For a lot of us, there are certain elements of a mix that we always find ourselves fixing, especially when the tracks are coming from other engineers. For some of us, one of the most common problems is an overabundance of low end in kick drums.
There are plenty of reasons that kicks end up with too much low end. It can come from poor room acoustics or less than ideal monitoring. Some engineers prefer to keep the extra low end during tracking, knowing that it’s generally not too hard to dial it back in the mix. After all, adding something that’s not there will almost always sound less natural than removing excess frequencies.
In this video, it’s clear to see how a kick drum’s sound is especially susceptible to low end build up. Without being treated, the kick drum can change the whole vibe of the song, sounding more like an “EDM kick” as Fluff describes it. The pulsing, overpowering low frequencies work in certain situations, but in others you’ll want a clickier kick to punch through the mix.
If you’re happy with your overall drum mix, you don’t always have to risk that balance to fix your kick. Instead, adding Transify to your summed drum bus can be a great solution. You get the flexibility of processing the attack & sustain of four frequency bands independently, while treating your drums as a single, cohesive element of your mix.
By dialing back a bit of attack & sustain in the low end of the drum mix, you can quickly hear the space that opens up in that frequency range. Not only was the kick too prevalent in the mix, but it was masking some of the bass guitar. Removing the excess brings the entire mix together, allowing the bass guitar some room to breathe once the kick and other drums with potential bass build-up are under control.
This technique isn’t just limited to kick drums. Harsh cymbals, wobbly toms & hissy snares can all be cleaned up using Transify. Whether you choose to use it on individual tracks or on busses is completely up to you - there is no “correct” answer when it comes to the best way to clean up your drum tracks. What’s important is that you continue refining your personal approach.
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