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Room mics provide the glue that pulls the drum sound together into a single cohesive element, instead of just multiple drums. With that said, how you compress the room mics can make a huge difference in the overall drum sound. In this movie I'm going to show you how to compress the room mics to either pull the drum more together or emphasize the room ambience. First of all, let's listen to the drums without the room mic, and then we will add it in. You can hear the difference. (music playing) As you can hear, the room mic adds a lot to the drum sound, and it add some cohesion to it, so instead of sounding like individual drums, it sounds like a full drum kit.
But it will sound even better when we add some compression. Once again, I've added the generic Pro Tools Compressor/Limiter plug-in, just to show you that there's nothing special with this, and you can actually make everything sound good with whatever you have, as long as you set it out the right way. So let's listen to what is sounds like when we insert the compressor into the channel. (music playing) Now just like with the other drums, what we are going to try to do is make this breathe with the track.
So we are going to set our attack time relatively long and our release time relatively short, and make it so we can see feel the breath of this track with that compressor as well. The other trick here is to take the Ratio control and move it up until it's about 10 to 1 or 12 to 1 or even higher, because what that will do is it will emphasize the sound of the room a little bit more. So let's bring this up first to about 10 to 1, and let's have a listen. Once again, it's best to also listen to this with the rest of the drums rather than soloing it; this actually gives you a more cohesive sound when you do it this way.
(music playing) Now let's listen to it with the compressor bypassed and with it in, so you can hear the difference. (music playing) As you can hear, we've taken the punchiness of the drum track to another level by just these little tweaks, but now what we are going to try to do is emphasize the room ambience.
Then what we will do is we will increase the gain of the room mic, we will increase the ratio a little bit, and we will add even more compression. As to see, there is quite a bit already. There is about 10 to 1, and there is about 10 dB or 12 dB of gain reduction. We will increase that even more. (music playing) Now we are emphasizing the sound of the room.
Let's go back and play it, and we will bypass the compressor so you can hear it without the compressor and with it. (music playing) You have probably heard this sound on a lot of records because this is a trick that a lot of mix engineers use to punch up the track. So that's how we compress the room mics: set the Attack and Release control to breathe with the track, and the Threshold and the Ratio controls to keep the sound even, increase the compression to 10 dB or more to emphasize the room ambience.
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