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Using a De-Esser to Tame the Low-End of Your Drums?!?


Here’s a quick low-end you can use to tame the low-end of your drum bus in your next mix.

This month I’m remixing one of my Christmas songs for the Audio Issues Insiders members. I’m running a mix contest for the members with some fun prizes but most of the fun is simply listening to the silliness of the song.

Watch the music video I did with that band back in the day right here:

Anyway, I started mixing it today and I started with the drums. I added some saturation and compression, then I dug out some of the boxiness from around 3 – 400 Hz and added some mid-frequency weight as well.

Then I wanted some low-end from the kick drum to come through the drum bus so I added a shelving boost from about 90 Hz down. It was sounding great on my mixcube but when I flipped the mono mix over to my subwoofer the low-end from the kick drum was overbearing.

Every time the kick hit it was just really boomy and clouded up the rest of the drum mix.

But luckily, I was using the Scheps Omni Channel from Waves and it has a de-essing module. Because a de-esser is just a frequency-dependent compressor you can use it on a wide variety of problems. In this case, I used the low-end shelving mode on the de-esser and compressed the low-end from 50 Hz and down so that every time the kick hit, that low-end was kept in check.

Now the thick, “subsonic” frequencies below 50 Hz are tamed while the rest of the drum sound is unaffected.

Obviously, this is just one way of taming the low-end in your drums. You could also have used a filter to simply take out those frequencies, but the frequency overload was only happening when the kick drum hit so I didn’t see the point in taking the frequencies out entirely.

I hope that helps you see how you can use a de-esser for a lot of different things, not just for taming the sibilance of your vocals.

If you want more drum mixing tips that can help you eliminate that amateur home studio sound from your drums, or will help you create powerful and punchy drum mixes whether you’re using acoustic drums or samples, check out the Drum Mix Toolkit right here.


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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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