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Thread: Drum Mix

  1. #1

    Drum Mix

    Hello,

    I am new at this so I need help with a few questions. I want to buy a mixer and mix my drums before it goes into the main board. Now, I am reading stuff about noise gates, limiters, expanders and compressors and all that jazz. Can someone help me out and let me know the difference between them and when I should use each one.

    Thanks
    Steve

  2. #2
    New Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Venlo, Netherlands
    Posts
    5
    Hi Steve,

    First: I'm not an engineer and this is quite extensive material. However, I can give you some pointers to get you started, so here goes:

    Noise gate:
    A gate prevents any sound from getting through, unless it rises above a set level. Use it to prevent leakage from other instruments into the microphone. Personally I never use a gate on drums, first because I prefer a more live sound where leakage is ok, second because on drums they are quite hard to set up properly to achieve the kind of sound I want, since the drums / cymbals are so close together (and perhaps thirdly because I lack the experience!).

    Limiter:
    The opposite of a noise gate: lets all sound through, unless it goes over a set level and "chops it off". In recording drums I use it as a 'safety device' to prevent clipping.

    Compressor:
    Sort of like a limiter, but with far more creative possibilities. The compressor does not chop the level, but reduces the level of the signals that rise above the set treshold. Most also have a "make up gain" function to raise the level of the soft bits in order to even out the sound. I almost never use compressors while recording, but can't do without them while mixing.

    Remember: this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There is so much to learn about this and you would do best talking to an experienced engineer. Personally I prefer to get the drums on 'tape' with as little processing as possible. You can always add processing later, but you can't take it away anymore!

    Hope this helps a bit.

  3. #3
    I think the best "school" for processors is, just start with a mixer. As you gain experience with it, and as your ears get sharper, you will run across cases where you would like the sound to be different from what it is...and that's when you'll start understanding which processor to use and why. You will perceive a need and what you need to fill that need.

    There's a kind of method in this madness: any kind of processing moves the sound away from realism and naturalness. So you don't want to use it unless there's a special effect you want to obtain or a problem you want to eliminate. Like, you can poke yourself in the eye but the fact that you can doesn't mean you should want to.

    Having said that, if you're trying to deliberately create artificial effects, then all bets are off. The best thing in this case is to just start screwing around with the processors and see what they do.

    That's expensive, but for the sake of learning, here's a way around the cost. Record a drum track and put it on your computer. Download some of the free processor software available and experiment with it. When you know what you want, you can buy the boxes for real-time use.

  4. #4
    Quote
    Quote: karl eilers
    View Post
    I think the best "school" for processors is, just start with a mixer. As you gain experience with it, and as your ears get sharper, you will run across cases where you would like the sound to be different from what it is...and that's when you'll start understanding which processor to use and why. You will perceive a need and what you need to fill that need.

    There's a kind of method in this madness: any kind of processing moves the sound away from realism and naturalness. So you don't want to use it unless there's a special effect you want to obtain or a problem you want to eliminate. Like, you can poke yourself in the eye but the fact that you can doesn't mean you should want to.

    Having said that, if you're trying to deliberately create artificial effects, then all bets are off. The best thing in this case is to just start screwing around with the processors and see what they do.

    That's expensive, but for the sake of learning, here's a way around the cost. Record a drum track and put it on your computer. Download some of the free processor software available and experiment with it. When you know what you want, you can buy the boxes for real-time use.
    Word. Just get a little mixer and sub-mix them. even on bigger stages I do everything I can not to fuss around with all that other fun stuff. I have, and very successfully, used all the aforementioned devices, but they should not be 'needed'', especially for a drummer sub-mixing his mics to go to the main mix..

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