This last week I’ve been working on a few different mixes.
One was a hard-hitting stoner-punk song like QOTSA meets Rancid.
The second was a spacious country ballad like old-school country meets Norah Jones.
You wouldn’t believe how differently I processed these mixes, especially when it came to the drums.
For the stoner-punk song:
- Drum replacement on the kick
- Heavy parallel compression and lots of EQ and compression to tame the overall drum sound (guy hits the cymbals like the Hulk smashes stuff).
- I put the primary emphasis on the kick and snare and left the overheads and room mics pretty low in the mix because otherwise, the cymbals would’ve killed your ears before you got to the final chorus. After referencing “Songs for the Deaf” by QOTSA, I realized how little the overall cymbal sound contributed to the drum sound. They were barely noticeable in the background.
For the country ballad on the other hand:
- Most of the drum sound came from the overheads and room mics.
- The instrumentation was sparse in the arrangement, so there was more space for the drums to sound bigger without getting in the way.
- I did much less processing to the overall drums, instead opting for character compression from certain compression models while leaving the gain reduction to only a few dBs.
- The kick was EQ’d much differently because of the style of the song. The punk song needs that snappy, scooped kick sound while the country ballad should have a more rounded, live-sounding kick. Therefore, less EQ and much less compression.
The lesson here is that there’s no one way to mix songs, it’s all dependent on the genre, style and what you’re looking to get out of the mix.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach because no song is the same.
However, having the tools to help you get to that sound you have in your head is invaluable. That’s why my Drum Mix Toolkit will help you take your home recorded drums and make them sound like professional studio drums.
Check out the techniques you’ll learn to get better sounding drums, read about how other subscribers have improved their drum mixes and listen to a real-life drum transformation from a Drum Mix Toolkit student right here.
Have a great weekend,