Now if this sounds like you, if this is the problem that you’re struggling with, the solution is compression. So basically what this is telling the compressor to do is when the signal gets louder than the threshold, we want the compressor to wait a little bit before it turns down the sound. And for more mixing tips like this one, check out my YouTube channel, or visit my website BehindTheSpeakers.com. I’m going to loop this so it’ll loop. We’re turning down the punch and the impact. So tell me if this sounds familiar. We’ll start with the fast attack. I’d love to hear from you, so leave your answer in the comments section below. It’s one of those things you need to … So it’s almost as if we’ve boosted this transient right on the beginning of the snare drum hit. So see how all that punch and impact and that thwack right at the beginning of the snare drum hit comes back with that slow attack time? That’s the key to adding punch and impact to drums. So all that thwack, that punch right on the beginning of the snare gets flattened out completely because the compressor’s turning down that transient right at the beginning of that drum hit. So I’m just going to flip back and forth, and I want you to listen to the punch and the impact. If we’re trying to add punch and impact to drums, a fast attack time is going to take that away. That’s the initial punch and impact right on the beginning of that hit. So we turn the tail up back to its original level using this makeup gain, but the transient actually becomes louder, because the compressor didn’t actually touch that at all. If you’re trying to add punch to drums, then you want to make sure that you get that parameter right. So I want to take a listen now, and I want you to compare this snare drum with a slow attack compression, and we’ll compare it with the fast attack. On the other hand, there are times when you want to remove punch from drums. Bring … On the other hand, I have this same snare sound here on a third track, and I’ve set the compressor up with a slow attack time. Let’s take a listen. In this case I’m using the Oxford Dynamics compressor, but you can use any compressor, doesn’t really matter. We’re making the transient louder. We’re making the transient louder. (Listening in mono helps me focus on the balance... Bring the snare channel all the way down and play the chorus or drop of the mix. So what ends up getting turned down is not this transient right at the beginning of the sound, but the rest of the drum sound. And you can see here I have three different versions of this same snare track. So the tail of the drum sound actually gets turned down, but the transient gets left there. And I want you to notice how much more punch and impact we get on the snare drum sound with the slow attack versus the fast attack. So take a listen. And it looks over this initial punch or impact, and waits a little bit before it grabs the sound and turns it down. So I have three different snare drum tracks here. Now if we go back to the actual ProTools window here and I zoom in a little bit, you can see that if you look at the waveform, right at the beginning of that snare hit is a big spike right over here. And then when you listen to your mixes, the drums sound soft and mushy, and they don’t really cut through the mix. So we turn the tail up back to its original level using this makeup gain, but the transient actually becomes louder, because the compressor didn’t actually touch that at all. EQ out the boxiness. So you can see here 0.52 milliseconds. But here’s the thing about compression that makes it tricky. How To Use Parallel Compression Like A Pro, Mixing Drums: 5 Powerful Tips You Need To Know, How To Compress Drums Like A Pro (6 Simple Tips). So we can use a compressor, but if we haven’t set it up with a slow attack time then we’re actually going to end up doing the opposite of what we want in this case. This is dry without any processing. And so with a fast attack time, we’re basically telling the compressor to turn down that transient because that’s the loudest part of the sound. And you can see here I’ve set the attack knob to go as fast as possible. You listen to your favorite records, and the drums always sound super punchy and impactful. So even though we’re using compression, because we’ve set it up with a fast attack time, it’s actually in this case doing the opposite of what we want. And the most important parameter that you absolutely need to get right if you’re trying to add punch and impact to your drums is the attack time. So attack time is the key here. We don’t want it to jump in right away and turn it down immediately, we want it in this case to wait 15 milliseconds. If you want to add punch to drums, make sure that you’re using a slow attack time. So this one is just dry without any processing, and then I have a duplicate here, and I’ve added a compressor. So here’s the big takeaway from this video. And if we’re trying to make our drums cut through the mix more, trying to add that punch and the impact that we’re looking for, compression is the way to do it. So you can use the compressor to turn down that punch to make the drums sound like they hit a little bit softer. So the settings that you choose when you’re applying compression are absolutely crucial. So we want the compressor to turn down the sound right after it exceeds the threshold, right away. And in this case, you actually want to use a fast attack time. Keep watching to learn how to easily add punch to your drums. The kick feels like it just cuts through the mix, and the snare hits you right in the face. The majority of your snare’s tone is already likely coming from the close mics. So I want to compare this snare drum sound with a fast attack compression to the original. So that transient’s going to be above the threshold, which means when that compressor reacts, because it’s pulling down the sound right away, as soon as the sound exceeds the threshold, so right when that transient hits, the compressor’s going to jump in and say okay, now we need to turn down the sound. Compression is one of those tools that we can actually use to shape and manipulate the punch and the impact of our drums. Boxiness can make any drum sound awful. We don’t want it to wait at all. So it’s not enough just to add compression to a drum track if you’re trying to make it punchier, you actually have to make sure that you know exactly what you’re doing when it comes to compression. Here is how I set the snare level in a mix: Put the mix in Mono and listen through one speaker using LEVELS. So the effect is that we actually add more punch and impact to the sound by using a slow attack compressor. Click the link above or in the description below to download this free cheatsheet now. And so now when we turn up the sound after using makeup gain, what we’re actually turning up is the transient. Because the same compressor can actually add punch to drums, but it can also take it away depending on the settings you choose. The attack time on a compressor will control whether the compressor adds punch to drums or takes punch away from drums. Click the link above or in the description below to download this free cheatsheet now. And so the result is that we actually turn down the punch and the impact. Hey, this is Jason from Behind The Speakers. And before you go, leave a comment below this video and let me know – what’s your go-to compressor plug-in for drums? Reducing the snare in your overheads should have a minimal impact on the sound of the drum set on its own.
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