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Mixing Master Class

Lesson 17 of 27

Replacement Mixing - Toms and Cymbals

Joey Sturgis

Mixing Master Class

Joey Sturgis

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Lesson Info

17. Replacement Mixing - Toms and Cymbals


  Class Trailer
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1 Course Overview Duration:02:36
2 What is Mixing? Duration:15:56
3 Mixing Fundamentals Duration:06:10
4 What is EQ? Duration:38:36
5 Saturation Duration:24:08
7 Volume Balance Duration:15:25
8 Dynamics Basics Duration:16:23
9 Dynamics Q&A Duration:17:26
10 Limiters Duration:15:20
11 Spatial Balance Duration:39:57
12 Delay, Echo and Reverb Duration:26:29
13 Recap and Order of Inserts Duration:20:31
14 Replacement Mixing - Kick Duration:24:34
15 Replacement Mixing - Snare Duration:31:20
20 Creative Mixing Duration:28:10
21 Creative Mixing - Vocals Duration:22:34
23 Production Mixing - Guitars Duration:18:59
24 Production Mixing - Bass Duration:15:41
25 Production Mixing - Vocals Duration:23:34
26 Translating Artist Notes Duration:28:32

Lesson Info

Replacement Mixing - Toms and Cymbals

Should we replace the kick drum and the snare. We put them into a group, and we started mixing the kick and snare with some EQ and some dynamic processing and some clipping. And this is kind of our sound so far. (drum music) And we haven't really done much with the snare room yet. And we haven't touched the rest of the drum kit. So I'm just going to kind of quickly speed through the rest of the drum set, and kind of get a pretty good baseline mix going there. And, so that we can jump in to replacing the guitar tones and the bass and all that stuff. So, let's get these toms sounding a little better first. I'm just going to find a quick section, where there's some tom hits, and loop it. So here's some cold part here. I actually like to loop stuff on time, so it doesn't drive me crazy. (industrial music) And I'm going to create a group for my toms. And then select those, just like we did before. Hold alt shift, click master, send it to a new group. Call this Toms. (drum music) Always star...

t out pretty much with a parametric EQ on toms. (drum music) And that, for these toms, normally I would probably go in and individually EQ each tom. Especially because of their in different frequency classes, you have different notes and tones, because they're in different octave layers. Just for the sake of speed, I'm going to do kind of a generic EQ over the whole sound of the tom. (drum music) I hear like, there's a little bit of a dissonance in there. In the low end that I want to clean up, so I'm going to find that real quick. (drum music) There we go. So basically what happens is, sometimes you get toms that are really close in notes, and the notes are close enough to create a dissonance, when they're a certain frequency space apart. So, to clean that up, you can remove or the other, and you get a more clear sound. And you can find that by using a parametric EQ that allows you to do really narrow key widths like this. And then you can just sweep the frequency range until you find that dissonant low end, and remove that out. (drum music) There it is. (drum music) So that clears it up quite a bit. And then I'm going to try and get those toms to, I'm going to level match the toms to my kick snare now. (industrial music) And, one thing you want to be mindful of is there's different. We're going to get into some panning now, so it's, there's different modes of mixing in key bass. I'm going to hit shift S, which takes me to project setup. Now, if you look down here at the bottom, you have this thing called stereo pan log. And, in there, you have these different settings. This one can control, this will control what happens when you pan something all the way to the left or to the right. And in the center of. So when you're at negative six, let's open up a bass track here just to show you. (electro music) Watch this meter here and you can see. (electro music) So when it's in the center, it barely, it doesn't even go over this line very much. When it's on the right, you see how the increase in volume? Okay, so that's, that's the negative six log. If you put it on equal power, you'll notice that it stays the same. (electro music) Now if you put it on, let's say you put it on zero, let's see what happens. (electro music) The zero's actually the one where it stays the same. Equal power is where it tries to make the adjustment, so that it sounds equally as powerful on all three positions. Because, sometimes the perception if it is exactly the same volume in both speakers, and then it's the same volume on the right speaker, it could seem louder when it's in the center, because it's coming out of two speakers. So that's what the zero mode does. So yeah, I like to mix with equal power mode, because it's the adjusted one. Now, I'm going to start panning my toms from the drummer's perspective. (electro music) Not the bass. (drum music) Now if you're working with real drums, you would probably want to reference that to your overhead tracks and your room tracks. So make sure that you're getting a proper balance, and you're not pushing one tom too far to any direction. However, this is a program. The drums were programmed for this song, so. I'm just using whatever I want to use, because I have the ability to make that decision. And then, I need to get my cymbals sent to my new track. Our group track. So create a new group track. Let's select our hats and our overheads, and send that to the new group. And create one more group. Go and send all these groups to that group, and call it drums. So now we have one group that's for all the drums. (industrial music) I like my drums. I like to try and get my drums to blend nicely together. So I'm going to use some compression on the drums. (drum music) Looks actually sounds like the high hat needs to be turned up a little or a lot. Where is it? (drum music) Yeah, and the, the overheads need a little bit of EQ as well. So I'm going to go in and an EQ on there. I'm going to start with. Actually I'm going to use linear phase EQ. (drum music) I'm using a resonant. Where is it? Resonant high shelf. Which allows you to basically as you increase your high frequencies, it starts to cut just before the point of insertion. (drum music) I like it because it sounds a lot smoother. Than normal high shelf. (drum music) And then, I don't know if you noticed this, but the overheads just sound just sound very kind of pointy. And the dynamics are pretty wild. So I'm going to put some compression on there as well. I like to use 76 on overheads. I think it sounds nice. (drum music) Cool. We're getting close. (drum music) Still hear some some mid range frequencies I don't really like. (drum music) Sounds better. And now, let's go to our compressor for our drum kit. Just use. Let's try. Let's try 76. (drum music) Just all very light amounts. Just enough to kind of glue the kit together. (drum music) I'm getting some clip lights, because of the input, so I'm actually gonna do a. We'll go up here to the top of my mixer. There's an input calibration, so you can kind of turn it. Kind of do a negative 18. And then, I can change my threshold here. (drum music) Okay. And then, I always like to get my drum mix down to zero. What I mean by that is, pretty much try to mix it like it's a stem. Get it to the point where it's basically clipped just a little bit, and it's normalized to zero. That's like my starting point. And I'll mix everything else against the drums. So that the drums don't have to change volume. So the drums start out being just basically whatever level I end up with. And then everything goes against that. Relative to that. So, let me just go ahead and put my clip on here. (drum music) Cool, so I like that. That's pretty much our drum mix so far. Kind of want to take baby steps, and once you get the drum mix sounding halfway decent like this, then you just move on. And then, as you mix in other elements into the song, you might find other problem areas in your drum mix. So then you can go back, make a few adjustments, and then carry on like that. You don't have to get your drum mix perfect right off the bat. So, let's move on to guitars, unless we have any questions. NathanDangerPrince wants to know how would you go about replacing the cymbals, or would you have to just keep the original ones? So, replacing the cymbals would be a process of either manually listening to the cymbal track, and keying them in yourself. Or, if the artist or producer provided you with drum midi, which this band did, I would be able to go in and use this data to trigger new cymbals if I wanted to. However you'd have to ask them what the map is. And, it seems like he gave me some information here, which I am assuming I'm supposed to use as a tune track as the two avatar cymbals. So I assume that means if I wanted to figure out what the cymbals are, I'd have to go get this tune track as the two avatars cymbal pack, and then send my midi into it, and then watch how it triggers it. Or you could just contact them and ask them. But a lot of people don't actually know. So, yeah. That's one way you could do it. Okay, we have another question here. Can you explain gated reverbs on toms? I've heard of people using them to make them. Give the impression that they're bigger. Yeah. So gated reverbs on toms. Just to show you what that even sounds like. You could create an effects track. And, let's just do. What do we have here? Rverb is a good one. And I'm going to take my tom track, and send it to that x track. And then, I think there's even a preset for this. Somewhere. Let's do. Drum plate. Let's see what that sounds like. (drum music) Right, so. Where's my tom hits at? (drum music) We would use this thing here, reverb type, gated. (drum music) And then based on the time setting, I think that kinda controls the gates, so. (drum music) And it's kind of similar to that echo effect that we were doing on the vocals the other day, where we used a delay. And it just had like a one snap echo. Same thing with the toms. Just doing it with a reverb. So it takes the tom hit, puts it through the reverb, and then echos that reverb out once. And that's like what you're gated reverb would sound like. So. (drum music) Kind of like, got that little bit of that 80s sound to it, I think, you know? (drum music) And then what you could do is you could go in and since we have this reverb on a separate channel, you can go in and actually EQ it, so. (drum music) We take it, take out some of that upper mid range. You could get, I guess, kind of fatten up the tom sound. (drum music) You could hear how it creates a little bit of space and ambience. (drum music) And then just add that in with everything else. (industrial music) So, yeah. That's how you do it. Great.

Class Description

Joey Sturgis is the producer behind some of the biggest names in metalcore, including Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, and I See Stars. His sound is one of the most sought after sounds of the last decade and in this class, he’ll show you the unique mixing techniques that are key to getting it.

This class picks up where Joey’s Studio Pass class left off: you’ve got your session tracked and edited, now how do you turn it into a polished, world-class mix? 

He’ll show you how to get his signature sound, including: 

  • EQ and compression strategies for drums, guitar, bass, vocals, and synths/effects 
  • How to use automation to fix problem areas and bring out the song’s dynamics 
  • Tons of little tips and tricks to take your mix from good to great 

If you want to elevate the quality of your mix, don’t miss Mixing Master Class with Joey Sturgis.



I don't work exclusively in the same genre as Joey but I always make sure to clear my schedule when he's on CreativeLive. This class definitely didn't disappoint and it was awesome getting to see Joey work on a track from start to finish and what his approaches and thought processes are. And not only that, but I appreciate that he briefly touches on client communication in regards to production, mixing, etc, and the business side to the mixing process as this is an area I'm just now dipping my toes in. Even though I often find myself on the rock, indie or post-rock side of things, a lot of these ideas can apply to anything you're working on and I definitely picked up some ideas to try and work on myself. Joey gives you enough to inspire you and make that light bulb click and does it with an admirable humility that I respect. He gives you more than enough on how and why he does what he does, but I never feel like he reveals all his secrets or magic; I honestly prefer it that way as it leaves a fun challenge of taking the ideas you've learned and figuring out how, when and where you're going to use them in your own mixes. Especially if you're not doing predominantly metal, like I am. The ideas are inspiring. This class isn't about those perfect settings to that phenomenal mix or tone; it's about why you do this and how you do that. It's cool to be able to watch his process and pick his brain, start to finish and all in the box. Joey definitely doesn't need to do these classes for us, but the more I see him getting active on social media the more I get this vibe that he genuinely wants to help make the creative and mixing processes easier and help us expand our knowledge and skills. I get that it's smart business, but I respect and appreciate the hell out of him for taking time to do these classes and answer our questions... Even if there are shameless plugs here and there. I love when these great engineers take time to show us you don't need school, you don't need thousands of dollars of outboard gear, etc. It's your ear, not your gear. We live in an amazing day and age with the Internet and awesome resources like CreativeLive. I love it and these are great classes to watch and get in their heads. It set gets the hamster wheel in my head spinning and I always keep CreativeLive classes on my calendar. They're motivating and inspiring. Looking forward to the next one!


I’ll start off by saying this a amazing class not just for those looking for or interested in “The Sturg” production, but for anyone interested in mixing or mastering. You get everything from the must have fundamentals and basics of mixing and production, to the more advance technical aspects, and of course Joey’s personal approach and method to mixing. Everything from EQ, to compressors, multiband compressors, automation and chain signals. If you ever wondered whether you should place delay in front of your reverb, or reverb in front of delay, or other common chain effects, chances are they get answered in this class. The class is organized in several lessons following a logical order, each covering different topics. All the techniques are shown with examples and Joey does a great job of making it easy to understand and follow as well as explain the reasoning behind the techniques. And it’s not just mixing or production that is covered, but the importance of good songwriting, good communication with artists and good workflow. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to take their mixing or production to the next level. Regardless of skillset, if you’re a noob, intermediate or advanced mixer or producer, you’ll find very helpful and informative lessons, regardless of what style or genre you do.

a Creativelive Student

I own both of Joey`s courses. While both are full of useful information to get you started in the audio production world with lots of good technical explanation and awesome concepts for a fast and individual workflow, Joey actually comes up with average or "mediocre" mixes and tones. If you want some really detailed information about how Joey works, this class is for you. If you want to know what plugins Joey likes to use and wanna see him promote his own plugins, this class is for you! If you expect to learn how to create or come up with outstanding guitar and bass tones (which Joey is famous for) you won`t learn much and won`t hear anything in this particular regard, unfortunately. However, I`d still recomment them, especially the first course he did but again, if you expect to hear a typical Joey Sturgis mix quality, you won`t find what you`re looking for.