My drums always sound flat. They aren’t crispy or “alive” enough.
How can I remedy this?
Not to be too lame but…
This list is far from complete, and you should practice on your own pieces. Remember that the drums are just a part of your whole piece, so if they sound wrong, it could be that they sound wrong in context, but would sound great if you solo them. Consider many possibilities, and experiment often!
There’s a variety of ways, but here are a number of things I’ve done in the past:
- Run all percussion tracks through a sendtrack - this is important.
- On the sendtrack, apply some EQ and try boosting the higher mids. Careful not to make it too fatiguing, you may have to lower the levels on your hats afterwards. If you are finding you want to apply too much EQ, it means you have mixing problems.
- (Send Track) Compression may help liven up your track.
- (Send Track) Try gating as well.
- (Send Track) Try a harmonic exciter, they tend to do a better than boosting your EQ.
- Try applying a HPF to your kick as it will may give your overall mix room to breathe.
- Try adding a delay to your highhats, make sure your delay has a tasteful relationship to your tempo.
- Try adding a chorus to your snare.
- Try adding mild reverb to your snare.
- Try adding another miscellaneous percussion part, like a wooden sound and use some panning automation. If things aren’t too complicated already, it’ll help.
- Make sure you don’t have too much bass! Turn your bass right up, and you’ll see what it can do to your percussion. HPF is your friend.
- Leave kicks and snares in the middle, but try experimenting with panning for your other parts.
- Don’t compensate with your hihat levels - digital hihats can sound really crap if you don’t do them right. Experiment with volume to give yourself headroom and dynamics. (the compressor will look after that). This goes for all percusssion parts.
- Download as many sample loops as you can and figure out what makes them so good.
- Don’t turn up the volume to compensate.
Thanks. Really informative answers. I appreciate it.
I’ve never used a send track before. That makes me feel a little dumb. How would I deal with that in Renoise?
You put up a send device in each track that holds a percussion track and send the audio to a send track.
You can send all percussion elements to the same send track, send only a couple of elements to the same sendtrack (e.g. send BD and SD to a sendtrack, but mix the hihats separately)
In those sendtracks you can then add effects that apply to your percussion elements.
Best is to put each percussion element in its own track.
This is hard if you have a percussion kit in a VST that does not support multi out busses, because then you can not split your drum track elements.