Take the following screenshot of a bassline in Neutron 3. We want to marry the sound of this reverb to our drum track so that the compressor affects them both. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, reverberating drums can lead to a cloudy, washy mix. We’ve gated the input, so that we only get reverb when the toms hit. They don’t need to hear the fuzz or even know it was recorded in the first place. It fits in much better. This gives us a distinguishing feel to the reverb. pitch shifting a snare?—but consider the degree to which we’re processing everything: I told you I’d give you the reveal of a before/after with all the effects employed, and I’m not going to disappoint. The LPF filter for the LFE channel should always be set to 120 Hz. Here’s one I like in NIMBUS for this tune: Here’s our gated tom solo’d, and then in the mix. In physical terms, signal and noise are not separate components of an audio signal. But employed haphazardly, they have the potential to suck the brightness out of a mix and muddy otherwise pleasant audio. To carve out a space for the lead, low pass the background vocals so they act more like a shadow than a competitor. Instead, they rise over time. Most importantly, we’ve turned the blend down to 9%. You need to time the tails musically—at the very least, they should die down before the next snare hit, unless you’re going for something creative and weird. I’ll cycle through on a macro level until I find the right one: And there it is. Take a look at the screenshot below for reference—the blue bounds provide a rough guideline for where your music should fall at various points in the spectrum, and the white lines reflect how your music compares. Your drums sound narrow, dry, and small. You can neatly tame the wilder instruments in your mix, while enhancing the qualities you like most about them in a very musical way. It goes back to the point I made in this article: we’re using reverb as a character enhancer here. Our natural sensitivity weakens even further once we spend many hours in the studio and ear fatigue sets in. Avoid common snare reverb mistakes. Working with a Medium Warm Hall preset, we tailor the sound, changing the early reflections to emphasize the initial hit, rather than what’s coming down the line. You can unsubscribe at any time. Manipulate the attack so that the later part of the signal hitting the reverb is stronger. Why does this work? We low-pass aggressively—no beach ball sound here! Get top stories of the week and special discount offers right in your inbox. Just as rumble and muddiness can prevent low-end from punching through a mix, sibilance and hiss floating around 10 kHz can take attention away from more important high-frequency information elsewhere. You can unsubscribe at any time. To stress the importance of restraint in filtering, listen to the following example, where I have a synth bass running alongside a drum loop. Finally, the sound seems to travel, not only from left to right, but from the front to the back of the image. We might struggle to hear our own thoughts when we walk by city traffic, but find the motors and horns blend into a more controlled tone a block or so away from the action. Don’t make it a loser. Here’s the kick reverb solo’d and then in the context of the kit. That material is authored to have content up to 120 Hz. Low pass filters give us the option to roll off high-frequency content that is either unnecessary or overwhelming. We’ve narrowed it a bit and used the warp section to add both overdrive and compression. As an experiment, place a low-pass filter on the output channel of a session, then pull the cutoff down towards its lowest point. You can prevent both of these scenarios by taking breaks. But for instances where EQ is not enough, reverb can come in handy on kicks to provide the illusion of low end. So let’s try a reverb and see what happens. We’re going with a hall from Stratus, which is a beautifully complex reverb. Here’s an example of a bad snare reverb. Try the same thing on the opposite end of the spectrum with a high-pass filter. We’ve done this to highlight what we can do with drums alone. We mostly use 2 microphones on the snare drum. Stutter Edit 2 allows you to create complex and intricate gestures with the push of a button. Top tip: To prevent this, use a wider boost instead of a narrow one—the former is more natural in feel and less likely to introduce artifacts. This trick was first shown to me in Bobby Owsinski’s book, and I’ve used it for more than ten years. In this article, we discuss how to create a cohesive sampler drum kit. By letting a little bit of brightness back in, the bass get it’s attitude back without overstepping its role—which you can hear in part three. For more complex removals of noise, you might be better of running audio through a pass of RX 7. This can add dimensionality to the reverb not otherwise attainable. Mixing drums isn’t easy. With a good chamber setting, you can use the early reflections to target one aspect of the sound and the tails for another. First, send the snare to a bus. A good chamber, married directly to the toms, helps reinforce both elements of the toms that we love to hear: the fundamental boom of the hit, and the snappiness that really makes them cut. Move the cutoff back up again and listen to the brightness return. We’re going this unconventional route to demonstrate what you can accomplish with reverbs alone. Check out this reverb: It’s the same as above, but the early reflections have been turned down, while the early attack has been changed to favor the later portions of early reflection. Put up the wrong snare sound and it always sounds tacked on. By design, filtering is best used to make space for sounds. We get this: That’s still a bit much, a bit all over the place. The top mic gives you the body or fatness of the drum and the bottom mic adds some brightnessto the drum. Too many stacks will cramp your mix and end up costing you precious headroom and dynamics. Learn how to use the free iZotope Vinyl plug-in for genres like hip-hop, pop, electronic, and rock. So I postulate the following: it really doesn’t matter whether you use many reverbs or one, provided you know what you’re doing. I’ve already issued a lengthy warning of the dangers of over-filtering, so I won’t go on much further except to reiterate that low-passing can create just as many problems as it solves when used without restraint. The tail has been widened, and its timing has shortened. Or if you just want to enhance a specific frequency range, then the frequencies … This is achieved with smart selection of reverbs, tinkering around with settings, and most importantly, a subtle hand when it comes to balances. The first example is the dry drums you heard before, with a little compression on the drum bus. Use a HPF on HF sources or for removal of subsonics, AC noise, etc on nearly everything... when necessary. On the other hand, if you get rid of top end on a sound that doesn’t really need it, you will get a far more polished result that actually enhances the overall energy. For this reason, they are used across all styles of music to improve balance and clarity. Let’s listen to what the reverb sounds like solo’d, and then again in the context of the mix. Though it's unlikely anyone would apply this kind of drastic filtering to an entire mix, our ear’s sensitivity to mid and high range frequencies may lead us to roll off more than we need to on rich, harmonic instruments. If there is too much low pass filtering to start with, we may become accustomed to the muted sound and find the addition of high end too harsh in comparison. The crossover filter are a separate matter. Though you may choose to think of them as discrete elements, noise is a part of every waveform. Let’s play with the input filtering, change the early reflections to emphasize their later portions, and see what happens. This filter has nothing to do with speaker roll offs and crossovers. You gotta be kidding me! That’ll do the trick, right? Whether you’re making electronic music or hip hop, crafting a deep, booming kick drum is fundamental.