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#451404 - 01/15/18 10:44 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Turn UP those DRUMS!!! [Re: floyd jane]
lambada Offline

Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1166
Loc: Hong Kong
Guilty - I guess I'm just insipid! David, that brought a smile to my face. So is this why the drums now are always in the red in BIAB? :-)
Windows 10 Home insider preview (Evaluation) Build 17083
BIAB 2018 (Build 510)
Intel(R) Core(TM), i3-4160, CPU @3.60 GHz RAM 16 GB, 64 Bit X64-based processor
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VoiceLive 2, Nova, Sputnik Valve Condenser Mic

#451611 - 01/16/18 04:15 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Turn UP those DRUMS!!! [Re: David Snyder]
rharv Offline

Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18920
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
Originally Posted By: David Snyder

David Laughs a Million Cuny and rharv Laughs along with Dave,

I'm gonna get you guys.

Quoted for future reference.
Some day my heirs (or debt collectors) might need to prove David has it in for me.
Make your sound your own!

#451744 - 01/17/18 08:32 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Turn UP those DRUMS!!! [Re: floyd jane]
Deryk - PG Music Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 02/15/17
Posts: 1359
I've never tried producing my drums this way - I might have to try it and see the results!

#451996 - 01/18/18 10:16 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Turn UP those DRUMS!!! [Re: floyd jane]
The Soundsmith Offline

Registered: 07/11/14
Posts: 153
Loc: Monterey CA
Originally Posted By: floyd jane
(Guitar guys often mix pianos too low, too... but that is a different discussion...)

Guitar guys ALWAYS mix piano too low, because the chord voicings conflict, and guitars are REALLY LIMITED in their voicing options in comparison. (Sorry, guit-fiddlers, but if you play Rock, you are the dominant voice, if you play jazz, not so much. Mix those keys up... <big SEG...>

From an old guy that stopped listening when Coltrane passed...
It's all about the music.
(I keep telling myself that...)

#452080 - 01/18/18 02:44 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Turn UP those DRUMS!!! [Re: floyd jane]
JohnJohnJohn Offline

Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 2198
Originally Posted By: floyd jane

Songwriters who are new to producing - and some who are not so new - often do not understand how IMPORTANT drums are to the overall sound of a song.

So...let's talk about that a little.

We grow up writing songs on our guitars (typically). So what we hear is our song with guitar. Voice and guitar. That's what matters, we think. "Yeah, that's how I wrote it!"

That's great. BUT... That is seldom how a "radio song" is produced.

Guitar players (writers) don't even HEAR drums in a song, generally. They only hear the guitars. Because that is what they know. And their guitars are, quite often, too loud in a full mix. I often tell people "the drums could be a bit louder". And "old guys" often say "I don't like loud drums".

If you stopped listening to music around 1979 (which a lot of "old guys" did), then you likely don't "get" drums. Music prior to that had pretty wimpy drums compared to today's music. A lot of people continue to listen to only the music they grew up on (if at all).

Since then, drums have been getting louder. And louder. And LOUDER.

But 1979 guys still don't hear them. They are GUITAR GUYS.

Get a current record (or any made in the last 20 years) and put it on your iPod (if you have one). Or find a new record on YouTube (or any streaming service) and listen to the whole thing - with headphones or earbuds. Anything after 1990. And PAY ATTENTION to the drums. Listen to the record ONLY listening for the drums. After a while you should finally "get it". It is ALL ABOUT THE DRUMS (and a little about the bass).

START your mix with DRUMS. Get them LOUD. Then add your bass. Get it to play nicely with your drums. Then add your vocal. You can have had all your other instruments involved earlier to track your vocals... but after that, do your FIRST FULL MIX with just DRUM, BASS and VOCAL. THAT should sound really good. Then add those other things - guitars, piano, mandolin, strings... UNDER that basic track of DRUMS-BASS-VOCAL. Add them one at a time. Let them "add some flavor", not "take over". Drums, bass and vocal should rule.

When you get everything you want in there (your mix, that is), if you are "hitting the red", mute the drums. Likely you will no longer be in the red. If that is the case, don't worry about it. I know that will cause a flurry of "rules guys" to start citing those rules they live by, but most of those rules are held over from analog tape days. If the cause is the snap of that snare, who cares? You likely will not hear any distortion from it - it's a fraction of a second. It will not distort everything else. Give it a try and see. And, that little bit of red on the snare can actually give it a small amount of "warmth" - even in the digital world.

Give it a try. Pick a song that you have mixed that might have the drums low. And TURN 'em UP! One way to accomplish that is the simple make a duplicate copy of the drum track and add it in. If that is TOO loud (unlikely), turn that one down a bit...

(Guitar guys often mix pianos too low, too... but that is a different discussion...)

Thanks for this advice Floyd! I have never tried this approach but I am definitely interested in producing more modern music. I am listening to a lot of current pop and top country/pop and finding I am really enjoying much of it. I am noticing, for lack of a better word, precision in everything they produce these days. Clarity might be another word that applies. No mud, nothing not necessary and everything timed perfectly with tons of rises and falls in the overall drama of the songs. That is what I want to write and produce!

#452197 - 01/19/18 07:43 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Turn UP those DRUMS!!! [Re: floyd jane]
Guitarhacker Offline

Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5737
Regarding the drums or anything else being in "the red" on your meters.

In the days of tape this was actually very important. However, with digital, it's not that it's not important, it's just that it doesn't seem to matter as much.

As long as you can not hear anything bad happening. you're probably good to go. When you get some digital distortion, trust me, you'll know it. I like to have my meters out of the red as much as possible. It's kind of a sport to see if I can get some solid sounding stuff without being in the red. Yeah, it can be done.

The main thing I look at, and adjust accordingly is the final wave. I want to see good dynamic range and not a lot of digital "overs" happening. By the same token, I don't want to see anything that resembles an audio brick either.

Try to find a way to get a good sound balance without slamming the meters. If I have to turn my drums up into the red, or my vocal track into the red to have it cut through, that means I have everything else turned up too much. Rather than turning the drums or vox up and dropping a compressor and a Boost 11 into the track FX plugin box, I might go back and do one of two possible things depending on the tracks....

1. I look at the feasibility of turning the individual tracks down..... essentially zeroing all the faders and that means removing or changing the volume automation........essentially starting from scratch again....... or
2. If I'm satisfied with the mix but it's just too loud, I add a new "band" buss and direct all the instruments to that buss where I can simply use the band buss volume to bring the band down as a whole and not lose the balance I have in the mix. It in turn gets sent to the master buss. This lets me send my vocal buss to the main/master buss without having to compete in volume to be heard.

So... it's not the cardinal sin it used to be to run in the red. Feel free to be in the red if that is what it takes but keep in mind, there's a better way to do it than to default to slamming the meters just because you can.

edit: by starting your mixing with the drums and bass, it's easier to not overload and need to run in the red. The drums and bass go red because they tend to be where the most sonic energy is at. So by starting with them and setting them just below the red, you have a better chance to avoid the red zone. Even so..... give them head room so you can add guitars and still be under 0dB.

Edited by Guitarhacker (01/19/18 07:47 AM)
You can find my music at:

Add nothing that adds nothing to the music

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