill use a sidechain compressor and key it so it only compresses the high info to get rid of the click and then use a tube comp and an L1 to level it out so it's constant. You can also use the L1 for tone by the release time. I don't really so more than a few dbs on the tube comp and and just do whatever sounds good for the L1. this process leaves room for the attack of another kick to sit.
Old 3rd June 2013
  #27
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CocaineAudio's Avatar
I don't compress my 808.. i eq it
Old 4th June 2013
  #28
Here for the gear
I used the Tr-808, just eq and run it threw an expander
Old 10th June 2013
  #29
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Sirocco's Avatar
 

as far as processing 808s, try boosting the ordered harmonics that are relative to the key of the song. voxengo shinechilla is great for this.
Old 13th June 2013
  #30
I almost always use SPL TransientDesigner on 808 followed by TwinTube to add some harmonics. Unbeaten combination in my opinion. If I compress with a general compressor, Im doing it on a parallel track with the sub part filtered out.
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