bassdrum/toms compression

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Member Since: Jun 28, 2002

i'm not 100 precent sure how to work compression all the way yet. i can do it for vocals just fine but when it comes to drums i fall short. i will use my accual situation for example. i'm trying to get my floor tom to mix properly. i can get it sounding great by its self but when its in the mix its ether two loud or to soft...i know what your thinking there has to be a "hole" or "notch" in the rest of the instruments for this to fit in there but thats not it. for exaple the song starts with a fill in...the floor tom is the only tom in it and the first hit on the floor tom peaks at -.1 db but the other hits are coming up at like -8 dbs and stuff. so if i were to turn up the quieter ones the first one is like WAY TO LOUD...ok the soultion is compression. but everytime i try to use it it turns out really werid. like everyonce in a while one will peak like 10 dbs louder than the rest!!!! and even then the even ones sound really messey and it will be really really compressed....i never have this problem with vocals i don't know what to do. maybe i can send a sample of my fillin to you and you could tell me how you solved it that way i can learn by example and know what to look for.

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Since: Dec 30, 2002

Aug 27, 2003 06:14 pm

Okay, the above problem you have described is where you need a compressor for dynamic control of wayward levels. You want it so the compressor makes all the tom hits sound the same volume.

For this you will clearly need a high threshold level - this will ensure that everything is squashed really hard once it has hit the threshold which we will set at the ideal level you want all the tom hits to be.

Solo the tom track so you can hear all the hits going through the compressor. Now slowly move the threshold down until all the tom hits are sounding the same volume. If need be, increase the output gain a bit - but you shouldn't really have to.

Set the release to be fairly long - this will keep control over any ringing sound. Set the attack to be quite open - around 25-40ms so the "crack" of each hard tom hit still cuts through like it was intended to.

This should help get things under control.


a.k.a. Porp & Mr. Muffins
Since: Oct 09, 2002

Aug 27, 2003 06:49 pm

I don't know if this is correct in your case-- But in my experience this could also partially be related to phasing problems between the mics. Try flipping the phase of the tom track when it's with all the other drum parts. See if that changes anything. It sounds to me like maybe some stuff in cancelling out and making the low tom sound quiter if the whole set playing, since you say the signal sounds fine soloed. So keep on fooling with the compressor and also try flipping the phase. And, of course, if it's still clipping and isn't loud enough, you could just lower the volume of everything else :)

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