Skill Level Intermediate
- [Instructor] I've recreated some common drum edit mistakes that I encounter a lot when I'm mixing songs that I didn't track. Maybe an engineer's rushed or forgets to go back and fine-tune some of these edits. But I end up having to fix all sorts of problems like this quite often. So here we go, I'm going to dive in and show you a few of my favorite bad examples of drum editing, and mostly I'm doing this just to show you which ones really matter and which don't, but I'm also going to show you ones that can be avoided. So here's one I find all the time. Surprise tom ring, is what I call this one.
Take a listen. (percussion) That's pretty subtle, but you hear right where the edit is. You hear that four tom come out of nowhere. (percussion) Now obviously, we could fix this by just deleting the track there or muting it in that section. (percussion) And that works pretty good. But if you start compressing this track more or bing in more room mics, you're going to hear a little bit of a low note pop up at that section.
So it's something to always watch out for. It's something that might get by in the mix as well without causing any real problems, but I catch it every once in a while, and it can be a little strange when it throws a note out of nowhere. Now, the next one here is my favorite, this is the cut-off crash. I'll zoom in, play a little bit. (percussion) And just like the tom we had on the last one, there's something coming out of nowhere, and right there it's a beat, there was a crash happening on the original track.
(percussion) Earlier, you can just slide this over and see. Yeah. Right. But on this edit here, somebody cut it just right after the crash happened. (percussion) It sort of sounds cool, it sounds like maybe a little china symbol. But if it doesn't work in the part that you're working on right there, it doesn't work in the mix, it's another thing to watch out for.
All right, the next one that I always run into is a track not having a crossfade where there's an edit. In this case here, there is no crossfade. We'll zoom in. You can see there's just a hard cut. But when I did this one, it actually sounded okay. (percussion) Now, in other cases, it doesn't sound so good. Let's check this one out.
(percussion) Really obvious. Let's hear that again. There's a little click right where that edit point is. (percussion) And that is nasty. I find that quite a bit in drum sessions that are set up for me to mix. The next example is editing too early. Let me zoom in and play that for you. (percussion) You can hear that, something very strange happens at the edit point.
(percussion) What causes that? Just picking a bad spot in time, really. You could nudge this edit point over here to land on the beat. Sometimes there's information that causes problems with that, but this is one that happens a lot. It's, once again, someone's probably running out of time, they're supposed to get the edits done fast and move onto the next song. You end up with an example like that. (percussion) And that's one that really sticks through a mix.
I'd really watch out and make sure those are never happening. Now, editing too late. This looks really bad. I'm going to zoom in on this one. This looks like this is going to sound terrible. There's an edit right at the tail end of the kick drum hit, and that would make me nervous, if I looked at this and I was about ready to listen to it or start mixing it. But take a listen. (percussion) It sounds pretty natural. That just seems improbable.
So the one I'd do with this is I keep this in my back pocket. When I find an impossible drum edit, I remember that this might actually work, even though it looks like something is really wrong, that you can maybe go in there and put a cut right at the halfway through the decay of a kick drum hit or a snare hit. I'm amazed that that sounds as good as it does, but it works. Now, here's one of my favorites. This is a classic, if someone makes the fade too long.
Look at this as we zoom in. See how long this fade is right here? There's going to be a little bit of a problem there when we listen back. (percussion) And what you're hearing is kind of a ghost hit. It wasn't the same hit that was in the section leading in, where the edit point is, and there's a little tiny kick drum hit right there that's being obscured. So that is causing a strange... (percussion) I mean, simply move the edit point or tighten up the fade, of course, and that would work much better.
These are all really simple to fix in most cases. All right, and then my favorite is the super hidden hits, kind of like the thing that we just heard. But this is a really bad example. Bad examples of good things to know about. (percussion) And here in that, there's just like a ghost of a hit that happens on that edit point.
Take a listen to that tom track. So it doesn't really get the proper attack, it kind of sneaks in there, and that's a really common problem as well. I find that ghost hits on the kick and snare quite frequently happening from bad edit points like that. So there you have it. A lot of common drum editing mistakes. Learning to hear these mistakes and keeping an ear out for them is important. I think a lot of these problems are really small and subliminal, but they're distracting to the listener, and they take them outside of the performance and make them think that drum editing and drum mistakes or something else happening.
So I think knowing how to find these little problems and fix them in the mix or in your editing and tracking is going to make the song feel better and make the listener really enjoy the music more.