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Cymbal mics are usually placed fairly close to the cymbals, while overhead mics are placed higher in attempt to capture more of the overall drum sound. In this video I'll show you examples of both and the EQ points that work for both instances. First thing to remember about cymbals is the thinner the cymbal, the brighter it is and the crisper it is. So most drummers if they play live a lot, will usually have heavier cymbals and those tend to clang more and aren't nearly as crisp. We can actually make them sound pretty good with some EQ, but remember that thinner cymbals usually sound better under microphones.
That being said there's a couple of magic frequencies that just about work for any kind of cymbal in any instance. So let's listen to our overheads first of all just soloed. (Music playing) There are actually two crash cymbals and a ride cymbal. The ride is sort of in the middle and the crashes are on the outside, sort of hard left and hard right.
In this case the ride cymbal is important to the song and it's a little lower in the mix. In fact, the ride had a separate microphone on it and let's listen to it what it sounds like when we add that ride. (Music playing) Let's listen in the track now. Listen for the cymbals and especially the rides. (Music playing) Now they sound pretty good in the track, but we can make it sound even better.
First thing is we'll listen to the left overhead and we'll add some EQ, and once again, we'll go to our 4-Band EQ. First thing we're going to do is go to a high pass filter and get rid of a lot of the low end, because just like with the other drums, there is a lot of low end that's happing with cymbals and with the overheads that we don't really want. It doesn't add to this overall sound and just kind of muddies it up. So the more of that that we can get rid of, the crisper everything will sound. So what we're going to do is go to about 12 DB per octave.
Let's bring this up to 100 cycles or 120 or so have listen. (Music playing) Now depending how big our speakers are, you can either hear that very distinctly or you can't hear it at all. If you have fairly bigger speakers, suddenly you'll find that low end doesn't really add anything, is gone. As a result everything is a little crisper and has a lot more definition and that's what we want.
I'm going to exaggerate this, I'm going to bring it up to four or five hundred here and now you'll really hear it. (Music playing) And you can hear what happens. The kick drum especially is attenuated a whole lot and that's kind of what we want, and the high end of the cymbal isn't really affected at all. So now we want to make that little crisper and the way we're going to do that is we're going to add a little, somewhere around 10K or so maybe 8. , Let's go to 8 because we can hear it better.
And once again I'll exaggerate it so you can really hear it, but we might not use this much in a real mix, have a listen. (Music playing) I can really hear how crisp it is. Now what we're going to do is we're going to hit the Option key and we're going to click and hold the EQ plug- in with the mouse or we're going to move it over to the right overhead, and now what happened is we copy that whole EQ with all the settings over there. Now let's listen to both the left and the right overhead.
(Music playing) Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) I can hear how crisp it is and actually for me there is too much of low-frequency that we're missing, so we're going to bring it back down to 150 or so, because a little bit of it actually has some body in fullness. It just sounded a little too thin to me. Now let's listen.
(Music playing) That sounded pretty good. Now we'll do the same thing with our ride cymbal, so listen to the ride cymbal by itself. (Music playing) That really need some crispness. That's very dull sounding. So once again we're going to get that somewhere in the 8K range, have a listen. (Music playing) And in this case it's very dull sounding cymbal and we have to bring the frequency down. Have a listen.
(Music playing) That sounds better. Now if you take notice up here, the output is peaking and that's not a good thing, because even if we can't hear it it's one of those things that enough of these overloads add up and eventually they become cumulative and you can be able to hear it, so we always want to keep the peaks from happening, so let's back off by a couple DB in the output. Let's watch it now. (Music playing) There we go. Now we're going to the same thing. We're going to roll off some of the low end using a high-pass filter, because there's lots of low end that isn't adding anything to the sound and all it's doing is mudding up the mix, so let's go to 150 like with the other ones, have a listen.
(Music playing) It also gets rid of some of the leakage as well. Now let's have a listen with the other cymbals. (Music playing) You can hear how defined the cymbals are, how sparkly they are, and that all came from just a little bit of EQ.
Now remember that I'm over-EQing here, so you can hear the difference, but usually I would back off and maybe do about half as much and the way EQ works is just about the time we start to hear it is when you should stop from increasing it.
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