Old 06-14-2021, 07:42 AM   #1
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Default Gain Staging Drums

I'd like to hear opinions on what (pre-fader) peak levels to shoot for on individual channels once drums are in the box, with normal processing applied (EQ and compression; individual channels bussed to a reverb send. I am using 4 mics, Glyn Johns placement. My process has been as follows:

1. Record drums peaking (pre-fader) between -18 and -12db.

2. Adjust volume of individual regions with normalize handle (how much?)

3. Apply EQ and compression and add gain in Rea Comp as needed

4. Use faders to balance individual channels, drum bus, and reverb send to taste


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Old 06-14-2021, 08:43 AM   #2
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My pre-fader levels are in the range of -18 to -12, and I use about the same ReaEQ/ReaComp FX chains, but I use Presswerk for additional smoothing and saturation.

I never normalize, and I leave all my channel volumes at unity gain, and set levels in the FX upstream to balance the drum mix within itself. All of that lives in a folder where I can bring the entire drum mix up or down as needed.

Although you can see ReaComp is hitting fairly hard in this image, I'm using parallel compression with it and more dry/unaffected signal goes through than the compressed side. I'm using ReaComp to bring quieter sections up rather than to tamp down louder ones.

Presswerk is being used to smooth out loud peaks and to add saturation to them.

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Old 06-14-2021, 12:05 PM   #3
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It's very complicated, as it depends on multiple factors, primarily how it was played and recorded, and the arrangement. I suggest you listen to some similar songs, figure out relative volumes and dynamic range, check how much compression and general distortion do you need to make your drums sound realistic at an average listening level, and start from here. It's all relative - posting an example may help people give you an advice, but it's really a trial-and-error procedure, no recipes here.
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Old 06-15-2021, 07:10 AM   #4
John Allsup
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Default Hierarchies sends and gain

This is a quick thought regarding global sends and gains when using folders.

If I have three nested folders, say A, B and C, (C in B, B in A), have the send at C, post fader, to be -12dB, and then change the fader for C, the send volume changes.

If I change the faders for A or B, they do not.

Sometimes this is not what is desired, as the proportion of volume between what is sent via parent sends, and what is sent to the global bus, are changed.

A thought is an option, alongside pre-fader and post-fader, to have 'hierarchical' where if the target of the send is global, then multiply the gains of A, B, C and the send level to get the actual level sent. Basically following the gains up the hierarchy as the parent sends do. If the target is in folder A, then multiply the send level by the gains of B and C (but not A).

Something like that.
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