The All-Things-Audio Blog

How to get some High Quality "2001" Tom Drum Sounds

Tom drums are one of the hardest things for me to get right in a mix. I feel like if I try and make them “big and epic” they end up sounding cheesy. On the other hand, if I don’t go all in with them, then they’re just lifeless and boring, with no impact in the mix. So how do you get them to sound full and cut without sounding fake?

One way I’ve found that helps is by having a duplicate track running an octave above the source, which gives your ears more to grab onto, and identify them in a mix a lot easier. It also helps bring out the tonal quality of toms. If you’ve ever played drums or heard a tom, you know it has a heavy “DOOOOONNNNG” type sound. This is its resonating frequency, what helps distinguish a high tom from a floor tom. This resonating frequency is also something that is really easy to get buried in a mix.

If you’re like me, it seems like your toms sound like a piece of paper being flicked by a pen, certainly not...

Continue Reading...

Getting Natural Sounding Drums from MIDI

A lot of people struggle to get their “MIDI” sounding drums to sound human. I’m a huge advocate on helping people understand ways to make their programmed drums sound more human. So what’s the trick? Well there’s not just one, there’s a lot of subtle moves that you can do to make your drums sound natural.

One way is to create “flams”. Make big hits by “flamming” them, or offsetting them from the grid a little bit. This leads to another trick; do not quantize everything to the grid all the time. Make sure your key hits are lined up (like the 1st) and then let everything else fall in its place. Let your drum beat be loose. You could also change some of the velocities, so no hit has the same impact as the last, creating a more realistic groove and rhythm in your drums.

However, one of the best things you can do to help is while you are triggering drums. For the longest time I struggled to make my triggered drums or...

Continue Reading...

MIDI Velocity!

drums mixing music Mar 16, 2018

Do you ever feel like your songs sometimes sound lifeless or boring? Or maybe straight up “MIDI sounding?” I have one word that is going to turn your lackluster song into a gem: Velocity.

Use different velocities on your virtual instruments (especially drums!) to make things more interesting. Don't always use the "heaviest loudest" setting. It gets boring. Different velocities/intensities give your music its character. I get sick of always hearing drums "on" or "off" in the sense of performance. It's 127 velocity or there are no drums. That gets boring. Throw in some ghost notes (check out the video "Programming Drums to Sound More Human: Ghost Notes" to see what I'm talking about.)

Another thing to try is alternating hits with different velocities. This helps to make it not so programmed and flat-lined. Music is supposed to be a dynamic moving story. Don't make it sound robotic by having every single instrument hit the 127 mark to make it "loud."

There are some...

Continue Reading...

Tuning Your Kick Drum Samples

drums Apr 07, 2016

Tuning your drum samples is a simple and free solution for a tighter, more cohesive mix.

How does this happen? Let’s focus on the kick drum and break it down really quick.

A kick has that fat low end, usually with lots of low sub information. The low sub information gives you that nice chest thump that you’re used to. On the upper end of the frequency spectrum, there’s usually a tick/click/knock that helps make the kick known in a thick mix. In this case, we’re going to want to look at the sub end.

If I told you “It doesn’t really affect your song if your bass is out of tune”, you’d call me crazy.

When you start thinking about your kick as an extension of your bass, it helps switch your mindset from something you brush off, to something you take note of.

This is especially important for EDM style music. When you're using a sine wave style kick (like an 808), the pitch and tune of the kick is what gives it so much of its character....

Continue Reading...

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.