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Thread: Drum buss compression ?

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    Drum buss compression ?

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    I know a lot guys like to use compression on their drum buss i.e. SSL etc. In your experience do you also compress the individual drums? In particular the Kick and Snare ? I'm thinking that becomes a lot of compression by the time you make it to the Master. If you want to share some of your favorite settings also please do.

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    This is something that's going to depend on the song, the drum tracks etc. Many layers of small amounts of compression is often better than one compressor doing the whole job, again, depending on the source material and the end result desired. Parallel compression is your best pal when it comes to drums IMHO because you can bring up the sound of the drums without messing with the attack of the original tracks.

    Depending on whether I am editing an actual played in a room drum kit(not samples IOW) there is more likelihood of there being multiple compressors, especially when I am stuck as the drummer cause I'm a guitarist first so consistent playing is not my forte.

    If you are using samples, which I occasionally do, or drum replacement software with samples, I find that there is not as much dynamic range therefore less need for much compression. In those cases I like to use a character compressor and some kind of exciter/harmonics generator plugins on aux buses to give life to the samples and "dirty" em up a little. I like the Vertigo VSC2 for this among others. Sansamp and Aphex can be great to add some harmonics and transient energy on an aux too.

    I would recommend getting some commercial tracks that are similar to the genre you are mixing for to pull into your songs for a comparison of what the "standard" for your particular music is then work from there. You don't want to end up with Metal sounding drums on a Western Swing track or vice-versa, and reference tracks can help keep things in line.
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    Thanks, all good information.

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    maybe look up 'parallel compression', and try applying that to your drum tracks first.

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    I do compress the individual drums to get the sound I want, then compress the buss to get it to gel together, or pump rhythmicly, depending on the song.
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    In your experience do you also compress the individual drums? In particular the Kick and Snare ? I'm thinking that becomes a lot of compression by the time you make it to the Master.
    I only do that when it gets me the sound i want., It all has to do with the original sound of them and the other instrument sin the mix, the way i want them to sound in the mix and they way i want the mix to sound. Every song will need different things done to each instrument, like the kick and snare. so do what ever gets you the sound you want.

    If you want to share some of your favorite settings also please do.
    Each mix will have different settings for these things. There are no one setting fits all.
    It depends on:
    • The original sound of the kick and snare.
    • The other instruments in the mix, as they effect the sound of all the other instruments in the mix.
    • The sound of the mix you want.
    • How you want the feel and vibe portrayed to the listener
    • And of course your personnel taste.



    Your ears and knowledge of the tools will guide you to what you need to do for each instrument track, like the kick and snare
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    Thank you!

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    I personally use a multi-band compressor on the drum bus as well as normal compression on the kick, snare, toms, and room.

    My go to is actually Maximus, by FL Studio. Which is actually a multi-band maximizer. But I tend to use it just as a multi-band compressor.

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    I will compress the drums individually most times, but it's not a hard and fast rule. If the drummer plays evenly and the tracks sound good, why use a compressor just to use it? I'll usually bus the above- and below-snare mics and sometimes the toms to their own buses and just compress the tom bus and snare bus instead of each individual mic. Then route the snare and toms buses to the drum kit bus.

    For the drum kit bus being compressed: I have found that using the side chain in the Logic compressor, turning it to high pass and then setting the knob to just above the bass drum's low frequency punch area (around 130-ish Hz usually) makes the compressor not work (or not work nearly as much) on the bass drum, which allows me to turn up the compression ratio and get the kit sounding pretty tight without losing the power of it all. Doing that, the compressor tends to work at the same level no matter which part of the kit is being hit-- except for the cymbals which won't trigger the compressor as far as I can tell. Then set it to 4:1 or 8:1 like an 1176 and baby, you got yourself a drum stew

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    Use compression on the individual shells to either emphasize attack or sustain of the drums and use compression on the drum bus to essentially "glue" the kit together so it doesn't sound too all much like individual hits. Just a small amount should do, 3db of GR at 4:1 but not a hard-fast rule by any means

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