Posts Tagged ‘drum mixing’

A New Rough Mix

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Recording
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At this point I guess I should mention that since the last time I’d worked on A New Hope, I have in fact been tinkering with the drum mix to try and get more oomph (or punch, whatever…) out of them, especially the kick which seemed to be a little anaemic.
Several months ago I upgraded to Cubase 5, which came with some new plugins to play around with, one of which is a transient designer. Now, I’ve never used one of these before, so like any n00b I started with the presets. Whaddya know – there’s one called tighter kick drum, perfect! And it actually does do a pretty good job of getting more attack back into it, especially when used with some EQ and compression. So this, coupled with a newly EQ’d snare (the overheads and toms haven’t had much work done, since they sound pretty good on their own – maybe just some gating to clean things up) means the song now has a pretty damn good drum track to work with.
With the drums mixed by themselves, it was time to start pulling up some other faders. Bass and guitars managed to work themselves in fairly nicely, with some cuts around the main vocal frequencies (1 – 2kHz). Obviously I panned the main guitar tracks (the close mics) about 60% either side, and panned the room mics a little farther out, and lower in the mix, so they’re only barely perceptible.
Then I brought up the vocal faders. For the room mic, I compressed the hell out of it to get as much room sound in there as possible, so that it’d essentially act as a reverb track, provided it sounds alright – this being only a rough mix to see what I’ve got to work with I wasn’t too worried yet about sounding totally awesome 😛
Since it was pretty damn late at this point, I figured I’d bounce the work of the night to listen to the next day (using my good ol’ car test). What I notice listening back now is that I left all the vocal tracks at about the same level, which for a final mix is certainly not going to be the case – normally I’d have a lead vocal track that the doubled vocal would sit somewhere underneath just to lend a little girth (coupled in this case with the compressed room mic, and maybe some reverb or delay just for some stereo-ness :P).
But anyway, in the interest of whetting people’s appetites (or turning them off :shock:), here’s a little snippet.
Now we just gotta wait for a new bass track and even more guitars! Til next time…

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Well, it’s been about 2 months now, and I’ve done fuck all! Yay for me! Until last week that is – I finally got back out into the garage to listen back to the work we did on the first drumming session (yup, that’s the kind of glacial pace we’re dealing with here – at this rate the EP might come out some time in 2012, just before the world ends…). Quick note: if you’re not a recording nerd, this may bore you – you have been warned :p
I figured since A New Hope had gone so well that I’d start there. It was a simple matter to line up the 3rd take (remember how that was the best one?) with the rest of the song and choose one of the intro rolls to stick onto the front. BANG! Editing done! Time to mix…
…And so mix I did, even though we’ll be replacing all the other tracks eventually, so I’ll probably have to remix the drums when there’s new frequencies to battle, I still wanted to hear what kind of potential the live drums have.
Starting with the kick, I still liked the nice thwack sound I got with the m88 microphone, but somehow in the context of the full mix, it seemed to lose some of it’s attack. In fact, at low volumes, it didn’t cut through the song at all, so I had to go in and EQ the fuck out of it 🙂
Using my Morcky IIEQ Plugin (it’s a free one that I got somewhere long ago) I put in a slight hump around 90Hz, pulled out loads of 250Hz – 500Hz, then a pretty massive dose of around 5kHz and 10kHz and rolled off everything above 15kHz.

Kick EQ settings
Kick EQ settings

I then added a compressor to get the attack to shine through a bit more (for this I tried one of the Antress Modern plugins), as well as sending it to a parallel compressor (Kjaerhus Classic comp) that was set up to smash the hell out of anything that came through it.

Kick compressor settings

parallel compression settings

There, much better 😀
Next I tackled the snare tracks (I had a top and bottom to work with). For the bottom, I simply Hi-passed it, and sent a little bit of it to a reverb send. Not too much obviously…
The top took a bit more work, since I was gonna be using that for my main snare sound. Thankfully Eoin’s snare has a nice crack to it, so it was gonna cut through no matter what I did 🙂 I ended up just EQing it a little with a Nyquist EQ plugin (notice how I can’t stick to one single plug for a given task – I’m still trying to figure out which one I like best… :p), compressed it slightly to even out the peaks a little, and sent it to the parallel compression bus.

Snare EQ settings

I then took a listen to the overheads, and thought they sounded pretty damn good – so much so that most of the sound is actually gonna be coming from them. The only thing you can’t really hear in them is the kick, but the rest of the kit is fairly well represented. All I needed to EQ here was a bit of the room’s boxy sound, then I ran it to the parallel compressor.
Also, just for kicks, I ran the whole drum bus to the parallel compressor – as you can see, it’s something I’ve only looked into recently, so I’m going a bit mad with it. Chances are when it comes time to do a real mix of the song, I’ll go a bit easier on it (when I’m less of a n00b).

Anyway, here’s what I’ve managed to come up with so far. Compare it with the version on the player in the sidebar – I for one prefer the sound of the real drums, but maybe that’s just cos there’s more work gone into it :p