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Once you've gotten the sound of the individual drums it's time to listen to the total kit and get a mix together. There are several schools of thought in terms of which drums to start the drum mix from, but we'll start with what's probably the standard, the kick drum. Wherever you start from, the idea is to blend all the different drum mics into a cohesive single drum sound. Stand about 6 feet in front of the kit and listen while the drummer plays a song your about to record and take note of the balance of the kit. Playing the song is important, because it will give you a true idea of how everything will sound later.
(music playing) Now that you have an idea what the drum sound like in the room, go back in the control room and turn your monitor control up to a moderate level. Now raise the level of the kick drum until it reads about -10 dB on the master mix bus meter. (music playing) Raise the level of the snare until it's about the same relative volume level, which might not be the same fader level.
The side of the kick might change after it's paired with the snare but that's not unusual. (music playing) Have the drummer go to a place in the song where there are tom fills. Raise the level of all toms until they are about the same level as the kick and snare. The sound of the kick and/or snare may change as you bring the individual tom faders up, but that's to the excepted. (music playing) Raise the level of the cymbal or overhead mics until the overall sound begins to change and the cymbals become more distinct sounding.
Once again, the sound of the other drums will change as the cymbals are introduced but that's normal. (music playing) You can probably hear the hi-hat already. Raise the level of the hi-hat mic until it becomes a bit more distinct sounding. (music playing) Bring up the room mic, or mics, to the point where you can just hear them.
This will fill in the sound a lot and glue together the kit balance. Yes, the sound of the rest of the kit will also change, but now it should sound more like one kit, instead of individual drums. (music playing)
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