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Effects and Signal Processing on Acoustic Drums (part 1)

Everyone has an idea of how drums are supposed to sound within a mix. Unless you’re looking for something really different most standard drum mixes sound best when little processing is used. In fact, some of the most highly regarded engineers and producers used only reverb (and sometimes nothing at all) to get some of the most memorable drum sounds ever. With this in mind, when you receive your final tracks from they’ll always be sent totally clean.

Most people prefer their drums to have a natural, articulate sound with a lot of presence. A well-tuned and properly recorded drum kit should give you a good starting point. Be careful not to overdo effects. They can reduce attack and essentially veil your drum sound relegating it to a mushy mess sitting at the back of your music. My advice is to mix the drums using overheads and room mics first then add the close mics for extra presence. After that dial in a bit of reverb on just the snare and see how it sounds. Sometimes you can make the overall kit sound bigger by putting a little reverb on room mics too. This might be all you want to do at first.

We’ll continue with this topic next month including some tips using compression and adding duplicate tracks (for manipulating effects).

Best regards,


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