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Old 6th May 2003
Originally posted by no ssl yet
and Thrill would you care to share tricks? (drum tricks of course not some newfangled form of prostitution LOL) [/B]
Alright I thought of a specific case.

Before I break it down I want to go on record as saying that I am neither mixing or tracking anymore rap(I stopped Jan 1,2000).

But the applications I will detail still can apply. I still use what I learned mixing rap drums to this day.

I recently had a gig to mix a RnB song with live drums. Nice tune, but the drums were...well how can I best stated...sounded like ass!!!grudge

The guy wanted the drums to bounce and pop, especially the snare, which sounded like absolute crap. He wanted the Billie jean snare.

Sure i could have sound replaced the snare, but that's no fun.heh

The case:

A snare drum that was miked with an SM57 only on the top, through Mackie pre's, in a low ceiling room. Very thuddy and dead sounding. The color to describe the snare is brown or gray(as Bruce Sweiden would say).heh

Goal: "Billie Jean" snare

Solution? How?

Well, like I posted earlier in these cases I tend to break the snare down to its acoustic envelope. Attack-decay-sustain-release. All on four channels, with their own processor combinations. I think if I remember on this snare I went 5-6 channels deep.

1st channel- Attack("point"):

In the past when mixing rap, my favorite processor to bring out the attack on drums was the Drawmer 201 gate. I loved it in Hard gate mode with the filter in. Over the last year in half i've kinda been working with the new kid on the block, the Transient designer, and using that to define the attack"point". The only problem I am having is finding a filter that compliments it on drums. Its too clean at times(where the DS201 has a nice solid sound to its attack. Too bad I sold it.)grudge

But I used it anyway and really tuned into the "stick". A nice sharp point.

2nd channel-Attack/decay("meat"):

This is where the meat of the sound is. So i usually spend the most time defining this part. Your compressor/EQ combi is important. My fav comps are: Neve 32264a,Distressor,SSL or Alan Smart,DBX160x(especially if its a side stick). For EQ i like the GML8200(peaky),Neve1073(fat) or the Manley Pultec(roundish).

I think this time I around I did Distressor/GML 8200 and really dialed into the sound. A nice solid snare sound.

3rd channel-Decay

Again Transient Designer employed with a little bit of GML 8200. The idea this time was more space and much less attack. Dial it in with the GML. By itself it sounds weird, but mix start mixing it in and you'll hear what i am talking about.

4th channel- sustain/release

For this I went to reverb. But not a regular reverb. I want a sustain that will give the snare thickness, but not take up alot of space. So I went with a mono reverb(pitched shifted and panned slightly off center) so when the snare hits, it gives it a slight movement from L-R(fed from my second channel and fifth element). Also to keep it from "buiding too much steam" I put a filter on it with an envelope follower. That way I could shape the response(and color) in time with the other parts of the kit. Also the env filter was triggering a gate which I adjusted the release to blend as much as possible.

So now my snare is cranking!!! Man talk about a nice sound. But with so many layers, I am thinking"man i need to make the snare just cut through a touch". So i got two options:

1) Buss all the sounds over to a channel and compress/EQ that...nah. Remember we want to keep the hugeness of the sound and EQing it will create peaks when the hihat hits, which will compete for attention against the vocal.

2) I went with #2 or as I call it "the fifth element"-Filtered White noise(triggered by a gate of course).

Remember with the top mic alone and no bottomn, I don't have the luxury to sneak in a little bit of rattle. So i will create my own, filtered white noise with a gate(triggered by the second channel). This is trick I like for brightening a snare, it works better than EQ sometimes because how you set the filter determines the color. Also it will blend better with the hihat mic and give its own space.

So now I blend all of my channels together(this is where automation comes in handy). Sometimes I will blend the original in also, but since it sounds like garbage I thought i would keep it there.heh

In the end I did buss the kick,snare,and bass to a drumbuss and compressed and EQd that(Varimu/GML 8200) ans snuck it under the kit. It sounded great by the way and the producer who was the drummer was blown away!!!!