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Compressor on entire drum kit?

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Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Danny_79 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:25 pm

Hi all! I don't bother compressing my individual drums very much since they are electronic and not dynamic at all. But i do use a 3 band compressor at the whole kit, including it's reverb. This is to glue it together so to speak. Is everyone doing this? How about you guys? Not necessarily talking about multiband compressor. Could be a simple one, a mid/side compressor or whatever.... Pros and cons about doing it or not doing it? Still learning things here ;)
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:21 pm

If you're recording using a DAW I would probably not record the reverb from the drumkit, rather add it in the box. If you need different FX on different hits, use multiple outputs from the kit to record several channels at once so you can do that.

If there is only a 'whole kit' output then I would record the performance as MIDI, then play it back (synchronised) several times (with reverb disabled on the kit) and each time mute all but the hit(s) you want to put on their own track in order to build up a number of tracks.

Either way, once you have the multis, apply reverb in the box to the parts you need it on.

As for compression on electronic drums; if they already have relatively limited dynamic range I don't really see the point unless the resulting sound is better in the mix than without it.

It doesn't matter if they sound 'better' when played on their own through the compressor if the mix within which they are used doesn't benefit from it and unless you're doing something unusual I'd say it probably doesn't.

I take an 'if it sounds good it is good' approach but that applies mainly to the mix, not to individual tracks or instruments within it.

That's just me. Other opinions are available!
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby CS70 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:35 pm

Depends a bit on what u mean by "electronic" - a sample-based drum kit will still have noticeable variations in loudness.

Without pretending to know all, at all (who does?!) my $.10 is that compressing (and adding makeup gain afterwards) essentially brings about more of the lower end components of the sound. This can have a lot of sonic effects, depending on how it's engaged, when, the attack and release curve shapes, the signal-picking mechanism, how the circuit distorts, or alters the phase of frequencies and lots of other details - to not even go . Punch, glue, detail, you name it.

It may "glue" a mic-ed up real kit because some of these lower level sounds are reflections and faint spill so by raising them you make more visible (well, hearable :)) the fact that the kit was in the same room.

If you have a space reverb, it can be even more useful to compress that a little bit - for the same reason.

If your drums are really not related at all to each other, passing thru the same compressor will probably still give all of them some of the same "up and down" movement and impart a similar distortion and other subtle timbre changes that can help, especially if it's character compressors. What sounds good to you is good, after all.

I personally seldom compress the kit at start, just balance the individual components the way I want to hear them, and let any further raising to the mastering.

For that reason however, I always test with limiter, EQ and multiband compressor on the master bus to see how dramatically the sound can be made to change... if the mastering engineer I am working with is very faithful to the mix, and there's something that I find in the pseudomaster that I really like, I try to understand why and reproduce in the mix, and drums compression can help there. If I don't manage, I send the engineer my pseudomaster telling him I'd like that done (and probably not the same engineer! :D)
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:10 pm

Danny_79 wrote:i do use a 3 band compressor at the whole kit, including it's reverb.
I can't say I've ever done this, but then I view multi-band compressors as 'dynamic EQ', rather than compression. Your drums will likely alter in tonality with this approach, but if you like what you're getting... why not?

I don't do much compression on sampled drums, other than maybe a smidge on the drum Group. If you have the odd hit where the snare and kick, and maybe toms, overlap it can help keep things in check - I'm talking maybe 3dB at most.

Danny_79 wrote:Hi all! I don't bother compressing my individual drums very much since they are electronic and not dynamic at all.
But compressing individual drums is not just about controlling problematic dynamics - how about a compressor with a longer attack set to add more transient to kick or snare, for example? Or a fast attack/release to add some sustain? On individual drums this is the kind of thinking that has me reachng for a compressor.
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Danny_79 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:57 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:If you're recording using a DAW I would probably not record the reverb from the drumkit, rather add it in the box. If you need different FX on different hits, use multiple outputs from the kit to record several channels at once so you can do that.

No reverb recorded. But the whole kit is sent to one to simulate overhead mics.
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Danny_79 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:02 am

CS70 wrote:Depends a bit on what u mean by "electronic" - a sample-based drum kit will still have noticeable variations in loudness.

They are drawn, copied and pasted midi notes. So i suppose they're not very dynamic. Not as far as i can tell anyway :lol:
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Danny_79 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:08 am

The Elf wrote:But compressing individual drums is not just about controlling problematic dynamics - how about a compressor with a longer attack set to add more transient to kick or snare, for example? Or a fast attack/release to add some sustain? On individual drums this is the kind of thinking that has me reachng for a compressor.

I do use a compressor to shape the sound of the kick drums and the snare only. To make them more "punchy"
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Gone To Lunch » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:11 am

Speaking as a former acoustic kit player...

Sometimes compression on the whole kit bus can cause over-emphasis on a hi-hat ride part, ie continuous 8th/16th patterns, where they play unaccompanied in the gaps between the bass drum and the snare hits.

Fine if you want that effect, but otherwise....

As always if it sounds right it is right.
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby audio mixing online » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:56 am

Go for it. I'm not sure I have done a mix in the past 15 years without a compressor strapped over the drum bus. You may wish to route cymbals and hats to an uncompressed bus, but as with all things this depends on the particular track and style. My go-to for this is an API2500 which is also available in plugin form from a few vendors. Enjoy!
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Zukan » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:33 am

Compressing the drum group is standard practice for gluing drum sounds together. Compressing the reverb return is also standard practice both in EDM and Hip Hop.

Compressing the drum kit at tracking is not a good idea unless the drummer's on some serious narcs and has lost limb control thus resulting in wild dynamics.

Compressing reverb returns helps to add grime and density and allows for shaping the reverb's response. This is how we swell reverbs.
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Danny_79 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:06 am

Zukan wrote:Compressing the drum group is standard practice for gluing drum sounds together. Compressing the reverb return is also standard practice both in EDM and Hip Hop.

Compressing the drum kit at tracking is not a good idea unless the drummer's on some serious narcs and has lost limb control thus resulting in wild dynamics.

Compressing reverb returns helps to add grime and density and allows for shaping the reverb's response. This is how we swell reverbs.

Including the reverb in the drum group, so it's handled by the same compressor as the drums, or letting the reverb have a compressor on it's own?
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Zukan » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:40 am

It depends. If the drum beat is a collection of all the drum elements then you can use it at the drum group. Personally, I prefer to keep the reverb compression process separate to the drum group compressor as the latter is for gluing the elements together.
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Danny_79 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:08 pm

Zukan wrote:It depends. If the drum beat is a collection of all the drum elements then you can use it at the drum group. Personally, I prefer to keep the reverb compression process separate to the drum group compressor as the latter is for gluing the elements together.
Cheers for the reply! Learning something New all the time in this forum...what kind of compressor do you use, multiband or...? Im starting to Think that Maybe a stereo compressor that handles 2 Chanels seperate might be the best since some of the drums(hats/cymbals and toms) are panned...i don't know
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:46 pm

Danny_79 wrote:
Zukan wrote:It depends. If the drum beat is a collection of all the drum elements then you can use it at the drum group. Personally, I prefer to keep the reverb compression process separate to the drum group compressor as the latter is for gluing the elements together.
Cheers for the reply! Learning something New all the time in this forum...what kind of compressor do you use, multiband or...? Im starting to Think that Maybe a stereo compressor that handles 2 Chanels seperate might be the best since some of the drums(hats/cymbals and toms) are panned...i don't know
Two-channel - yes. 'Separate' - not really. What you need is a two-channel compressor, but stereo-linked. If not you may find the kit swinging wildly from side to side as one channel compresses and the other doesn't, depending on the strength of signal in each channel. When linked, the two sides will behave coherently and keep the stereo image consistent.

It's not unusual, when I'm mentoring/troubleshooting, to find compressors being used 'because', rather than to achieve a desired result. It may be worth your while simply experimenting with compressors and understanding what they can do for you.

In particular, a multi-band compressor is a useful tool, but what is it giving you in this context that a normal compressor isn't?
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Danny_79 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:03 pm

The Elf wrote:
Danny_79 wrote:
Zukan wrote:It depends. If the drum beat is a collection of all the drum elements then you can use it at the drum group. Personally, I prefer to keep the reverb compression process separate to the drum group compressor as the latter is for gluing the elements together.
Cheers for the reply! Learning something New all the time in this forum...what kind of compressor do you use, multiband or...? Im starting to Think that Maybe a stereo compressor that handles 2 Chanels seperate might be the best since some of the drums(hats/cymbals and toms) are panned...i don't know
Two-channel - yes. 'Separate' - not really. What you need is a two-channel compressor, but stereo-linked. If not you may find the kit swinging wildly from side to side as one channel compresses and the other doesn't, depending on the strength of signal in each channel. When linked the two sodes will behave coherently and keep the stereo image consistent.

It's not unusual, when I'm mentoring/troubleshooting, to find compressors being used 'because', rather than to achieve a desired result. It may be worth your while simply experimenting with compressors and understanding what they can do for you.
Thanks m8...you know Any Good such compressor that works with Windows 64 bit(and Maybe even a Free one)? I use reaper and im not sure of reacomp(the built in one) but it seems to me it's 2 channel but stereo linked. Not quite sure tho. I mostly use multiband cause i know it works on stereo tracks since it's often used in mastering
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:05 pm

With the usual caveat about my lack of experience, i find a compressor acting in mid-sides is quite useful on the drum bus.
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:13 pm

Danny_79 wrote:Any Good such compressor that works with Windows 64 bit?
Pretty much all of them, I'd think!

I don't recall which DAW you're using, but it will have one. Until you've exhausted the capabilities of the built-in processors I'd stick with them.
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Danny_79 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:16 pm

The Elf wrote:
Danny_79 wrote:Any Good such compressor that works with Windows 64 bit?
Pretty much all of them I'd think!

I don't recall which DAW you're using, but it will have one.
I use reaper and it has a built in one(reacomp) and it seems 2 channel and stereo linked, but im not 100% sure
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:20 pm

Danny_79 wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Danny_79 wrote:Any Good such compressor that works with Windows 64 bit?
Pretty much all of them I'd think!

I don't recall which DAW you're using, but it will have one.
I use reaper and it has a built in one(reacomp) and it seems 2 channel and stereo linked, but im not 100% sure
Try it out with some examples and see how it behaves. Try adding a huge hard-panned tom hit and see if it dips the entire kit, or just one side.
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Re: Compressor on entire drum kit?

Postby Danny_79 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:24 pm

audio mixing online wrote:Go for it. I'm not sure I have done a mix in the past 15 years without a compressor strapped over the drum bus. You may wish to route cymbals and hats to an uncompressed bus, but as with all things this depends on the particular track and style. My go-to for this is an API2500 which is also available in plugin form from a few vendors. Enjoy!
Im curios about the benefit of compressing everything but the hats and cymbals...? Never tried or even heard of it before. But again, still learning.
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