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bubmachine 2009-11-12 02:00

Compressing individual drum sounds

I have read about talented people compressing individual drum sounds in a mix. I tend to compress the drums as a group as well as the master channel of course.

Whenever I experiment compressing individual drum sounds, I don't quite see what it is used for. The change of sound is no minimal it seems pointless.

Is there a particular reason of why it is done? Are there certain sounds where it is an advantage? I tend to use short and sharp sounds (but not gated).

I hope this makes some sense to you.

JeremyNSL 2009-11-12 03:12

Compressing snares by themselves can bring out different parts of the sample. So if you want a really strong attack you can do that, or a more crushed sound that will emphasize the decay stage a lot.

Its pretty much the same thing with kicks but more subtle because they are simpler sounds.

I tend never to compress hi-hat or rides. That just seems to suck the life out of them and make them harsh. Cymbals can sometimes benefit from it though - if you want a longer sustain out of them especially.

I should also mention that the main problem with compressing an entire drum mix is that your kick will pull down the entire mix. ie. whenever the kick hits, it has so much energy that it will cause the entire mix to compress. In certain electronic genre's, this pumping effect is used intentionally. In other genres, its totally unwanted.

MsKeng 2009-11-12 12:24

I think that is pointless if U properly eq individual drum parts, removing unwanted fighting frequencies and you have good and not much compressed sounds whenever music style you do,

but for eg. I use sidechaining the kick by the snare 'cause I make dubstep and sometime I would use the kick also when snare plays and don't want to listen to the "pumping effect" JeremyNSL says before.

but this is my 2 cents,


scifunk 2009-11-12 14:54

I'll often compress the individual sounds, then compress them as a group and give them a little press in the final mix.

bw120205 2009-11-12 16:17

I personally try not to compress anything too much, but I use parallel compression so I will usually super compress the parallel channel and bring it in the mix appropriately to add thump, while maintaining dynamics. Compression is essential to get things to really pop out of a person's speakers. Some sampled sounds and synth sounds are already "big" enough that they perhaps don't need much compressing, but I find most of what is offered in Reason benefits from at least a little bit. I just recommend experimenting with it.

Benedict 2009-11-13 05:39

I'm not a big compressor but I followed a tutorial on multi-band compression for drum sounds and the difference on kicks was amazing and now I know how to get that Metallica "Black" album sound - when I use that I'm not sure but hey.


lowlifebware 2009-11-13 05:53

Generally I like to run a parallel layer of compression, which equates to 1 channel dry and 1 compressed to heck then mixed in. The only thing I'll do any solo compression on is a snare to give it more tail without adding reverb, but this is rare.

It's important to note that with drum machines and samplers there is a lot less need to be compressing every channel, but if you were to record a live drummer it would be much more of a useful approach because every single hit on every channel is going to vary in some way, and thus it becomes more necessary. With a drum machine tho, you don't have that variation, and even with an analog machine the difference is pretty small.


lowlifebware 2009-11-13 05:54


Originally Posted by Benedict (Post 670910)
I know how to get that Metallica "Black" album sound

Hey Benedict, when you work out how to get the Kick sound from ".....And Justice For All" give Me a heads up.


ProfessaKaos 2009-11-13 07:18

Compressing individual drums sounds will give you an advantage of dictating the snap and punch of each sound. Using Compressors should make the sound louder in volume but not level. Compressing each sound should make things clearer and easier to hear, tho compression can clean up a mix it and make it sound great, it can also ruin a mix if too much is applied. A good way to hear what a compressor is doing is to set it to extreme settings. e.g.( Using the Mclass Compressor, Try Compressing a Kick Drum - Threshold at -36db, Ratio at 10.1:1) Move the Attack and Release to hear when comp cuts in and out.

Benedict 2009-11-14 04:08

I think that is basically the same sound. There is a video tutorial somewhere (sorry I don't know the link but I found it in this forum) from a Hip Hop Producer which shows the technique which goes a bit like this...

Use EQ to create separate 2-3 versions of the Kik:

Welly - Lo Pass above 60-120 hZ
Body - Band Pass to fit high and low
Snap - High Pass at 700-2000 hZ

Compress each section to suit the mix and hey presto you have Lars in a bottle - oh and you need white high-top sneakers too ;)


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