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Percussion Mixing
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Percussion Mixing
I tend to have trouble getting percussion to sit well together in a mix. Mixing vocals, pads, leads, strings, etc is less difficult because the sounds are pretty regular in tempo and volume, but (especially with more experimental electronic music) percussion is harder for me.

I've read some more general threads here and elsewhere that have suggested mixing in mono and mixing/compressing all percussion elements together separately and then mixing that into the rest of the track (both very helpful!)

Are there other ideas or general advice Wigglers care to share? Thanks!
Sidechain everything everywhere. 2-3 db gives space.
Record with ribbon mics instead of SDCs. Makes for a nicer impulse response, easier to mix.
One of my fav things to do with percussion is to create a new send channel and put a really colorful compressor on the send like the UAD neve 33609 driven fairly hard. Then group all of the percussive elements and send from the group to that send.

I'll also use tape emulation like the Studer A800 instead of compression sometimes, again, driven very hard for saturation and distortion.

This is referred to as "New york compression" or parallel compression:

I sort of forgot about this but my friend reminded me and I'm finding it really helps get the drums loud without ruining the dynamics.

I really like to use transient shapers as well, especially on the kick and snare, to make the attack a bit harder depending on the style. Put the transient shaper directly on the snare and kick channels. Go gentle. This is similar to using a compressor with a slow attack but it's a bit easier to get the effect you're looking for than using a compressor (eg there is just a giant knob you turn smile ) I personally use the NI Transient Master because I own it but you can definitely find free plugs for that - they're not very complex.

One of the greatest secrets to mixing percussion is to layer things. I generally will sample a kick from a break and combine it with something a bit more synthetic, using only the top end from the sample. You can also put a hat or some noise or a bongo in the kick.

A lot of drum and bass producers are using tones for their snares as well. Snares you can combine a few layers - like some noise for the very top, a clap, and a woody snare so that it fills up a bunch of the frequency range and "hits" very hard.

Eg see:

There are multiple layers happening there. It's a bit less modern but I think the percussion sounds decent. For more modern sounds you will want a more minimal approach, shorten your percussive elements, maybe pitch them up. Everything is short and crisp in the more modern dnb production techniques.

I also try to tune every percussive element to fit musically, especially the kick and snare.
simplicity is key.
i get very punchy drums without much use of groups, compression, sidechain, etc.
eq is all that's necessary. shallow peaking filter cuts on the root frequency and harshest hi mid frequency will generate loads of headroom. eq without solo, against the mix.
if you mix in LCR, or close to it, your mixes will come out punchier as well. that means all channels in mono, panned either dead center, hard right, or hard left, fx included, no inbetweens. try it. eliminates 95% of phase issues (which affect detail, punch).

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