Drums - Room Mics - Aggressive Approach

Video Created by JOEL CAMERON - Transcribed by TOM BOWSER

The following approach to mixing room mics is probably more appropriate when mixing rock or similar music.

Midrange frequencies tend to be the predominant frequencies present in room mics. The farther the mics are from the drums the more this tends to be the case. Why? High frequencies tend to be attenuated as they travel through the air and are absorbed by the room surfaces and tend not to reach the mic/s as much as midrange frequencies. Midrange frequencies tend to be reflected within the room keeping them more present in what the room mics hear.

The dominance of the mid frequencies in the room mics can sound good when added to the overall drum mix. If too much of the midrange sounding room mics are used the sound tends to get "boxy" sounding.

To counter the dominance of midrange frequencies in the room mics:

  • Insert a DIGI EQ 3, 4 Band on the ROOM mic track/channel.
  • Boost the LF at 100Hz by 10 to 12dB or so. Verify that the boost did not send the output of the EQ so high that it begins to clip/is in the red. If the output is to high turn it down using the OUTPUT control of the EQ.
  • Turn off any unused filters on the EQ for example the MF, HMF and HF filters.
  • Insert a DIGI Compressor / Limiter after the EQ on the ROOM mic track/channel. The compressor must be inserted AFTER the EQ for this to work. Why? The EQ is adding amplitude which is making the compressor work harder. You get a more dramatic effect by having the EQ first before the compressor.
  • Set a fast ATTACK of around 3.5 to 4ms.
  • Set a fast RELEASE to around 50ms (faster {around 5ms}) if you like the sound (see NOTE below).
  • RATIO can be left at 3 to 1.
  • Set the THRESOLD until you see between -12 to -18 dB of gain reduction (GR).
  • Increase the GAIN to approximately match the input level to the compressor (IN). Monitor the compressors output level (OUT) to make sure it does not run out of headroom and begin to clip the output (output level shows in the red).

NOTE: Compression adds distortion especially to low frequencies. Increasing the speed of the RELEASE beyond a certain point tends to cause distortion in low frequencies. The distortion can be cool under certain circumstances and if used as an effect to add some character when blended in with the drum mix. It adds a sort of fuzzy/distorted effect. To reduce the amount of low frequency distortion reduce the RELEASE time of the compressor.

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