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Loud cymbals

Member for

21 years
Well, I'm beginning to work on the mix for my instrument tracks, and it appears I accidentally turned the cymbals up a bit too high. Unfortunately, I recorded with electronic drums in stereo, so I can't adjust individual drum voices. The largest problem seems to be that the cymbals are drowning out the snare a bit. I'm not really an EQ expert on drums, so if I could get some suggestions as to how I might tone the cymbals down while affecting the snare and other voices minimally, I will be quite grateful. From the limited experience I have with drums and EQ, it seems to me that cymbals power tends to be around 4 KHz and 8KHz, and the higher frequencies control the shimmer. I'm basically just fishing for suggestions on how I can work the EQ or even...... multiband compression (gasp). Thanks.


Member for

19 years 9 months

Davedog Tue, 06/24/2008 - 16:24
Do I unerstand you right in assuming that the drums are a stereo pair and the cymbals are a separate track from the drums?

Then if this so, you must EQ out everything below 2K on the cymbals and start from there. Use the multiband compression as a last result and then only for control of overs.

Member for

21 years

Member Tue, 06/24/2008 - 16:31
Hi, Davedog, actually, the entire drum set is in stereo, cymbals included. This is mostly due to the fact that A. I don't want to buy a sound board, B. I only have one physical compressor, and C. I lose the ability to monitor through my headphones when I route the individual voices out. However, all the drum voices, including the cymbals, are on one stereo audio track. Also, it isn't like the cymbals are ridiculously loud, they just need to be toned down a bit, so I don't think any drastic changes will be necessary, just enough to let the snare come through more.

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Wed, 06/25/2008 - 03:28
A Simple broadband limiter with a side chain high-frequency preemphasis in the detector, will yield a gentle high-frequency limiter. This can easily be accomplished in software such as Cool Edit, Adobe Audition, etc.. It's a Band-Aid. For Boo boos.

Splashy stopper
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 06/25/2008 - 15:10
OK, this is what I'm getting here: .................. limiter ........................ high-frequency limiter .............. This can easily be accomplished in software such as Cool Edit, Adobe Audition, etc.. It's a Band-Aid. For Boo boos.

Any clarification (a step by step explanation and how to guide) will be greatly appreciated :D ! Thanks for the responses everyone.

Member for

15 years 10 months

hueseph Wed, 06/25/2008 - 17:19
Please correct me if I'm wrong here. The idea is to duplicate the drums, Put a high pass filter on one of them and the side chaining limiter on the main drum track. Send the high freq emphasized track to the limiter side chain via pre fader aux and that will trigger the limiter when the highs on the emphasized track exceeds your set threshold. I'm getting confused with software and hardware here I'm sure. Somebody unjumble this mess?

Member for

13 years 10 months

bent Wed, 06/25/2008 - 18:03
I don't want to buy a sound board

My smartass answer: Buy a sound board.

I know lots of folks on here do without, but I can't imagine recording without one - they're not just for live sound, ya know...

Or at the very least get an 8 input ADC and route the drums accordingly.

Kik - Snr - TomL - TomR - OHL - OHR


As far as lowering the highs on what you've already recorded:
Hi Shelf cut starting around 6k, find a point around 2-3k, probably 3.5k, (narrow bandwidth) and boost it until the snare cuts through.

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Wed, 06/25/2008 - 22:35
To create a high-frequency limiter in a program such as Adobe Audition and Sony Sound Forge, etc.. In Adobe Audition, you would select Amplitude, Dynamics Processing. Start by selecting a limiter preset. Now since you don't want to limit everything at all frequencies, you go to the Band Limiting. You'll find that the low-frequency cut off is zero in the high-frequency cut off is 24,000 hertz. Change the low-frequency cut setting to somewhere between 5000 to 8000 hertz. This will only limit frequencies above those frequencies without affecting the dynamics of lower frequencies.

In Sony Sound Forge, their graphical dynamics processing offers no adjustable bandwidth limiting, like Adobe Audition. Because of this, you have to use the Multi--Band dynamics processing. In this instance, you disable all but a single band. Setting the turnover frequency to between 5000 hertz to 8000 hertz. This will provide limiting in the high frequencies only.

Of course you still need to set the ratio of the limiter. Starting at 4: 1 is a good start. Adjust your threshold by ear to take some of the splash off of the cymbals and you're there man.

Bandwidth weighted limiting can be a very handy tool when trying to correct tracks after-the-fact that can't be remixed.

This also can be used in combination with full bandwidth processing to custom tailor your sound.

With actual outboard hardware limiters, provided you have a side chain patch on the device, you can insert and outboard equalizer and just boost your high frequencies. This boost is only heard by the detector in the limiter and does not pass through to the audio output. All it does is make the detector more sensitive to high frequencies only. Limiters like the famous Universal Recording Electronics Inc. 1176 didn't have a side chain feature. For that unit, you actually had to install a modification with a switch for high frequency limiting applications. If you were fortunate enough to ever land a Orban 418A limiter, it was an offshoot of the famous FM OptiMod and actually had a calibrated high frequency limiter function for 25 microseconds, 50 microseconds and 75 microseconds preemphasis frequency response curves for different FM radio standards & disk cutting applications, etc.. So high frequency limiting is nothing new and is really quite prevalent throughout the industry.

While writing this, with Conan O'Brien on in the background, some terrible rock and roll group is on. How do these people make these shows being so awful? The mixes are really awful these days on these shows. Don't know what happened to everybody's engineering chops?? This isn't even musical? I think they're called Cold Massage? Simply awful! Makes you lose all hope. And I couldn't think of anything more awful than a Cold Massage. So apropos. Euwwww.

Not a hopeless engineer.
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

15 years 6 months

rockstardave Mon, 07/14/2008 - 08:13
RemyRAD wrote: It's a Band-Aid.

a brief side note to vent my bitterness..

when i first started to get serious about working with music, i knew that I needed a website. i'm no musician or anything .. almost strictly audio engineering, booking, and lighting.

so i was like "what domain name should i buy?". and i had a list a mile long. then it hit me... Band Aid. DUH! i help bands but do not perform in one. its perfect.

so i went to my domain registrar and typed in "" to find out if it was available.


it has absolutely nothing to do with helping bands!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 06/26/2008 - 15:41
Thank you all, especially you Ms. Remy Ann David :D . OK, high-frequency limiting sounds easy enough :) . Maybe I'll save this side chaining thing for somewhere down the road; I know my BBE compressor can do it, I just don't know how much I want to play around with it... I am using Audition 3.0, btw, so now I have step-by-step instructions :D .

A cold massage, eh? That sounds... uncomfortable :? .