Snare drum gating / mixing

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Pfly303, May 5, 2009.

  1. Pfly303

    Pfly303 Guest

    What's up, it's my first post here. Wanting to know if anyone has a trick up their sleeve...

    Here's what's going on, I'm mixing an album that I'm producing and played drums on. Some of the stuff has a "311"ish vibe to it, I play a lot of ghost notes in there that I need to come out a bit more. I notice on a lot of 311 tracks you can hear the ghost notes very crisply - that's what I'm after.

    I have a top and bottom snare mic happening. On my top mic channel, I'm using Drumagog to trigger a sample of my snare drum, that I recorded separately at the same session to add some punch, but keep the sound similar - that's my new trick, works great. Now, if I set the threshold low enough to pick up the ghost notes, I get triggers from the bleed at the hat, toms ECT. My Bottom Mic is just eq'd a bit, to add that crunch in there. Unfortunately, the snares rattle a bit when I hit the kick, so it can be hard to gate at times.

    I'll need to work on playing my ghost notes a bit stronger next time around, that would solve it, but for now - outside of re-recording the tracks (which is not an option), or slicing my audio into a million pieces, anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
  2. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    If a recut is out of the question, then just gate and compress like there's no tomorrow. Unless anyone has any better advice...

    But next time what you want to do is play your ghost notes at full strength but hit the edge of your snare drum. Brilliant, I know. I should have to kill you for revealing that secret to you. But it's your lucky day. Actually, I got that from listening to Brooks Wackerman. It works a lot better than just playing in the same spot more quietly. :D
  3. Pfly303

    Pfly303 Guest

    That's good advice man, I'll try that. I've spent so many years trying to keep my notes low to get the live sound I want - now I gotta get 'em up over the hat so I can mix right. The adventure continues...
  4. jwfatgruv

    jwfatgruv Guest

    Duplicate your snare track(s), treat one for the loud notes, treat the other for the ghost notes. This has been done for 30 years. Listen to "Peg", how do you think they got those ghost notes to poke out on Rick Marotta's drum tracks? There wasn't any DAW back then. Listen to any track with Steve Gadd, the ghost notes are there.
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    This is the correct way to do this. Hopefully you have enough plugs or outboard for this task.
  6. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    What do you guys mean by 'treat' the snare track?
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Take it out to dinner, buy some flowers, I dunno - be creative!

    Really though, don't treat it like you treat your wife.
    It'll either make your wife suspicious or damage your computer.

    I would approach this by:
    - Having 2 tracks
    - Gating one track heavily so that it only triggers on the strong hits
    - Use a gate on the other track but set as a ducker - so that the loud hits are now made quieter than the soft hits
    - Sum those tracks to the input of your trigger.

    I believe I have the tools to replicate this roughly...
    *plays around*
  8. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    Silly question...

    Can this tactic be used on kick drum? I'm having similar difficulties on a kick drum track.

    Thanks :D
  9. Pfly303

    Pfly303 Guest

    Great advice - that's kind of how I was doing it - using Drumagog to trigger the "loud" notes, and trying to bring out the ghost notes on the bottom snare track - but the rattling snare kind of put a damper on that. I'll try that. I've got a monster computer with all the power I need to pull this off

    Obviously, the goal during tracking is to minimize the bleed to the snare mics to help this process along. I figured some one had some solid advice on how to overcome this as I know I'm not the first person to deal with it.

    Thanks again

  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    In that case dupe as many of the snare tracks as you might need bottom and top. Each one can be gated to a different degree until you have carved out only the pure track you seek. Use gates with expanders on the ghost hits. Season to taste.
  11. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Learn how to play better? Kick drum ghost notes? What? Kick drums and dynamics are like hip hop and musical ability: they just don't go together. :D
  12. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    Yeah, I thought it was odd, too. He plays the kit with one foot, and does it so fast that not every hit has the same dynamic.

    Love the analogy ;)
  13. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    I may have come across as harsh, but once you get to a certian speed it truly is difficult to have completely consistent dynamics on the drums. I don't know how fast he's playing, but I usually play at about 240 bpm's, and let me tell you, I need a very compressed and limited kick drum. What you can do is draw in volume envelopes on any huge peaks, then limit to the soft hits, then compress until distortion and clipping is gone (may and probably will take more than one compressor plugin). This will obviously make the sound a bit less "organic" or "natural," but I think that's what people want these days? Nobody likes a bumpy ride.
  14. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    No worries, man. I have no idea the exact BPM, but I would be curious to find out.

    I thought of trying some automation like that, but haven't thought of using more than one comp. Thanks for the suggestion.
  15. Pfly303

    Pfly303 Guest

    You can do what I'm doing - Drumagog - Set the dynamic tracking to 0% and all the hits will be the same volume - I prefer a setting around 50% for kicks, but in an extreme case you can go lower. It's a invaluable tool for drum mixing, does wonders for kick drums and bad drum tones.

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