Mixing Drums with Softube, Summit Audio Grand Channel and UAD Studer A800
I’ve got another video for you. I wanted to take a look at just a drum buss and sort of how I’m processing. A little bit of compression, a little bit of EQ, a little bit of tape magic. I’ve got a rock song. It’s loud, it’s aggressive. Mean sounding, and so I thought it would be a nice change of pace from the other stuff, so let’s get into it here.
It sounds like this.
Right. Big roomy sound.
So let’s take and turn some stuff off.
This is where we started.
[drums, no processing]
It sounds good. Kind of going into it, but we still want to make it bigger, we want to make it punchier. Take a little bit of the tubbiness out.
So I’m using this Grand Channel Strip from SofTube. It’s a really cool plug-in. Basically, you’ve got an EQ here on top, and you’ve got a compressor section on the bottom.
So let’s bypass the compressor and flip the EQ on and off so you can see what’s going on there.
[drums, with and without EQ]
Basically just taking some 270 out. Bell curve, 270Hz. Typically, I kind of fish around 300. It’s not always 300. Sometimes it’s above, below, whatever.
I like this unit because you don’t have infinite options. You just kind of pick the frequency you want and turn stuff until it sounds good, which is a cool way to work.
I also have a little high pass filter here at 27Hz just for safety’s sake.
Listen to the snare drum. It gets rid of some of the mud in there.
Right. So that’s the EQ. Simple enough.
And now let’s go to the compressor. Pull this gain down so no one bitches about that. Someone always does.
[drums with compression]
Alright. So basically, we want them punchy, so the basic idea of that is slow attack, fast release to get punchy drums on a buss compressor.
With this one, I went with a medium attack. This plug-in, you get fast, medium, slow, which I did. Just kind of flip it, whatever sounds good, you go to there. It felt like slow was a little too pointy.
[drums with compression]
But medium kind of kept the bass drum round and full like I wanted. Then fast on the release.
[drums with compression]
Not tons and tons and tons of compression. I mean, we’re definitely squeezing it. Three to five dB of gain reduction.
The cool thing about this plug-in is that it’s got this section down here, so you’ve got a low cut filter, which you’ve all seen those before, but you have parallel inject, so this is 100% wet. Then you have this saturation knob, which kind of adds saturation to it.
So that’s all the way clean.
[drums with saturation]
So a good healthy amount of saturation.
Again, I want it aggressive.
Here’s where we started.
[drums, no channel strip, then with channel strip]
And then next, we’re going to go to this Studer tape plug from UAD, and I’m going to give it a little bit of juice on the gain going into it, because I’ve got the headroom to work with.
It’s sounding louder. It sounds better. Louder always sounds better.
So this is our Studer tape plug, the A800 from UAD. This is what it sounds like.
[drums with Studer]
Sounds so awesome. Listen to the bottom end. I’ll bypass it.
[drums with and without Studer]
456 on the tape, +6 on calibration. We’re going 15 on my IPS, and driving a little, back off the output.
It just sounds so good. It sounds so, so, so good. I’m demoing this obviously. I’m definitely going to be buying this next.
Here’s where we started straight up.
[drums, raw, then with processing]
And that’s your basic drum buss. Again, not really totally smashing with compression or anything. You’ve got to be careful with that.
A couple little subtle EQ moves. Sometimes, I’ll brighten up the top end on the EQ, like 10kHz. I felt like the cymbals were already pretty bright. I didn’t really want to do anything there, so I left that out.
I have a little parallel compression going into it too, just to kind of make things more dense.
[drums, parallel compression]
That kick drum, listen to that kick drum.
There you go. Drum buss on a big heavy rock song. I haven’t done a lot of this type of music, so I wanted to do one of these. If you like the band, they’re called “Lyke Giants.” Out of Australia. Cool group of guys. Check them out on Facebook. They would appreciate the love.
That’s it. That’s my drum buss thing. Again, these things don’t work every time, but it may help you out if you’ve got a similar track going on. Try these techniques out, let me know how they work for you.
If you have any special tricks, because everybody does it different, let me know in the comments. Subscribe if you haven’t subscribed. We busted 5,000 subs last week, which is awesome. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Really close to doing another mixing contest giveaway, and I’ll have the details for that probably either this week or next week, so we’ll get started on it here before the summer ends.
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