I'm currently working on a music project in Garageband [yes, not the best DAW, but I'm comfortable with it, and I can't afford high-end DAWs]; while I think I'm able to mix most audio fairly well, I'm still having trouble with drum mixing. I'm using Addictive Drums for the drum input; while I'm able to "record" the MIDI tracks the way I want, I'm having trouble mixing them. Currently, my mixes are fine--except for the drums; these either clip when I use a limiter, or are very distorted. So:
Should I be exporting the drum tracks as audio files before mixing them? And if so, should I export each individual track [kick, snare, etc.] as a separate audio track, and then mix each track individually? Would this limit the clipping/distortion? I'm unable to accurately normalize the song without a limiter [which adds clipping], but without the limiter, I'm either left with a low volume output or left with distortion.
Basically, since I'm unable to mix the drums, my project level is either too low, or clipped/distorted. I'd appreciate it if anyone had any advice, or knew of any tutorials that dealt with this specific issue. It could be that I'm just an idiot when it comes to recording, but I'd like to think that I can figure this out with a little help.
I'd do them as separate tracks. Once they are mixed to a stereo track, you can't try to tweak them much anymore to fit anything else around them, or them around anything else. You mess with the level or EQ of one thing, and it may affect the relative sound of another. You also cannot just add some more reverb to, say, the snare and cymbals, without also adding it to the kick and low toms, which may create mud. It may be just one thing causing the distortion, but if you fix that one thing, it's causing the entire mix to now be too low. You may want to just limit the kick a bit, but in doing so, you're squashing everything.
You've just answered your own question. Run them to separate tracks so you can deal with them in the context of the entire existing mix, or what you may add.
Good luck, and have fun.
Thanks much for the info; glad to know I'm on the right track.