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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.
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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