Live drums on a DAW - tips

Discussion in 'Computing' started by anonymous, Mar 24, 2002.

  1. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Here's one I can share to start the ball rolling, it's how I get a separate 'normal drums' mix AND a 'compressed drum mix' - in Pro Tools, I imagine it would translate to any DAW software


    Use "duplicate track' on the drums and the aux bus they are routed too.

    Add a compressor of choice across the 'copy Aux' and a corresponding Time-adjuster delay to the un compressed aux to make them have the same sample delay....

    then you can custom blend levels to your crush Aux and preserve the balance of your uncompressed kit..

    Typically close mic's (often gated) get 'jammed' into the compressor, overheads less so.

    This 'copy' method allows you to custom eq the bass drum SPECIFICALY FOR sending to its near death in heavy compression, snare too! Perhaps rolling off the top end on the overhead tracks will allow a higher level to be smacked into the compression.. but as its "just on the copy" the HF 'Zing" is preserved, back over on the ORIGIONAL tracks...

    BTW the copies can come out phase revered - flip that back to 'working' (natch)

    This replicates the old SSL standard... uncompressed (on big fader) compressed (on little fader) mix trick. AND also the 'bring it up the console many times and do different things with it each time then blend' - pro trick, (Andy Wallace is reported to do this a lot on an SSL))

    This whole copy track 'thang' has be great for me, instead of trying to 'get it all' from the one audio track, make a copy and mess with that - then BLEND IT IN -


    Sometimes after a lot of compression n all there is something the mix lacks - A BIT MORE OF THE UNCOMPRESSED KICK OR SNARE!!!!

    It is bullsh!t or a kludge IMNSHO if the comp & non comp levels are 'married' to the one fader...

    it takes more DSP but is the most flexible and 'old skool like' method IMHO.

  2. imacgreg

    imacgreg Guest

    I've been doing a similar thing with the drums. I'll send them to an aux channel in n-track that is heavily compressed. Then, on the comp aux, I'll kick up eq around 80 and 16k. Just mix in a little of the aux for some extra punch 'n stuff.

  3. nodell

    nodell Guest


    Does this mean that you time adjust all the other tracks as well to keep everything in sync?

    - neil
  4. teddancin

    teddancin Active Member

    Mar 16, 2002
    Thanks for the Drum mic'ing tips. I'll make sure to keep the original track around... just in case.

    I heard somewhere that the kick drum is the most important to mic and mix properly. I would have to say that I agree, cause a lot of the mix's on main stream recordings just don't have the bass drum high enough in the mix (in my opinion). I was wondering if that was just me, or does anyone else share this hatred for quiet kick drums? Just something that's been getting on my nerves.
  5. teddancin

    teddancin Active Member

    Mar 16, 2002
    I just wanted to clarify before people jump all over me, that it might not even be that the kick drum isn't high enough in the mix, but it maybe that it's getting phased out by other instruments or drums. Or it just doesn't capture the proper sound in the first place to ever punch through in the mix.
  6. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    "Does this mean that you time adjust all the other tracks as well to keep everything in sync?"


    There are two delay related categories. Each is SEPARATE and not to be confused with each others 'delay values'.

    1) All the individual track & copy tracks MUST have the same sample delay (pick the highest number then go tweak time adjuster on all the others to make it match) by all means put various combos of plug ins across anything, just make all the delays the same.

    2) the Drum mix 'Aux’s' must have the same delay between them (this is UNRELATED to the individual tracks delay number). typically the uncompressed Aux might have an EQ across it and the compressed Aux might have an EQ AND a compressor. Match these up.

    That procedure keeps the phase coherence of the kit intact.

  7. Huh ? Where is the potential phase problem in your method ?
  8. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Kirk, in answer to the phase question, everything you do to the signal in ProTools delays that signal by at least a sample or two. Even using an aux bus. In the case of process-intensiveplug-insthe delay is quite a bit more.

    So if you are mixing the original drum sounds with the same tracks sent through an aux bus and processed - the processed tracks will be out of phase with the original - which will probably be quite apparent to the ear. There is a plug-in for delaying the orignal tracks with a list of all the sample values thqt you need for each plug-in, bus, etc. Or you could nudge the processed tracks ahead in time to line up with the originals, but that's a little harder.
  9. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    "Huh ? Where is the potential phase problem in your method ? "

    Well there is NONE! That is the whole point of the 'tip" :)

    Do you mean to ask - where is the potential for phase problems - by NOT following the method described?

    If so, then, if you had 3 plug ins on the kick drum & two on the snare & none on the over heads and did not ensure the sample delays were not all of the same value on each of the channels (various plug ins cause different delays) THEN the origional phase relationships captured at the time of tracking - would be down the toilet... To get a perspective having no plug ins on the most of the kit, but using 3 on the snare might cause a delay equivelent to moving the snare mic back 3 feet! Or more simply put, plug ins can cause a fat sounding kit to turn thin due to phase relationships slipping out of whack - this is bearly mentioned in the Pro Tools manual and is yet another tedious computer skill to be learned... :)
  10. planet red

    planet red Active Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    Does PTLE and other native DAW software do the same thing, or is it just TDM?

    Anyone know if the new PTHD is going to fix this problem?

    It seems like it would kill the mood when you are mixing.
  11. jeronimo

    jeronimo Guest

    That sample delay thing is very interesting... how can I calculate the delay????
  12. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    "Does PTLE and other native DAW software do the same thing, or is it just TDM?"

    All plug ins cause delay, some programs have an auto compensator built in I am vague on which ones do.

    It IS a drag, presently the new PTHD does nothing new to cure this either..

    To check the amount of samples delayed, you either option click or control click on the fader volume box, I forget which...

  13. stedel

    stedel Guest

    You're kidding?
    (PS Great tips! Cool :cool: )
  14. Nimrod

    Nimrod Guest

    Jules I presume you no longer need to do this now you have your Dangerous 2-bus, are you still happy that you are getting better mixes than in PT.
  15. littledog and Julian thanks for the clarification on the delay issue. I've doubled tracks for drums but never combining the original with a compressed track, so I never ran into the delay issue.

    It sounds like something you might actually be able to use to your advantage as an effect, though not neccesarily on drums. Maybe a guitar thing.

    Cool thread Julian.
  16. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    I still use plug ins on the drums, mostly I am using Sony Oxford plug ins... but say I was really distorting one channel, or compressing it, I would have to instance Time Adjuster on all the other drum tracks to keep them "in line".

    It's like that adult to child joke , "Don't step on the cracks in the pavement (sidewalk) or the bears will eat you." :D
  17. mrhappy

    mrhappy Guest

    Good tip Jules,

    Have been rethinking some past mixes lately and wondered if this very issue(sample delay) didn't cause some adverse affects.

    Planning on being more careful in the future!
  18. apetrocelli

    apetrocelli Guest

    you can also nudge by samples and it will get you the same results, right?
  19. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Yes but who the hell wants to remember how much you nudged by?

    What if someone else mixes the material and doesn't have or want to use the same plug ins you did? They would be lost!

    Time adjuster is very low DSP, like a flea on an elephant! :D

    The only time I nudge drum tracks is (tip ahoy!) when I create (yet) more copy tracks, to act as 'triggers' for plug in noise gates.. feed the copy to the key input (via a mono bus) then nudge forward the key track so that the gate is caused to open a fraction BEFORE the hit, that way you lose NO attack whatsoever, which is a common bugbear of folks that use noise gates.. (this replicates the old skool 'take a feed off the Studer sync head, while in repro, advance trigger key' trick)
  20. KenSluiter

    KenSluiter Guest

    This whole latency compensation problem is one BIG reason why I still prefer to mix on an analog console.
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