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Thread: Snare and Kick Drum, What to do?

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    Snare and Kick Drum, What to do?

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    When compressing kick and snare, to you use the same ratio for both? Or Tweak them both separately? I do different genre's... so ,hip hop, what would you do? rock? rap? classical? etc..

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteNite007 View Post
    When compressing kick and snare, to you use the same ratio for both? Or Tweak them both separately? I do different genre's... so ,hip hop, what would you do? rock? rap? classical? etc..
    I'll give you my total run down. No short answers with me

    Essentially the idea is that you should never treat any drum as a complete equal to another. You can dial in ball park settings, but since every drum track is usually it's own being, it's good to get into the habit of treating them individually.

    Of course, the trick is to do this while getting the drum tracks to work together as a whole. Generally, kick drums behave differently and serve a slightly different purpose than snare drums, and are usually treated a little differently.

    -A kick drum is usually full of more low end content that you would work on shaping with a dynamic effect (compressor, limiter, gate, etc), perhaps by emphasising the initial "meat" of the kick.

    Perhaps a fairly fast attack time with a quick release time is what you're looking for. Ideally with enough compression to even out the dynamics of the entire track. I personally don't like to compress kick drums more than I have to (2:1 - 4:1), since they tend to be fairly even, depending on the player. During tracking. Mixing is another story for me.

    -A snare drum is a different story than the kick, this one is harder to control in a live environment because you're at the mercy of the player, the tracking method and the artifacts introduced into the recording.

    In heavy rock, it's pretty common to compress the snare quite a bit to get it to sit well in the mix. This of course will bring up any unwanted noise, so a gate *before* the compressor is a usual simple setup.

    Compressing the snare drum is a little trickier than a kick, since it contains higher frequency content and creates a sharper transient as a result of. You would find yourself possibly setting a faster attack time to capture that initial "crack". You might find yourself hitting a 4:1 ratio possibly upwards to whatever your preference. Too much can ruin your track.

    The problem with transient material is that to create a sense of power, it involves a good level balance between the initial transient and the tail. Without compression, the transient is HUGE compared to the tail, therefore creating a weaker sense of power.

    This can apply to any type of drum in existence, its just a matter of taking a little time to tweak and listen for a nice shape and compression balance.



    In the end do it to how you feel it. Not by the numbers. Digital beats obviously tend to sit easier than live drums, so separate the two in your mind from the start. I personally don't treat the two the same only because there are slightly different tonal qualities to both. Just use your ears.
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    I usually run with only 4 drum tracks on most songs...M/S stereo pair for the Kit, and then individual mics on the Kick and Snare.
    I then use a stereo comp on the Kit...but I don't run any compression on the individual Kick and Snare tracks. Iíll bring up the individual Kick and Snare tracks to-taste and blend them in with the Stereo Kit tracks. The combination of the compressed stereo Kit and uncompressed Kick and Snare tracks works out very well for me.

    If there are any individual Kick/Snare hits that are unusually over/under...I can just adjust them manually per-hit in the DAW...but I've probably already done all that during the edit stage, so when I'm mixing the Kick and Snare tracks have already been adjusted well enough, and I can run them without any compression at all.

    The comp on the Stereo Kit tracks set to bring out all the Kit elements in the right proportion/vibe for the song. My go to Stereo Kit comp is the Joe Meek SC 2.2...it just seems to work well on the stereo drums tracks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    I usually run with only 4 drum tracks on most songs...M/S stereo pair for the Kit, and then individual mics on the Kick and Snare.
    Sort of a noob-ish question, but what genre do you generally record?

    I don't get to record live drums much - my roommate has a kit, but it'll just barely fit in my room and I'm not much of a drummer (and the acosutics in my bedroom really aren't idea. ) so generally I just work with loops.

    I record a lot of instrumental rock, though, and when I finally do get to the point where I'm ready to begin tracking for my album in earnest (I'm demoing right now) I'm planning on recording a drummer buddy of mine. I run the gamut from ballad-y stuff up to hard rock/right on the edge of metal, but I want to keep a pretty consistent drum sound for the album. I know for heavier stuff a lot of guys do like to close mic everything, but I've always had a thing for fairly "live" sounding drums (for example, Satriani's "The Extremist" has a huge drum sound I've always liked), so I suspect a fairly minimalist setup in a decent sounding room should work, but I'm just wondering if you've had any experience with this. Thanks!
    "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are a little dicier." - David Foster Wallace (1962-2008)

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