Prevalence of gating on modern rock drums?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by audiovisceral, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. Do modern rock recordings, like say from bands like Modest Mouse, The Strokes, or Korn (or anything in that range to harder and softer), generally apply gating to bass drums, snares, and toms?

    It's my impression from the admittedly somewhat amateur recording I've done that they likely do. I've found it just about impossible to avoid a difficult-to-manage amount of mic bleed via just acoustic treatment and mic placement alone. It seems as if the only way to obtain the level of separation and style of sound that is accomplished on pro albums is to gate or trigger.

    How prevalent is drum gating these days?

  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    How prevalent is drum gating these days??

    I've never stopped doing it. I've been doing it since 1978. But I don't usually use it because I don't like "bleed" or lack of "separation". I like the sound of a band jamming together. The bleed and leakage all works for me and I believe provides for a more real and code uses sound. But what I do use it, I use it as an additional way to create the sound of the drums I want, for the particular song I'm working on. I most often use it on bass drum and snare drum, just to tighten them up but I also use it on the toms, since they are the least played, which allows me to utilize my overheads better.

    Plus, I won't necessarily gate all the time but frequently downwardly expand. Something that could also be referred to as a "soft gate" i.e., not completely turning off the sound signal but only down down by a few to 10 DB's. This allows me to preserve some of the ambience without slamming the gate in anybody's face.

    Don't forget to let the dog out.
    Ms. Remy Ann David

  3. I like this idea. I find gating difficulty on say a snare because when you've got a song with a lot of ghost notes and gentle inflections that in it, it's tricky not to lose/distort those.

    Would you use a 'soft gate' and then apply compression to the peaks as normal?

    I think that's what I'll try for now. I'm also giving drumagog a go.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Actually, I'll add a little limiting and then the gating or downward expansion. Some people might tell you to gate and then limit but I don't like doing it that way. Why? When you first limit, with an analog limiter, regardless of how fast it may respond, a small amount of the initial transient is passed through. This helps to provide a more definitive attack. When you use the gate, like the limiter, it cannot respond instantly and so, a little of the initial transient attack is eliminated. Together, in the sequence I indicated, a small amount of the initial transient attack will squeeze through a little more of the gate. You end up with a very fat solid drum sound that will include an initial transient attack while keeping the drum very tight big and dry.

    Gating first will eliminate too much of the initial transient attack since the microphone is turned down first. Unlike the limiter, that actually is always open and adding gain, that provides a more initial transient attack to pass through. The gate will eliminate some of that after the limiter but since it has already been exaggerated, you still get some.

    My favorite gate? Gates McFadden, the doctor from Star Trek Next Generation.
    Ms. Remy Ann David

    OK, OK Allison KEPEX, she's pretty bitchin' too.
  5. mark_van_j

    mark_van_j Active Member

    Oct 28, 2005
    Maribor, Slovenia
    Unfortunately, triggering is becoming commonplace these days, in commercial recordings. Especially snare and most of the time, kick.

    The trick is not to trigger around 50%. I usually double up the snare and kick track, and trigger one of them. I then fix any phase issues between the two if necessary, and patch them to a bus, and process them as a single sound. You can also use drumagog and set the mix level to 50% to achieve the same thing, but I like to double up my snare and kick so I don't need to ride faders up to +12 or have the others digging for oil...

    I haven't found a good expander as a plugin, but when I do live sound, I practically never use pure gates, but gates/expanders. Gives a much more smooth transition, especially with inept drummers who require massive amounts of gain on the snare, which will then pick up more hi hat than anything else... :D
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I like to record everybody all at once this is louder than that .....So having gates is all part of the norm. That being said, a really good gate with some quality to the sensitivity on the input can provide yet another tool in the control of the arrangement. Some can be actually musical in their use.

    I mostly use em when I dont have a lot of time to tune out the sympathetic rings in the toms from the kick drum. I most always gate after the fact. And ,like Remy, I use the limiting before the gate. Its a much cleaner signal to the gate and virtually eliminates all ghosting.

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