Mixing Percussion, Timpani and More with David Glenn

So Brad added some ambient swells, some cymbal swells, to his, and so I went to my sample libraries, I have everything from the guys at That Sound. Iwantthatsound.com.

I went to the Organic Deluxe library and I pulled out the ambient swell and the basic swell from that bundle, and I panned the ambient swell just off to the left, and then the basic swell just off to the right so that you get this effect. I’ll hit play in a second, but the left swell kind of comes in, and as the right one starts, they transition to the right. I threw a delay on it to extend the sustain of the basic swell.

So here is what I added. Exact same spots that Brad added it, it all — it just worked perfectly, so why fight it?

Here is the first swell.


Okay. I won’t wait for the full decay, but I’ll show you what it does. This is drums and bass in with the swell coming in here.

[drums and bass with swell]

And I think it was just necessary, so kudos to Brad, great job, great ear, loved it.

The DG delay, I’ll come down just for the sake of being completely in-depth here, I have a set of effects that I use for my vocals. Gentle chorus, Dimension D, a couple of modulation delays, all kinds of stereo imaging and whatnot.

I found myself over the years using those same effects on the instrument tracks as well, so what I did is I just duplicated my set of instrument — excuse me, vocal effects and labelled them with an “I” so I know to send instruments to those sends instead of the vocal effects, but the one down here is a DG instrument delay, and I’ve got an eighth on the left, dotted eighth on the right. One of my favorite guitar delays.

Then saturation knob from Softube. Put some grit into it and then 400 and below is cut, 7,300 and above is gone, and that’s what’s creating that sustaining sound to extend the sustain on the right swell. The right cymbal swell.

I’m going to play that for you very quickly, we have a lot to cover here, but let me mute this guy so you can just hear the one on the right. Here’s without it.

In solo would help.


Okay. And then just a little bit of love to help.


You feel it on the right ear. Kind of helps extend and sustain that out a little bit.

So that was cool. The other thing I wanted to touch on before we do track by track walkthrough is I added a kick, we’ll see that in a minute, but the timpani, I saw that Brad muted the timpani for the first part of the chorus, and then for the tag, you know, when she’s singing “hurricane” and repeating that, he let it come in, and he did a pretty sweet low end boost to it. He used an API 550. I’ve got the API from UAD 550L here. Same thing.

50Hz, 6dB. Before I saw what Brad did, I had pretty much saturated, done some cool stuff to give it some sub frequencies, but it didn’t have the same shelf resonance. It just wasn’t doing the same thing. It sounded good and it was full, but I liked his better, so I stole it.

So I broke the timpani out, and instead of muting the first section, I treated the first section with some punch, not a whole lot of low end.


I’ll show you before…

[timpani, before processing]

A huge volume difference, so…

EQ to bring out the upper mids.


Not so much about the sub anymore. Get rid of that stuff.

Remember, this is the first section. I broke it apart.

Then I took guys from Drum Forge have DF Clip, a multi-band clipper. I didn’t use multi-band, but I like what this does. Kind of push this up until it breaks up and then sometimes I push it further, sometimes I back it off.

This went from this…


To this…

[timpani with clipper]

A little more aggressive. Then I didn’t want the lows completely gone, so I went to R-Bass for smaller speakers, so it doesn’t just sound like a thwack. I want it to be a little bit of meat to it.

[timpani with R-Bass]

You feel the sustain in that. Back in.

Cool. So especially, some notes resonate more than others, and you can really feel that. So R-Bass kind of helps warm that up a bit, make it not so thin in that first section.

Now in context, let’s see… The only other thing I did was dropped 140Hz, I made mono in both of these guys. I used the Ozone Imager for that. So 140Hz right here and below is going to be mono down the middle.

Then let’s see… From there, the second half of that chorus there, if I solo the timpani, it went from this…


To this…

[timpani, after processing]

Lots of low end. So 50Hz, 6dB with the 550. Saturation knob for some grit. Then I put a Pro-MB on. I did this with bass a lot, and just 200 or so down is being compressed pretty aggressively, and then I’m boosting with it to sort of offset the compression.

So I’m compressing it to the level I want it to sit, and then I’m lifting it back up so it’s under control, so no one note is going to — there were a couple of notes that were resonating more at the bottom end, and I wanted them to be more controlled and less of a difference between notes if that makes sense.

So this is to compress the snot out of that.

[timpani after Pro-MB]

So between notes, there’s a difference, but it’s not as drastic as this.


You really feel five or six of those notes really jump out, whereas now, they’re a little more even.

[timpani, after Pro-MB]

There’s still a difference. I haven’t completely taken away the variation there, but it’s much more controlled.

Then again, the imager to take 100Hz and make it mono. So I did go ahead and do track by track for the timpani and the swells, but I really just wanted to make sure you saw that, because now it’ll make more sense. Some of the automation and stuff that I did up here, the drum print…

David Glenn

David Glenn

David Glenn is a producer/engineer/musician based out of Orlando, FL. Credits include: Pablo Villatoro, Blanca Callahan (Group 1 Crew), Aimee Allen, and more. Learn more and get in touch at davidglennrecording.com.
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