Thursday, 9 February 2012

Drum Cleaning

Time for another instalment of Simple Mix Tricks!

In this article we take a look at a drum kit and the nasty little problems that crop up when they’ve already been recorded.

Lets say you’ve recorded a drum kit. Normally you’ll have about 8 separate tracks. Kick drum, snare drum top and bottom, hi hats, rack and floor tom and two cymbal microphones. Throw up a balanced mix and, as we talked about in previous articles, have a play around with the phasing and the high pass filter. That should have your kit sounding much tighter.

Next take a listen to the toms by themselves. As the rest of the kit is playing those toms will be singing along even though they’re not being hit. That’s a big problem when you’re looking to get a tight punchy kit.

I’ll assume you’re working on a computer right now (if you aren’t….. well done, rather you then me!). Zoom right in on the toms. You’ll be able to see the spikes where the toms are being hit right there on the screen. Delete anywhere there isn’t a tom hit.

If you listen back to the drum kit now you’ll notice that your kick and snare drum are way more defined. The drone that you probably barely noticed is gone and makes everything much cleaner.

The toms are the only tracks I’d be so brutal with on the kit. You could go and delete other extra noise but be careful that it doesn’t start sounding like a drum machine.

NEVER delete cymbal tracks if the drums aren’t playing during the song. If the drums have been in already your ears will have become used to the room sound that the drums are in. If it’s deleted you’ll notice it straight away!

That’s it for today. I’ve been answering questions on the email address below. Please pop me an email if you want a question answered. I don’t consider any question “stupid” unless you already know the answer!

Also if you want to do the STC Intro to recording course then call Maggie on 01 6709033.

Thanks for reading,

Andy Knightley

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