Patchbay & Drum Bus Processing
So have a session here for a song called him out of myself by issues and I'll play as a whole and I have a few different things going on here I have some printed tracks um I have some tracks that I was running live when I mixed it but right now I've actually just put some plug ins on it so I can I have a quick play back and then show you how everything plugs in so the first thing I'm going to do is switch back the distress, sir, because I had this splint in earlier and I'm gonna unplug this patch unplug this but these cables back make sure you have a good spot for your cables is close to the patch bay and unplug these on re patch them and so I had the distress sirs going to a drum bus, which I'll explain later that's part of the playback so one thing when you're re calling an old session, you really want to make sure that you keep good track sheets, which are a lot of times track sheets are just a picture of whatever your outboard gear is on a piece of paper and it's good to print a lo...
t of those out and have them on hand and write down your notes just take a pen and write your settings down because, you know you might think you're remembering stuff and then really well and know what you do all the time, but then four years later, someone needs stems for rock band or some other thing, and you need to pull up outdoor gear that you didn't even remember you were using back then and it's, great to have track sheets and having organized um, I don't actually have my track sheets here today because I have everything written down in pro tools, and I had it on I had it all set up before it came up, but that's really important to recall mixes. So the next thing before you recall, the mix is just to make sure anything you have running live is plugged in and plug incorrectly because you're going to play it. You're gonna be like, what? Why does it sound weird? Just start messing with stuff t try to fix it and then you realize that oh yeah, I didn't have this plugged in, I didn't have my drum bus plugged in, so the drum there half the volume that they normally are gonna play this back. I'm so mad at myself to give it in a month wait, so this is a prime example of when when a double check all your inserts because I did my insert is not coming in for the vocals let me figure out why this is just like I said before, sometimes pro tools will take information from a previous session and switch up all your iot setting so real quick I opened up my I o I'm gonna drag all these inputs back to my second prism which is labeled in here is the one, ninety two um did it is I'd like you to look at their own stuff a lot but it's not a big deal so dragging this over a drug over my inputs, my outputs and my inserts which are actually what you can select differently in the I o set up but I like to keep it all the same double check buses head okay and my vocal inserts or back as you can see here and my drum answers back to so let me play that one more time in the correct fashion I'm so mad at myself that give it is so what I want never way myself I got a good I know she's trying to play these days no now I'm looking at this and realizing that only one distress is working so normally this should go a little smoother but because I have the patch bay it's super quick to troubleshoot this stuff so what I'm guessing I did was I plugged the ends into the ins and outs and out so it's exactly what I did so go one more time here I'm plugged this it's a little early in the morning for me, but we're going to go out of the first channel of the second prison into the district first channel of the first stressor or the first stress that only has one channel out of the distress sir, back into the prison first channel play this one more time, and we'll make sure everything's running and the only thing that should be running right now are my vocal compressor and my drum parallel bus, which settings air also a little off from me crushing that's there. All my settings are back, and I've just matched that to this one because this one I haven't touched ocean it was already set up for this session. I'm so mad at myself to give it in so what I want never way never way so mad at myself I got a good I know she's trying to play these days now I can see that all that's working. One thing I want to double check is that my second vocal is working I'm just going to go to a partner that has a second vocal track where the vocals overlapped so all that's working and now I know that I have the mix that I originally intended, I got good, I know she's trying cool so one thing I did with this session as I did have a lot more outward year running alive, but when I when I was finishing I decided that the mix is done I have everything the way I want, so I printed a bunch of the outboard stuff like the snare all printed the overheads, the room mike's air printed, the basis printed all because I was comfortable with it. I had the time and I didn't want to have to recall that stuff because the stay and age there's a lot of like different reasons people need stems for live shows and for different video games sometimes need to do an instrumental or a clean track and I knew these guys were going to need a lot of stuff so in uh looking into the future, I figured I was going to print all this stuff, so when I need to recall really fast on ly, we need to recall the vocals and the drum parallel compression um, which is which are two things that I almost never changed their always set up in my studio this way this box I never tops the knobs it's always that way this one stays pretty similar unless I'm tracking vocals, so I don't mind we're calling it because there's no real recall it just stays that way and I have a lot of gear that's that way and I'll explain that more as we go one thing I will do is go back to the rock tracks and show you how I got to that point, so I think the first thing I want to focus on his drums and how they came together in the mix on dh how outboard care was incorporated we'll show you the first thing that I have running live here and it's something that I do almost drum mixes all the drum solo the way they are in the mix josh is an awesome drummer josh is the drummer of issues he's really, really good and he was awesome to work with in the studio super tight hits a snare perfectly all the time and that's a big part of it and kick all his drums perfectly that's that's a big part of being able to use the rod drum tracks and have a lot of real drums in your mix for a genre like this it's, it's, super important tio have a really tight hard hitting, a solid drummer and just a super smart guy you learn stuff on the fly a lot of these drum parts he learned in the studio because he hadn't been in the van very long and it was pretty cool to watch him just listening stuff and then figured out really fast and play it that's that's very important so the one thing I have running live right now is have all of my drums all of my close drums kicks snare and the tom's running into a bus, which is called drum bus one here you can see and then it's running into a parallel bus and the idea behind that is to have but my first buses dry there's nothing going on other than it's just an auxiliary track that all of my other tracks are routed, teo and I'll show you how you do that real quick here and hide these tracks and not using action select all of these tracks by holding command when I'm clicking on him and I'm gonna put these back to just the normal monitor outputs, but in the mix I want them all routed to a stereo ox tracks, so in order to do that I have them all selected everything you want to go the ox track, hold shift option and go to your outputs and instead of a hardware output, which is basically the opposite of what I was just showing, you go to the buses and I have all my label are all my bus is pre labeled because these are the things I used pretty frequently so you can see I've labeled on drum bus one drum bus to base bus guitar bus is just so that from session session everything stays stays the same and I'm not like oh bus twenty three was drums on this session but then bust one hundred seventy eight was drums on this one or what did I use on this song? And by using the same bus again on accident, it just makes importing session data and getting ideas from different sessions really easy if you have everything the same on all of them so that's why I've labeled by buses and and you can do that by going to set up a iot and going to bus here and you can label everything that way oh, if you miss that I just want to buses selected drum bus one now the input of my auxiliary tracks we'll be drum bus one and this one will be trump us one as well and the reason they're both they both have the same input is because I want to mix two sounds all of my clothes drums tohave two sounds mixed together and I'll even mute the overheads and the room makes here seeking really hear what's happening on my rib herbs so this is just the drug dry drums coming into the first drum bus kicks there on the tom tracks what your game you did right now on the second track I've got a hardware insert and I'm running it to both of my two stressors and I have them set tio twenty to one because it has a really nice crush effect and adds a lot of sustain I use the distortion three moat because it it adds third, uh, third order harmonics and it's kind of like it supposed to be like a tape effect. It really doesn't sound like tape, but in itself it's a really cool effect and it definitely add some low in beef and it also makes the high end. I can even show you we'll show you in just a second makes the high and more crispy I just really like it and mixes in nicely have input set to five, which is about neutral. I'm pretty fast attack on this, the lower the number of the faster attack the attack is, too. If the attack was nine, it would be super slow, which means that the compressor kicks in later. A fast attack means that the compressor kicks and really fast. This is one of the fast compressors I've ever heard you put it on zero, it just sounds like if you've ever used like an l two or limiting anything, it just sounds completely crushed and it's it's a cool effect, but it doesn't really work for drums or anything like that because I like to have a little bit of punch, even though I'm trying to get a lot of sustained, so I have my release set to zero and the same is the attack, the lower the number, the faster the release so with the super fast release it gives me sustained and the whole idea behind the second drum bus is to add more sustained to these drums all in the same way you could do this on each drums separately but I like to do due to all of them because that way they kind of glued together like a kit and all of the sustained on the drums is adjusted the same. So I'm not adding sustained of the stair and keeping the kick tight and you can do that in other ways but for me I like the whole kit tio either be more sustaining or less sustain me in the same fashion because otherwise it starts to sound like the kick drums in one room the snares in another room gluing together the kit can be one of the hardest things in the mix and for me this is how I glued together the entire kit and then I have my output set to seven point five um and that's not really that important that's just the volume it ended up at tio come back into the computer and that again is going through the prisms to get back into the computer so I will play that by itself crush sounding a little awkward sending not how you want your drums to sound by themselves compared to the rial to the dry tracks. This is just the drums going some tow one bus but on ly affected on their own and they're not affected as a group on this bus and back to the crushed on which I've appropriately called drum bus crush from this crash always what it's called you can hear you're not that when I turn off the distortion three it goes back it sounds compressed but it sounds a little more like the original one I like to use distortion three I'll play it without with and you'll hear the q curve change and that it saturates a little bit more you can snare sound more like the same volume puts it more in the same space dare question yeah are you using to because it's stereo or yeah yeah because you could you could do the same trick with one if you're only doing kicking snare because my tom's or pan left and right I have to do it stereo yeah and the distress is armando units so I mean I have to use to as to where the fatso is a stereo unit but that's why they're set the same way rush and here's both of them together mixed the way I would normally makes them usually have the crushed one about ten eleven d be quieter than the main one check this I'm opening this up from a different system than I mixed it on someone I think my delay actually is slightly off that's what it sounds like when it's off like one time, so I always double check. I'm always slightly paranoid about that stuff, but it's good and as you can see, I have the drum bus going through a hardware insert here, which is one and two on the second prison, and I'm using time a gesture, which look looks a little different because I'm using our task version. I'm not sure why that ended up that way, but it looks a little different in pro tools, but it's the exact same plugging I've got my samples in here. Another nice thing about time adjuster that I'll show you is if like I was saying, I'm going to show you this more on vocals, but if you have, if you have outdoor gear that you want to run, but you never want to touch it and you wanted to be the same, a good way to control the input is actually to just put time and just around the other side, which works exactly the same, so I will instead of going hardware, insert time adjuster, I'm going to go time adjuster, hardware insert and time a duster gives you a gain and a face switch on the way in. So I don't have to miss with input on the distress is because I'm using it on ten different sessions and I want to be able to open up my sessions really fast I mean he's input on time adjuster I need to tone down the compression as you can see drive it in this case I'm clipping the plug in and you probably don't want to do that but in a normal setting you can use that to your advantage just super handy and and I do that all the time I pretty much always do that on vocals because on dh sometimes all automated too because I don't want to be able to adjust the fader but I want to automate the volume into the compressor and I'll show you guys that a little bit so one more time let me touch a little more on what I'm doing parallel drum compression and and why I'm using the distress ear's you can hear when you take it out just a little boring it's cool but the drums don't sound it's a little boring but the drums don't sound glued together put it back in sound like they're more in the same space they sound exciting it makes you think about somebody hitting drums really hard and that's what I want pretty much all the time when I'm working in rock music I want the drums to sound like someone's hitting like inhumanly hard because I'm a drummer, I like, you know, I grew up on david role and guys that just rocked really hard and, you know, it's it's, aggressive music, the drum should be super aggressive, so pretty much everything I show you today is I'm I have the mind set in the back of my head that I'm trying to make the drum sound like they're being hit as hard as possible and, uh, just being driven as hard as possible and that's that's part of it do that same technique with a plug in, it doesn't really have the same impact I've actually yet to find any other compressor for me hardware or anything that really has the same impact, the stressors really control the sound in a certain way in a unique way that you've heard and I'll play it one more time on its own super solid sound and as you can see there, my left channel was a little quiet, so I mean, just that it's good enough for today, but yeah, but just ripped the distress, sir zahra very unique compressor sometimes I'll use different ratios on him too kind of changed the aggression on the drums if I'm not doing something super heavy, I'll actually bring it down to four to one and I'll show you that this is again, this is just the drum compressor you know when I lower the ratio I'm getting less smashed but I'm getting more attack and that's also a really cool sound all often use four to one for more indy style bands that are trying to have a little bit slicker sound um if I'm doing in the stuff that's supposed to be kind of big and lo fi I'll go back to the crushed twenty to one sound and I can just run through the ratios here and if you're not familiar with what a ratio is ratio is the amount of compression once you're over the over the threshold and the threshold is where the compression starts kicking in so for forty one is basically four times the amount of compression as one the one so one the one on this doesn't really do much it basically just allows you to use the distortion modes without any compression but I'm just get that for now because it's boring one which is normally used for mixed bus compression for me and they use that I'm using with this each one of these means more aggression and more crushing so two to one's a little mild it's not different enough for me three two one concerned really nice because it's got a hole punch I like that kind of round things out for the ones where you start to really hear the compression and start to hear a little bit of that crushing sound the attack starts to really get knocked down, I'll go back to three to one and you can hear that it still has a really cool attack. If you weren't going to mix the drums with a dry track, you might want to use three to one the start of the drums are really pumped they're back to four way get in the crush territory six the one he's in on acoustic guitars but that's about it, it's just a little more than four to one, but less pleasant, not a huge difference. I'm a skip ten to one because it requires different settings on the distress, sir, and then back to twenty to one, which is where how I mix the issues record the drums on the issues that just says, like the gnarliest, coolest pumping compression to me and you can do nuke, but I'm actually not a huge fan of this setting kick drum sound weird to me, kid, come sounds kind of distorted, more useful on things that don't have a lot of low in content. Um, it's a cool setting, but like I said, twenty two one is my favorite. Now if my drums are already kind of scooped and I want to bring out some more mids, I'll use distortion to which is a second order harmonics and it's supposed to emulate a tube to me again it sounds nothing like what it's supposed to emulate but it's actually really a cool effect on its own I'll go backto without a lot cleaner signal goto distortion too some kind of knocke mid range to the kick, which if you have a really scooped out kick it's a great way to add attack to it and add some natural like punch and keep it sounding really big, but I like distortion three because I try not to say about my drums and I'm going to show you a trick here in a minute too about how to avoid over scooping your kick drum kind of using the same method and howto if you process something with your kick drum how to get that punch that mid range punch back excellent so let me let me actually play the we've just been listening tio the drums all the close drum solo remember everything we've been hearing is just the kick mike's the process kicks sounds the snare process snare sounds and the tom's I don't have any rooms or anything else in there and you can put those things in the parallel bus if you want them to control the way the drum sound but I personally I don't like to have the symbols coming up every time the kick stops hitting and stuff like that it can be cool for indie music but it's not necessarily cool for stuff like this it's a little out of control controlling your symbols is a big part of making heavy music sound or any kind of rock music sound aggressive but pleasant and using outboard gear is kind of how I control the symbols to do that too, but again all types on that more but let me play this one more time this is with the crush mixed eleven d be lower than the clean on just the drum on just the regular drums where drums event close mike drums obviously symbols are also regular drugs so it's adding the overheads and the rooms were mixed on the album now real quick I can just show you actually exactly this is how it was mixed amalgam actually put the overheads in the crush for the two seconds that you just heard it this out wasn't album what happens when you put all the symbols in the room mike's into the crush bus, which is a cool effect so it's definitely something worth hearing and understanding. So again, I've put all the drums now into these two parallel buses and by parallel bus I mean one track are two tracks that have the same input that are being controlled differently and see what I've done that it kind of takes away from impact impact of the kick and snare I'll play it one more time it's that first hit a little bit harsh, so let's, take those back out and I'll play it the way that it was intended that way the symbol stay more even the kick and snares punch here um and the all those big hits aren't super harsh and don't come up in last too long you have a question? Not actually what mike's use but can you quickly go over kind of like your mike set up for your drums as far as how many room likes and yeah, we're completely yet on this on this album on playing right now. Luckily, this was recorded what a year ago now, actually, um so I have made notes in my comments about what mike pre I used and what mike I used on each drum. So the kick was a bear dynamic and maybe into the p a u eight o five mike pre have right here there I'm eighty eight's, a really cool it's kind of mid rangy, but it picks up the essence and the kind of the residence of the drum and a really nice way and it's really e curable something that's really important to me with a kicker, mike, is that it's not already pretty cute. I want to be able to eat you the crap out of it and not I have to fight what's already there. I want kind of a neutral mike, so a lot of times I'm either using an m eighty eight by their dynamic, or I'm using a d one twelve by a kg or amusing, a, um, m eighty two by telephone, khun and I found I've actually really been liking the m m eighty two a lot lately, but for twenty two inch kick drums, I'll use the m eighty eight most of the time for twenty four inch kick drums. I like the d twelve just because of the their frequency response kind of caters to each drum really nicely on the snare, uh, on this record I was using. And as some fifty seven that's modified, but the tab transformer. So the transformers been upgraded in it, it's pretty cool. Sometimes I go back and forth, and that was recorded through vp twenty eight. Here the snare bottom was a heel. P r thirty three v, p twenty eight. Both tom's were sennheiser four, twenty ones, which is pretty standard going into the fbi. Mike priest, my overheads. Actually, my high hats were a kg for fourteen into the tg two. Um, the china was octavia eo twelve into the tg two, which sometimes I don't have I have like the basic amount of nice mike's, but if I'm not in other studios and just in my studio, I have a few mike's like the octave is that air cheaper? But on china they're really sound pretty good and they get by. I try to be snobby about stuff, but sometimes they don't have enough mikes to really put the best mike, not everything but like like I was saying and I'm going to get into with outboard gear, you kind of pick and choose your battles, you know, if the china's just being blended into the overheads as long as you have something that sounds pleasant and not harsh that's the most important thing and the octave is over that way they never really sound harsh to me the overheads are a pair of vintage norman can maybe force which are small condenser mikes. They make kind of a reproduction but it's really a pretty different mike came one eighty four that sounds really good on overheads, but I prefer the vintage ones those were going through my men a j p ii mike priest racked up by brendan apple and then my room mikes. Our were sound looks you ninety nine's and sound looks is now bach audio, but they don't make the united night anymore, but it's a killer mike for not that it could not that much money really well made and it sounds great on rooms because it has a really nice topping that kind of saturates so it's bright but symbols don't get too harsh and in this session I've actually done I might get in m s so I have three tracks here the unprocessed tracks to or the out of face stares figure eight and one's a center I'm not going to get way into miking techniques but that's why? I have three room my three room tracks there's only two mikes but three tracks here but they've been printed down to two and that's a set of stereo para room mike stereo pair overheads uh kick in and actually did a kick out it was it was a sub kick butt in the mix I decided not to use it so it's meted out right now snare tops near bottom tom's on top I try not to overcomplicate drum liking on but I also want to make sure I have all the depth and all my bases covered. Any other questions on the as of now so daniel mike sell you mentioned something earlier about importing session data do you typically mix the first song of a record from scratch and an important session better as a template for the subsequent song? Yes, yes, pretty much always and I generally don't do albums in the same session because things get messy and you get too many auxiliary tracks you can do that if you're trying to do something super quick or really small, you know, like a live session or something that makes sense, but for me I'm always pushing like one hundred two, one hundred fifty tracks and that just gets weird when you're trying to balance different stuff and different songs all in the same session. So import session data, which is really handy and I'll go over that real quick shift option. I am pro tools, I want to go to my main hard drive here I'll go to another one of these issues sessions, I'll go to the one I had yesterday um, it basically gives you it allows you to select any track you want from the other session and apply it to the current session. So in all these, I have a kick in in all the songs I had to kick in, so in sting, ray aiken, my kick in track is right here and then on this side, I'm going to select um what I want, what track I wanted to that information to go to and mad at myself, so obviously I want to kick in to be just like the kicking in this song, so I'll select kicking here um go, you can go down the line and it's all the same. So now if I had just a tracking session, obviously I don't have my ox tracks and there I don't have, um, anything I've duplicated in there or any new tracks I've made. So for those tracks, you can just go say my drum bus wasn't in here, I just go to it on this list, which is from sting, right? Click on it and it'll make a new track and it will come in and they all come in and order another thing that you can do when you have a tana tracks that were all tracked exactly the same is hit match tracks and pro tools does its best to match the sting ray tracks too, the mad at myself tracks and now, within all this, I can choose what I want to import. So right now I'm importing everything, and it would even import the audio, which I definitely don't want. So the first thing I always d select is clips and media so few d select clips and media it automatically de ce elects alternate playlists and clip gain, so you're not getting any audio files because obviously I don't want to take all the audio from sting ray affliction and put it in the matter myself session because then I just deleted the mad at myself session and there's way too good ways to go back and fix that stuff if he accidentally do it but you can narrow down sometimes I'll click none and all I want to bring in our the plug in assignments so it wouldn't even bring in the plug in settings or anything and just be the assignments you hit ok and it brings in whatever you've asked to bring in the other things you can do with it you can also bring in tempo maps so say you had a demo of a song that had the tempo mapped out the way you want but you want to bring it into your real session just click on tempo and bring that in your key signatures same it's kind of something you would do from a demo markers on memory locations that's great for when if I send off a session for someone attract vocals somewhere else and then I get it back someone can send me their markers along with mine and all I have to do is hit markers and memory locations so if they made a marker that's check this vocal or there's an alternate vocal on play was too that you might like here that's how you would do that this is for something kind of obsolete so that's that's how you do important session data and and that's how I would do every song and it happened it goes really fast a super handy great okay, one from chris jones do you prefer multi mano for the drum bus parallel and why? Says he's asking because the link isn't engaged. Oh, um, yes, because, uh, in multi, mano um well, for one kind of a fundamental thing, the distress is don't link that well unless you have the optical link mod, which is something they do and sell now what minor super old these air from the mid nineties? I got amused in, you know, the early two thousand's before they were doing that mod. The other reason is I actually don't wait compression very often I don't really want the I want the left and right to act differently, so it doesn't really make a difference because they're set exactly the same with the kick and snare the doing the same thing, but with the toms, I want the left tom to hit and compress and the right time to hit and compress, but if you're doing a super fast phil and you're moving from left to right, I don't want the left to control the right floor. Tom so my tom's on my rack tom's on the left, I wanted to compress independently from the right, so that's why I have it in multi mano right let's go with one from a user who says chris for someone just starting out with outboard gear, would you suggest starting with something like even tied or starting with the compressor or pre abs what's kind of you're about to start the distress, sir, would be my first choice and that's what I had first, because it has so many options, and I feel like one of the weak, weakest links with plug ins is plug in compression, even though there's some good ones out there, there's nothing that really does quite what analog compression does, and I think that's the biggest gap to be filled and was something like the distress, or you can pretty much cover all styles of compression. It even has an optical mode that I can go into later that's, more like in l, a two way or something for vocals. So it really covers all the bases, sometimes it's absolutely the best, sometimes it's second or third best. But if it's all you have it's it's, an amazing swiss army knife.