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Audio Mixing Bootcamp
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Using the noise gate on drums


From:

Audio Mixing Bootcamp

with Bobby Owsinski

Video: Using the noise gate on drums

Just as we discussed on the video with the noise gate on the guitar, a noise gate is sort of a reverse compressor that can be used to cover up noises and buzzes and coughs or any kind of other low-level voices that were recorded on the track. In this video I am going to show you how to use a gate to clean up your drum tracks. Sometimes the drums actually sound pretty good with leakage from one to another; many times what ends up happening though, it makes some sound kind of muddy, and adding some noise gate to get rid of the rest of the leakage from the drum kit or from other instruments really cleans the sound up a little bit.
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  1. 1m 16s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
  2. 8m 20s
    1. Determining the listening position
      2m 27s
    2. Fixing acoustic problems
      2m 5s
    3. Setting up your monitors
      3m 48s
  3. 20m 17s
    1. Setting up your session
      5m 52s
    2. Setting up your subgroups
      7m 50s
    3. Setting up your effects
      6m 35s
  4. 8m 45s
    1. Developing the groove
      3m 46s
    2. Emphasizing the most important elements
      3m 44s
    3. Knowing what to avoid
      1m 15s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Learning the principles of building a mix
      1m 1s
    2. Assigning the drums to a subgroup
      3m 55s
    3. Building the mix from the kick
      10m 8s
    4. Building the mix from the snare
      8m 46s
    5. Building the mix from the toms
      5m 25s
    6. Building the mix from the overhead mics
      3m 53s
    7. Checking the drum phase
      4m 44s
    8. Balancing direct and miked bass channels
      3m 36s
    9. Building the mix from the bass
      3m 26s
    10. Building the mix from the vocals
      4m 19s
    11. Balancing the rhythm section
      2m 44s
    12. Balancing the rest of the instruments with the rhythm section
      5m 22s
    13. Making a mix without building it
      4m 20s
    14. Balancing the harmony vocals
      2m 35s
  6. 23m 2s
    1. Looking at the three main panning areas
      9m 23s
    2. Panning the drums
      6m 9s
    3. Avoiding pseudo-stereo
      7m 30s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding compressor parameters
      3m 42s
    2. Setting up the compressor
      14m 44s
    3. Compressing the drums
      7m 53s
    4. Compressing the room mics
      4m 9s
    5. Compressing the bass
      5m 24s
    6. Using the New York compression trick
      4m 23s
    7. Compressing the clean electric guitars
      4m 40s
    8. Compressing the distorted electric guitars
      4m 48s
    9. Compressing the acoustic guitars
      8m 7s
    10. Compressing the piano
      6m 35s
    11. Compressing the electric keyboards
      4m 32s
    12. Compressing the vocals
      4m 34s
    13. Compressing the horns
      3m 55s
  8. 25m 36s
    1. Learning noise gate basics
      9m 23s
    2. Using the noise gate on guitars
      3m 57s
    3. Using the noise gate on drums
      7m 38s
    4. Learning de-esser basics
      2m 15s
    5. Using the de-esser on vocals
      2m 23s
  9. 36m 4s
    1. Understanding equalizer parameters
      10m 16s
    2. Learning subtractive equalization
      8m 57s
    3. Learning frequency juggling
      8m 28s
    4. Using the magic high-pass filter
      7m 39s
    5. Learning the principles of equalization
      44s
  10. 49m 46s
    1. Equalizing the kick
      6m 7s
    2. Equalizing the snare
      2m 57s
    3. Equalizing the rack toms
      5m 4s
    4. Equalizing the floor tom
      4m 32s
    5. Equalizing the hi-hat
      4m 56s
    6. Equalizing the cymbal or the overhead mics
      6m 49s
    7. Equalizing the room mics
      5m 13s
    8. Equalizing the bass
      3m 59s
    9. Editing the bass rhythm
      4m 21s
    10. Equalizing the rhythm section
      5m 48s
  11. 47m 58s
    1. Equalizing the electric guitar
      8m 15s
    2. Equalizing the acoustic guitar
      4m 55s
    3. Equalizing the hand percussion
      3m 28s
    4. Equalizing the lead vocals
      6m 5s
    5. Equalizing the background vocals
      4m 14s
    6. Equalizing the piano
      4m 46s
    7. Equalizing the organ
      6m 49s
    8. Equalizing the strings
      6m 4s
    9. Equalizing the horns
      3m 22s
  12. 30m 47s
    1. Learning the principles of reverb
      1m 59s
    2. Understanding reverb parameters
      6m 49s
    3. Timing the reverb to the track
      6m 6s
    4. Equalizing the reverb
      2m 51s
    5. Using the two-reverb quick setup
      5m 35s
    6. Using the three-reverb setup
      7m 27s
  13. 59m 8s
    1. Adding reverb to the drums
      7m 56s
    2. Adding reverb to the vocals
      11m 59s
    3. Adding reverb to the guitars
      5m 17s
    4. Adding reverb to the piano
      4m 19s
    5. Adding reverb to the organ
      3m 43s
    6. Adding reverb to the strings
      5m 36s
    7. Adding reverb to the horns
      2m 57s
    8. Adding reverb to the percussion
      4m 46s
    9. Using reverb to layer the mix
      12m 35s
  14. 46m 8s
    1. Learning delay principles
      1m 40s
    2. Understanding delay parameters
      6m 54s
    3. Timing the delay to the track
      1m 28s
    4. Using delay timing variations
      2m 51s
    5. Equalizing the delay
      4m 23s
    6. Understanding the Haas effect
      2m 51s
    7. Using the three-delay setup
      7m 23s
    8. Adding delay to the vocals
      8m 43s
    9. Using delay to layer the mix
      9m 55s
  15. 21m 35s
    1. Understanding the types of modulation
      2m 43s
    2. Understanding modulation parameters
      4m 13s
    3. Modulating the guitars
      4m 7s
    4. Modulating the keyboards
      3m 17s
    5. Modulating the vocals
      4m 17s
    6. Modulating the strings
      2m 58s
  16. 12m 22s
    1. Mixing with subgroups
      5m 5s
    2. Using mix buss compression
      4m 21s
    3. Understanding the evils of hypercompression
      2m 56s
  17. 39s
    1. Goodbye
      39s

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Audio Mixing Bootcamp
8h 53m Beginner Nov 11, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Bobby Owsinski reveals industry tips, tricks, and techniques for producing professionally mixed audio on any digital audio workstation. He offers recommendations for setting up an optimal listening environment, highlights the most efficient ways to set up and balance a mix, and shows how to build a powerful sound with compression. The course also explains how to master the intricacies of EQ; incorporate reverb, delay, and modulation effects; and generate the final mix.

Topics include:
  • Optimizing your listening environment
  • Setting up sessions, subgroups, and effects
  • Understanding which mixing elements to avoid
  • Understanding the principles of building a mix
  • Panning instruments
  • Setting up the compressor
  • Using noise gates and de-essers
  • Understanding the concept of frequency juggling
  • Using the magic high-pass filter
  • Timing reverb and delay to a track
  • Using reverb to layer the mix
  • Understanding the Haas effect
  • Modulating guitars, keyboards, and vocals
  • Mixing with subgroups
  • Tweaking the final mix
Subjects:
Audio + Music Mixing Music Production Audio Effects
Software:
Pro Tools
Author:
Bobby Owsinski

Using the noise gate on drums

Just as we discussed on the video with the noise gate on the guitar, a noise gate is sort of a reverse compressor that can be used to cover up noises and buzzes and coughs or any kind of other low-level voices that were recorded on the track. In this video I am going to show you how to use a gate to clean up your drum tracks. Sometimes the drums actually sound pretty good with leakage from one to another; many times what ends up happening though, it makes some sound kind of muddy, and adding some noise gate to get rid of the rest of the leakage from the drum kit or from other instruments really cleans the sound up a little bit.

So let's experiment a bit with adding some noise gates. And the easiest way to hear it is on the snare drum, so let's go over and listen to our snare drum for a second. (music playing) Now what you are hearing here is leakage from the hi-hat, and that's because the easiest placement on a snare drum so the drummer doesn't hit the microphone happens to be close to the hi-hat and therefore, you're always going to get a certain amount of leakage.

You'll also get some leakage from the kick drum, and you'll also get some leakage from the toms as well. So the only way to get rid of any kind of leakage like that is to use a noise gate. Even with the very directional microphone, it doesn't work nearly as well as putting a gate on it. So let's try that. So we'll go to our dynamics list in the plug-ins, go to Expander/Gate, and there we are. Let's just have a listen to what it sounds like with the default settings. (music playing) Well, that's not going to work because obviously it's cutting off the noise and it's also cutting off the sound of the snare drum.

So the first thing we are going to do is back off on the threshold and have a listen. (music playing) Now you can hear it's getting rid of some of the leakage, but it's also getting rid of some of the drum envelope as well. And we want to make sure we keep that as much as possible. So that's where the Attack and the Hold and the Release settings come in. Let's experiment a little bit. (music playing) So now we hear the attack pretty good.

(music playing) Let's back off on the threshold. (music playing) Now you can hear what's happening. Now we're starting to hear just the snare drum itself, and we are getting rid of a lot of a leakage. What's happening here is we are trying to preserve the envelope.

We want to hear the attack and we want to hear the release of that snare drum as well. We want to hear the full dynamic envelope of it. The only way to do that is to use the Release and the Hold parameters. (music playing) That's pretty good there. So let's listen without the noise gate. (music playing) Let's listen with it now. (music playing) You can still hear a little bit of a hi- hat on the release, but that's okay; it's attenuated enough that we'll never notice. And actually in the track what we are trying to do is just clean things up, and it's incremental. As we get rid of some of the leakage, it doesn't sound like it's a big deal on one drum, but as we put it on three and four and five, all of a sudden it just sounds a lot cleaner, especially when you add the other instruments in.

So let's listen with the track for a second. (music playing) I am going to bypass it now. (music playing) Now we didn't hear a whole lot of difference in the track, but that's okay. What ends up happening, again, it's a cumulative effect against all the drums. The other thing is if we were to trigger another instrument or to trigger a separate snare reverb, you would find that would be a lot cleaner, because there'd be a lot less leakage that's actually going into the reverb.

So that's why it is important here to use that. Take notice the Range is at -40, and that tends to sound fairly unnatural. So a lot of times what we want to do is back that off so it's -15, or -12 or something. Have a listen to what it sounds like. (music playing) Now we can still hear the leakage, but now it's attenuated a lot, and that's what we are trying to do. We are just trying to bring it down in the track, not necessarily want to eliminate it, because sometimes when we eliminate it completely, it sounds unnatural, and we want it to sound as natural as possible.

Let's listen on another drum now. Let's go to the floor tom. Solo it up. (music playing) You can hear there is a lot of leakage there. Let's go and add the Expander/Gate, have a listen. (music playing) That doesn't sound good at all. Once again, the only thing we want to hear is just the hit from the floor tom. (music playing) Keep on moving the threshold back.

(music playing) Now here we go. We are getting closer. But again, listen to the Release. It's cut off on this floor tom hit. Try that again. Let's bring the Hold back. We are getting closer. (music playing) And there we go. That sounds a lot more natural. Let's back off on Release still again. Here we go and once again we can still hear the leakage from the other drums.

What we are trying to do is attenuate it, not necessarily eliminate it. So what we'll do with our Range control is back that off once again to somewhere on -15 or -12 or somewhere in there, and it will sound a lot more natural. (music playing) Now, have a listen with the gate bypassed. (music playing) Let's listen in the track. (music playing) You can hear that's cleaning it up a whole lot.

Now if we went and continued on the other drums, it would clean up even more. So that's the way we use noise gates on drums.

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