Trouble with drum compression/saturation before mastering

Discussion in 'Production' started by Kolendo, May 17, 2016.

  1. Kolendo

    Kolendo Member

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    Hopefully someone can help me out here, I find the only way to get my drums to really pop through the mix and sound excellent is by using heavy EQ, saturation, and compression in my mixing stage.

    However this often causes problems when mastering. If I have synths that go up into the high hat frequency ranges it's hard to isolate them from the drums without the high end starting to sound distorted.

    Am I going about this the wrong way? Everything else I've tried to get the drums crispy isn't working by the time I get to the mastering stage. The rest of my mix consistently sounds crispier than the drums. Should I be doing some light compression and saturation on each channel before sending it to mastering?

    HALP

    For reference here's a tune I've been working on. I don't have monitors so this is all done through my cans. I've had to leave out a lot of synths and samples that there's no room in the mix for.
     
  2. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    It really just boils down to EQ'ing in my opinion. In one of my most recent tunes the drums cut through the mix like a razor and i really didnt do anything too special to them. Just eq, light compression, some warmth via plugin of choice, light reverb, and I also mono them. Another thing I do is try to visualize the drum kit and then pan things accordingly, ie. kick and snare in center, hats panned left, crash panned right, etc.



    what DAW are you using?
     
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  3. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    another thing i do is sidechain the fuck out of stuff to make room for the kick and snare. Such as the sub bass i'll SC the kick, sometimes i'll put a tiny duck on the synth bass, etc.

    it helps tremendously to cut your drums around 60-70 to give the sub ample space, and i also do a cut very high up in freg and i feel it helps the drums sit in the mix and gives a little breathing room to other elements in your tune.
     
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  4. Kolendo

    Kolendo Member

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    Panning helps SO MUCH, I do this like crazy already.
    Who ever said drums can't have good stereo imaging? :razz:

    I use Ableton mostly

    I do this with other genres a lot, I haven't tried it with liquid dnb because I assumed it would make the bass sounds less smooth.
    I'll give it a go though, could be my problem! Thanks for the feedback man
     
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  5. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    very very tiny ducking amount keeps it sounding smooth ;)
     
  6. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    i can send you an ableton file of the tune i posted if you wanna take a closer look at my processing method
     
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  7. Kolendo

    Kolendo Member

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    I would love that, please and thanks!!!
     
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  8. Derelicts Of Tomorrow

    Derelicts Of Tomorrow Breaksmith

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    I'll sort you out when i get off work ;) hit me with your email addy...
     
  9. lug00ber

    lug00ber Active Member

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    Generally speaking, your mix should be equally "dull" all over. When you apply processing to the entire mixdown (aka mastering) you will lift everything by the same amount, the relative dullness between the individual sounds will remain the same (up to the point where everything is just an equally distorted mess, of course). When it's time to do mastering, you'd do a high frequency lift on the overall mix if it needs it, in the amount needed.
    The same principle applies for your buses (after all, your mixdown is just the output of your master stereo bus), so you should strive for balance there as well to be able to do stuff like "add some more treble to the rhythm section".

    For the high frequency clashing with synths issue: There are really very few synths that need a lot of high end, with the possible exception of breathy choirs and end of the world-style reese bass. If that's a recurring problem for you, I'd recommend starting to lowpass your synths (adjust the cutoff frequency when you are playing the entire mix, you will be surprised how low you can go before you actually hear a difference).

    About the track you linked: Your hihats and cymbals dominate the higher end of the spectrum so if you want something else to be up there, they have to be turned down (in volume). To my ears that would probably be a good idea even if you didn't want the kick and snare to have more top, so that they blend better in the mix. Also, that clap that sounds like paper tearing needs to be turned down quite a lot, that is right now the dominant sound in the higher frequencies.
    When it comes to synths, none of your synths needs treble, they sound good as they are.

    To me, your drums lack punch, not smack. You'd be better off reinforcing the lower mids for the kick and snare than turning up the treble.

    Good luck :)