Mixing Drums on Beat Making Software
Beat maker programs can be used for so much more than simply making a beat for a song. Many have the ability to record and mix a full band, enhance vocals, and give instruments great tone, making up the essential part of any studio. Mixing drums on these programs is a disputed topic with many different opinions. Everyone’s idea of the perfect sounding drum mix is different, but here are some tips to get you started on great sounding drums.
For drum mixing, you’ll need beat making software with as many tracks available as possible. A good drum mix requires a lot of microphones, with many tracks also a necessity. You’ll need one mic for your kick drum, two on your snare (one on top, one below), one for the hi-hat, one for each tom (however many you play on), and three overhead mics (two over the drums, one in the studio).
First, listen to only the overhead microphones. This will give you a good idea where the drums are punching or lacking and will help you to adjust in your beat maker programs. Find a volume you like for your cymbals to start at and go from there.
Your snare, kick drum, and hi-hat are the three most crucial parts of your drum kit. These levels should be adjusted first. Make sure the kick drum is loud enough to be easily heard, but not so loud that it covers your bass line. The snare should provide a nice “pop” in the beat, but shouldn’t peak into the red. The hi-hat is an enhancer to your snare, don’t let it overpower. Making beats software adapt to a drum kit can be a long process. Don’t get discouraged, your drums are about to sound great.
Toms are going to be different for even person. If you’re mixing a rock band, you may want more toms for rolls and solos. But, if you’re mixing hip hop beats with real drums, toms may not be so crucial. If you want to put a focus on your toms, set the levels to around the same level as the kick drum. If you don’t want toms to be heard too much, put them only at the level you want them. There’s no pressure to incorporate anything you don’t want in your music. Some like a strong tom presence while mixing on beat maker programs, others feel it muddies the mix. This is completely up to the user.
The steps after achieving appropriate levels for your drums can become quite sonically complicated, but at the end of the day is all preference of the mixer and drummer. It will simply take time and practice to perfect panning and ambience levels of drums.
Making beats software work for drums takes time and practice and should be approached with patience. If you’re mixing drums for a band, sit down with the other musicians to see what they feel fits best with your music. Beat maker programs can have huge benefits to a band when used correctly and should not be looked at as only beneficial to hip-hop or pop artists.