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Saturday, November 3, 2012

HOW TO RECORD AND MIX DRUM CYMBALS (PART 2/2)



CLICK HERE FOR THE PART 1/2 OF THIS TUTORIAL!

Once we have seen how to acquire our cymbals sound, we sould now find ourselves with Four mono tracks: two for the Over Heads (Left and Right), one for the Hi Hat and one for the Ride, therefore now it's time to start mixing.

- Overheads: the idea is to Pan those two tracks very wide, often 100% left and 100% right, to give to our Crash Cymbals as much space as possible, then we need to Hi Pass and Low pass them, in order to give to the tracks a proper frequency range that will not make them fight with the others.
First off we should create a Group Channel track where to route the two single tracks, and then we can start off by loading on the Group Channel a Hi-Pass Filter, taking away everything below 100hz to 500hz, until we find the spot where the bulk of the drums disappears (unless we don't want purposely to retain some spill on those tracks too, to beef up the global drum sound), then we can Low-Pass around 10/12khz, to avoid the sound to become too harsh.
Now the only thing left to do is to start manually to pin down the Resonant Frequencies (which are, if we look at the Spectrum of our sound, the frequencies that produces the highest and most annoying peaks), and see if our cymbals are Eq Masking the frequencies of other important tracks (Vocals, for example).
If this happens, it's a good idea to scoop a bit around the 3/4khz area to clear some room for Vocals, and if needed we can also take away something around the 500hz area too, to eliminate a bit of "Room Mud".
The last thing to do, if needed, is to Compress the sound just a little, in order to soften a bit the hardest hits.

- Hi Hat: This cymbal is seen more as a part of the snare sound than an ambient cymbal, and therefore shouldn't be Panned too far from the snare: someone sets it straghit to the centre of the soundstage, someone else pans it slightly to the left (about 12.5 left), as if it's heard from the drummer's perspective.
We can Hi-Pass the sound, as for the others cymbals, until most of the snare goes away (300 to 500hz, usually) and then Low-Pass it at about 10khz, eventually taking out some other frequency if the general sound feels a bit "gongy". To add some brilliance we can boost a little around 6khz.

- Ride Cymbal: this cymbal should be Panned usually somewhere on the right area (like 12,5 right), and its particularity, compared with the Hi Hat, is a usually stronger low end. In order to make the ride sound brighter we can Hi Pass the sound to about 3/500hz, then we can boost a couple of dbs at about 10/12khz to add some air and sparkle. Watch out for resonances on this track too!
Similarly to the Hi Hat, if we feel that there are some frequencies that are fighting with the Vocals ones, we can scoop around 3khz.

We can also route the Hi Hat and the Ride Cymbal on another Group Channel Track to add a little bit of Compression, just to peel off some of the peaks.

Very important: If we're using Compression (and usually it is suggested for hard rock songs, up to the most extreme metal, not for softer genres), we must keep in mind that the settings should be very very low, since it's really easy to create an unnatural effect with cymbals! Same is for Reverb: usually it's not suggested, but in some cases, when the overall drum sound is very dull and lifeless, if we use a Plate Reverb on "homeopathic doses", it can add some body and room to the general sound.


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1 comment:

  1. Hi there. Congratz for the great job. It's been a great help to me.

    But I have a doubt about the lo-pass / hi-pass indicated in your text, in "Hi-hat" paragraph:

    "We can Low-Pass the sound, as for the others cymbals, until most of the snare goes away (300 to 500hz, usually) and then Hi-Pass it at about 10khz, eventually taking out some other frequency if the general sound feels a bit 'gongy'."

    Is it correct? I think you meant:

    "We can >>Hi-Pass<< the sound, as for the others cymbals, until most of the snare goes away (300 to 500hz, usually) and then >>Low-Pass<< it at about 10khz, eventually taking out some other frequency if the general sound feels a bit 'gongy'."

    Correct me if I got it wrong, ok?

    Cheerz

    ReplyDelete

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