EQ and Compression Processes For Drums in Blending

Even though the drummer plays the complete system as an individual instrument, the miking of individual drums and cymbals make for a really complicated blend scenario. The main reason we reference country and rock music particularly is because of the fact within these styles the sounds of this specific drums and cymbals are not just singled-out by specific microphones placed on all of them additionally their particular sounds are exaggerated to generate an even more remarkable impact.

Start thinking about, including, the tom fills in Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” By contrast, jazz drums in many cases are treated as a more cohesive, unified sound and it’s really not unusual to make use of a straightforward couple of overhead mics to capture the noise of this whole jazz drum system.

In this article, i’ll go drum by drum delivering EQ and compression settings that may, hopefully, give you a jumping off indicate getting great drum sounds in your blend. Due to its all in one mixing board channel strategy, I’ll be using Metric Halo’s Channel Strip plug-in using its EQ, compression and noise-gate to show my comments about numerous EQ and compression configurations.

Kick Drum

Due to the fact pulse of the modern drum system, the kick drum sound we’ve grown accustomed to hearing is both boomy and round on base and contains a fantastic, bright simply click inside large mid range. Oahu is the balancing act between EQ and compression that gives the kick drum its ability to be noticeable in a mix. Starting with EQ, the ultimate way to accentuate the lows and highs should eliminate some low-mids. I am a huge believer in cutting unlike improving EQ to obtain a desired result. Thus, we usually pull somewhere between 2 to 4db at between 350hz-450hz. Then, after eliminating some of this low-mid dirt from sound, i could enhance the clicking sound for the beater striking your head of kick drum by improving around 2db in 2k-3k range. I’m offering estimated dB and regularity range settings because with respect to the kick drum, mic positioning and, needless to say the drummer, a few of these options will vary. Make use of these basic ranges as a jumping off point then trust your ears.

So far as compression configurations go, the trick would be to preserve the transient attack associated with kick drum with a quick however too fast assault time (9ms in this instance) then a fast launch (11ms) so the compressor is ready to respond to another kick drum hit. The proportion i take advantage of is a somewhat mild 2.5:1 and I also adjust the limit until I hear the kick noise i am trying to find. Finally, so that you can supply the kick drum noise some separation through the remaining portion of the kit, I use a noise gate and adjust the limit to permit the kick sound to come through while essentially muting most of the various other drum/cymbal sounds. Additionally, while establishing the assault towards the Channel Strip’s fastest “auto” environment, we provide for a lengthy (400ms) launch.

Sub Kick

This miking strategy is certainly one that can be used to carry great low-end existence to the kick drum. By means of explanation, a brief stand keeping basically the woofer of a speaker is placed as you’re watching kick drum and sees predominantly the low frequencies. When combined aided by the kick drum mic, the sub-kick makes great power inside most affordable an element of the regularity.

Being highlight the most crucial aspects of the sub kick’s noise, We have a tendency to use a decreased pass filter approach to my EQ that eliminates all frequencies above 500hz and falls down much more dramatically below 100hz. This is to make sure that only the essential areas of the sub kick’s sound come through. The sub kick should always be sensed more than it’s heard. When it comes to compression, a ratio of around 5:1, a comparatively slow assault (120ms) and method quickly release (57ms) permit the sub kick’s tone to keep present and full beneath the sound associated with the kick drum’s regular miked noise. Then, I’ll utilize a noise gate with a fast attack (20ms) and slow release (200ms) to keep aside some other kit noises that may usually bleed into the sub kick sound.


Combined with kick drum, the snare drum is essential for driving a rhythm track. Poor EQ and compression techniques can leave it sounding thin, lifeless and usually uninspired. So that you can highlight best components of the snare noise with EQ, We’ll improve the reasonable end of this snare by 2-3dB at around 80hz, slashed 2-3dB between 350-450hz then boost once more, if necessary, for lots more high-end brightness, by 1-2dB at 5k. These three EQ things are a good starting point to sculpt a fascinating snare sound.

Compression on a snare is a real balancing work in which way too much will take away the vitality of this performance and not enough will likely make it practically impossible to get a hold of a suitable degree when it comes to snare in the mix. I prefer a ratio of 2.5:1 with a rather fast assault (2ms) and release (11ms). If you should be discovering that you’re dropping the breeze associated with the snare, slow your compressor’s attack just a little but keep in mind that slowing the assault too much will need the compressor too-long to grab onto the noise and certainly will leave the snare notably less manageable in blend.

Adjust the limit settings until things sound straight to your ear. This essentially lets you determine how much general compression you’re going to be using. Never overdo it or even the drum will eventually lose its power but try not to get too softly and/or snare won’t stand up into the combine. Gating the snare is an endeavor and mistake procedure aswell. Based if the snare approach inside track is intense or smooth has too much to do with your threshold configurations. Like regarding the kick drum, i take advantage of the very quick “auto” assault and a slower release from the gate so that they can keep out of the background noises associated with the cymbals, toms and kick.


While obviously a cymbal, the hi-hat is frequently utilized much more as a rhythmic element than a tone color like a few of the other cymbals in a drum kit. Making certain it has a unique sonic area and speaks demonstrably without getting too noisy and distracting is really what EQ and compression tend to be about in this situation. For EQ, we’ll once again make use of a shelving strategy at around 200hz that’ll efficiently clean out low-end information that is non-essential into hi-hat sound. If I’m thinking about attracting a little more high-end shimmer and sizzle, I’ll boost between 1-3dB between 6k and 8k once again utilizing my ears to inform me personally what is working. Generally, I tend to avoid compression regarding the hi-hat as it will get a hold of is own dynamic range without an excessive amount of extra assistance.

Low (Flooring) Tom

A well-mixed group of toms can make all the difference between drum fills being exciting and those that go by without catching the listener’s ear. You start with the low tom, we usually seek out the locations when you look at the frequency range that bring out both the boom plus the snap (much like the means I approach the kick). To highlight the low quality of this drum, there is that a dramatic cut (12dB) at around 500hz permits the drum to speak obviously. Also, to incorporate the high-end snap, a semi-aggressive boost of between 4-6dB at around 3k will do the key. Compression additionally adds a lot to this equation. A ratio of around 4.5:1, a slower assault of 120ms and medium slow launch of around 90ms helps the noise remain full and resonant. For the limit, i merely adjust before tom bands correctly. Gating is yet another significant factor for toms due to the fact big diaphragm mics added to these drums tend to collect most of the extraneous sounds through the rest of the kit.

We put the gate with the fastest “auto” assault and a sluggish 400ms release after which adjust the threshold until I’m hearing just the reasonable tom come through when it’s hit. When it comes to “tweak heads” among us there’s a slightly much more accurate and labor-intensive method to do this. By going into the particular sound data inside DAW and deleting all although tom strikes by themselves, it is possible to develop a perfectly gated tom track.

Tall (Rack) Tom

Such as the reasonable tom, the high tom features it really is very own frequencies which should be cut/accentuated to bring out of the sweetest components of the noise. For EQ, we’ll do another huge slice of around 10dB at 600hz and I’ll make a similarly big boost of around 7dB at more or less 2k. For compression, i take advantage of a slightly more hostile 6:1 ratio slower assault (100ms) and a fast release (25ms). As with the reduced tom, I’ll gate the large tom using the identical gate attack (quickest “auto”) and launch (400ms). The answer to the limit will be adjust it until only the large tom blows through maintaining the station basically muted for the rest of the time. Your final note on the toms, as all tom sizes, tunings as well as drummers vary, you will need to fool around with these settings before you get the sweet spots.

Overheads / Area Mics

Because we’ve made an actual energy to isolate and improve all the individual drums within the kit, overhead mics offer the dual-purpose of acquiring the cymbals and integrating the blended noise of this kit into the sound of drums. I look closely at three specific EQ points to be able to provide the overhead mics a clean, balanced tone. First I’ll make use of a top pass filter (shelving EQ) on very low regularity of 40hz to clean up any unnecessary sub-sonic rumbling. I quickly’ll pull around 5dB at between 100 and 200hz to stop any low-mid buildup. Eventually, if necessary, we’ll boost the general brightness for the cymbals/kit with a little 1-2dB boost at around 5k. For compression, we’ll set the ratio at about 3:1, the assault at around 110ms and the release at a somewhat faster 70ms. The threshold should always be adjusted to ensure that the overhead/room sound blends using general system mix. Eventually, adjust the volume of expense mics inside blend until you pick-up just enough associated with space to place some environment and level into the kit.

Restricting the Sub Blend

Your final technique to add punch into total drum system should deliver all specific tracks to a stereo sub combine and put a limiter just like the Waves L1 thereon stereo additional track. By modifying the limit before the attenuation is between 5-7dB, you’ll find that the system has actually a really satisfying overall punch and presence.


While I’ve been painfully certain about EQ, compression and gate settings, it is vital to keep in mind that every mix circumstance differs from the others. Make use of all of these options as a jumping down point and make use of your ears to modify the sounds and soon you’re happy. Good-luck!

Sarit Bruno manages material and editorial line for Audiofanzine.

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