Mixing drums

I think that it’s not a secret for anyone that the drums in any mix take second place in importance (after the vocals). But in stock music there is often no vocals and the leading role here is played by any instrument. If it is a question of “classical” corporal tracks, then everything is clear here, kick sets a rhythm, easy percussion and that’s it. But there are a lot of corporal tracks with “stadium” sound of drums, in which a powerful kick and punchy snare. Creating such a sound often encounters such a problem: the drums cause the limiter on the master to deviate by many decibels, not allowing to bring the overall volume to the desired level. Decreasing the volume of the drums, you lose the necessary “punch”. Parallel compression does not always help. Sometimes I use this technique: I put limiter L2 (Waves) on drums, put the values “threshold” and “out ceiling” (e.g. -10 and -10). Thus, the drums no longer exert a strong influence on the limiter on the master, remaining still punchy. Does anybody do this? Or what techniques do you use to get punchy drums?

Depending on genre, but yes!

SPL transient designer is your best friend :wink:

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Thanks a lot, I’ll try it:)

If I understood your question correctly, saturation is the solution. It will get rid of high peaks without losing the punch - it will decrease peaks, therefore they won’t even have to be limited, but at the same time will increase the average level. Of course you should use it responsibly, too much saturation can result in an undesirable distortion.

This video explains it very well


I have never heard of such a technique, I will definitely try to apply it in my mixes! გმადლობთ!)

არაფერს :slight_smile:

MixBusTv offers the best and clearest explanations for working the mix - IMO. Perfect add to this thread!

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Hey @Lemonello. I see it’s been a year since you posted this, but it popped up as I was flipping through the forums recently, and I felt like commenting. I feel your pain about losing the punch of a great sounding drum kit by burying it in the mix, and that’s coming from a guitar player. I’ve always received good advice from the forums (whether I took that advice or not), and you certainly got some good advice here. That being said, I have another opinion on the subject. It might not be a popular one, but that’s up to you and I won’t feel bad if you disagree with it.

My advice/opinion is to not participate in the “loudness wars.” Instead of mixing with the intent of getting a “loud” mix at the end, mix with the intent of getting a great sounding mix first. Then see how loud you can get it afterwards. The end result may be that your mix is a few dbs quieter than many other tracks, but if it sounds great, it sounds great.

I like to mix my drums in a way that they’re clean, clear and present, which means that they’re pretty up-front. My mixes usually end up (after mastering) around -11db RMS, depending on which meter I’m looking at. That’s probably a few dbs RMS lower than “average,” but to my ears, they don’t sound overly compressed/limited/squashed, which is what I like.

I’m just a small fry around here, with currently only 2 tracks up and 1 sale, so take my advice for what it’s worth to you. Good luck!

Thanks for your advice, @rockinblockhead !)