Drums - Isolating - Internal Bass/Kick Drum Microphone

Video Created by JOEL CAMERON - Transcribed by TOM BOWSER

This tutorial covers using the Pro Tools Expander/Gate Dyn 3 to isolate the Bass drum of a drum kit. The goal is to limit the amount of snare heard in the kick drum track. This will help prevent any EQ applied to the kick drum from affecting the snare sound in the track and the mix as a whole.

For example, if you add attack to the bass/kick drum you will also be adding some of that high mid frequency to the snare leakage as well. This will make the direct snare track more indistinct. Decreasing the amount of snare leakage in the bass/kick drum microphone will also make the snare more distinct on its own.

NOTE: Use the BYPASS button on the DIGI Expander / Gate plug-in to compare the unprocessed drum (no Expander/Gate) to the processed sound (Expander / Gate enabled) as settings are modified.

  • Instantiate a Expander/Gate Dyn 3 on the bass drum/kick track.
  • Set the ATTACK control to it's fastest setting (turn the control/knob counter clockwise to 10.0us). This allows the attack/transient of the kick to get through.
  • Increase the HOLD setting (turn knob/setting clockwise) (around 140 to 290ms is a starting point) to allow more tone, resonance and sustain of the kick/bass drum through.
  • Slow the RELEASE setting so it closes naturally (around 200 to 350ms or so) Watch the GR (gain reduction) meter to get a visual sense of the release time relative to the beat of the music. The release time should be set so the gain reduction is NOT noticeable in the mix.
  • Adjust the RANGE and THRESHOLD till the Expander / Gate does not "chatter" and so the lower level signal of the snare does NOT open the gate.
  • RATIO set to see around -8 to -12dB or so of (GR) gain reduction for a natural sound and higher as needed depending on the style of music and sound you want to achieve.

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