We’re back with another episode of FAQ Friday!
This weeks featured question is:
“With programmed drums, can you use the same EQ principles that you’ve gone over or has this already been done in the programming stage?”
As you probably know a couple of weeks ago I talked about the fact that I’m going to be releasing my own drum samples in a way that you can really get into velocities and all that kind of stuff. I did record them the way that I like to hear them.
However, like Al Schmitt, I don’t EQ a lot on the way in. I do it mainly on the mix- there will be a little bit of EQ applied to the drums to give them the sound that I want.
If you haven’t watched the video I did with Al you can watch that here: Al Schmitt: The Most Successful Engineer of All Time
Some programmed drums I’ve heard are so unbelievably compressed in EQ that it’s insane how slamming they sound. As you’re pointing out it does sort of remove a lot of the opportunity you have to shape the sounds on your own.
I want somewhere in the middle; something that sounds slamming and great straight away, but also something that gives me the possibility to shape them.
My overall feeling when it comes to mixing programmed drums is that I’m looking for randomness. So bussing them together to a stereo then putting a dirty, distorted, lo-fi sounding delay under neither maybe even slightly out of time.
Doing those sort of things, distorting them a little bit is going to give me something that’s going to make the sounds more exciting. It’s very tough. Most programmed drums are inside of a plugin like Addictive, Easy drummer, Superior Drummer, or Slate Trigger. They are all very very EQ’d and compressed really well, don’t get me wrong. They are designed to make your life easier and there is nothing wrong with the fact that they sound pretty amazing straight away. But, as you’re pointing out, I wouldn’t spend any time making them any brighter or darker, I would spend the time making them more interesting, and edgier.
A lot of these plugins have distortion controls- you can distort them and trash them out, some of them have delays and reverbs built in. These are all fun things to do to! Remember a great vocal track, a great drum track, and a great rhythm track can really really make or break a song.
We also cover the following questions during this episode of FAQ Friday!
• What monitors control are you using to switch between the three sets of speakers? (0:45)
• How do you set up your split console for mixing? Do you have several analog mix templates that you return to depending on the artist material you’re working with? (1:32)
• I also EQ before reverb, is there ever a reason to EQ afterwards? (8:45)
• What books are standing on the back of the mixer and why do you keep them there? (10:00)
• When you mention “Glue” on parts like drum kit, how can we define that without being subjective? Is it standard distortion similar to EQ or compression? Or all of the above? What creates that effect in your experience? (14:41)