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Drum Bus, Reverb and Compression

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Hi all.


As usual, I group my drum tracks into a subgroup where I apply subtle EQ and compresson. Now my question: do you route the drums' reverb into the drums subgroup and thus compress it as well, or do you route it directly to the master bus and leave it as it is?


Of course, it can be a matter of taste and "trust your ears". But I want to know from people how they do it and why.. What's the "standard"?

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I usually reverberate a compressed signal, rather than compress a reverberated signal.

A cool example of the opposite approach is smashing room mics for drums.

Compressing hard with a fast attack and release allows you bring the room mics up more in the mix.

You can almost hear the paint on the walls. :shock:

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Just shows there is no standard!


My reasoning for sending the verb back to the drum bus is that's how real drums would work in a recording situation, with natural room reverb (although you could treat any room ambience mics differently). So if I want to recreate a realistic emulation of live recording, that's how I do it.

Ironically, if I had the luxury of being able to record real drums I probably wouldn't be so strict with trying to keep them sounding "realistic".


If I want massive 80s-style drums, I'd use redlogic's method. For ultra-mega-80s sound, I'd gate the compressed verb too.


If I'm producing electronic music, I can do anything I damn well please :D

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Thanks for allthe suggestions!


David: My setup looks like this:


All the individual drum tracks have eq and compression (kick, snare, toms, etc.). Then I use an aux track for a reverb, the individual tracks are sent to this aux track to add reverb.


All the individual drum tracks are summed in a subgroup where I add slight overall compression and eq. A parallel-(heavy)compressed copy is also sent to this subgroup. Now: Do you route the reverb to this subgroup or not? That's the question.


How would you do it intuitively given the described setup?

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  • 1 year later...

Thought I would revive this old thread as I am now recording drums for my project. The post above this is the one I'm interested in. I, too, have added eq and compression to the individual drum tracks. Then if I can figure out how I will set up an aux ttrack for reverb and send the 7 drum tracks (kick, snare, right tom, left tom, floor tom, and 2 overheads) over there.


Am I done after that? Because this guy has parallel copies and stuff going on!





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Here's what works for me:


All drum tracks and/or submixes outputs are routed to a Main Drum Buss. I usually add just a tiny minuscule bit of compression on that buss before I start working on the individual tracks. VCA mode seems to work best. (Notice that I also have a similar compression on the main output, w/ very gentle compression - I prefer to think of compression in terms of stages).


So, then I go back to individual track/submixes.


Kick drum: individual tracks (if there is more than one mic or bass drum) is where the surgical EQ is applied when needed. Those tracks outputs are then routed to a buss (kick submix) for further processing (broad EQ+Comp). If the song is very sparse, a tiny bit of reverb might work. Obviously, if you have just one kick track, no need for the submix.


Snare Top + Bottom: Same, though I may also compress the bottom mic on the actual track. Once happy with the balance between the top and bottom, I route those snare tracks to my snare submix buss for further shaping (broad EQ and compression). If any reverb is needed, I'll use the send of that submix.


Handy tip - On my snare reverb in particular, I like to use the Direction Mixer plug-in to narrow down the reverb a bit and bring it back closer to the center, where the actual snare lives. Unless you have a very sparse arrangement or a song which calls for big wide reverbs, this little thing can help you claim back some space for your other instruments and make things a bit more focused. That way, you still have width, but it is under control. To me, it's as indispensable as a high pass.


In fact, Direction Mixer is one of the plug-ins I use the most, especially on drums (stereo overheads, room mics) as I like to tighten them a bit in the middle - nothing insane, rarely below 80%, except for the snare.


Toms - All the EQ, Gating and Compression is usually done on track level, though I will group them for volume. I often use a different reverb than on the snare, though I'll typically also send a bit of the snare in the toms reverb. Direction Mixer is useful here again.


Overhead and Room Mics - All processing done at track level. I don't typically use reverb on them. Since these usually have less definition, sending them to a reverb often only accentuate the muddiness.


The reverb busses are routed directly to the main output.


On occasions, I'll also use parallel compression via sends.

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