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What's your feel on limiting the drum bus ?
When I'm doing rock, blues etc I mostly always run a pretty heavily compressed sub together with the main drum sub. Does anyone ALSO limit the drum subs too ? I'm just wondering about controlling spikes closer to the source instead of shearing them off with a limiter on the overall mix.

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anonymous Mon, 10/25/2004 - 15:51

I usually prefer a milder compression on the drum bus or even compression on a parallel bus with different EQ. That way I can play with the attack and release to control the overall sound of the drums. I usually don't care for a limiter on that bus, but if it sound good, it sounds good. Although, when recording direct to digital, it might not be a bad thing since that is somewhat similar to what happens when going "hot" to tape (tape reacts differently than most limiters or compressors do- different harmonics are eccentuated with tape).

On another note, as someone who is still learning myself, I've found that there is no better experience than experimentation. I'd say throw the limiter on the drum bus and listen to the difference that it makes. Then bypass the limiter and listen for the difference. Unfortunately, I don't think that there is really a specific answer here.


anonymous Mon, 10/25/2004 - 16:41


Soundfreely, I'm not sure you picked up on the fact that aside from sending all the drums to the mix smog 99 is also sending an additional drum mix which he is compressing to the mix in parrallel to the original drums.

Depending on the tune you can really squeeze the hell out of the drum sub mix. The amount that you add like in cooking is to taste. And you will find that most seasoned guys are doing it this way. (And not just to drums!!)

anonymous Tue, 10/26/2004 - 15:30

Duh... Wow, I really misread your original post. I usually don't limit the parallel bus because that would take away from what I am trying to achieve by using parallel compression in the first place. I often like the sound of the attack pushing the overall drum sound up from underneath. I haven't needed to limit that sub-mix bus yet, but that doesn't mean I won't come across a mix where I would want to do that. I've also seen engineers that do compress that second sub-mix so much that it pretty much is the same as limiting, but I've never been a fan of that-- just my preference.

I still think that experimentation is the best way to learn. I always like to try new techniques and take note of how the sounds are affected. Even if something sounds bad in one situation, another mix might need that exact recipe and I think it's good to know when to reach for a specific trick or tool.

As far as your situation, why not just pull down the overall level if your getting overs?

Just my thoughts,

anonymous Wed, 10/27/2004 - 05:32

Re: further

smog99 wrote: Yes I do compress quite heavily with a UAD 1176 on a separate drum sub. Peaks tend to sneak through so I was wondering about limiting for this reason. I just hate putting another plugin on the drums. But, I guess if ya can't hear anything detramental, it's okay.

That's right! If you don't hear anything bad then technique is fine. If you are in the digital world you can also do a little volume editing so you don't have to limit.