An efficient way to mix loud drums?
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Old 25-06-2015, 02:07 AM   #1
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An efficient way to mix loud drums

Hi! I've been mixing tracks for a little over 2 years now and I wanted to share a method of mixing that I've found to be ridiculously helpful for heavy kicks/snare drums, specifically for dubstep. I'm not sure if many people do this or if it's common practice, so let me know!

Now, I use Reason, and what really seems to help is splitting all of the important frequency ranges of the drums to separate channels and using different effects/aux sends on each. For the kick drum, I like to split three different ranges, which you can probably guess;

1. The first channel is the sub of the kick (this is sort of optional and not every kick needs it, but it definitely beefs up the drum a bit). For this range, I'll usually boost at around 50-70hz, making sure to low cut everything above around 100hz, because I don't want the separate channels affecting each other too much. That's usually about it for this channel, in addition to some small details on my compressors/aux sends/etc.

2. The second channel is the body of the drum, and there's a lot you can do here to make the drum your own. I usually boost anywhere from 115-190hz, making sure to stay clear of the 200hz+ range since that's mostly where my snare drum will hit. I low pass at about that range and cut out the sub bass for this channel, since it's already taken care of with the first channel I split the source kick to. I've found that you can make this low channel very resonant using aux sends and effects without much headroom consequence, which is really nice for a hard hitting drum. Also, each separate channel is routed up back to one main mini mixer, which is then used for stereo imaging, further compression, etc. I've found that keeping my low frequencies in mono also benefits the amount of headroom I have to work with, and makes the drums sound very nice on mono systems.

3. With the body and sub taken care of, I can work on the beater of the drum in this channel. With my transient shaper working it's magic at the source drum, I high pass everything below about 500hz, and boost at around 2-3khz, but you can probably mess around anywhere from 1k-6k here, with your main goal being presence.

That's it! The last step I take is making sure everything sits right. You want to mix each separate channel so that one doesn't overpower another, and be careful when mixing the body/adding effects to your low channels because you may think you've got a nice loud drum when in actuality it's just too much and your beater channel suffers from it (at least that's what happened to me early on haha). It's pretty much the same thing with the snare except taking care of the appropriate frequency ranges.

Here is a work in progress track of mine featuring this exact method;

(I'm a bit new here, so you'll have to copy/paste into your url bar, sorry!)

Last edited by Caerulux; 25-06-2015 at 02:58 AM.. Reason: grammar


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