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Tracking & Mixing with Outboard Gear

Lesson 4 of 13

Mixing Drums: Kick Drum

Kris Crummett

Tracking & Mixing with Outboard Gear

Kris Crummett

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Lesson Info

4. Mixing Drums: Kick Drum

Lesson Info

Mixing Drums: Kick Drum

So in the first segment I should you howto hook up your outboard gear and different ways to run it live or to record it in and have us have your audio saved that way I showed you a little bit about my drum bus mixing techniques and now I'm going to go go through and split up the drums um and go through the kick separately and snare separately and the overheads and the rooms and show you how I affected each one where they started and where they ended up using outboard gear and what I decided to use outboard gear on and what I decided not to and if I have a little bit of time we'll go through some of the other boxes some of these boxes have multiple uses you could use the distress sir on almost anything I like this vertigo on uh quite a few different things as well, and so I'm gonna show you what I did on the mix and then I'm going to go through and show you how to achieve some different sounds with different outboard gear and by outboard gear. I'm referring to the hardware that I have o...

ver here so one more time let me just play the entire drum mix and hear how it all fits in together um and then wow just to keep in mind while we're listening to each separate track I'm going to mute this second drum bus, so you're not hearing the double compression and that effects here actually just hearing everything that's done to each separate track alone. So keep that in mind in case you're wondering what I'm just going to make that an active so I can't accidentally turn it on. The first thing we'll go through here is how I have the kick mixed and what I've done with the kick in this session there's a lot of live kick in there so you can hear some bleed you can hear the rest of the kid that's totally unavoidable there a lot of good ways to get rid of bleed mic placements really important when you're making any kind of drum because what you want in the drums is, well, you want each track obviously is is what you're going is like, you know, you want the kick to be mostly kick and you want to snare to be mostly snaring, but you can't avoid symbols and the other drums coming through because they're all really close and there's just no realistic way to separate them and baffle um so positioning your mikes in a way that has very little bleed is really important, because when you start incorporating compression the way I do it without board here I like to do a lot of compression because it sounds it sounds really cool at sustain makes things sound huge, but if you have a lot of bleeding your tracks, you're really going to be bringing up things you don't want in each track. So face coherency between tracks, making sure that each thing is in phase altogether in every track is really important before getting to the step during tracking and making sure that you you have his little bleed as possible and there's little techniques and that's something for another day to make sure you don't have bleed. But so when you're hearing the bleed when you're hearing the symbols and stuff, if you've never worked with drum tracks before live drum tracks it's actually just the symbols coming through the kick drum micro the symbols coming through the snare. I'm not playing the symbol track right now, so you're all my kick tracks blended together, and what I'll do right now is just go back to the raw track that I had initially, this is how it sounded coming in and and it sounds a little goofy because, like I said earlier, if you miss that, I really like my kicked her mike to sound neutral, and I like it to be a mike that aiken e q the crap out of the living crap out of it. A huge boost on the kick on huge cuts to really shape sound and I want to be able to shape the sound I don't wanna have to be stuck with a pre cued sound I feel like it's a lot harder to shape and I feel like pre huge kicked her mikes don't have that same punch so it's going to sound a little funny by itself but I'm going to show you why um why I did it that way and how it ends up and so this is actually just the dry kid track here it's it's a nip yah lated obviously you can tell josh is an excellent drummer and which is which is great for these situations because uh if you can see it on the screen always hits are almost exactly the same they're variances and that's awesome, which means I don't have to do any compression for the sake of leveling out volume and that's one reason you might want to use compression and that's something that outboard compressors really excel at over plug ins is being able to control volume in a musical way. The other thing that you can do with compression that is in this case when you have a really good drummer, you know actually have to change the volume or or level out the volume cause you know a drummer who's just beginning or isn't is conscious about their technique some kicks they're going to be super quiet so we're going to be super loud and that's when you would use the compressor to control volume to make sure there are a lot more even there's other techniques to do that you can automate you can use clip gain, but in this case I'm really using the compression to manipulate the sound itself and change the envelope changed the sustain I really want the kick to come alive and so that's why I'm using the compression for on the kick drum I'm not using it to level volume or anything because josh is honestly it's close to perfect as it gets when it comes to volume so that yes that's what I'm doing there now on this kick drum it's dry there I'm using a plug in the queue and that's what I used because I actually prefer this cq for kicked room and that's what that's what I'm talking about when I mean I want something that I can really manipulate and this is how I've been manipulated it volumes are a little different bring the volume upon this taken here this is without any cue or any processing big difference it sounds pretty silly without but again I'm gonna I'm gonna get to why I really done things that way and tracked that way on purpose so the first thing I have on the kick drum is this cq um it's an a p I uh it's waves a p I knock off plug in um doing a lot of boosting and a lot of cutting um like I said really drastic you the next thing I have going on is in this mix originally I had printed a compressor that I no longer have so I'm going to show you my favorite kick drum compressor right now and how I used it's pretty similar I just like this one better it sounds cooler it's the western dynamo nineteen o nine it's an optical compressor for the five hundred siri's lunch box make sure out of the way here and I have two of them here and I'm just going to use one on my first kick drum track which is the live inside kick mike the kick I've been playing is the media inside the kick drum so now I have the q on it I'm gonna patch in the western dynamo and I want to go let's just go out of my third converter here or third uh third channel on the converter and labeled down here you might not be able to see it but that's ok I have the input of the western dynamo nineteen oh nine on the patch bay take another cable to go out of the nineteen oh nine on the patch back and back into the converter back here on pro tools after the q which I have right here I'm going to add the hardware in serves which is labeled burl three but that's actually three on prisms um and sold out you can see that I'm running through the western dynamo now going right into it it's a little hot so since I have to compensate for the delay anyways and I really don't like changing the settings on that compressor I'm gonna add time a jester to compensate for the delay which I was talking about in the first segment and I know on this session my delays twenty one samples and I'm putting that before the hardware insert because I want to control the volume going into the compressor so I'm just going to bring this down because it was just hitting way too hard a little more than I want because like I said I'm not actually trying to control volume from just shaping the kick drum so let's drop this down a little more it's about forty b of compression um that that I'm pretty happy with and I'll show you real quick how it was originally when I set it up sound cool because it's a little louder but it's not actually that the sound that I want but but it can be cool if you want to do it that way one thing I really like about this that's slightly off topic but totally on topic because part of outward here is the for me is the enjoyment of having things that I can actually touch and see them all at the same time and use them, uh and kind of be inspired by the different gear and the different tones that each thing does. A lot of these units aside from the distress sir, are trying to cover all kinds of bases there, like a really like this is a swiss army knife. Everything else here is more of just like, a, you know, craftsman, extremely nice blade different, you know, different types of different types of knives, I guess all perfected for one thing, so something I really enjoy about this beyond what it does is I love the way it looks when I'm compressing things really hard, you watch the meters, it wanted to time or a few at a time, and it looks really musical, and if you get a couple of these going with different stuff, you can actually watch the music, and I kind of find myself watching the meters to dial in the sound and listening at the same time because I can kind of see kind of see how I wanted to sound, and I think you'll see that as the day goes on as you're watching these things and you're watching the meters. You can kind of see once you've heard the sounds a few times, you start to see where the sound is too and that's a really cool thing that I enjoy being able to see that all the ones so let's put this back, though, because that's way too much compression, I'm a jester and again controlling the input into the compressor haven't had to touch any of the controls I can tell you that I have a fairly slow attack on the kick trump and I have pretty fast release and that's because I don't want to mess with the attack, really on the kick drum, I just want a little more sustain out of it and I wanted to kind of open up and sound more natural cause sometimes mike's could make things sound smaller than they are, so I want to open it up a little bit. But that fast release I also have what's called a high pass filter going on on it, and that means that the detector of the compressor what's control the what's controlling the compression inside the unit isn't looking at anything under the high past point, and on this compressors, two hundred fifty hurts, so everything under that lower than that isn't affected by the compressor. Um, isn't the compressor isn't affected by anything lower? Everything lowers affected by it, but so, like with the kick term it's nice when I turn this on, none of the booming nous controls the compressor it's all the attack. So all the compression action is being controlled by the high frequencies and the attack of the kick drum, and I'll show you on and off here's here's with the high pass detector on kind of gets out of control kick doesn't sound even anymore, and it sounds a little boo me, so one more time this will be off, and then I'm going to turn the high backs hi pass detector back on, which is where I like it on kick drum on any compressor, especially on this one, and you can hear that it adds a lot more attack that way and it's really just affecting the attack and not getting lost in all the booming nous onda happens, the thing about cutting out the thing that's really nice with heavy music, about cutting out the low frequencies in the detector circuit in a compressor is that you have a lot of fast kick action going too slow kick action. So I don't want the compression to change drastically when and you probably just heard that when I was playing it, that when I had when I was controlling the compressor with low frequencies that once the kick drums started getting fast, the kick drum got quieter and it got muddier because the low and kind of rumbles out and it actually builds up when the kick drums faster when the kick drum slower and it doesn't build up it's not as bad, so when you get rid of those low frequencies, whether it's slower, fast, the attack is really the same, because the high frequencies don't change whether it's faster or slower because high free, high frequency there, quicker and there's less sustained in the high frequencies in a kick drum. You like plugging, uh, alternatives to a compressor like that? Yeah. There's, there's, there's. Quite a few plug ins that have high pass there's, some plug ins that model that model optical compressors, there's. Nothing that models this exactly. This is different than like a you know, some of the older two optical designs, like in l a to a on gets it, and I believe that all three is optical, but I could be completely wrong and it's solid state, but this is actually a lot faster. It has a lot more control on does it honestly has a cooler, more modern sound to me, so there's nothing quite like this one in a plug in but you can use the same techniques with a lot of different plug ins and then there's a lot of plug ins that try to cover all compressors, and pretty much all of those have some sort of high pass detection or low pass. You know, you can control all that stuff, and if you have a compressor that just has a side chain input but doesn't actually have high pass, use that side chain input on dh connected to a q, which is something I'm not really going to go into today. But you, khun, you, khun, look that up online on dh, you can use just any cue to control the frequencies you want and there's a lot of hardware units have the same thing, and you're actually plugging the compressor detector into the queue, and then back into the compressor. And that way, your cue settings are what control the compressor and not the raw signal, the original signal, which is which is, which is all this is it's just built in is any hugh built in inside the compressor? Or you can do it outside and that's what aside, chain or sometimes with csc on a compressor and that's what that means? So I have this where I want to know, but all backto where I want it, so the gains dropped a little bit and I want to bring it back up and I'm doing this with plug it is because it's easy and like I said, I don't have that's what that particular unit, because I always use that first one on kick drum and it basically stays the same settings minus a little change here and there sometimes, but, um, really, the main factor is the game, so I'm going to do that in the box. So from session a session when I'm opening it up, I don't have to mess with that all I have to mess with any kind of trim or time adjuster plug in. So now I've added the plug in trim after the hardware insert because I've used the volume on time, a gesture to turn the volume down the turk to turn the signal down so it goes into the compressor quieter, but now I want to make that up, so I've gotta trim, I just turned it up all the way we'll see where that gets me. I want to be with that. I'll take all this off show the raw signal again, somewhat laughable, but like I said, my main focus when mike in the inside of kick drum for having music is to have a sound that has a lot of punch to it. Has a lot of mid range punch because I can create click and boom that is really hard to create like a punchy mid range hard mid range sound so if I know I have that hard mid range then I can create the clicking boom with he accuse super easy so that that's the way I like to work I know some people like you cued mikes and then accuse amid the newme for me that doesn't really that doesn't do the right thing so I'll play this un process one more time and I'll add the cube which is a plug in on this one because sometimes I'll use this u q and I'll get into this a little bit later on kick drum but really for some reason that plug in and always it's worked for me and I I really enjoy it on heavier kick drums for rock sounds all use it really queue for metal type stuff and heavier stuff I just put plug ins plug ins are pretty cool there's some cool plugging any cues that I enjoy so one more time this is just a thank you and then here's adding the hardware compressor of western dynamo nineteen o nine school you can hear by adding the compressor the hardware compressor I brought some of that mid range punch back that have cued out so it kind of you know it's shaping the sound like I said before now if I want to add in for normal normal kick mixing in heavier music I'm gonna add in some samples and these air actually samples that I have made from the kick drum in this session blended with another one of my kick drums that I've made and I like to blend it into the main um drum track that I've just showed you and again using time adjuster to compensate for the delay allows me to do stuff like that so these air samples that I printed and I'm gonna blend them in a little bit without my whole goal is not to change the sound of the kick drum I feel like I bring him in it sounds like the same kick drum it just adds a little more consistency and punch and it also helps fight bleed a little bit here the samples blended in lightly and that sounds cool on its own but when I got it in the mix and I was kind of and I got the bass guitar sounding huge and stuff I realized that the victim was actually kind of scooped and not really poking out so the way I fixed that and I end up finding this a lot and I don't do this in a start because I kind of wanted out too you know if I start full out then I have nowhere to go so I start with the sound I really want and like and if I realize that the kick drums not punching through or not, or just sounding a little soup, they're not realistic, I've duplicated here. This is an exact duplicate of the original kick drum track, the one that we heard earlier when I was affecting the kick drum, but nothing on it. All I've done in pro tools is shift command d and just duplicated everything and that, so but I'm listening back, and even though it sounds cool by itself, with the base and everything, my kid got a little lost, I'll mix in some dry signal you can hear there that I'm kind of getting back some of that more natural sound and that's what helps it cut through the mix and again, I'm doing all that because I've compensated for delay, so without the dry signal may with the dry signal next back in as a little more aggression, more mid range punch and I can adjust the volume on that to just how much natural sound I want and how much more of that super prostate process the sound I want. And you can hear that that's that's about where I like it right now, but you can hear that was me turning it up and down, um, on that's, how that's affected that's pretty much it's. Pretty similar to how it makes kick drums most of time. But that's what I did on this record and again, the dry kick drum was something I brought in later on to fix kind of the over process sound of taking things a little too far, which I'd rather be like over process and over the top. Like I said, I wanted drama to sound insane and like, they're hitting really hard and super punchy. So I'd rather be a little over the top and mixed back in a dry one than be underwhelming, because the whole point for drums and music like this is to be super exciting.

Class Description

Pairing outboard gear with your digital set-up is a sure-fire way to get a professional-grade audio recording. In Tracking & Mixing with Outboard Gear, Kris Crummet will show you how adding some basic analog gear to your recording toolbox will lend pro-level character and depth to your mixes.

Outboard gear adds analog warmth and punchiness to a mix that simply can’t be replicated by software. If you’re an at-home producer who wants to add a little more sonic flavor than you can get in the box, you’ll need to incorporate outboard gear into your recording process. In Tracking & Mixing with Outboard Gear, you’ll learn analog gear basics from the guy who has produced some of this generation’s most dynamic rock/post-hardcore bands including; Sleeping With Sirens, Dance Gavin Dance, Alesana, Issues and more.

If you want to learn how to warm up your tracks with outboard gear, watch Tracking & Mixing with Outboard Gear and get an inside look at Kris Crummet’s approach to audio production.



OK I bought this course to watch at my leisure. Lots of Respect for Kris - if you go to his personal website, his experience and track record (no pun!) is impressive. Clearly he knows his stuff and has developed a very efficient way of working. I am a singer songwriter in the UK with many years of experience playing live. I have my own project studio (Pro Tools 11, lots of vintage hardware, UAD, Avalon, Tube Tech etc) and all the software plug ins, virtual instruments. Also a comprehensive guitar collection, acoustics, electrics, keyboards, DW drums etc. My problem is this. here again is a well organised Creative Live presentation with a competent presenter, but the content is inappropriate for the majority of viewers. Like many people watching this stuff, I find the material used to demonstrate the techniques is awful. Grahame Cochrane is the same - over produced American soft rock which has absolutely no musical or creative merit. This 'music' isn't going to stand the test of time and will be gone within a year. I understand that the material isn't Kris's personal stuff, but he says he likes it and I'm sure he does. But what your listeners want to hear is how to produce recordings which have space and clarity. Listen to Jackson Browne, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mark Knopfler, Ry Cooder, Dylan, Van Morrison - these artist's recordings are the ones to emulate! So please, can we kick out the over compressed X Factor style stuff and get back to basics? Show us how to get quality sounds and how to create space in a mix. Its the natural sounding music which will be with us in 50 year's time - just like the Motown stuff is now. No doubt there is a whole generation out there who think this sort of material has credibility, but I have to tell you it has almost no musical or creative merit, and I for one don't need to know how its produced.


This was the single most helpful source of information for improving my mixing that I have ever come across. I loved it and i know everybody else here will too. Buy it so this man can come back again

a Creativelive Student

Awesome course, super relevant as Issues is my favourite band and as a producer/engineer I aspire to their tone, the drum mixing was especially great, just a shame that there was no mention of electric guitar mixing