Maybe experiment with sidechain compression. Try setting it to reduce the volume of the other tracks as your kick and snare play. This might help them stand out or cut through the mix while still keeping the volume of the other tracks high the rest of the time.
Agreed on this, I think people use too much compression without even understanding what it really does to a sound, it's considered just to be something that gets anything louder.
Here's a trick to start your trip into the wonderful world of compression: When you assign a compressor to a track, first set a mild ratio like 1.5:1 or 2:1 maximum, leave makeup gain to 0. Then grab hold of the treshold setting with mouse or assign it to a controller - Then close your eyes and start decreasing the setting. As soon as you hear a change in the sound character, simply stop. Then start adjusting the make up gain upwards - first adjust, then listen to what the track sounds with the compressor bypassed (rg. switch it off). Adjust the makeup gain until your bypassed sound is perceivably as loud as the compressed sound, again with eyes closed. This will mean that you have less spikes and loud peaks on the track but it is perceived to be just as loud as the unprocessed track. And i'm not even going to attack and release yet. Everyone has their own angle on this, but I'd say first use as low attack as you possibly can without distorting and work your way up until you can hear the punch, and release some 30-80 ms. It's easier to listen to the effect of attack and release with big settings so try that until you know what they do to the signal.
I've been doing tracks for almost 10 years but I've only recently started to discover the secrets behind advanced compression and limiting.
if you want your kick and snare to stand out, bus them together and add a limiter, either L3 or Vintage warmer, and find a ridiculously squashed setting. Then mix that in fairly quietly to your master drum bus. Adjust with eq, usually some low must go from the compressed channel.
Check the snares hitting at a lower frequency that usual.. get that fat sound.. add another snare on top with more sort of length in the snare itself. Do same with Bass drum, a little bit of limiting and compression does the trick.. if you sidechain it too much, it pushes out all the other elements of the melodies and shit..
I'm pretty baked at this moment in time, so if that doesn't make sense, sorry.
right.. in my personal experience, compress your kick bout ratio 4:1 , bare minimum attack time, few miliseconds release depending on the sample used of course, use a snare with good low end, boost it around 180-250 Hz,(compressed also) layer a mid range short snare on it n filter out the lows from it, then somethin a bit screamy soundin for the top end snare and filter out the lows as well, till u got all the snares fitting nicely, get somethin like a cut off snare goin along the 16's, put in ur ghosts to add some more rhythm n speed to the beat, dont compress your hats because (i.m.o.) it sounds shit cus it loses some of the dynamic of the hats so they dont sound as real, which i think is what u want at the high end to give it some kind of groove, then layer some high passed breaks over the top, pref. with some nice hi hat action then maybe one or 2 with some crashes and rides, might take a while to find ones that will fit but will be worth it, then create a group/bus whatever you wanna call it and assign a compressor to it and send all your tracks via auxilary send to this ocmpressor with about a 20:1 ratio, fast attack and fast release, then bring the level of the compressor on the send bus up which fattens out the whole drum loop. bit of gated reverb is always nice on the low end. and erm.. yeah, basically
You need to remember the sounds are competing for space in the mix so you gotta give one or the other more room
Sidechain compression can get you there, and when used correctly it sounds transparent -- this is easy with a host app that handles multi-channel VSts and a VST Compressor that has a side-chain channel -- if you don't have that it's also really easy in cubase -- I think you just select which channel to use as the sidechain signal in their built-in compressor effect --
If you have FLStudio you have to use a peak controller on the drum bus ---
in FL8 send the channel the kick is on and the channel the snare is on to one channel (you can reroute channel in FLStudio to any channel you like now) Add the fruity peak controller effect to your new Drum BUS channel. On the bassline's FX channel you add a compressor and link the peak control on the fruity peak controller to the threshold knob on the compressor using 1-Input as the function (inverted signal) --
When the snare and the kick hit, it momentarily brings down the bassline and as the snare and kick release the bass is brought up -- this is the breathing effect you hear in a lot of 4x4 dance music -- but if you do it with a moderate amount of compression you end up getting your kick and snare to punch through the mix and can even turn your bassline up louder than you were before doing sidechain compression