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Effects and Signal Processing on Acoustic Drums (part 2)

Another popular processor (and sometimes overused) you might consider using is a compressor/limiter. In backbeat oriented music a touch of compression on the kick and snare drum can even out inconsistent hits. However, unless you want your music to sound like a late 80s metal record you should use this tool sparingly. While we’re on this topic we should mention gating (a close relative to the compressor/limiter). Unless you really know what you’re looking for with gates steer clear of them. This is especially true if you’re trying to “fix” the sound of drums. You are much better off retuning the drums or using some type of dampening.

A whole host of other effects are available on most all DAWs: delay, phase shifter, tube-effect/distortion, to name a few. All of these have been used before with varying degrees of success but I suggest a little goes a long way. Bear in mind that John Bonham and Stewart Copeland played in extraordinary bands that had their own unique style and sound so their collective use of non-traditional drum effects fit their situation.

One technique I’ve used before deals with creating duplicate tracks for the use of experimenting with effects. Basically what I do is create a duplicate track and add varying degrees of different effects. I then mix the duplicate track with the unadulterated track and see what I can come up with. This is a good way to add various effects and not lose your primary track’s level or EQ.

Best regards,

Phil


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