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Mixing Drums for breaks

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:56 am
by shapshankly
Alright guys and gals, here's my question for the day...

I've got my individual hits sounding large. snare is bigger than elvis on a toilet and kick is nice and fat too, now, where do i go from here?

the snare sounds a bit too repetitive, i've always been lead to believe that the 2 and 4 should be monster hits, with not much noticeable velocity change, but this, i find gets tiring quickly. what's the genearl scheme of things from the board for sorting this out?

also, looking at the overall mix, anyone got any tips for helping seat the drums better in with the rest of the track, i'm getting there with this, but it still seems that often things will get lost unless i make them far too loud.

most of my mixes suffer from overcrowding so any advice for helping with this would be most welcome.

cheers!

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:08 pm
by macrocosm
er...checked some of yer stuff on myspace t'other day, thought the drums were sounding quite phat and crispy actually - considering mp3 playback and all.

maybe alternate the snares on two and four - e.g slightly different sounding ones for each (i.e envelope / eq changes). personally tend to keep both at a similar velocity / amplitude - as thats the nature of breaks in keeping the beat loud and defined

subtle use of distortion on kicks / snares to push them through the mix a bit more maybe? find too much compression on drums can muddy things, about finding the right balance :idea:

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:25 pm
by SirenBox
just listening to the track "bassbin mover" - drums sound fine to me...

A couple of words of advice on mixing (that you've probably heard before): turn the volume as low as possible on your console - what's the last thing you can hear? that's the loudest track, in breaks and dnb it's normally a snare, and you may be getting "frequency fatigue" and that's what you are finding tiring.

mix the drums and put them in a group channel so you can raise and lower all of the drums in one go - in fact group channels are a good way to mix, once you are happy with the overall balance...

overcrowding - here's 2 approaches -
1)EQ fix - try cutting and boosting frequencies in similar sounds: you have 2 hi-hat sounds, try cutting some of the tops out of one and boosting the cut frequencies from the other. work that fix across your whole mix...
2)pan - use it sparingly, automate it if you have to, not as sweeps, but as sudden cuts to 10-20%, but not too harshly, and keep an eye on your overall balance...

Re: Mixing Drums for breaks

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:45 pm
by northernlight
shapshankly wrote:
the snare sounds a bit too repetitive, i've always been lead to believe that the 2 and 4 should be monster hits, with not much noticeable velocity change, but this, i find gets tiring quickly. what's the genearl scheme of things from the board for sorting this out?
i do this by layering handclaps over the 2 and 4. maybe to different sounding ones, or the one on the 4 with a longer release. this gives a different sound to the 2 and 4 without changing it completly

anyway, your stuff sounds much better than mine, so i'm not sure if this is good advice i'm giving

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:46 pm
by El Huracan
side chain your arrangement to the kick and snare. fast attack and release. sorted

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 1:00 pm
by 7 below
steelz wrote:side chain your arrangement to the kick and snare. fast attack and release. sorted
Recommend a VST compressor that has sidechaining?

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 1:29 pm
by alex_virr
I think you can sidechain with the Waves C1 Compressor.

@shanks - As far as I can tell there's two ways of running your kik and snare. either have them doing the two step and use other breaks to perform a fill at the end of 4/8/16 bar sections. Most tear-out tunes do exactly that - they have synthetic main drums and then use a 'live' break to add motion to the end of a pattern. The plumps do this too. Don't put your 'live' breaks on the same bus as the kik and snare

I put kik and snare through a distotion plug in sometimes to beef them up and colour the overall sound. then wack the waves comp on them both on a bus with these settings

make-up gain: up to you
threshold -15DB
ratio: between 5.1 and 8.1
attack: start at 0 and push up until they sound right
release: about 5

hey presto - they'll sound phat as and not swamp your mix

I like using snare rolls or ghost snares in between main hits to make things more funky. I also often program a simple two step and then use more complex programmed fills at the end of a 16 bar section to liven it up. It rather depend whether you want the drums to be driving and simple or mashed up and funky. I always layer breaks under my kiks and snares to make the whole sound more 'live'. Don't be afraid to layer percussion either. :)

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 1:42 pm
by alex_virr
oh and also if you wonna vary the snare sound without changing its position the best way i find is to either layer another snare on top of the second one in the bar (check vandal - mad as hell for that) or change the pitch of the second snare by a semitone or whateva. That works really well for me

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 1:43 pm
by Keyop
steelz wrote:side chain your arrangement to the kick and snare. fast attack and release. sorted
can someone explain how to do this in SX?

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 1:51 pm
by Walter Odington
'key op in Production forum shocker'

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 1:57 pm
by macrocosm
^ never actually do this (so am probably wrong)

but would have thought you'd mix down the main track (minus kick & snares), mixdown your drum track (kick and snare). Dig out TC Compressor & Sidechain.

...then Sidechain. maybe?

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:19 pm
by Keyop
Walter Odington wrote:'key op in Production forum shocker'
:lol: I'm so good I don't normally need to ask questions ;)

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:37 pm
by innocent bystander
i only usually side chain up me bassline and kick drum. layer the snare with 2 differnt claps, also using a breakbeat (how ususual) to provide natural swing etc, and beef that up, give it direction with progrmmed drums.

if theres too much in yer mix then you can scoop out chunks with eq or just look at your arrangements, does there need to bea wall of sound? is that what you're going for?

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:46 pm
by :gone:
keyop wrote:
Walter Odington wrote:'key op in Production forum shocker'
:lol: I'm so good I don't normally need to ask questions ;)
True ;)

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:47 pm
by :gone:
It's all about the 33% swing :lol:

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:57 pm
by mambo dave
youthful_implants wrote:oh and also if you wonna vary the snare sound without changing its position the best way i find is to either layer another snare on top of the second one in the bar (check vandal - mad as hell for that) or change the pitch of the second snare by a semitone or whateva. That works really well for me
this is what i normally do along with setting up a midi gate on all my drums where the second snare is slightly longer than the first.

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 8:32 pm
by innocent bystander
henryo!d wrote:It's all about the 33% swing :lol:
so long as that doesnt involve throwing yer car keys onto a coffee table....

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:27 pm
by shapshankly
clodhoppa wrote:
henryo!d wrote:It's all about the 33% swing :lol:
so long as that doesnt involve throwing yer car keys onto a coffee table....
nah, that's >50% swing.

100% swing and you don't even need car keys, just turn up naked, lubed and ready for action!

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:26 am
by jaffa
sorry dumb question, but not sure what side chaining compression means.., does that mean that it will quiten the bass for example, when the sound of the kick comes in, if they were they were both connected with side chain compression?

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:58 am
by TT_
Ok so my topic for the day is:

Layering drum sounds.

Indeed layering drum sounds is a great way to make a more interesting drum sound.

So, a few pointers:

When you layer drum sounds its important to check the start points of all your samples. You would be amazed how many supposedly "pro" sample collections are badly edited! by this i mean that the start point is miles of the actual start of the sound

This means when you combine sounds they will probably clash and flam at the start. This sounds GASH. I hear it all the time.

Also another thing is: when your editing the start point of a sample it is better to use your ears than your eyes. Those waveform displays arent all they're cracked up to be.

The thing is that drum sounds dont actually start where the waveform starts. This is a bit of a fucked up concept. There is often a little bit of crap or noise just before the reall impact of the sound. The impact is where you want your sample start point to be.

This isnt always tru, it can make the drums sound a bit wierd if you take too much off.

But it doesnt half make it easier to layer drum sounds.

Also some drum sounds dont need a fast attack. Low frequency kiks often sound better with an attack of like 20 ms. If you combine this with a punchy hi end kik with a very fast attack you have the perfect combo.

Its good to use eq or filters to seperate out your layers. If you have two sounds in the low frequency range they wont combine too well. I often use 1 hi end kik and 1 Lo end kik. The same goes for snares.

Another good trick: make extra keygroups/sample zones and put all your drum sounds from the track on extra notes. Now reverse them all. now you can have all your drums going forwards as well as backwards. Try putting more reverb or delay on the reverse sounds.....

Different effects on different drum layers can be good. In general you can get away with more FX (reverb, delay) on hi frequency sounds. Lo end kik drums sound shite through a big reverb.

Try to combine "real" ie live drum sounds with electronic sounds.

Layer tiny voice samples into your drums. or anything else for that matter. It will stop your tunes sounding like clinical drum machines.

To bring the layers together use either compression or a nice short reverb.

Thats it i cant think of any more.

hope that helps................